Shree Krishna Vada Pav, Hounslow – A review

Anybody who is good friends with me knows for a fact that I can be bribed with food especially if it involves chaat. Now I have a perpetual crib that the ONE thing I really miss about my life in Mumbai is good chaat. Well , if there ever was a moment when I felt I the way navigator and explorer Vasco da Gama did after he found India then it was when I bit into the Vada Pav at Shree Krishna Vada Pav at  Hounslow. This was some time in 2011 when hubster and me were out hunting for Indian eateries and discovered this gem.

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Image Credit :Shree Krishna Vada Pav

Its on the high street on Hounslow east and a very busy high street at that.Advance Warning its extremely crowded on weekends and don’t expect great decor just a basic ,clean space with comfy chairs and tables. But then the food is so good that the decor and other mundane stuff takes a backseat.Actually that is true of the Harrow branch as you can see in the image below the Hounslow one is pretty cool!

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Image Credit :Shree Krishna Vada Pav

Being a Maharashtrian myself its good to see they stock products that I crave like Chitale Bandhu export quality bakarwadi,Laxmi Narayan Chiwda, some dry chutneys and snacks that I would hoard on and buy easily from any corner shop in Pune and Mumbai and yes they also stock fresh soft hand made puran polis!

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Image Credit :Shree Krishna Vada Pav

Need more coaxing to make a visit well they now have another branch in Harrow which also I happened to visit last month while I stayed over at my best buddy from school’s place -S her OH and kids were hyper excited to be eating there and we greedily ate almost 1/4th of the options on the menu. The paneer bomb literally exploded in my mouth and left me gasping for more , now if only all scary bombs turned into paneer it would put an end to bomb scares and hunger too humm – please ignore that I think I need another cuppa;)

Must try items on the menu – Misal Pav a mixture of peas curry spiced up sprinkled with crunchy chivda or farsan and served with a soft pav – this dish originates from Kolkapur in Maharashtra ,India and is served with a small bowl of red coloured chilli powder in dangerous volume to make a dipping sauce from hell- only the VERY brave survive – I avoid it like a rash lest it gives me hiccups first , a possible coronary and immediate urge to visit the loo **begins to sweat at the brow at the mere mention**

Also must try the star attraction and the dish which is part of their name – VADA PAV – This notoriously famous street food is famous amongst Mumbaikars of all ages – I was inoculated against any possible food poisoning attacks for the rest of my lief by repetitively consuming suspicious looking vada pav near Kurla stage at that point in my life when even after finishing a rather expensive college degree I had to ask Baba for travel expenses – don’t laugh I passed out in the year when 9/11 happened and markets crashed,jobs were scarce and I worked my butt off. And now I can proudly look back and say I worked for 12 long years before taking a break and choosing to walk the path less trodden – and that is why here I am – blogging away.

After that short detour into my dark past lets get back to the menu at Shree Krishna Vada Pav a much more interesting subject of discussion.NO self respecting foodie should walk out of this place without eating several plates of potato,onion and mixed bhajiya plates with several cups of hai for company and loudly discuss Indian politics with your Indian friends 😉

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Image Credit :Shree Krishna Vada Pav

Another street food close to my heart is Dabeli, I remember wandering the streets of Ghatkopar in Mumbai ,with my mother and getting her to buy me this deliciously tasty snack off street vendors carts as a thank you for carrying her heavy grocery bags. Please avoid doing such things do – no no, I don’t mean eating Dabeli – just carrying  heavy grocery bags – am sure it has largely contributed to messing with my poor hands and therefore the carpal tunnel operation on both hands 😦

{Please do not take that literally, always seek professional medical advice for any health issues however big 0r small , I was recently operated for carpal tunnel decompression on my left hand and have to undergo the same on my right hand soon booohoooo!}

When the craving for a proper Indian snack strikes a plate of samosa can never be far away and if your really lucky than a proper grilled sandwich. To fully appreciate this phenomenon of veg grilled sandwich I must tell you how its made on the streets of Mumbai.Generally there is a small little space enough to hold a rather fragile human being and his small ”stall” which is a large tripod holding a gas stove and a plank of wood on which he magically balances loads of bread generally Wibs 🙂 , chopped onions, different types of chutneys in steel dabbas, lots of Amul butter packs, mashed potato,sev packets and a stash of cucumber,tomatoes,cheese and green capscium alongwith small little boxes with salt and spices. With a knife super sharp and knife skills that would put a trained chef to shame he expertly chops the veggies at lightening speed and slams them on slices of bread slathered with butter and chutney ,then depending on how shameless the customer is ( in my case shame of any sort especially when asking for extra cheese is totally absent.) he grates a tiny mountain of cheese into the already bulging sandwich.then without so much so aas dropping a single slice of wiggly tomato he slams this inside a hand held contraption and claps it shut! Then it goes onto the hot hot stove where it is tossed and turned till your grilled sandwich is done. Do yourself a favour eat this when you go to Mumbai and the mantra is to keep repeating ”germs don’t exist, to hell with hygiene” only then will you will truly relish this superb Mumbai street food!

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Image Credit click here

Mumbai sandwichwallah

Image Credit : The Guardian

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Image Credits for the 2 images above click here

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This is the delicious samosa plate at Shree Krishna Vada Pav with the superb dry garlic chutney and a fried green chilly to go , just eat the outer green layer of the chilli and leave the seeds behind its a fab combo with the samosa

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Last but not the least don’t miss out on the Mango Panha now as mangoes are in season – at least in India they are – Hapoos Mania grips the country around this time of the year with rates skyrocketing to obscenity and second only to the rate of gold!This tangy drink is a home made treat at ours with large jars filled with green mango pull and spices mixed and then served diluted with chilled water. But aai is now too old to make that …so I plonk myself uninvited to my maushi’s house in Pune – tehehe there’s always a way out for a foodie !

Did you know that Shree Krishna Vada Pav were one of the sponsors for last years food blogger conference called Bloggers Buzz? I can still remember the fabulous hot food in our lunch plates courtesy them ummm!

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These are photos of the superb Alphonso mango trees in my grandmothers garden at her house in Pune. These are ideal for making Kairee Panhe .Sighhhh….

Disclaimer: This review is thanks to my multiple visits to Shree Krishna vada Pav and their consistent great food. I have always paid for my own food and have written this review of my own accord. I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

 

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Ink Restaurant – A review

Very excited at having won the ‘Write for a Bite’ Contest by Zomato I booked a table at the Ink Restaurant by Zomato. With hubby in tow we set off for dinner on a rather chilly weekday evening. After my smartphone map app took us took the center of an isolated park we were lucky to get directions from a local. After trudging through a long and lonely lane we finally reached Ink.Do make it point to walk straight up to Palmers road and turn right at the top of a hill,walk right to the end of the lane and walk up the stairs ,Ink is on the left .

The minimalist interiors and the modern space are in stark contrast to where this restaurant is located.We were greeted warmly and could pick and choose where we sat amongst the tables available.

Thanks to having lost our way and the chilly weather we had managed to work up quite an appetite.We had scallops made in a sweet pea and mint puree ,pancetta crumble and tomato crumble served with delicious onion and edible flowers and hubster ordered for  the soup of the day.My scallops went down well with my white wine and I was hungry for more.

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Our mains were very cooked to perfection , delicious and of a good portion size too. I like my steak well done and the 28 day dry aged 8oz sirloin steak with 3 types of mushrooms was perfectly done ,succulent and very juicy.I can almost feel the taste in my mouth even now while I write this ummm.Hubsters main of braised lamb cooked in oyster juice and wrapped in a cabbage leaf was so soft and tender it simply melted in our mouth.

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Our dessert of Rhubarb with lightly baked meringue was tastefully decorated but left us wanting for more.Do eat the beautiful edible flowers scattered on top they are lovely!Sensing that I guess the chef got us some complimentary again melt in your mouth delicious.Nice.

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The menu is limited but the food is excellent. Portion size on the starters and dessert was a bit of a shock but when taste takes precedence over portion size , it’s definitely worth it. In spite of eating 3 full courses we were not overfull but appropriately satiated.

My only regret is we didn’t go for lunch it would have been lovely to sit by the canal and enjoy a relaxed lunch but that wouldn’t have been possible on a weekday. Nevertheless this restaurant is a find and a good option for the coming warm summer days.

Disclaimer: With many thanks to Zomato Uk  for the vouchers sent  to me .It partly paid for our dinner but we were happy to pay for the bulk of our very delicious meal.I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Lunch at Le Porte des Indes – a review

Influence of the British Raj on India,its culture and their indelible influence on the railways , architecture and the many places of tourist interest is common knowledge but India was also ruled by Mughals,the Portuguese,the French and the Dutch. Each of these colonies bear distinct stamps of a deep-rooted influence especially on the food with some beautiful foods that have become a part of the local community and recipes developed by such confluence of are not only brilliant in taste but also a mixture of flavours that otherwise would not have been combined.

I had heard so much about Le Porte des Indes and Chef Mehernosh Mody who has been awarded Ethnic Chef of Year 2012 at the Craft Guilds of Chefs Awards for people who pay attention to things like that.So when Fiona who blogs at London Unattached asked me to accompany her for a lunch at Le Porte des Indes it was an offer too tempting to pass up!

Le Porte des Indes  literally means Gateway to India .The decor is warm and welcoming and I felt was in some old,Indian palace with intricate wood carvings ,huge artefacts, paintings especially replicas of Raja Ravi Verma’s magnificent originals and stone statutes which reminded of the ones at khajuraho.Indoor plants similar to ones I would see probably at The Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India lots of wooden statues of Lord Ganesha too.

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We started by ordering some drinks I ordered for a Tamarind Martini while Fiona ordered some  white wine.My gin,tamarind and limoncello martini came adorned with a slice of Star Fruit on the side .The sight of the star fruit took me back to my college days when my friends and me , about ten of us would get off the train and trade  the crowded bus journey on way back from school and walk home instead on the dusty footpath – our treat for walking, a tangy snack packed in an old newspaper sold by a haath – gaadi or hand cart street food vendor which included roasted peanuts in shells, tamarind -imli and star fruit slices sprinkled with chilli powder and topped with a squeeze of lime – very ,very tangy but totally fun. On a good day when we had some extra change between us we would follow this up with a fizzy drink from a small shanty opposite the gates of the IIT,Mumbai campus mummm – simple pleasures. Seems so far away now and I only ever see my friends on Facebook and comment on old scanned photographs 🙂

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I fell in love with the beautiful cutlery and the copper plate sighh…

Our starter was Demoiselles de Pondiche’ry – seared king scallops with a hint of garlic in a delicious saffron sauce –  succulent and morish…

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The cuisine is a mix of  French,Tamil and Creole influences and lots of fusion recipes using the chefs imagination.

Next up was a platter of starters with kebabs and a fish called ”Patra ni Machi” or Parsee fish (Patra – leaf , Macchi – fish) this divine fish was made using fillets of sole encased in a mint and coriander chutney steamed in a banana leaf.I remember eating this fish at a Parsee friends wedding feat in Bombay 5 years ago and it had green chillies in a generous amount in the green chutney.There was a mild hint of chilli in our fish ,just perfect, excellent in fact and I could have made more,no wonder this is Chef Mehernosh Mody’s speciality. The other starters on our platter  were Kathi kebabs – spiced lamb kebabs rolled in an egg served with a dark fruity chutney. Murgh Malai Kebabs – tandoori grilled chicken tikkas marinated in a creamy cheese sauce with spices.A twist on the usual onion and potato pakoras we ate Chard Pakoras – red and green chard rolled in gram flour, green chillies,coriander, turmeric and caraway seeds and  fried crisp – very tasty!All this served with  Garlic and Coriander Naan.

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In the picture about L-R :Murgh Malai Kebabs,Parsee fish,Chard Pakoras and in the middle Kathi kebabs.Peaking on the right side corner is a rice cracker with a roughly ground green chilli chutney with a cooling  yoghurt and saffron dip.

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In the picture above is the Pomegranate Raita -Natural yoghurt with pomegranate, a touch of cumin and paprika.We then ate this most perfectly cooked white fish in a rich tamarind sauce steamed in a banana leaf – pure pleasure.

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For our mains we got a large assortment of dishes served Basmati Saffron Pillav Rice, Seed Naan and Red Rice– Steamed organic red rice.

L -R in the photo of our mains platter below:

Tandoori Barra Chops: British Lamb Chops Char-grilled with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves finished with caramelised onions -everything you expect from a tandoori lamb really  – smoky,soft,packed with flavour and juicy ,falling off the bone.Prawn Assadh curry as it is made in Pondicherry with turmeric,ginger, green chillies,coconut, mustard seeds and green mangoes – so creamy and delicious we couldn’t get enough of it scooping it off our plate with our  naan stuffed with spiced lamb.Poulet Rouge, spécialité de notre maison  is a gallic inspired dish – Chicken Slices marinated in yoghurt and red spices, grilled and served in a creamy sauce. Rougail d’ Aubergine: Smoked aubergine crushed with red chilli, ginger and green lime also called  Baingan ka bharta in Hindi.I was most delighted to find we had a portion of  mutton – it is not easy to get goat’s meat locally and this Mutton Braised home style as in Pondicherry with robust spices and laced with coconut milk was a delicious curry with the mutton having soaked up all the flavours of the spices .With the Saffron rice it was very good.Chef Mehernosh Mody also let us in who his regular suppliers who he told us are all local British producers.

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We also had a  selection of chutneys to go with the naan.Though I was stuffed I was hoping I could manage to have some dessert. After all a grand meal like this is not complete without some Indian sweets!;)

Fiona had to leave in a hurry and only managed to taste some the many treats on our mixed dessert platters.

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L-R : Frozen dessert – Rose flavoured kulfi -the indian home-made ice cream with no artificial flavourings or stabilizers, made using  Jersey & Guernsey Milk with pistachios ,followed by a mini chocolate filled samosa – thin pastry stuffed with chocolate and deep-fried ,Belgian Dark Chocolate Mousse(55% Cocoa Solids)  served in traditional leaf cup – in India its is common practice to serve desserts in a dried leaf folded into the shape of a cup especially at large public gatherings like the Sarvjanik Ganpati Festival and during Navratris – these are bio-degradable and much better option over plastic or foam cups, a fruit tart and a slice of mango carved artistically.

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Chef Mehernosh Mody then took me on a tour of the premises .There is so much room for big parties in the Maharajah room which is very tastefully done up antique Indian artifacts, the Shamiana perfect for weddings and a lovely,a fully private big dining room with French colonial decor  for corporate lunches too.If that is not enough there’s a Jungle Bar complete with cane furniture ,palm trees and tiger skin rugs so while you sip on a tropical signature cocktail called Karma which has – oh yes coconut juice and vodka, you can pretend your on the beautiful shores of Pondicherry ne Puducherry with pristine beaches of blue water and warm silky sand and are about to set  off  for a hunting expedition in a while with your buddies! Did you know that Puducherry meaning New Town is also referred to as ”The French Riviera of the East”? 

That’s not the talented Chef  Mody also conducts live cooking classes in the restaurant where the chef and his team unravel the mysteries of Indian cooking , explain the intricacies of the spices and how to cook a great Indian Meal – fab idea for team building exercise I say where you actually eat the fruits of your labour!

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The Beautiful dome of the former Edwardian ballroom this adds to the grandeur of the place.

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One of the private dining rooms, notice the beautiful statues at the back? 🙂

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At the Jungle Bar it was common practise for patrons to throw peanut shells across the floor and then walk all over them on crunching shells!Fun I say.

For the images of the dome, the private dinning room and Jungle bar – Image Courtesy -Le Porte des Indes

Disclaimer: With many thanks to Chef Mehernosh Mody, the attentive team at Le Porte des Indes and Fiona. I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

“Find the menu on Zomato and follow me on Zomato ”

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