Is this New Restaurant the Reincarnation of Taj Mumbai’s Iconic Zodiac Grill ?

Opened in the late 80’s, the Zodiac Grill at the Taj Palace in Mumbai, has always been one of the most iconic restaurants in the city. Visiting this beautiful place had always been a childhood dream for me that sadly will never be complete as the Zodiac Grill shut down a couple of years ago. You could imagine the excitement I had when I learnt that the Executive Chef of the Zodiac Grill and Taj Palace, Hemant Oberoi has opened a new restaurant in Mumbai. Named after the famous chef himself, Hemant Oberoi at BKC is another Luxury Fine Dine Restaurant to open up in Suburban Mumbai.

The ambiance here is modern and fresh, the high ceilings and huge glass windows make this place seem even more luxurious. The warm lighting and wooden walls too adds to that feeling of luxury.

The service here was exceptional and one of the best I have come across, the staff was polite and friendly to speak to, their knowledge about the dishes were spot on and mostly their attention to detail while the placed the dishes and cutlery was impressive.

So this place has the perfect Service, Ambiance and Backstory but does the food match up to it? Yes, it surely does. We started off with a palate cleansing Amuse Bouche. Perushi – Japanese Sushi with Peruvian flavors served with Pickled Ginger. Spicy and delicious, perfect way to cleanse your palate and prepare yourself for the treat that is to follow!

Drinks : Elder-flower Vintail and Barman’s Special.

The Vintail was by far one of the best wine based cocktails I have had, extremely aromatic and flavorful, just a sip of it is enough to tease your senses, the Barman’s special on the other hand was a Campari based cocktail that was exotic in taste and very refreshing. However, the Vintail is a must-try! Strongly Recommended!

Soups : Warm Leeks Cusco Mountain Potato Soup and Chilled Melon Gazpacho with Coconut Snow.

The potato soup was heavenly, very flavorful and served at the right temperature. The creamy texture makes it even better, again one of the best soups I have had and almost at par with the Lobster Bisque from Indigo Colaba which is my most favorite. The Gazpacho is quite unique because unlike other soups, it is served cold.

Appetizer : Brie and Truffle Souffle

Finally the dish we were all waiting for, chef Hemant’s signature dish inspired from the Camembert Dariole served at the Zodiac Grill. I loved the way this dish was served with theatrical synchronization, something hard to describe in words. Speaking of which, after all the theatrics, when you finally take that knife to cut into this dish you realize how tender it is. Almost like cutting into candy floss, I truly fall short on words to describe the texture. The taste was equally amazing, sweet, salty, savory, smoky, cheesy, spicy and creamy all at once! It would be a sin to not try this dish!

Main Course : Po Hai Ho Chili Red Snapper with Prawns Spinach and Orzo.

Another beautifully presented dish that tastes amazing, the spinach perfectly complemented the seafood. While the dish might look tiny, it is quite filling. Worth trying out as well.

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The other main Courses here were Slow Cooked Lamb Shank, Pollo Brassa Chicken, Three Mushroom Ravioli and the Asparagus Risotto, which were equally amazing, the lamb being the best of the lot.

Desserts : Valrhona Mille-Feuille, Chocolate Shawarma and Rose Petal Ice Cream.

The mille feuille looked fantastic and tasted good too, on the other hand, the shawarma was very messy and almost unappetizing to look at but tasted out of this world, even better than the mille-feuille. The warm chocolate with its strong flavor and soft texture was to die for, worth trying! Finally the Rose Ice cream was the perfect way to end this meal, strong gulkhand like flavor with a mild creamy texture, this was one of the best Indian flavored Ice creams I have had.

While my dream to visit the Zodiac Grill might never come true, I was quite impressed with chef Hemant Oberoi’s new restaurant and I can only wonder what the grill must have been like in its glory days.

  • Location : Ground Floor, Jet Airways Godrej Building, Bandra Kurla Complex.

  • Cuisine : A mix of European, Middle Eastern, Continental and Asian.

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.7500 (approx)

Hemant Oberoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Local Mumbai Food at a 5 Star Hotel ?

When was the last time you dropped by one of our city’s 5 star hotels to have a plate of Pani Puri or Bhurji Pav? Well this was my first time trying out local street food combined the magnificent ambiance of Hotel Sahara Star.

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So does local food taste better when cooked with utmost hygiene and served to you at a table with the most amazing view of Sahara Star’s interiors ? Honestly it tastes the same as it would outside any railway station but the experience here is unmatched! The restaurant Earth Plate is located one floor below ground and hence has an amazing view of the rest of this uniquely designed hotel. The ambiance here is almost sinfully relaxing, right from the lobby to the smoking room, this place is coated in luxury!

 

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Coming to the main attraction, the food! “The Mumbai Local Street Food Festival” was a limited time add-on to their usual buffet. The street food counters were designed to look like local vendors with a touch of cleanliness of-course!

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We began with a round of Kheema and Bhurji Pav, they had different varieties of Chicken and Mutton Kheema, all of them were perfectly cooked and very delicious, just as you would expect at a street-side vendor. Next we had a round of kebabs and tried a piece of each, again they were up to the mark both with taste and texture.

Next we came to their Chinese counter and since they had only one Chicken dish, we stuck to it and skipped the rest. And yes that Chicken Dish was Chicken Lollipop, the best chicken lollipop I have ever had, perfectly soft drumsticks and the most amazing Schezwan Sauce. We had to go for a second round. The best dish of the day!

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We then came to their Chicken Pizza and Chicken Roll, sadly these dishes didn’t impress me, they were very average in taste compared to the rest of the food.

Last but not the least we had to have a plate of Pani Puri and yes it was amazing, Ice Cold Pani Puri inside a 5 Star Hotel! Worth trying out!

 

After finishing with their special street food dishes, we tried out their regular buffet, starting with salad and fruits along with some of their breads. The salad was good but their collection of breads didn’t taste very fresh.

For mains we had Mutton Soup with Mutton Biryani, Mutton Rogan Josh and Butter Chicken, again the meats were cooked to perfection and their gravies were spiced deliciously. The Mutton Rogan Josh was my favorite of the lot.

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Finally time for desserts or should I say, the second main course as there were so many things to try out. Luckily their staff had given me a round of all their courses and I had saved up space for desserts. Good Decision! Apart from their usual desserts section they even had a counter for Kulfi Falooda and Rabdi Jalebi as a part of their Street food festival, sadly the kulfi was very average and the jalebi was burnt but I was not sad at all as I had a hundred other things to try out from their regular dessert section which were amazing!

Lastly their mocktails section, just like their food, I had mixed reviews about their drinks. Maybe it had to do with their bartender who made the most amazing glass of Pinacolada for us but then he moved to the cocktail bar and the new guy only offered us drinks made with Monin syrup which I found quite ridiculous so we stuck to regular aerated drinks.

Overall my experience here was one of a kind, Earth Plate did prove to me that local food and fine dine can surely go hand in hand. I would surely recommend this place to anyone visiting Mumbai with an interest in trying out local food.

  • Location : Hotel Sahara Star, Opposite Domestic Airport, Vile Parle East.

  • Cuisine : Indian (I feel it keeps changing)

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.5000 (approx)

The Earth Plate - Sahara Star Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Khyber at Kala Ghoda is place you should visit at least once!

Over half a decade old and after catering to Royalty and Celebrities from all over the world, Khyber is truly one of the most iconic restaurants in the city.

The moment you stem inside you realize how huge this place actually is. The ambiance takes you back in time instantly, beautiful rustic walls with artwork hand drawn by the famous M.D Husain in 1988, this place will leave you in awe even before you reach your table!

The night I visited, I was surrounded by guests from all over the world. On my left was a table of Japanese businessmen, on another were an elderly Israeli couple and to my right a group of American tourists, such lovely diversity.

They serve some of the best Mughlai food at Khyber. We began with their Seafood Platter which consisted of Reshmi Prawns, Coconut Coriander Prawns, Kali Mirch Rawas, Pomfret and Squid coated in Tawa Masala. The fish was fresh and the Masala was perfect, it was also the first time I tried out Squid with Indian Spices. Worth trying out!

The other starters we had were, Kali Mirch Mutton and Brain Fried Green Masala. The Mutton was tender and beautifully spiced, loved it completely. The brain however was not so impressive, I guess brain loses its soft texture and charm when fried.

For mains we had the Mutton Rara and Chicken Makhanwala, both dishes were delicious, the meat was tender and the spices spot on! We tried out their Reshmi Malai Paratha and Garlic Naan along with our mains which were quite nice too.

We tried out the Milky Way and Firni for desserts, the Milky was mix of Saffron Laddu swimming in a Sea of Condensed Milk and tasted as good as it sounds, worth trying out. The Firni on the other hand was more like Rabdi with its rich creamy texture and sweet taste, but still very delicious.

The Cocktails we tried out here were nice and subtle and something different from the usual gimmicky cocktails many restaurants serve today. We tried out the Rusty Nail, Whiskey sour and a couple of others.

Overall, the food here is good though it could be better in certain areas. The service was good too, though it was a little overwhelming for me to enjoy the meal with 4-5 waiters almost surrounding the table. This even made the place seem cluttered and a little claustrophobic. Almost Perfect is how I would like to describe this iconic restaurant and surely a place you have to visit!

  • Location : 145, Kala Ghoda, Fort.

  • Cuisine : North Indian/Mughlai

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.5000 (approx)

Khyber Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This place in Kala Ghoda is truly a Meat Lovers’ Paradise

The Boston Butt is one of the nicest places I have been to in a long time and surely a place that you cannot miss out on, if you are a meat lover. They serve exceptional American-diner style food inspired by diners from Texas, Louisiana and other Southern American states. It is also the city’s first and only Smokery and ‬Charcuterie, specializing in mouth watering and aromatic smoked meat creations.

On my visit to this restaurant, I was already in a good mood as it was the first time I was trying out my new camera and visiting Kala Ghoda always gets me into good spirits. The ambiance is rustic and beautiful, wooden floors, staircases, artwork on the walls, dim yellow lights, and the aroma of smoked meat in the air, just perfect! The service too was friendly, polite and quick. The staff was always attentive and offered some amazing suggestions with our food and cocktails.

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We began with a round of their staff recommended specialty cocktails, a ‘Beerita’ and ‘War and Peach.’ As the name suggests, the Beerita is a gigantic glass or Strawberry Margarita with a bottle of Kingfisher Beer floating over it, I am usually not a fan of beer but this drink was delicious. The War and Peach was a Whiskey based drink with Peach Liquor, both drinks are worth trying out.

However the best part of this restaurant was still to come, the food! The dishes we tried out here were nothing short of perfect.

Ghost Pepper Spiked Mad Hot Chicken Wings – If you feel the name is a bit too much, it is not! These wings are by far the spiciest wings I have tried if not the best ever. Even though they are spiced with the Worlds Hottest Chili – Bhut Jholokia or Ghost Pepper, it was still very flavorful and delicious, unlike my previous experiences with this chili which were like a nuclear explosion. Not to forget, the Batter Fried Onion Rings and Gorgonzola dip served along with it were delicious too. Must try and Strongly Recommended.

The Bourgeois P.I.G – Sinfully sweet and savory, Smoked Bacon-Chili Jam served in Mini Brioche with Mascarpone. If only all Jam Sandwiches were so delicious!

Burbon Butter Grilled Baby Lobster – Now how could I resist from ordering a dish with such a name! By far the best lobster dish I have had bursting with flavor. The Citrus-Chili-Garlic Nut Praline took this dish to another level. Worth trying out.

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Smoked Pork Nuggets – Heart Attack on a Plate! If you think pork is unhealthy, imagine chunks of pork meat and fat coated in batter which is then deep fried in oil. Delicious but not for the faint-hearted. The Louisiana style Remoulade Sauce served with it complimented the dish well.

Smoked Calamari – The only dish that was not at par with the rest of evening, the calamari was a bit too chewy for me. However the Confit Garlic served with it was delicious. Not a bad dish, but the other dishes were exceptional.

7 Days House-Cured & Smoked Buffalo Pastrami Sandwich – After watching numerous hours or TLC and Eat Street, there was no way that I would miss out on trying a Pastrami Sandwich. All I have to say is that it was worth the wait, the sandwich was simple, rustic and delicious. If only i could have this for breakfast everyday!

Pork Ribs (From the Smokery) – I have always found it difficult to slice through pork ribs but this time, the knife cut through it effortlessly. Tender and packed with flavor, this is the main reason you should visit the Boston Butt, their smoked meats. Makes you wish you lived in those Southern States of U.S. However, it’s not just the meat, the accompaniments with it were equally amazing. They serve a portion of BBQ Beans, Coleslaw, Gherkins and the most delicious and perfectly crisp slice of toast. I could eat it everyday! They even serve four sauces along with it – BBQ Kentucky Black, Hot Red, Carolina Mustard and my favorite one of them, Alabama White.

Smoked Buffalo Brisket (From the Smokery) – Quite full from the dishes we had so far, we had to try out one last dish, their brisket. I loved how simple this dish tastes without the unnecessary use of spices to overpower the mild flavors of the meat. Delightful!

The other cocktails which we tried out here were, The Tall Chef – an insane concoction of 5 different Whiskeys, White House  – Fresh Cream with a shot of Espresso and Patron Tequila, Texas Bullseye – Jack Daniels with Apricot Brandy, Pomelo and Orange Juice and LA-DI-DA – Patron Tequila with Pear and Pineapple Juice.

Finally it was time for dessert and just like the rest of the evening, it was exceptionally good. We had their staff recommended and now I would surely recommend it as well – Freshly Baked Skillet-Chocolate Chip Cookie with House made Ice Creams – A perfect end to a perfect night, Rich, Warm, Chewy, Crunchy and Melt-in-your-mouth Gigantic Cookie served with Vanilla, Salted Caramel and Chocolate Ice Cream scoops which were equally premium in taste. Words can’t describe how sinfully delicious it was, we ended up scraping the pan even though we were so full. Strongly Recommended and Worth Trying out just like this restaurant! If only I had a Visa and Money to catch the next flight to America!

P.S : Happy First Anniversary, keep up the good work!

  • Location : Behind Rhythm House, Kala Ghoda, Fort.

  • Cuisine : American

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.2500 (approx)

The Boston Butt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taste Bhi, Health Bhi?

Well just like in the case of Maggi Noodles, I’m not sure if the food at Garde Manger is actually healthy but it’s surely tasty! Speaking of which, Garde Manger is beautiful little cafe in Vile Parle, warm and cosy, the ambiance is just perfect! The service too was quick and friendly.

At first sight, barring the desserts, the dishes here were quite unattractive and made want to run for my life as I am a hardcore Non-vegetarian, who doesn’t really care about calories. However I decided to give their food a try instead of heading straight for dessert. Starting off with something safe, their coffee, a Hazelnut Latte and a Cold Coffee. Both were quite nice, the latte was filled with Chocolate sauce, no complaints but not sure if that’s healthy either.

Convinced by their coffee, we went for the Mumbai Local and Mezze Platter. Mumbai Local is like a healthy and premium version of a roadside bhel with fresh ingredients topped off with liquid nitrogen. Now when was the last time your bhelwala used liquid nitrogen? And not only was the smoky presentation a treat for your eyes, the dish tastes good as well, light, delicious and yes… frosty cold! A must try dish! The Mezze Platter was nice as usual, delicious Humus, Couscous, and Tahini Yogurt served with Pita Bread and bread sticks.

Next we went for some Nachos and Pasta, the Nachos did seem quite healthy even the dips served with it were light and delicious! The Spaghetti Pesto Pasta was quite nice too. We ordered their Cold Press Juice and Lemon Ice Tea to go along with these dishes.

By now I realized one way in which their food is healthy… it fills you up quickly and makes you avoid overeating. Almost full, it was finally time for desserts! We ordered a Greek Yogurt and Apple Crumble and a Belgium Chocolate Waffle. The waffle was one of the best I have ever had and it vanished almost instantly. Perfect taste and texture, must try! The Apple Crumble on the other hand was very heavy but equally delicious, it’s sweet and tangy flavor with a hint of Cinnamon has a similar taste to Christmas sweets and made me feel Nostalgic. We ended with an Orange Popsicle which actually had pieces of fruit in it.

Overall the food here is fantastic and absolutely worth visiting. I only wish this place was nearer to home. Strongly Recommended – Health Conscious or Not!

  • Location : Parmar CHS, Vile Parle East.

  • Cuisine : Cafe, Healthy food, Italian

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.800 (approx)

Garde Manger Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Best Place to have Asian Food in Dadar with your Family ?

Located right opposite the famous Sena Bhavan, China Bistro in Dadar has always been on my wish list to try out. The ambiance here is quite pleasant and the service is polite and friendly. However, it does seem rather formal where you would want to dine with your family rather than friends.

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I visited this place for dinner and we began with a round of starters and went for the Conpoy Fish Bao and Prawns Har Gao DimSums. The Bao was light and fluffy and the fish filling was delicious! Even the Dimsums were filled with prawns, Perfect and worth trying out!

Impressed with their starters we went for some more, Sea Bass in Cumin BBQ Sauce, BBQ Skewered Prawns and Fire Roasted Mandarin Chicken. What we didn’t expect were the size of the portions, they were huge! The Sea Bass was tender and flavorful, the prawns too were quite nice but the Mandarin Chicken was simply amazing, the best dish we had that day! Tender chicken with a spicy batter coating. Must try!

Filled with the unexpected portion sizes, we skipped mains and went for desserts. The staff suggested we try out something unique so we went for their Chocolate Tsunami and Guava Ice Cream. Chocolate Tsunami is basically a Chocolate Mousse topped off with Hot Chocolate Sauce, tastes good but not quite unique as I expected. The Guava Ice Cream on the other hand was supposed to be a scoop of Guava Ice Cream but turned out to be a Slice of Guava Kulfi with Chili Powder Sprinkled over it. While I like the combination of Guava and Chili, the creamy kulfi flavor spoiled the fun, but still quite nice.

The Cocktails we tried out were Insane Russians which was basically a Black Russian with Vodka and Kahlua, amazing as always! A Peach Bellini, mild and elegant. Irish Mellow, combination of Bailey’s and Bubble Gum Liqueur, not the best combination, I would prefer them separate, also the ice made the drink way to mild. The Mocktails I had were, Apple Basil Martini which was delicious, Apricot Orange Blossom – not a big fan of citrus and milk together and a Blue Berry Passion – a nice drink but a small issue with the glass it is served in, as the berries remain sunk like the Titanic at the bottom of the tall glass!

Overall the food here is amazing, the drinks could have been better and the service and ambiance make it a perfect place to dine with your family.

  • Location : Opposite Sena Bhavan, Shivaji Park, Dadar

  • Cuisine : Asian

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.2000 (approx)

China Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This Place in Powai serves Delicious Alcohol Infused Ice Creams, but…

…But they ran out of it on the day I visited their Ice Cream Parlour! What a disappointment! The reason being that they had sold out for the day, not just one but all their alcohol flavored Ice-Creams. Now I would have not been as disappointed had I dropped by this place late in the night when they were closing for the day, but if you tell your customer who has traveled on a rainy day, through all that annoying Mumbai traffic that you have sold out in just 5 minutes after opening, you are definitely doing something wrong. Your decision of “pre-selling” to a customer before you open and then leaving all the customers that visit your shop that day disappointed will surely hit you in the long run.

However, disappointments aside, they still have some interesting Non-alcoholic creations. The quality of ice cream is good but the flavors didn’t taste extraordinary. They were decent but definitely not worth the price at which its sold. But the turning point comes when they add their amazing toppings to it that makes all the difference in the world. It not only adds to the flavor but also makes it look beautiful and gives it that “Premium” feel.

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S’more – Ice Cream infused with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate and topped off with delicious Marshmallow Fluff that is then toasted in front of you. What a Treat! Not saving the best for last, their S’more Ice cream is the best non alcoholic flavor. The soft and sticky marshmallow fluff elevates the mild flavor of the actual ice cream to a whole new level.

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Brownie Fudge – Vanilla flavored and Brownie infused ice cream, topped off with soft and chewy homemade brownie pieces. The texture of the brownie topping is what makes this ice cream better than all the brownie “flavored” ice creams that I have tried… because their creation contains an actual brownie!

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Cookies ‘n’ Cream – Oreo and Cream infused Ice cream, topped off with more oreos and cream. Not my favorite of the lot, being a Oreo fan, I would expect anything that says “oreo flavored” to taste like oreos like McDonald’s Oreo McFlurry . Their ice cream sadly didn’t. However its still a good tasting creation.

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Berry Blast – Ice cream infused with a mix of berries and topped off with Berry Mousse and Strawberry Corn flakes, Genius! That sprinkle of corn flakes gives it a nice crunch.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake – Cream Cheese flavored Ice Cream with Red Velvet Crumble and a generous amount of Cream Cheese Frosting. Initially I was a bit let down when I tastes only the ice cream, but with the addition of the toppings this was one of the best I had that day! Worth a try!

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Cheese Platter – Camembert and Brie infused Ice cream topped with Parmesan Crackers and Grape Gel. This was one of the few ice creams from their list which I liked as it is. The ice cream has a nice flavor of cheese that is quite unique.

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Nutty Nutella – 100% pure Nutella Ice cream topped off with more Nutella and Gold Coated Hazelnuts, well at-least that’s what the menu card read! Just like the Oreo Ice cream, I expect Nutella flavored Ice creams to at-least resemble the popular Nutella Flavor… which it didn’t. Still a decent chocolate flavored ice cream.

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Dark Chocolate Galore – Ice cream infused with Whitaker’s 75% Pure Dark Chocolate topped off with Chantilly Chocolate Mouse and Homemade Dark Chocolate. Another ice cream that tasted good by itself, I loved the strong flavor of the dark chocolate. Even the home-made dark chocolate on the top was delicious, sadly I don’t know who ate my Chantilly Chocolate Mousse Topping?

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Peanut Butter – Peanut Butter Ice cream topped off with Gold Dusted Liquid Chocolate. The ice cream had a nice and distinguishable flavor of peanut butter, even the “liquid” chocolate topping had a rich taste. But unlike the other creations, here I didn’t enjoy the topping much, mainly because the so-called liquid chocolate was very much solid and it was difficult to break through it with a plastic ice cream spoon without making a mess. Still great flavor and worth a try if u like peanut butter.

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Salted Caramel – Caramel and Sea Salt infused Ice cream topped with Popcorn and Caramel Sauce. I am a big fan of Salted Caramel and I was excited to try out Ice cream with pop corn in it. It is definitely an innovative idea and it does add to the flavor. However I wish the ice cream had a stronger flavor.

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Cappuccino – Cappuccino infused Ice cream topped with Chantilly Creme, Biscuit Crumble and Silvered Pistachio Nuts. That generous sprinkle of Pistachio nuts does make this ice cream look very “premium.” The flavor was decent, mild and comforting like a cup of cappuccino, though I would have preferred an “Espresso” ice cream over a cappuccino… if you know what I mean!

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Overall I had a nice time and an insane amount of ice cream for one day! I was disappointed in the start, but Ice cream whether it contains alcohol or not it good enough to cheer you up. To make things better, in the end I got to taste a small spoon of their Alcohol flavors and they were a class apart from the ones I tried. Their Old Monk Ice cream was clearly the best of the lot. This place is worth a try and I would love to visit again to have a whole scoop if not a Tub of their Old Monk Ice cream… as long as its not sold out. Remember you may have the best Ice Cream in the world but that is worth nothing if its not available!

  • Location : Shop 10, Eden II CHS, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai.

  • Cost for 2 : Rs 500 (approx)

  • Cuisine : Ice Cream

Haute Artisan Creations Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato