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Goa – Day 2  

The second day in Goa for us started off pretty late. Waking up after a sound sleep with the aftereffects of the Feni to be thanked, we headed out to Panjim for a shoot. But first let’s get the tummy satisfied with a proper Goan lunch at one of the oldest restaurants and bars in Goa, Café Ritz. Numerous people come and leave satisfied through the doors of Café Ritz. It’s stood it’s test of time with it’s quality. The fish thali still costs about 180 rupees and comes with Rice, Cabbage Fry, Sol Kadi, Mussels, Fish Curry and huge slice of King Fish Rawa Fry.  Phew, talk about value for money. On the side was a fiery Crab Recheado which take a lot of water and time for me to finish.

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A meal fit for the king later, we were on a trip through Fontainhas. Fontainhas in Goa houses the Latin Quarters and the houses built are truly beautiful. The architecture vibrates with tones of yellow, green, blue and red resplendent of European Cities. Do take time to look at the lovely tiles that adorn the houses because each has a story to tell. There are numerous tours which are given about the Fontainhas. You can choose to book any of them or do it on your own.

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Also while at Fontainhas do NOT forget to visit the bakery on 31 January Street. The puffs and Goan specialties are worth having. They make a mean Bebinca, the traditional Goan dessert.

Of Quaint Bakeries and Colorful Buildings. Portuguese inspired cafes at Fontainhas in Panjim.

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My evenings were spent back at Sinquerim Beach overlooking the sunset. Being on the west coast of India, the sunsets over the sea in Goa have to be admired.

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Our find for this trip has to be Burger Factory in Anjuna. Set up by a few lads from Delhi, the burgers had here beyond awesome. I’ve had massive and delicious burgers in the US and this evoked those memories. The patty was beautiful and the sauces, beyond heavenly. It was so good that I drove down again the next day despite a higher chance of missing my bus, to indulge in one last burger. The guys at Burger factory are doing a stupendous job and I’m sure gonna be heading there once again the next time I’m in Goa.

Missed the usual haunts with this visit Goa. So Lila Café, La Plage have all become touristy for my liking. That isn’t a bad thing but it’s just that I’ve moved on. Palolem Beach is where my heart lies, but going back to North Goa after so long was truly wonderful. Cheers to many more visits.

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Goa for me has almost become a second home of sorts. It’s my annual pilgrimage and also a state where I can let go of my wandering thoughts and finally relax. I’ve been there multiple times, sat on the beach doing nothing other than a King’s in my hand and let my body relax with no other thought in my mind at all. So this February as we packed our bags for Goa once again, we though to revisit places which our favorites which we hadn’t since a couple of years.

Taking up accommodation in a beautiful house called Matilda’s Place (You should definitely check them out) in Candolim. Now I usually prefer taking the bus from Hyderabad and renting bikes right from Panjim, so that I don’t have to pay extra for the to & fro auto/cab ride to the beach. This way I end up saving atleast 600-800 rupees minimum.

Goa – DAY 1

The Carnival had just ended and the remnants of the festivities had yet to taken down. Along the Candolim – Calangute road is a beautiful German Bakery run by a Nepali which is worth checking out. Even though I love the one in Palolem, this one didn’t disappoint. The breads for the sandwiches had been freshly baked and moreover they put fresh basil which is just delicious. A Ham Sandwich and Watermelon Juice I was back at my favorite store in Goa, Newton’s. Now the Newton’s supermarket is where I do all of my liquor shopping. They always have offers going on and also the varieties stocked are much better than any other store. It’s now almost a landmark in Goa.

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Now that’s a Lineup. Beer Weekend is here

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Though a lot of tourists now head to Fat Fish, I’m now over them. There was a time when I was a regular at Fat Fish for their Goan Thali during lunches but now it’s the crowd which puts me off. They also make a Portuguese inspired Goan dessert called Serradura which is superb. Driving a little further is Crazy Crabs which they’ve now renovated to look more upscale. They make a delicious Butter Garlic Crabs and Rawa Mussels Fry. Looking for a respite from the heat, I sat down to devour happily my Butter Garlic Crabs washed down with Sol Kadi.

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We then headed out to the Chapora Fort to undertake the trek we hadn’t for years. The last time I’d gone up Chapora Fort was almost 4 years back. The road was much better then but they’ve totally screwed up the climb with a lot of digging. If it’s your first time in Goa then be my guest to head up there else it’s not worth it anymore other than the view.

My evenings in Goa are set with one dish. Post relaxing on the beach watching the sun go down, I always end up going off in search off a good Ras Omelette. Now if you don’t know what’s a Ras Omelette, then let me explain it to you in the choicest words.  Imagine like the best omelette in the world made with fresh onions and green chilies and then topped off with the Xacuti gravy. The Ras Omelette is to be had with fresh buttered pav. They sell it for like 20-30 bucks in the thelas and is a must have when in Goa.

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For dinner that night we ended up going a bit exotic. Meeting a friend over for dinner we headed to Chef Soumyen’s Kitchen. Run by an Ex-Taj chef, the Steaks at Chef Soumyen’s are fabulous. The prices aren’t cheap by Goan standards but so it their quality. The Spaghetti Bolognaise was exquisite.

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Now was the time to head back to beach and just relax over either Beers or Feni. This is one trip which after many years finally made me accept Feni. The Goan Feni slowly develops on you and the first taste can be quite hard to digest. The best way to have a Feni is always in a ratio of 1:3 with Limca and slice of lemon thrown in. Trust me when I say that the sleep you get post having a Feni will be the best you’ve had in a long time.

 

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We indulged in loads of food during our visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. South East Asian countries have always been the confluence of street-food. If you don’t indulge in street food when in any of the Asian countries, it might be safe to say that you missed a big part of the culture. The streets pavements are packed 24 hours with vendors selling scores of different types of food.

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For us eating out in the street is crucial during our travels to different countries. We always end up exploring most of the street food around the country. And along with eating, it’s fun conversing with the locals, vendors and hawkers as we enjoy our meal.

Words of Wisdom In The Streets

We list out our favorite street foods from across Kuala Lumpur:

  1. Nasi Goreng – Unofficially known as Malaysia’s national food, every 30 meters you’ll be able to find a vendor selling Nasi Goreng. Soon as we got down off the bus from the airport, we headed over a hawker on the pavement selling Nasi Goreng packed in leaf packets. They are dirt cheap costing about RM 1-2 if you eat on the streets. They rise accordingly in prices as the grandeur of the restaurant/café/ tourist area you eat at. You can choose you own version of ingredients to add. I personally love it with fried chicken, anchovies and topped off with a fried egg and peanuts.Nasi Goreng - Choices
    Nasi Goreng - Packed
  2. Nasi Ayam – Nasi is rice in Malay and Ayam is chicken. So the classic combination of rice and chicken is a hit when had your own choice of sauces. Although we’d prefer to stay true to the sambal sauce but you might as well pick up your own choice too. It’s served with a side of broth which is extremely packed with flavor.Nasi Ayam
  3. Nasi Udang – Udang is Malay for Prawns. Another classic dish which can’t go wrong is the Nasi Udang with your own choice of sauce.Nasi Udang (1)
    Nasi Udang (2)
  4. Roti Canai – Malaysia’s food has been diversely affected from Indian, Chinese and Vietnamese style of cooking along with it’s religion. The Roti Canai is the inspiration from India with it lying somewhere between a laccha paratha and a roomali roti.Roti Canai
    Roti Canai With Teh Tarik
  5. Teh Tarik – The Teh Tarik is considered the national drink of Malaysia and is a hot milk-based beverage made using black tea and condensed milk. Give way to your cappuccinos to settle for a Teh Tarik when in Malaysia and the antics of the vendors when preparing a Teh Tarik won’t go unnoticed. The tea is pulled repeatedly until it gives a frothy top. There are actually several competitions where the brewers can show off their skills.Teh Tarik
  6. Kaya ToastThe beauty of Kaya Toast is that it can had as savory, dessert and also on the side of a beverage. Kaya means coconut jam and the Kaya Toast is famous all over Singapore and Malaysia. I liked the having the Kaya Toast topped with sugar alongside my The Tarik when in Kuala Lumpur. But you can also top it off with eggs, pandan and lots of other stuff too of your choice. The Old Town Coffee House outlets are found almost every 5 kms when in Kuala Lumpur and serve up a delicious Kaya Toast along with a range of coffees.Old Town White Coffee
    Kaya Toast
  7. Putu Bambu – This Malaysian dessert is a beautiful rice-based pandan flavored dessert. It’s made of rice flour, palm sugar and pandan flavor which gives it the green coloring. It is then steamed in a bamboo and served with grated coconut.Malaysia - Centra Market
    Putu Bambu
  8. Shibuya Toast – The Shibuya Toast origins are in Japan but almost every Asian country now has gone crazy all over it. When walking through the food court of Suria KLCC, I couldn’t help but notice every 3rd table having in front of them a plate of Shibuya Toast. I settled for the classic version of Shibuya Toast with honey and ice cream but there were lots and lots of choice for other to indulge in. Toppings of fruits, exotic flavors of ice-creams, berries, maple syrup and lots more.Shibuya Toast

We will have more street food from across Kuala Lumpur feature on our next post when we cover Jalan Alor and Bukit Bintang. There are the main streets where lots of street food are found.

Black Coffee With Condensed Milk

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If you’ve had any friend who’s visited Kuala Lumpur, it’s customary that he/she would have should you a picture of them with the iconic Petronas Towers. These are must do things which are part of every plan and it is with awe that you shall look at the Petronas towers. They were once the tallest towers in the world before the Burj Khalifa and Taipei 101, soared through the list.

Underneath the Petronas Towers is the Suria KLCC shopping mall. If you’re one of those who goes crazy and loves to shop, then the Suria KLCC is for you. With more than 400 stores ranging from house big box retailers, high-street brands, indie labels, local boutiques and a huge food court to boast of. It’ll be hours before you’re done with completing Suria KLCC as a whole.

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The Petronas Twin Towers (or “Menara Berkembar Petronas” in Malay) are twin skyscrapers located in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (“KLCC”). The twin towers are constructed of reinforced concrete with steel and glass facade referencing motifs found in Islamic art. A sky-bridge connects the two towers together at midpoint.

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Tickets to visit the Petronas Towers almost certainly run out by 8AM in the morning. There are usually tourists lining up in queue as early as 5 AM to grab tickets for entry to the Petronas Towers. So it most certainly advisable to buy the Petronas Tower visit tickets in advance online to beat the rush and also help plan your day better visiting other hot-spots around KL. The tickets to the Petronas Towers can be purchased here.

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While you gather around in your group, the first stop on the “Petronas Tower Tour of Discovery”  and have a security briefing. You’re then most certainly shuttled off for photos for reasons which become apparent later. The group is then crammed into a lift which is then shuttled off till the 41st Floor. I would have truly loved the lift to have been of entire glass so that I could have watched the city’s skyline as I went up the floors, but sadly a video of you going up plays on the side.

The 41st floor is where the sky-bridge is. The sky-bridge connect the two towers at the 41st and 42nd floors. Contrary to what you might think, the sky bridge is actually not physically attached as it might look. It is designed to allow for swaying of the two towers during high winds. You will be allowed to stay here for 10 minutes to take photographs or just admire the views.

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After the 10 minutes of you’ll be asked to queue up to be taken up to Level 83. From Level 83 you will ushered to another pair of smaller lifts which will take you up to the actual observatory on Level 86 of Tower 2. The view of the skyline of Kuala Lumpur is phenomenal from the observatory deck and also you can get a view of the pinnacle of the two towers.

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The trip is then officially completed and you’ll be brought down and make your way out through the souvenir shop. You can choose to buy the merchandise and also the photographs which had been clicked by the staff earlier, embossed on the Petronas Twin Towers.

The Petronas Towers is an iconic structure depicting the greatness of Human Engineering feat and a must visit when in KL. After the visit to the Petronas Towers we headed through the Suria KLCC to visit the Aquaria KLCC.

The Winds of Winter in @gameofthrones was a brilliant episode and yet I couldn’t get myself to recover from the chilling soundtrack at @ramindjawadi_official I took the liberty of applying the track to the gorgeous jellyfish we encountered at the @aquariaklcc and it just felt mesmerizing. @iamlenaheadey @sophie_789 @sophieT @maisie_williams @finnjones @alfieallen @nathalieemmanuel @kristiannairn @maddenrichard @josephdempsie @prideofgypsies @oonacc @_iwanrheon @pascalispunk @peterdinklage @kitharingtonig @emilia_clarke @suriaklccmall @petronasbrands @petronasofficial @mashable @condenasttraveller @cntravellerindia @cntraveller @buzzfeed @buzzfeedindia @buzzfeedvideo @scoopwhoopindia @story.pick #klcc #fooddrifter #malaysia #gameofthrones #gameofthronesfamily #gameofthronesseason6 #gameofthroneshbo #gameofthronesfan #jellyfish #gameofthronesfanart #wildfire #windsofwinter #hbo #jonsnow #cerseilannister #ramindjawadi #got #instagram #instavideo #instagramvideos #video #confess #houselannister #finalseason

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The Aquaria KLCC is housed in the same area and can be navigated to through the Suria KLCC. It’s fun to visit the Aquaria KLCC if you are with kids. They will have a gala time at the Aquariam.

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Right outside the Petronas Towers is the KLCC Park, a huge man-made park. We chose to sit at the KLCC Park while watching the sun set over the Petronas Towers. It was beautiful seeing the two towers lighting up slowly as the sun set taking on different hue of colors as the natural light faded.

KLCC Park

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We have got multiple requests from people who have asked us to help plan their itinerary in Malaysia. Malaysia is one of the beautiful countries to visit if you’re planning a vacation from India. Direct low-cost flights are available from almost all major airports in India to Kuala Lumpur with the major airlines being Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia and Lion Air. We decided to list out all that you need to know to help you plan your next trip to Malaysia.

Visa Process For Indian Citizens:

The Malaysian Visa is one of the easiest ones to attain for an Indian Passport holder. VFS Global handles the visa process activities for the Malaysian Govt. in India. You can either go direct to the VFS Global Visa Centers in your city or apply through a travel agent. It is advisable to always take the 1 year multiple entry visa to Malaysia which costs the same as a 3 month visa.

To Malaysia

Reaching From Airport To Kuala Lumpur City Center:

To go about the rest of the routes in Kuala Lumpur, you certainly have to reach city center. City Center is the heart of the city is from where all the roads diverge to the rest of Kuala Lumpur. Unless you are ready to shell out a huge amount for Airport cabs, the Airport buses and KLIA Exspres are your best bets. Uber works out too.

KL Airport

The KLIA is the major airport of the city and might just be the busiest airport in Asia. The Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia from India arrive at the KLIA in Kuala Lumpur. The KLIA Exspres is the fastest way to the city center and if you’re pressed for time, then it’s advised to use this mode of transport. There is 4G wifi on board and takes about 25 minutes to the reach the city center. Tickets costs RM 55 and can be purchased online.

The Airports buses are the best and most economical way to navigate from the KLIA airport to City Center. There are more than 4-5 bus services which ply between these routes with tickets costing RM 9-10. They are comfortable, have music on board (plays according to the driver’s mood) and take about 45 minutes to reach the City Center. The tickets can be pre-booked online too but I’d suggest to take the bus at the terminal itself depending on which of the airport carriers are waiting. So in that way you don’t have to wait for your own booked bus and just board the one that’s about to leave.

Bus Bay From Airport

Getting Around Kuala Lumpur:

Kuala Lumpur has great connectivity when it comes to using the Metro. Get a metro map at your hotel reception right when you’re checking in for future use. The taxis do not follow strict meter guidelines and you can end up being quoted a lot.

But honestly the best way for getting around KL was calling for an Uber. I found it to be the cheapest mode of transport during my visit to KL. For a ride from Suria KLCC to Bukit Bintang which almost every taxi quoted as RM 20, I ended up with a bill of just RM 5 for the journey.

The next posts shall concentrate more about Food, Places to Visit and Things To Do in KL.

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A lot of people would have eaten at Begum Bazaar but not much has been written about this food paradise in Hyderabad. If you love vegetarian food then you must definitely head to Begum Bazaar. Hyderabad has always been projected as a city which loves to eat meat. When the city is known world-over for it’s Biryani, you can’t really blame that notion. But a sizable portion of people flock to Begum Bazaar for it’s amazing vegetarian street food.

We have been there a couple of times, and must say we were floored by the outstanding food that you’ll get around Begum Bazaar. Here is a list of places to visit when in Begum Bazaar.

  1. Scoops Tiffin Center – Located right on the main road of Siddiamber Bazaar beside the Masjid is the famous Scoops Tiffin Center. The idlis are soft, fluffy and delicious. The names of Dosas will have you guessing with some of them being Namo Dosa, Tan-Tan dosa and lots more.Scoops Tiffin Center
  2. Prahalad Tiffin Point – As you walk into the lane beside Scoops Tiffin Center, there is no missing the huge crowd that’s gathered in front of Prahalad. The serve a huge variety of dosas, idlis and lots of other fried goodness.Prahalad Tiffins
  3. Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar – Located right opposite the Aziz Plaza is the Jodhpur Mithai Ghar. The size of the Raj Kachoris are astonishing and the Paneer Pakodas & Bread Pakodas are stunningly delicious. They make some decent sweets too. Do not miss out on the Raj Kachoris though, they are an absolute must-have.Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar (2)
    Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar (4)

    Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar (3)

  4. Shyam Singh Chat Bhandar – This particular outlet serves some amazing chaats, dahiwada and puchkas. It is located right at the end of Begum Bazaar Chatri.Shyam Singh Chat Bhandar
  5. Kamalabai ka Kalakand – This is just a small bandi of sorts with absolutely zero branding. Yet when you ask about Kamalabai ka Kalakand in Begum Bazaar, everyone will know it. He changes the location of his stall every other night but can be mostly found near the Hanuman Temple. The homemade white Kalakands are one of the best you’ll ever have in the city. He also makes Ajmeri Kalakand, Rabdi, Gajar ka Halwa and Doodh Peda.Kamalabai ka Kalakand
    Kamalabai ka Kalakand (1)
  6. Ghevar at Begum Bazaar Chatri – The Begum Bazaar Chatri road is lined with sellers of Ghevar. The Ghevar is absolutely heavenly. Do pick up some from these sellers to have at home and make them at home.Ghevar Sellers At Begum Bazaar

Yes, Hyderabad is not always about it’s meaty goodness. Begum Bazaar shines through it all, gloriously with it’s vegetarian wonderfulness.

Meetha Poori

Mouth Freshners

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India has primarily been a Whiskey drinking market or is considered to be but they still do keep a special place for the beers. There are amazingly lots and lots of Indian beers to be had as your travel the length and breadth of the country. During our travels we saw that that beers were taken as a drink that can be guzzled at one shot than actually sitting down and enjoying one during the hot summer days. Hence when I’ve asked for a beer in quite a few places, people have actually commented “Yeh light wala bandha hai. Beer se kuch nahin hota” (He’s a light-drinker. No high happens with drinking beer.) Beer culture has now evolved and is slowly giving us more options to enjoy a good brew.

Most of the Indian beers have been subjugated to being strong lagers. The good ones have been relegated to being metropolitan drinks while the most common ones found across India are all Strong. That doesn’t mean that all of them are bad. I’ve had actually had some great ones from among them.

The below beers mentioned have not been rated in any particular order and have each been tasted by us. Below is a list from our travel diaries of the Indian beers that one must definitely try.

  1. King’s Beer – Goa’s very own pilsner. If you’ve been to Goa even once, then you definitely know the worth of this beauty. The design of the bottle is unique and the taste is crisp. It has a malty zing and evaporates off your tongue soon as it hits it. Now that King’s is available in Mumbai and Bangalore too, but consuming one there just doesn’t have the same charm as drinking one in Goa.King's Beer
  2. Kingfisher Red – This variant of Kingfisher by United Breweries is even stronger than their usual Kingfisher Strong. Available right now mostly in North and East India, the beer pours a rich deep amber color. The taste was surprisingly clean and the alcohol hit quite fast too.Kingfisher Red
  3. Kingfisher Blue – If you’re one who loves spicy food, this beer will give you amazing company alongside. It has a hint of caramel and also grassy bitterness if you appreciate that kind of beers. But this is the perfect one for those lazy and hot days to chill with.Kingfisher Blue
  4. Royal Challenge – Chicken Tikkas and Royal Challenge. I remember many of my college days were spent having Royal Challenge while my other mates smuggled in Kingfisher. It pours a pale yellow and is quite watery too. It has a light body and gives off fair amount of carbonation with a fruity, malty taste.Royal Challenge
  5. Knockout – I still remember the first time I had Knockout. I was in my teens and scared that I might just be knocked out by the name itself. The Indian beer brands have never had a great history with naming their products. And Knockout too went down the same road. I’ve had quite a few times now and even shared one while sitting under a tree in complete darkness with a couple of local villagers with only crushed garlic as ‘chakna’ For the uninitiated to Indian drinking lingo, chakna is our version of alcohol accompaniments. This is mostly famous in the south of India.Knockout
  6. Haywards 5000 – There was a time when I had moved on to the imported beers. Then for research terms alone was the time when I ventured on to Haywards 5000. It has a huge carbo-head, white and bubbly. One of the better ones of the mass produced Indian beers. There is also the Haywards 10000 which is quite a rare find and is even stronger than the Haywards 5000.Haywards 5000
  7. Haywards Black– If you can get your hands on this one, then you should definitely grab hold and pick them. India’s first and ONLY stout beer, the Haywards Stout is hard to find. It’s a light stout and has a light smell of cocoa and coffee. A welcome change by SABMiller to be introducing this and also it’s categorizes itself as a strong one with an ABV of 7%.Haywards Black
  8. Hunter – This was the first beer in India which introduced the concept of strong beers. It’s the flagship brand of SOM Distilleries and Breweries Limited.Hunter
  9. Maharani Blue Lable – Notice the misspelling of ‘Lable’ instead of ‘Label’? Yes Maharani describes itself as the Queen of Strong Beers. I was absolutely hit after having two of them. I might not be a seasoned alcohol drinker, but it does deliver a hard alcoholic punch.Maharani Blue Lable & Kalyani Black Label
  10. Kalyani Black Label – The Kalyani beer is one of the bestselling beers in India made by United Breweries, the same guys who produce Kingfisher. It has a watery yellow look with a disappearing white head. It’s full, smooth and gets the job done without any of that dirty aroma.
  11. Maharani Red Lable – I guess all the products of M.P Beer Products Ltd love to display the wrong misspelling. But this was actually one of the best Indian beers that I’ve had. Have it absolutely chilled and the golden amber color is the best looking stuff that I’ve seen among Indian beer products. This is a must try if you can locate some of the Indian states selling these.Maharani Red Lable
  12. Dansberg – The Dansberg has acquired cult status in the north-east India. Brewed by Yuksom Breweries which is owned by our very own Bollywood baddie, Danny Denzongpa. It’s brewed using Sikkim’s spring waters and is actually pretty nice.Dansberg Beer
  13. Godfather – If Francis Ford Coppola put the thought of Marlon Brando as Godfather in the American heads, the Godfather beer does likewise in to our Indian bodies. Like most beers brewed in India, it’s a strong lager available in North, East and West of India.Godfather
  14. Indus Pride – I had picked these up from a liquor outlet in Bangalore just coz of the uniqueness of flavors. Aside from their regular lager, they have three other variants of Cardamom, Coriander and Cinnamon. Not many beers produced in India would pride themselves in selling such flavors.Indus Pride
  15. Palone – This is a pretty amazing beer to get your hands on. In fact the Palone brand was the very first beer that was launched by Carlsberg when they ventured into India. That itself speaks volumes about this beer though it’s hard to find it nowadays. It has a dark almost mahogany color with a nice big and fluffy head.Palone
  16. Hercules – The Greeks have left their mark in India too. The first time I had this beer, I found it a tad too sweet and was actually one of the better ones. It almost has a white grape flavor and finishes fairly dry.
  17. Cobra – It’s easier finding the Cobra beer in London than here in India. I had the Cobra beer in a suburban Indian restaurant in London and have since then not been able to locate it in India. It’s light on the palette and quite smooth. If you’re lighting up a BBQ, don’t forget a Cobra alongside then.Cobra Beer
  18. Concorde – When in East India while driving through villages, I couldn’t help but notice the Concorde brand proudly across many of the liquor shops. For a brand I had seldom heard off, this kind of marketing took me by surprise and I had to try it. Purchasing one, I was sent two floors underground to sit and drink. It was and still will be one of my shadiest experiences till date. I couldn’t have more than 100ml and I gave up after that. But this beer shall go down as one of the definitive experience in my beer drinking adventures.
  19. Hit – The Hit series again comes from the house of Yuksom Breweries. Yep the same guys whom I had mentioned in my Dansberg descriptions. While I had one standing by the shop, this drunk comes along and says “Hit bahut hit karta hai” (The Hit beer gives you a hit quite hard) which it truly did.Hit Beer
  20. Kotsberg – The Kotsberg beer comes from Devans Breweries, the same ones who are famous for their Godfather brand of beer. The packaging is almost made to international standards and priced in direct competition to Carlsberg and Budweiser Magnum. But did it match up in quality too? For people who love the taste of strong lagers, this might. But for me it just didn’t.Kotsberg

Special Mention

Bira91 – I have a special place in my heart for Bira91. Made by a group of individuals who actually understood beer, India’s first hand-crafted beer was born. It’s now almost become a household name in Bengaluru and Delhi. They have two variants, the Bira 91 White and the Bira 91 Blonde. And in case you’re wondering what the 91 stands for? It’s the country code of India that it so proudly displays.

Bira 91

Do let us know in the comments of any other beers that you’ve tried. We’d also love to hear some of the experiences that you’ve encountered while having a drink or two in a bar/town or any place in the comments.

Dansberg Photo Credit – damienroue
Hit Beer Photo Credit – shankaronline

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I’m the kind of person who falls into the well-planned and researched type of travelers. Bags packed and reach early to the airport so I can avoid getting stuck in any of the last minute hassles. I had taken an early Uber to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport from where I was flying off from and found myself almost 2 hours ahead of schedule. With the crowds quite less on a weekday, the check-ins process was completed in 15 mins and I was left to wander around the airport. That’s when I dropped by the Plaza Premium Lounge.

My credit card does provide access to the lounge and I’ve seldom used it though. Only once earlier in KLIA and in the International lounge of Hyderabad airports were my earlier experience which were quite good. The Plaza Premium Lounge is open to travelers irrespective of airlines or class and provides a much needed travel rest.

Plaza Premium Lounge (2)

The Plaza Premium Lounge at the International terminal is quite spacious but the one in domestic terminal isn’t bad too. I had access to free Wi-Fi, Recharging and Computer Workstations, showers, food and best of all the view of flights landing and taking off as I sipped on my coffee.

Plaza Premium Lounge (7)

Being quite hot out, the Plaza Premium Lounge in the domestic terminal of Hyderabad provided a much needed respite. The buffet spread out for lunch was excitingly amazing. I started off with a soothing and full of flavor Roast Pumpkin Soup. I had quite some time for an entire lunch course and decided to indulge myself. For quick bites there were the sandwiches and salads for hurried travelers. As I sat back to watch the game, I could notice people grabbing a coffee, a sandwich and heading their way for their flight.

Plaza Premium Lounge (5)

Plaza Premium Lounge (8)

Off the main course I chose the Kabuli Pulao and Rara Chicken. The Rara Chicken was smashingly delicious and is actually one of the Chef’s specialty dishes here at the Hyderabad Plaza Premium Lounge. It was the thick and superb gravy of the Rara Chicken which complimented the Kabuli Pulao so well. I couldn’t but help myself to a second helping along with the Dal Makhni.

Plaza Premium Lounge (4)

The desserts section had quite a variety laid out. The highlight among them was the Chef’s own taken on the Croissant Pudding. The refreshing Mango, Tapioca and Coconut Pudding was another I absolutely loves which is part of their ongoing Summer Special Menu. The service was nice and not too in your face. The chef even packed me a panini sandwich whilst I left to catch my flight to my destination.

Plaza Premium Lounge (6)

Plaza Premium Lounge (9)

The Plaza Premium Lounges are located currently in Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports. The Lounge can be accessed for Rs 1200++ while they do have memberships with credit cards and companies. If you’re a person who’s constantly travelling or even one looking for some time to chill at the airport, checking out the Plaza Premium Lounge might not be such a bad idea after all.

Plaza Premium Lounge (10)

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The Breakfast Club is an institution in the London dining scene redefining the word Brunch. Nestled among vintage shops and antique stores, a bright yellow café shines bright and is hard to miss with the long queue of people waiting for a table inside. The small window only offers a small peak of the world of food inside.  I visited The Breakfast Club branch in Islington located in Camden Passage near to Angel Tube station.

With all the hype that is The Breakfast Club, the first thing which you’ll have to navigate is the extreme long queues spilling out onto the street. After almost a 45 minute waiting and unable to get an early seating inside, we chose to sit outdoors. The indoors décor is very casual and bright. I couldn’t help but notice American pop culture items plastered all across the walls of the café as loud pop music blared in the background. It is quite quirky and kitsch.

Let The Thumb War Begin

A fair bit of warning as you get a peek at the menu. You’ll want to eat everything. Keeping true to it’s name, the menu offers an array of Breakfast options. While I went full out and ordered for ‘The Full Monty’, my friend opted for the ‘Reggie The Veggie’.

Reggie The Veggie

I took a peek at the pancakes with a huge dollop of Chantilly cream at the opposite table to know the portion sizes are super huge. As we waited for our orders to arrive at our table, I relaxed myself over a flat white coffee. The double shot of espresso over microfoam did wonders for the little hangover I had from last night. The orders did arrive pretty quick for a place so packed and that too on a weekend.

Flat White Coffee

‘The Full Monty’ is a complete, huge classic London breakfast on a plate. Bacon, Sausage, Black Pudding, Eggs, Fried Potatoes, Mushrooms, Beans, a grilled tomato and toasted multigrain bloomer. Phew…that was a lot and did definitely help with the hangover. My “vegetarian” friend’s order for ‘Reggie The Veggie’ consisted of a veg sausage, fried potatoes, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomato, beans and toasted multigrain bloomer, though she opted to do away with the eggs.

The Full Monty

A Close-Up Of The Blood Pudding

The food was charmingly simple and absolutely delicious. If you do not mind waiting in long lines, then Breakfast Club is worth all of it. The service is quick and make you feel comfortable. The food is delightful and moreover it’s a London food institution which you wouldn’t want to miss. Put this down as part of your travel itinerary for London. It’s a bit pricey but it’s worth it.

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This post is a continuation of the Taj Falaknuma series as it celebrates it’s 5th year anniversary. If the last post focused on the splendor and enchanting royalty associated with the Falaknuma Palace, the grand corridors and a relaxed view of the Hyderabad cityscape as you settle down to have a sip a hot cup of tea. This shall further continue on the journey of places yet unopened….

1. Horse Carriage

2. 5 Year Anniversary - Taj Falaknuma

I’m not even going to get into talking about majestic and opulence of the palace. Coz stepping into that territory will have me penning poetry about the palace. This is a simple journey of a story of secularism. Everyone has always talked and discussed about how rich the Nizam of Hyderabad was. His extremes of living surrounded with riches and luxury. But no one ever pens the story his intelligence, his secular thinking, his fondness of the arts and his kindness.

5. Gazal Performance Area

6. Cherubs

4. Street Lights

7. Live Gazal

The Coronation Hall at the Taj Falaknuma reiterates that fact. Locked away for more than 80 years, the Taj finally got to restoring it and converting it to a beautiful restaurant. A walk through the Coronation Hall is a walk through history with anecdotes and stories. If I were to mildly put it….it’s “Simplistically Elegant”.

Coronation Building

The Coronation Hall is almost like a whole being consisting of five different parts. Each part signifies one particular brand of architecture and religious practice. The first room brings with it the polished Mughal architecture. A beautiful representation of the “Tree of Life” adorns the walls. As you move on, the room transforms to Chinese work of art. Minutely detailed works of craftsmanship, artistically covers the room. Miniature works resplendent of pagodas adorn the top of entrance-ways.

21. The Chinese Architecture

As you step into the next room you can’t help but notice the darbar-like feeling. Inspired straight out of Mughal architecture, it resembles the courts where judgments were passed. There is finesse in the woodwork as it adorns the walls. But my favorite has to be the area which exhibited Buddhism. The room as itself is empty except for the entrance-like structure in the center. Soon as you enter you can’t help noticing the fragrance of sandalwood in the air. The structure has a sophisticated carvings depicting Buddhism. Right from the conversion of Siddhartha to Buddha, his life and teachings, his attainment of enlightenment.

14. The Buddism Architecture

14. The Buddhism Architecture 1

The last portion which completes the coronation room is the Hindu-style of architecture. The portion is made to resemble the Parnasala, the hut that Lord Ram stayed in during his exile. The story goes all the work of art which are part of the Coronation Room had been brought down by different artists from each land. While Burma and Chinese got their Chinese and Buddhism works, South India displayed the parnasala. But the crafts were so costly that no one could afford them. But the Nizam with his immense wealth picked up all of them to be displayed in his Coronation Room.

15. The Hinduism Architecture

9. Coronation Room Balcony

10. Indoor Pool 1

10. Indoor Pool

The outer balcony faces out to a beautiful lit indoor swimming pool. The Taj has converted this area to a restaurant called ‘The Grills’. True to it’s name, The Grills caters only to different forms of grilled food while some beautiful live music plays. The Grills is open only on Weekend Nights and upon prior reservation. As we’ve always stated multiple times, Taj isn’t just a hotel…It’s an experience. And experience worth a lifetime.

12. Table Seating

11. Versace Plates

16. Asparagus Soup

17. Turkish Platter

18. Lamb Chops And Grilled Chicken

19. Saffron Chicken

20. The Grills

Here are some videos of the beautiful Qawwali Night and the fireworks display on the launch of The Grills.

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

Featured Image Courtesy: Pallavi Ruhail

The Grills - Taj Falaknuma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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