My Kind of Street Cafe

photo 4I am a regular to SDA Market (New Delhi) for my coffee fix at Cafe Qahwa and Costa, and recently discovered this small joint by the name of ‘My Kind of Street Cafe’. It has got basic seating in a casual dining setting, with a quirky DIY menu, which is like a mix of ‘Choose your own at Subway’ and Nick’s Kitchen at Mcleodganj. You gotta choose the ingredients of your sandwich from the given list on the menu and mark them with a sketch pen. The idea is novel, however it photo 2could have been better if I didn’t have to repeat what I had chosen to the host. Simpler option could have been had they given me a pen/paper to write what I wanted! Knowing that its a start-up and they have their chinks to fix, kudos to their novelty and food quality. Their Ham-n-Cheese sandwich was utterly delicious. Its good value for money with sumptuous servings and mouth-watering food.

Dinner for Two would cost around Rs 1,000.

My Rating: 4/5 (Taste, Service, Ambience, Value for money, Variety)

Must Try: Ham/Cheese Sandwich, Lemon Grilled Fish, Chicken Pita, any of their cake slices, Stuffed chicken

Sagar Ratna at Defence Colony Market

photo (10)When it comes to eating south Indian fast food, we often go for Sagar Ratna, which is more like a byword for the southern cuisine.  Recently we went for dinner the restaurant’s Defcol market outlet. This chain offer wallet-friendly fair for vegetarians,serving  Karnataka photo (12)cuisine, which tastes a little different from more commonly available Tamil style of making idlis and dosas. Menu is simple with a variety of finger licking snacks, dosas, utthapams, , desserts and beverages on a double-sided single card menu tab. Seating is not very fancy but is very clean and functional. Service is courteous and fast. You will hardly ever find a Sagar Ratna joint empty!

Dinner for four would cost around Rs 1,500.

My Rating: 3.5/5 (Taste, Service, Ambience, Value for money, Variety)

Must Try: Rava Onion Dosa, Paper Masala Dosa, Aaloo Bonda, Dahi Vada

Old Rao Dhaba on NH 8

photo (7)As a frequent road traveler to Alwar starting early morning from Delhi, I often make a pit-stop at Dharuhera, Rewari for breakfast. NH-8 is dotted by several highway dhabas, and the most common name among them is ‘Rao’ with different prefixes & suffixes. The most authentic and oldest one is called ‘Old Rao Hotels & Caterers‘, which is 24 X 7 super busy joint and its parking lot is filled with small and big cars. It’s a large yet simple eating joint with plastic tables and chairs, and an photo (9)open kitchen, and you are not going to find the servers in neat uniforms. However if you are looking for some fresh and hot food desi style, this place offers good value for money. I have had numerous breakfasts and have tried them for a few dinners too. The dishes that I always stick to here are Aaloo Paranthas & Curd for breakfast, and Butter Chicken & Naan for dinner. Their stuffed bread offerings are good and mouth watering. Breakfast for four would cost around Rs 500.

My Rating: 3/5 (Taste, Service, Ambience, Value for money, Variety)

Must Try: Stuffed Parantha, Butter Chicken


The White Tiger

whiteThe White Tiger

by Aravind Adiga | 318 Pages | Genre: Fiction| Publisher: HarperCollins India| Year: 2008 | My Rating: 9/10

“You Chinese are far ahead of us in every respect, except that you don’t have entrepreneurs. And our nation, though it has no drinking water, electricity, sewage system, public transportation, sense of hygiene, discipline, courtesy, or punctuality, does have entrepreneurs. Thousands and thousands of them. Especially in the field of technology. And these entrepreneurs – we entrepreneurs – have set up all these outsourcing companies that virtually run America now.”

– Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger

In his debut novel, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2008, Aravind Adiga has brilliantly portrayed the modern India with its newfound economic prowess through its narrator, Balram Halwai aka Munna with an obsession for China, Chandeliers, and Corruption, rising from being a ‘country mouse’ from a nondescript village of Bihar to a business entrepreneur in technology driven Bangalore. Balram’s narrative is framed as a letter to the visiting Chinese Premier, written over seven nights while sitting at his office in Bangalore. In his letter he talks about the initial years of his life spent in Laxmangarh attending school for few years before moving to work with a tea stall, and later moving to Dhanbad with his brother Kishan, where he learnt how to drive and became a driver for a weak-willed son of a feudal landlord from his village. For him ‘the darkness’ represents the areas around river Ganges deep in the heartland marked by medieval hardship, where brutal landlords hold sway, children are pulled out of school into indentured servitude and elections are routinely bought and sold. Later he moved to Delhi with his employers, which he has described as moving from ‘darkness’ to ‘light’, and one rainy day he slit the throat of his employer with a broken bottle of Johnnie Walker Black, which he justifies as an act of class warfare, took seven hundred thousand rupees in cash and fled to Bangalore. His life in Delhi has taught him the corruption of government and politics, inequality between rich and poor, which he uses to set up his business of transportation for call centers with a motto of ‘driving technology forward’.

This novel as a penetrating piece of social commentary, attuned to the inequalities that persist despite India’s new prosperity is my Read of the Week.

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