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In search of spicy Indian snacks!

June 21, 2010 2 comments

To continue with my Cab saga … as mentioned in my last post My First Ride In An Office Cab … that my office has shifted from Delhi to Gurgaon and letting go of my liberty of driving I have succumbed to travel in office cab.

My fellow passengers seem to be nice and finally giving in to their niceness I let go off my arrogant face and finally broke ice with them on Friday evening while returning back from office.

At my favourite vocation … of thinking … I was like I am being stubborn and its no one’s fault that I have been transferred to Gurgaon and so letting my ego (or is that ID!) seep away through the closed windows of my AC Cab I gave in … and here was a cause for celebration! And the best way to celebrate for us Indians is to break bread… in other words indulge in ‘food’… no matter what the occasion is it has to end at food! And so we did the same … I suddenly said aloud that I want to have Aloo (potato) Chaat … to which to my surprise these guys came up with a quick and prompt solution and mentioned an apparently very famous chaatwala and yet again to my surprise I had no clue about it!?!?

Any ways so we maneuvered our cab driver and took him to this famous roadside food vendor next to UPSC building –  to be precise between Kota House and UPSC building not very far from Khan Market and India Gate at the Shahjahan Road … the famous chaatwala … ‘PRABHU CHAATWALA’.

We got into this small side lane in between two big buildings (the lane reminded me of one of the scores of lanes of the Aligarh Exhibition … where one can eat all sorts of chaat and spicy stuff and buy interesting things at throwaway prices!)

Coming back to the lane …There were more than 5-6 vendors there … standing with colorful, small stalls all decked up … with fruits and various versions of Potato recipes from aloo fry to aloo tikki ! It was a delight to see that at least here there is no demarcation between a diet and a healthy diet … With potato perched right in centre of healthy fruits and no one bothering to care about it.

Anyways making way from in between all the vendors we finally reached the ‘Prabhu Chaatwala’ – though it was like any other vendor but the difference showed in many ways! The setup was bigger them any other vendors … There were more than 5 people working on various things, a separate counter for making payments and modernized token system and a waiting time of at least 10 – 15 mins! Another thing that made it special or rather reminds you of its fame is a certificate hanging on the wall probably from one of the Times Food Guide participation or may be an award!

The chaatwaala had many things – the menu was elaborate with all possible versions of our desi Indian Chaat.

So while I took this all in and chatted away with my fellow passengers, our aloo fry became ready and taking it we got into our cab and resumed our journey back to home.

The chaat was good – leaving a burning sensation with every bite! That was not the only effect… I could feel smoke steaming out of my ears and tears swelling in my eyes and could see it was same for others also. But on the whole it was enjoyable and worth the wait.

I can also call it refreshing as anything that burns, opens up all your senses and makes you active and more aware of everything around. Infact I do remember that I use to munch on something spicy while studying as it helped in concentrating and also ward off the sleepy feeling!

Now for the Indian tradition of linking everything with food… well … breaking bread might just be a saying but it does help … it helps in breaking silence, breaking barriers, breaking away from the routine tasks, breaking away (distracting) from problems, breaking (bridging) distance … making new friends, new relationships … giving an oppurtunity to share with people … connect with people … laugh with people … developing patience, compassion, empathy for others and in general making a person more human!

It was the same for me … must say the aloo fry did wonders for me … made me feel connected to new people and added the address of another tongue watering, lip smacking vendor to my list!

P.S – This place is worth a try if Spice is your idea of life!

P.S – Aloo Chaat is similar to finger chips just that it is of a different shape and is served with indian spices and sometimes with mint dip!

Barrique, Gurgaon

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Barrique is an interesting looking place tucked in one of the giant new age high tech looking building of Gurgaon, the DLF Cyber City, Phase 3.

For those who knew where F Bar was initially launched and celebrated before it was shifted to Ashoka, Barrique is perched right across the place and is still there!

The place has good ambiance…and the first thing that caught my eyes was a stack of wine bottles kept as they would be in a wine house or a cellar! Peeping from behind the stack was surely a little well meant mysticism.

Moving further in we were met with smiling stewards…yes… not the usual drag faces.

Since we went for lunch .. the place was empty but for 2 small groups.. but the place became more alive during our stay there as 2 big corporate groups joined in.

Anyways Me and my sister were both very hungry so we grabbed the menu and looked for probable hunt for the day. Not in a mood for Non-veg and any thing elaborate we settled in for Penne Arrabiata and Red Thai curry.

While the chef would be deliberating over our choice and his/her cooking strategy we whiled away the time by chatting and looking around the place.

The seating area is good enough to accommodate somewhere between 40 -50 people,  with neatly laid out tables & comfortable chairs all spread in a way to give some space to all the guests and yet not give a crowded appearance. The lighting was dim and the long windows on one side gave the place a nice cosy yet corporate look.

Anyways our food came in the promised 10 minutes and it was wow. Atleast the Thai curry can get the full marks with distinctions… the curry was cooked right with correct mix of ingredients.

Now I am more of a smell kind of person … for me any dish has to smell good for it to taste good… and so the thai dish passed wonderfully as the fragrance was truly authentically Thai.

The other dish was Penne Arrabiata … it had penne cooked in red hot chilli sauce with a tangy taste for the taste buds. Two slices of crisp Garlic Bread accompanied the pasta and as ever helped in savoring the last drops of pasta sauce after the penne was finished.

The serving for both the dishes was good enough for one person each and reasonable on the pocket too…

All in all a good place to have good food.

And if that’s not enough, the place has some other charms also… i was informed later on.. it has live music on Wednesdays and that some of its mock tails are better then cocktails!!!

Oh n by the way did i tell u that Barrique is a actually a French word which means barrel full of wines!!!