AkiMi Gourmet

I love desserts, I like to stock up and have at least two or three things at home to binge on. I found AkiMi on Instagram, their images look appetizing and I had to try some. We are all spending so much time at home and ( I am done experimenting in the kitchen for this year) trying something new is the most exciting thing these days found treats that that are not only good in taste but also healthier; imagine indulging in desserts, guilt free.

Brain child of MidhilaRaavi and Akila Vankalapati, AkiMi Gourmet brings you sinfully satisfying treats that are guilt free, vegan and refined sugar free. All their desserts are made from fresh ingredients, and since they are preservative-free, the shelf-life is limited. All the treats are made to order, so you know something special is whipped for you only after an order is placed.


The desserts are packed in minimalistic cardboard boxes, that can be reused. My top favourites are ‘Almond Flour Cake which is moist and flavorful ‘Pecan Pie Bars’ , ‘Banana Walnut Cake’ and ‘Chocolate Cookies’ arrive like a gift box. I totally forgot about their vegan brownies that are extremely lightweight, healthy and satiate your cravings for chocolate (never thought, I could put these two in same line)


They also offer things like Energy Bites that include flavours like cocoa pistachio, dark chocolate and peanut butter, black sesame bites and even postpartum bites made with nuts and edible gum, range of Tea Cakes. Their ‘cheat eats’ menu offers carrot, pistachio and strawberry cakes, along with brownies.


While you may find the prices on heavier side than the usual desserts, the quality too is better since they use. Gourmet food is a premium, especially because of the quality of ingredients used and the elaborate process that ensures nutrition is intact. This is why we might be a bit expensive compared to the other processed and packed equivalents in the market.”


They are delivering via Swiggy, Dunzo
Find them on Instagram at @akimi_gourmet

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Zuci, Hyderabad

Zuci (SHU-CHI) is the brainchild of Aparna Gorrepati   she is trained from the finest institute s of France and Belgium and has been a chocolatier connoisseur for almost 12 years.  While the place specializes in exquisite handmade chocolates, it is not limited to just those.

This new Chocolaterie and Boulangerie in Hyderabad offers products that are result of a decade of experience.  Zuci offers an exquisite range of artisanal chocolates, cakes, pastries and baked treats.

My visit to Zuci was an extremely special one, it was the first place I had visited post 96 days of lock-down. The safety measures were being followed, the staff was limited and the dine in was controlled making sure the seating is limited, to maintain social distancing

Italian Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows at Zuci, Hyderabad

Hot Chocolate  
If you have been following my page you know how I love my share of Hot chocolates, Hyderabad offers a fair share of incredible Hot Chocolates and I am happy that I can add Zuci’s gooey and sinfully delicious Italian Hot Chocolate to my top 3 favorites, add some marshmallows and it will move over to top two. In this monsoon, I have already had this decadent drink thrice and it’s a must try.  

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Assorted chocolates with Cappuccino at Zuci, Hyderabad

Chocolates  
My first experience of Zuci was biting in 70% Dark chocolate ball and it was so fine that I immediately requested for a box of assorted chocolates packed.  Their range of chocolate include Soft Centered, rich creamy filled ones to cocoa rolled Truffles, cream and nut infused Pralines to hand molded nutty Chocolate Bars hand molded nutty Chocolate Bars.  
My top recommendations: 70% Dark Chocolate, Rose Truffle, Roasted Almond, Milk Chocolate Truffle, Maple Pecan and Mango Chili.  

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Deconstructed Tiramisu with Chocolates and Espresso at Zuci, Hyderabad
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Strawberry Vanilla Cake & Citrus Rind Berry Cheesecake at Zuci, Hyderabad

Desserts 
Luscious (fresh) Chocolate Éclair, Citrus Rind Berry (creamy) Cheesecake, Strawberry Vanilla Cake and Tiramisu. The four desserts we tried came with burst of absolutely different flavors and felt like a well deserved treat of not being able to have desserts for so long, every bite I took, I relished it, letting my taste buds savor the taste and my mind register the experience. I cant pick a favorite because all four them are quite different and absolutely worth digging in (more than once)  

Avocado Toast with Iced Americano at Zuci, Hyderabad
Chicken Steak in Mushroom Sauce, Lasgane, Mushroom Soup (L- R) at Zuci, Hyderabad

Food 

Iced Americano with Avocado Toast was incredible, they source their coffee from Roastery coffee house, which is already a favorite and this healthy option is a burst of flavor and refreshing choice.  I absolutely relished the chicken steak with creamy mushroom sauce, i gorged on to every bite with an absolute delight. I also tried Gnooci (they prepare it house) and Lasagna, it was surprisingly wonderful to know that most of their sauce just like their breads and chocolates are made in house. 

Breads  
My time in Pondicherry has introduced and educated me to some of the finest breads, I may not be an expert yet but I can say I have developed a sense of what I like and have a better understanding of a bread should be, like they say, if you had the best you can never settle for anything less.  
I really liked their cheese and caramelized onion Sourdough bread, crusty on outside and chewy inside; I highly suggest you consume it within a day or two. The other highly recommend bread is their garlic herb Baguette which I tasted fresh out of oven and it blew my mind on how perfect it was.  
Must try:  They highly recommend (and so do I) their in house Babka, the cake whose origins are like Central Europe and is quite popular in Poland. It combines the richness of hazelnut and chocolate, and when warmed slightly melts in your mouth and keeps you coming back for more. 

Where Zuci Chocolates – Cafe, Desserts

Plot no: 1359, Road No:45, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.

*** I do not in any way endorse stepping out until necessary, In case you do step out please wear you mask, sanitize and maintain social distance, if you do plan to dine out, please understand the staff is as concerned for their health as you are, so follow safety measures for yourself and people around you.Love
Satpreet Kaur

Prego, The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace


Prego has been one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Hyderabad since the very beginning, the pool side dining on special occasion or just craving for the cheesy thin crust pizza, it has always satisfied my Italian cravings. Prego at the Westin Hyderabad has always kept things interesting, food festivals, guest chefs who sing as well as they cook, live cooking sessions, hosting events where guests turned to chefs and now with their all new menu, giving yet another reason to dine here.


The basics of pizza, risotto, pasta stay same but it’s the twist in them that makes the new menu at Prego interesting. Over a quite Monday we visited the restaurant to enjoy some of the new dishes.


We started off with choosing some wine to accompany our meal while enjoying the prego garlic bread the signature accompaniment. The first dish presented to us was ‘Ages of Cheese with Parmesan Crackers’, four types of cheese melted together leaving with a captivating taste, I it was blast to show the best of Italian course coming my way.

Next came a miniature of ‘Pizza Ortholana and Pizza Polo Picante’ the thin crust pizza , Fried Ravioli made from pizza dough and filled with Caponata, Sautéed Prawns which was served with thin layers of bouget that complimented the buttery garlic flavor (I love anything that has garlic and this very dish is something I am coming back for very soon) very basic but buttery and perfectly.


In main course we tried the Spinach Ricotta Ravioli which is the twist to the old one, Chicken Parmigiana, Baked and Marinated Sea-bass that was sweet and sour, two types of Gnocchi in a bowl and the best of the lot Black Rise Risotto with Mascarpone, creamy texture that will bind your taste buds for a quick sojourn to food heaven.

There is so much more on the menu, including desserts, while we were stuffed to soul chef got us a not so small portion of Chocolate Stones with Parmesan Ice Cream and I sinfully dug into it without any guilt.

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Center Point, Nagpur

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I was visiting Nagpur for work and even though it was for just two days I was looking forward to get a taste of the city that is famous for its food. After asking some friends and family I choose to stay at highly recommended – Hotel Centre Point, located in the heart of ‘Orange City’.

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The hotel gives you easy access and is centrally located, be it business or pleasure. With 135 rooms & Suites, 3 Restaurants and 15 banquets, Center point Nagpur is great choice for weddings or big conferences.

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The experience at the property was exceptional in terms of food and hospitality, each member of the staff is extremely warm and makes sure your stay is comfortable and you are pampered with the best. I stayed in a Deluxe Suite that has an exclusive dining area, sofa seating in the living area, 2 washrooms and a separate bedroom and a powder room. Luxurious and spacious rooms that made every bit of my stay a relaxed one.

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Bougainvillea – Just as the ‘Bougainvillea’ flower is a favorite to many who fall in love with its cheery appearance and brightly colored petals, the atrium style restaurant offers buffet for breakfast and dinner. A weekend brunch is a lavish affair but so is their breakfast spread that includes everything from Indian to continental, juices to coffee, yogurts to cheese, I went for the local delicacies like tarri poha which is a must try when in Nagpur.

Meeting Point– The all-day dining at Center Point Nagpur offers an array of cuisines that thoughtfully prepared. This iconic restaurant, with its wide range of dishes offered in their À la carte menu and chef puts his finest of skills to suit taste of every guest. Paired with mouth-watering food they also offer a range of beverages and follow it with our sought after desserts for a wholesome experience.

With little time on hand, i couldn’t explore and have a taste of local cuisine. When i shared the same with chef and his team, they arranged a lavish gastronomy for me, in my room. Every meal at Center Point, Nagpur was a delicious one but this stole my heart. I got a taste of ‘Kacha vangyache bharit’ ‘Besan cha Jhunka’ ‘Aloo vangyachi bhaji’ ‘Saoji chicken’ with Jowari ki bhakar and two types of thecha (lal ans hirvya) i was so happy i got to taste all of it and it indeed made my visit to Nagpur a successful fun.

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Freakk – An all-day Bistro offers a contemporary feel and natural light, setting up a cozy, comfortable mood, they offer coffee deserts, savories and combos but what I tried was the blue tea, I love the fact that throughout the property they use jaggery powder instead of sugar.

Banquets – A banquet to hold a high-level social event such as a conference or wedding with utmost comfort; Hotel Centre Point offers you the perfect choices. With event planners, the very best in audiovisual equipment and catering service, these spaces can hold up to 2000 guests comfortable

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Palais de Mahe, Pondicherry

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If you ever visit Pondicherry, i promise, voluntarily or involuntarily you will find yourself in front of Palis de Mahe. The hotel is one of the hot spots for tourist to click pictures. Well i will know because the one year i spent in Pondicherry, i stayed right next to it (oh i was damn lucky) tourists would flock in front of the building right form morning 6 till sunset, apart from that there were movie shoots, pre-wedding shoots and what not.

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Palais De Mahe is situated at the intersection of two beckoning worlds. One gently murmurs the spirit of Colonial France with its clean streets, neatly plastered bungalows and flower-decked balconies while the other envelops you in its salt and spice-laden air coming off the Coromandel coast of India in great animating gusts.

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Colonial To The Core, The hotel and the rooms have plenty of distinctive French elements that will catch your eye at Palais de Mahe, in particular, its classical period style furniture. We believe that if Monsieur Dupleix were to visit us he would feel quite at home at Palais de Mahe. There can be no better endorsement for all our painstaking efforts to go French.


It stand out with its yellow and white walls and is one luxurious option to stay when in Pondicherry. However, if you don’t stay here don’t miss an opportunity to have a meal at their fine dine restaurant – Les Alizes. They are known to serve some of the best seafood in town, keeping it fresh and appetizing. Overlooking the pool, the place also serves some interesting cocktails. You should try their Mushroom and Spinach crepe, served with chickpea salad, Prawn curry and Spicy Orange – Grilled Calamari.

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Les Alizes, rooftop restaurant at Palais de Mahe, Pondicherry

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Ayurvedic Spa, No travel is ever complete without a relaxing spa therapy. The Ayurveda center at Palais de Mahe offers a range of herbal massages and therapies to help you get rid of accumulated stress and shape up a bit while you are with us. My masseuse was the sweetest and gave me a lot of tips to keep my skin and hair healthy with simple home remedies and absolutely loved how warm she was.

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Must try a cup of freshly brewed coffee and baked croissant at Earth cafe by the pool at Palais de Mahe, Pondicherry

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Feranoz Patisserie and Cafe

Started by two brothers with passion for food and soft spot for desserts ‘Feranoz’ in Hyderabad is latest addition of soul pleasing Patisserie and cafes. Pretty and minimalist the cafe is spacious and almost gives a English tea room vibe.

Trained in baking, they have laid down some incredible options for sweet tooth lovers keeping in mind both- quality and taste preference of the city.

Desserts, starting with my favorite ‘Salted Caramel Eclair’ a version of long choux pastry filled salted caramel cream, glazed with caramel and topped with a tiny gold leaf is something i savored with every bite.

I also gorged one of their highly recommended ‘Rocher’ that is a result of hazelnut chocolate sponge, crunchy hazelnut praline disc topped with chocolate hazelnut gianduja mousse finished with nutty chocolate gourmand glaze.

When it came to ‘Tiramisu’ i was really keen because having tasted quite a few, i was mentally prepared to compare it with others, that was until i had dug out my first bite right through it layers and transported it to my taste buds who relished it thoroughly. It was lite, creamy and rich in taste.

Apart from desserts they also do gourmet cakes on pre-order, and offer a range of teas and coffee as as perfect accompanists to the desserts. I really like the Kashmiri Kahwa and Mountain Rose tea, i cant wait to try their hot chocolate, which they claim is good.

The location is great, valet service is definitely a bonus as the area can see a lot of traffic during the day.

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Top 10 places that serve best hot chocolate in Hyderabad

It’s always a good time to indulge in oh-so delightful hot chocolate. Some come topped with marshmallows or whipped come, others with a twist of spice or flavor of mint. While winters and the festive season make it a seasonal favorite, this decadent beverage is always welcome. So, I decided to bring you the tried and tasted list of my top favorite places in Hyderabad that serve some incredible hot chocolate, there is something to please all palettes. So, go ahead take a pick and relish your favorite hand warmer: a piping hot cup of cocoa.

Hyderabad Baking Company- Spice Mix Hot Chocolate
For a bit of added fire to your chocolatey mug, try this spicy blend at HBC in Marriott while admiring the life size ginger bread wonderland this festive season. One of the very few places in Hyderabad that serves boozy hot chocolate, that has Cointreau and Baileys as its ingredients. In its nonalcoholic counterpart, the spiced hot chocolate really stands out. Their hot chocolate is definitely the most Instagram-able cup in town. Rich in thickness, rimmed with Nutella and cookie crunch, topped with marshmallows and frozen spoon of chocolate…and like that was not enough they have also added a miniature gingerbread house as season special. The options of flavors at their special hot chocolate counter include maple syrup, caramel, peanut butter, Nutella, Choco chips, cookie and cinnamon sugar.
Sweet note on 5- 4
Price Rs 250/-
Alcoholic- Rs 1650/-

Fabelle – Milk Cocoa
The grandeur of the place doesn’t cease to amaze you, located in ITC Kohenur the brand sparks luxury in every sense. Those with a weakness for chocolate will find Fabelle hard to resist. The Milk Cocoa with Pistachio – Almond ‘torrone’ nougat chunks, is incredibly decadent. For people craving a twist, the ‘Spiced Hot Chocolate’ is yet another stellar options. The drink is filled with chocolate nibs, has a batter-like texture and infused with Indian spice, 67% single origin dark Madagascar chocolate and served with truffles French Chantilly cream.
Price- Milk Cocoa Rs 450/- Sweet not on 5- 3
Spiced Hot Chocolate Rs 450/- Sweet note on 5- 3

Churrolto – Irish hot Chocolate
They have a scrumptious seasonal menu, but what we are totally loving the creamy cup of Irish hot chocolate. Two types of chocolate and baileys topped with Irish cream, this is purely soul satisfying. They also serve Spanish hot chocolate, Nutella and something I am looking forward to try on my next visit-Brownie hot chocolate.
Sweet note on 5- 4
Price Rs 215/-

Feu – Dessert Bar – Mint Hot Chocolate
The new place in town whips up a silky, smooth, creamy hot chocolate. Go off beat and try the one infused with mint, that gives you tasty and entirely luxurious experience. Make sure to accompany your warm drink with something delicious—tarts, cakes, pastries, I choose the madeleines in flavor of lavender and lemon!
Sweet note on 5 – 4

Sante Spa Cuisine- Tall Dark Hot chocolate
Known for its healthy offerings Sante Spa, I love this place for their beetroot hummus, and visited the places on occasions where I was just particularly for this specific one. Sante’s version of hot chocolate is a no-frills, whipped-cream-free cup. It has soy milk in it and is slightly thick which makes you enjoy the flavor with every sip. I really like the consistency of it, it is just about right.
Sweet note on 5 – 4
Price- Rs 220/-

Papa Roti- Classic Hot Chocolate
Can it get better when a hot chocolate is served with the softest and freshest bun in town? I guess not. The hot chocolate here is foamy and great in taste, the bun that comes in combo is delightful.
Sweet note on 5- 4
Price- Rs 345/-

Concu– Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow
Concu has been always been a treasure of delicious treats! From their tiramisu to strawberries dipped in chocolate, eclairs to Tres leches every dessert lover is loyalist here. But did you know they also serve hot chocolate with a mountain of tiny marshmallow just as good? Rich, thick, and chocolaty, this tiny cup of happiness brings great joy.
Sweet note on 5- 4
Price Rs 200/-

Kaficko– Belgian Hot Chocolate
Some people prefer variety in life, but sometimes you just gotta stick to the simple stuff. Kaficko crafts coziness in a cup with their Belgian hot chocolate—perfect for when you want something that’s juuuust right. The Peanut butter, Salted caramel and Nutella hot chocolate are also something you can indulge irrespective of what season it is.
Sweet note on 5- 3.5
Price Rs 250/-

Starbucks- Signature Hot Chocolate
The commercial chain is favorite for a lot of coffee lovers. Starbucks offer a mug (not a cup) that is light, frothy, creamy blend topped with whipped cream. Pair it with a muffin and have a chatty time.
Sweet note on 5- 3.5
Price- Short 190/- Tall 215/-

The Gallery Cafe – Nutella Hot chocolate
You didn’t think I would close out this list without including something Nutella-related, did you? Just like the name suggest, art is everywhere at this place, including the table my hot chocolate was served and the chair I sat in. By the time I took my first sip, the tip of marshmallow melted and formed a fascinating flower like design, after having two of those I took my first sip. This particular one proves that sometimes the simplest things are the best. They also offer flavors like Nutella, cinnamon, hazelnut and mint.
Sweet note on 5 – 4.5
Price – Rs 200/-

Additional Surprise: Iced Chocolate
Well for those who like to try something more, here is a bonus option. Try the ‘Iced Chocolaye’ at Fabelle, ITC Kohenur, a beverage topped with a scoop of ice cream. The drink has single origin 67% dark Madagascar chocolate with citrus, berry notes juxtaposed with creamy coconut, served chilled topped with ice-cream is absolutely rich and delicious.
Price Rs 450/-
Sweet note on 5 – 3

***All prices are excluding taxes

Let me know which one of these you have tried and if I missed out on something in comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe so you get all updates right in your mailbox. Also follow me on Instagram @ssatpreetkaur , Facebook –FashionEatista, for more instant updates on all things fun, food, fashion and travel.

Love Satpreet Kaur

Sailana food festival, The Park

Royal cuisines are always a treat, they are extravagant, flavorful and a taste of food that has been passed on by generations of zaikedaz. Just as such is a royal cuisine of ‘Sailana’, a food festival curated by the park this December. Being hosted in ‘Aish’ the specialty Indian restaurant at The Park Hyderabad adds further charm and feel to the experience.

The food festival included delicious kebabs and aroma-filled gravies. According to what I read and heard, Sailana, a princely state located in Malwa of Madhya Pradesh, was famous for its hospitality and cuisine that included dishes laced with exotic spices, rose petals and sandalwood powder. The recipes as part of the culinary world of Sailana are over a century old. Influenced by Maharaja Digvijay Singh’s book, The Park, Hyderabad offers this well curated menu for the two-week festival.

From the array of dishes, I tried over the bloggers table, they were few that really stood. ‘Be Masale ka Gosht’ it was great way to start the meal and instantly won my heart, the dish is mutton slow cooked in yogurt and ghee without any spices,‘Luft-e-Dariya’ a prawn appetizer was spicy and crispy and Gosht Asafjahi a bhunna mutton enriched with nuts and spices paired with crisp naan.

In mains Machhi Ki Biryani, the one served in a big deg with a fish right in between is one you should definitely try. Murgh Irani, Gosht Asafjahi, paired with naan or kulcha made for flavorsome options

There are more options, a lot of which include vegetarian options like Harey channe ke kebab, Karela Nafees (even bitter guard haters will like it) Gooler kebab made of wild fiigs, Aloo La-Jawab, Zarda Pulao, Sailana Daal and its non-vegetarian counterpart offered Raan Mussalam, Maans ka Soola yet another mutton dish tempered with cloves, Murgh Kebab Gorkhar – whole chicken roasted in whole spices and Machhi Kebab Sailana that has a tangy twist.

Desserts were something I was really looking forward to, with names like Laisun Ki Kheer, Gosht Ka Halwa and Hare Chane Ka Halwa i was intrigued and well it was met with complete satisfaction. The kheer was delicious, but I loved the halwa, unlike its name, the flavor of meat was very subtle and it was very unique.

Till December 9th
Price for two: Rs.2,000.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Fab Cafe,  Hyderabad

The new trend on rise is where good old retail therapy ends with a cup of coffee and good food. Just few months after Masaba Gupta opened her first store and cafe- Good Cow cafe, that meets retail and food under one roof, India’s yet another favorite brand known for its quality ‘Fab India’ as come up with their own cafe- Fab Cafe. With immense response in other cities, Hyderabad has seen the launch of its first outlet as part of the Fab India experience center.

The place offers a wholesome experience, you can shop, have a delicious meal and a plus is the kids’ area with staff supervision. You can enjoy your meal while kids are busy playing right in next room. I don’t see how catching up with friends and family can get much easier than this for a lot of women.

The café boasts quaint interiors, with full focus on menu. Just a look at it made me happy, it had familiar options with refreshing combinations. Fab Cafe

I began with the cold brew, with almond milk and loved how I have a healthier option, as I can’t help reduce my caffeine intake, this at least will be guilt free. Everything on the menu, I noticed as I ordered was a healthier combination of familiar food. Fab cafe focuses on offering gluten free and health friendly options of quick snacks and beverages.

The ‘Almond Fig smoothie bowl’ along with the ‘Berry Blast Shake’, came first from the all-day breakfast options. The crunchy topping of muesli, layered with fruits followed by gooey smoothie was outrageously delicious. I have always been a fan of smoothie bowls, they are eye pleasing and surprisingly nutritious bowls of goodness! This in particular was satisfying and it’s something you can have any time of the day to keep those hunger pangs away. They have flavors like Mango Mint, Peach Cinnamon, Chunky Monkey and lot more you can choose from. We also tried the veg option of ‘Ajwain Croissant Breakfast Sandwich’ which also has a non-veg variant with egg and bacon. A little to try in taste for me. They also offer options like Pao with Veggie Bhaji, Red Rice Uttapam Trio, Matter Paneer Stuffed Paratha with Cashew Cheese and Idli with Tamato Naryal Chutney and Sambar.

In appetizers we tried the ‘Spicy Sprout Filled Pani Puri’ simple yet innovatively done and comes with three flavors of water- Pomegranate, Pineapple and mint, ‘Tandoori Tofu Rumali Tokri’ another outstanding dish that is crispy shell stuffed with spicy tofu, served with mint chutney and cashew cheese. It was flavorful and I loved the whole crispy and soft combination in each bite. In Non-Vegetarian we opted for ‘Chicken Momos’ that are gluten free, made with jack fruit flour and root starch, served with garlic chive dip and chill chutney that nicely brings out a scrumptious flavor. The showstopper for me was however the ‘Kaleji Masala Dip with Chips’ it is spicy liver paste seasoned with south Indian spices and served with sweet potato chips. Every bit was a winner and I highly recommend this one.

Of course, I wasn’t leaving without trying out the desserts, especially when it comes with guilt free tag. I ordered for a ‘Baked Strawberry Nolen Gur Cheesecake’ that has a crumbly almond flour crust, sweetened with nolen gur, and topped with a scrumptious strawberry compote, ‘Himalayan Organic Honey and Walnut Tart’ another favorite dish for the day is made of almond flour, drizzled with honeyand gur, and tastes heavenly (especially with a cup of cappuccino). it was relaxing, intimate and the food.

While focusing on nutrition, the menu brings delicious, unique and creative recipes to the table at moderate pricing. They also have a range of slow-pressed juices, tea, coffee and coolers. The place is aesthetically pleasing ambiance, basic dishes with a healthy spin, that’s what the new ‘Fab Cafe’ is all about.

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Love Fashioneatista

NH 2 Food Trail by Marriott Hyderabad

Get on highway of taste with ‘NH 2 Trail’ a food festival curated by Hyderabad Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre. The food festival showcases food from streets of Delhi to cafes of Kolkata.

The effort that went behind the conceptualization is commendable. The team lead by Chef Aungshuman Chakraborty traveled 10 days on National Highway 2, stopping at most famous places, tasting food, even trying their hand on recipes, to get the best sense of flavors and what goes in process of it. They covered places like Delhi, Mathura, Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Bihar, Dhanbad, and finally Kolkata, savoring the best each city has to offer.

I was glad to be invited and be part of this food trail, that brought to life the outdoors of Mariott, not only were the dishes an inspiration but the setup, presentation was all given a hint of relatability to where they hail. There were 28 live counters and it took me first 45 mins to just go around, from a foodie point you will definitely need to visit twice before you taste it all, and trust me you will want to have a bit of everything. Apart from special counters outdoors, the buffet indoors will also be a part of the food festival.

From what I tasted I really liked the Chur Chur Thali, Butter Chicken, Malai Kofta, Lamb Chops and other Tandoor Kebabs that included Chicken Mutton and Fish all of which came from Delhi counter. Sattu ka partha with almost five types of chokha sets in perfectly with the weather, also the Litti Chokha that’s made right in front of you is proper winter food that’s so hard to find in Hyderabad.

Even when i wanted to take a break, i went for Puchka and Jhal Muri begging them to give me smaller portions. Inspired from streets of Kokata, they got the flavors just right. More from the state were steamed and baked Momos, Hakka noodles and Egg and Chicken Rolls.

Sweets were delightfully from the world famous Mathura, it has everything from Petha, Peda, Imarti, Jalebis and my favorite Malpua that comes topped with rabri, just thinking of it right now makes my mouth water.

Choose to have cocktails from special drinks menu, masala chai with Nankhatais or lassi because it’s not just food that will leave you spoilt for choice but beverages too.

They had so much more that I still wish to try, Parthas, Chole Bhature, Dahi Bhalle,Samosa Chat, Chaap both veg and non veg. Undoubtedly Delhi counter stood my favorite and also most recommended to begin with, but make sure you have ample of time and a good appetite for it is going to be one big feast.

It is one of the best food festivals of 2018 in Hyderabad and i would recommend you to take your family and friends along, as there is no better way to experience an array of dishes form different parts of the country, all at one place. I for one, am sure many travel memories are going to resurface and nostalgia will accompany throughout the evening of good food and ambiance.

Where: Okra, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre
When: 14th Nov to 1st Dec for Dinners Only & Sunday Brunch
Price: 1800/- plus taxes for Dinner
2300/- plus taxes for Sunday Brunch (with alcohol)

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Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

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Aerial view of Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

Goa has for long known as to be the party capital of India, but there is so much more to it. The exotic landscape, virgin beaches, water sports and luxury indulgences. Named as one of the best beach villas by a leading magazine ‘Coco Shambhala’ as personally experienced is a tropical paradise with best of hospitality, amenities and privacy.

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Open air villa at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

Mezze  platter served with Goan poe  bread and wine overlooking monsoon rain at coco shambhala, Sindhudurg 

Coco Shambhala has two properties, one in Goa and the other tucked away on the border of Maharashtra in a small town- Sindhudurg luckily i had my fair chance to experience a stay in both in leisure. Set in a tropical garden, barely 200 meters off the beach, Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg has villas designed as inclusive, barefoot retreats, each with their own infinity pool looking out to the sea. Coco Shambhala is a place of peace, happiness and tranquility.

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Room with a view at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

Monsoon getaway at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg 

There is a lot i love about this place, but what tops it is privacy that nurtures a sense of balance, much needed in the hectic lives of today in combination with ample of nature all around us. Each villa has a stunning sea facing living area, 2 large bedrooms also facing out to the sea, a well-stocked bar in the living pavilion and its own infinity pool where i spent my day and night, sunrise and sunsets, floating in he pool under rain and stars giving me some of the most breathtaking moments of my life so far.

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Spacious lounging area in villa at coco shamabhala, sindhudurg

read, eat, play all at the luxury of your privacy at coco Shambhala, Sindhhudurg

The villas are spacious and are spaces designed for dining and lounging. It works beautifully for quiet reading, intimate and family dinners alike and group bonding over games all at luxury of your villa, while providing a sweeping vista of the sea just below, and the tempting turquoise waters of the infinity pool in front. The bedrooms are designed to provide natural light, just as the entire villa with stunning sea views and boast of artfully designed coconut wood furniture, sitting alongside the modern amenities of a luxury bedroom.

Breakfast by the pool at coco shambhala, sindhudurg

A taste of Malwani cuisine at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

The kitchen team prepares everything ahead of your arrival; Their head chef got in touch with us, post our booking confirmed to discuss our culinary preferences and make tailor menus based on your feedback. Their complimentary car and driver are at hand, to not only take you around but also, run errands for you. We were also provided with free usage of the pre-programmed cell phone in each villa to contact anyone on the Coco Shambhala team for any assistance.

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Missal Pav  for breakfast at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg

Their menus showcase the best of Goan cuisine, fresh local produce and sea food. From the mezze platter that’s served with Goan poe bread on welcome (which i have repeatedly ordered every evening) to the delectable spread of Malwani cuisine everything left me craving for more. They also had carefully curated an alluring collection of wines, single malts and craft beers, in the comfort of our (each) own villa. Their Director of Cuisine, Shagun Mehra, crafts new menus each season, which are further tailored to your preferences and palate.

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Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg is a destination in itself, calm beaches, water sports in the season and if you fancy being a little more energetic and can tear yourself away from the sun lounger the hotel offers option to venture out and visit local villages. After a full day of exploring, the one place we desperately wanted to get back to is the ocean followed by a sun downer at the privacy of our villa.

Infinity pool that overlooks beach and endless ocean, Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg 

For more visit- www.cocoshambhala.com

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Feu Dessert Bar, Hyderabad

Feu, the French inspired patisserie in Jubilee Hills is a welcome addition to city’s list of dessert places. A dessert studio that plans to offer much more than mere desserts opened its door just a few weeks back and they are loving the response so far.

Located at a quite byline of Jubilee hills, I was almost nostalgic, as the spot housed my college days cafe almost 11 years ago. The dessert bar overflows with delights, from Toffee Salted Caramel, Tiramisu, Colorful Macaroons, Isphahan, Black Forest, Strawberry Cheesecake Velour, flavors of Eclair and much more.

Patisserie that offers gourmet desserts that are both eye pleasing and delicious. When I got to know the chefs here have been trained by much talented Sanjana Patel of La Folie Mumbai, my hope went up, because won my last visit Mumbai I had engaged in a lot of desserts from the place. She is not only the mentor to the chef but also help design the menu.

While i really loved all flavors of macaroons, what my absolute favorites at ‘Feu’ are ‘Toffee Salted Caramel Dessert’ that looks beautiful, tastes delicious with a mix of crunch and gooey all in one bite. ‘Tiramisu’ one of my favorite desserts ever is a heavenly blend of mascarpone, sabayon mousse with kahlua coffee-soaked ladyfingers, is great. ‘Ispahan’ , tops my list even though i love anything chocolate, this stole my heart. With a rich almond base and burst of flavors like litchi, rose and raspberries. The confections are not only meticulously executed, they’ are also very sculptural, that will you happy.

They also offer homemade breads like croissants that make for a great coffee accompaniment any time of the day. The crispy flakes and buttery flavor is just a delight in your mouth. Apart from this they also have jams, granola cubes, biscuits and muesli.

Indoor and outdoor seating allows you to enjoy your slice of dessert with a cup of tea or coffee on the premises. Cant wait for the winters to set in, which will make the place even more fun to enjoy the outdoors with a hot cup and goey slice of dessert. ‘Feu‘ can be your next go-to spots where you can get anything from an elegant pastry for a dinner party to your morning croissant. Whats better is they are open from 11Am to 11Pm on all days and till midnight on Saturday and Sunday.

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Staycation at Trident Hyderabad

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I have been focusing a lot on my travel side of blogs lately, when i am in town i work on my full-time job that helps me set my next travel goals, amidst all this when i got an invite for a staycation from Trident Hyderabad, i just obliged happily  

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Trident Hyderabad is a business hotel, part of The Oberoi Group located right in the heart of formidable global tech capital. A quintessential business hotel, thanks to its contemporary finishes, club floors with a dedicated lounge, and prime location in Hitec City.  From the lobby that is welcoming, staircase with grand chandelier to the rooms the architecture is modern fused with contemporary art; all while fulfilling that expected 5-star flair. We were mesmerized by the expanse of the property and how simple, yet artistic and modern the architecture was.

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Room: We were allotted the ‘Premier Suite’ one of the best at the hotel, that is perfect for work and relaxation. As soon as we entered there was cozy living room with a work desk and ceiling to floor glass window. The bedroom, spacious and contemporary had a walk-in closet and the bath area with a double vanity counter, bathtub, shower area, robes, toiletries, and everything required to ensure that you feel pampered at any given time of the day.  The comfort was so intense that overslept and ordered a lavish breakfast in bed, because for me its not a relaxing holiday until you get a good 10 hours sleep followed by breakfast in bed.

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The pool was our favorite part to unwind, the pleasant weather outdoors just added to the whole feel. From taking a long dip, lounging post breakfast to enjoying our cocktails and quick bites with twinkling skyline to accompany us during evenings, it was just splendid.  

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Restaurants 

Tuscany is an award-winning Italian restaurant that is focused on fresh seasonal produce, reinventing menu and hosting most interesting food festivals expanding the taste of Italy to guests in finest way possible. The risotto and pizza are my staple favorites here. I love Italian and food festivals like ‘Fiesta Fungi’ that bought a line of dishes all using mushrooms was this year’s favorite. With finest of wines, soulful dishes Tuscany is my favorite in-house restaurant at Trident Hyderabad, also it is open only for dinner only making it a great place for special diner dates.  

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Amara is a multi-cuisine buffet restaurant at the Trident Hyderabad that offers Mediterranean, Asian and European cuisines. The restaurant is functional all through the day from 7 am to 11 pm and also serves a la-carte. While Sunday buffet are extravagant the spread on weekdays are also lavish. We picked a seat by the long window glass that has a view of cyber towers and let world pass by as we savored everything from salads to desserts.  

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Kanak, I feel is heart of this uber luxury business hotel that offers Indian specialty. From a bar at entrance that offers you best of world class spirits to santoor players adding dreamy music to the ambiance the visit here is more of an experience that speaks luxury with every detail.  I was glad to be a part of ‘Lazzat-E-Rampur aur Awadh’ curated by guest Chef Rehman who is known for his expertise in this cuisine all over India. The food was a gastronomical journey of rich flavors, age old recipes in company of talented chefs including in house  Chef Dharmender Lamba, who shared stories and memories that made for an evening to cherish. The menu included dishes like Murgh Tikka Mirza Hasnu,  Chapli Kebab, Nasheela Jhinga in starters, Changezi Murgh, Yakhni Gosht Pulao, Nawabi Baigan Bharta, Anannas ke Boti, Taar Khorma in main course and star of the evening were desserts Ande ka Halwa, which was surprisingly good (i tried something like this for first time) and Chukander-e-Afroz made from beetroot served along with  Gur Ki Yaquiti. 

Ninety-Six, the lounge is open from 1 pm to wee hours of 4 am. Be at an after-meeting drink or just late-night cheer, it is a very soothing place that offers range of single malts, cocktails, beer and wine. The bartender can whip up some really fascinating cocktails just tel him what you prefer and leave the rest on the specialist.   

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Our experience has been a combination of excellent service, great food and warm people that would always bring us back. What truly touches your heart are the little things, the attention to details, in everything they do that sets them a class apart. 

Book : Trident Hyderabad 

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Brunch at The Square, Novotel

 

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The Square at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Center, is especially popular for its Sunday Brunch but I decided to go for it today since i was at the hotel for a meeting. Having heard so much about the place, I have been here for dinners but never lunch. This chic and friendly restaurant and its AL fresco area has quite a welcoming vibe.  Executive Chef Gaurav Malhotra joined us for lunch talking about the new live station additions to the brunch counters and upcoming food festivals at the hotel.

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The brunch menu has a lavish spread consisting of revered regional classics to contemporary international highlights, from counters that stocked variety of reads, cheese, salad there was a special counter of grills that I loved the most.

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While most of it came on table, I always enjoy going for a quick round, around the spread picking some breads, choice of salad, maybe (definitely) a piece of dessert too.

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Being a weekday it was quite laid back and I enjoyed the relaxed ambiance of overlooking lush greenery, letting the monsoon air soothe me while I enjoyed every delicacy that came my way.

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A sinful assortment of desserts, along with a selection of wines and beverages, are the perfect complement to revered regional classics and international delights.

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Opening hours: Daily – 6:30am to 11pm
Address: Novotel Hotel Road, Near Hitec City, Kondapur, Hyderabad. Ph: 66824422

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Must Do, Must visit – Fort Kochi

The Jew Town area of Fort Cochin has many traveler orientated restaurants and cafes with mixed menu of all the Indian, Chinese and Western traveler favorites and you can also buy fresh seafood and street food along the shore by the Chinese fishing nets.

Pepper House Cafe serves light lunches, drink and snacks in the cute courtyard setting of the waterfront heritage property. It includes a gallery, art studios and event spaces. i love the store, that stocks some really made in India brands for clothes, quirky jewelry, books, bags and even perfumes.

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Pepper House, Fort Kochi

Qissa Cafe a cafe walking distance from any touristy spot in Fort Kochi  and whips some really good french toasts and coffee, i spent hours here, people watching, reading books and reordering iced coffee. They also like many places here promote local artist and talent and you can always buy something as a souvinear to take home.

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Kashi Art Café  is one of the most popular place for coffee, breakfast or lunch served in their courtyard surrounded by art work from local artists.

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Try: Because of the abundant supply of spices and medicinal plants Kerala is the home of Ayurveda, an ancient, natural healing science that has been practiced in India for over 5000 years. Fort Kochi is a perfect place to try a relaxing Ayurvedic massage at a spa or hotel. I skipped the luxury and went for a local center- Ayurville a walking distance form my hotel and a traditional ayurvedic session, they have oils that are made in house, you can choose depending on your concern or skin type. If you don’t concentrate on the ambiance, this place is great for a traditional massage and will leave you relaxed and lighter. I could feel it with the strokes on my back, pressure on the scalp and not to forget the stretches of arms and legs. it was a great experience and i am so glad i visited this place. If you plan to visit, make sure you take a prior appointment, they also offer long term therapies where you can go for several sessions depending on your concern.

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Watch a Kathakali Dance – Kerala’s famous traditional dance form dates back to the 17th century and is as enchanting as it is unique. The colourful, elaborate make up and costumes and incredible facial expressions provide a fascinating experience, although its probably better to opt for a touristy performance as traditionally the performance can last for many hours and can be hard to follow at first. The Kerala Kathakali Center has nightly performances where you also see the make up being applied and get a demonstration of the different, subtle but fascinating movements and facial expressions.

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Chinese Fishing Nets – On the shore at the tip of Fort Cochin these huge spider like cantilever contraptions are the iconic emblem of Cochin. These impressive nets are a legacy from Chinese traders from 1400 and require at least 4 people to operate.  The Chinese fishing nets are at their most photogenic at sunset and, even though modern fishing methods and a lack of fish here have made these nets mostly redundant, you can still see them in operation and even try it yourself (they will ask for money of course!)

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Pardesi Synagogue and Jew Town – The small but enchantingly beautiful over 400 year old Jewish synagogue in Fort Cochin features a small exhibition of paintings describing the role the Jews played in Cochin and beautiful chandeliers and tiling. The synagogue is right in the middle of Jew town and the bustling, colourful old port area, one of the most atmospheric parts of Fort Cochin, many of the old spice warehouses are now shops catering to tourists selling spices, antiques, nick nacks, colourful shawls and handicrafts but it’s still a nice place to wander and a great place to shop for souvenirs.

To read all about my stay at the beautiful Ayana Fort Kochi, click here

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