Memories of China | Mandarin Calling | OKO – The Lalit Ashok, Bangalore

Pan Asian cuisine has been trending in the city of Bangalore for a long time now and everyone few months a new venture serving up Pan Asian fare crops up in this city.

I have wonderful memories of my visit to China which initially I was not looking forward to, thanks to all the ghastly stories one hears about the food there. But 14 days travelling around China opened my eyes to a world full of unique flavours, aromas and dishes which left me craving for more.

I always knew our version of Chinese cuisine is just an amalgamation of the flavours our Indian palate would accept and though I have always enjoyed the dishes, I reminisce about my experience and wonder if I would ever taste authentic Chinese food again.

Thanks to a good friend, I had the most wonderful Saturday recently when I was invited to savour a few dishes from the Mandarin Calling food festival organized by The Lalit Ashok at their restaurant OKO.


MANDARIN CALLING Menu has been specially created by their expat Chef Luo Jinhong from Hunan Province, China. Chef Luo brings with him around 20 years of experience and has created a exclusive menu from his vast experience.  

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While I refrain from accepting invitations that require me to travel far, I had this feeling that this one was not to be missed. The Lalit Ashok is located in one of the oldest and most beautiful areas of Bangalore surrounded by lush greenery and old Bangalore charm. Though I have visited here for functions, this was my first visit to their restaurant, OKO located on the 6th floor.

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The restaurant may seem unassuming yet elegant at a glance but the view of Bangalore is mesmerizing and one cannot help walk up to the long windows to enjoy the view. There are very few hotels which provide a view such as this and this set the mood for the lunch.

The restaurant has a vast area of seating and also an additional sofa arrangement at the back unmissable with its bright red upholstery and chandeliers which I assume would beautiful when lit at night.

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Our group of 7 occupied this area and began our meal with Watermelon & Coriander Cooler, a welcome respite for the ones who braved Bangalore traffic to get here. While we caught up with each other, we munched on some pickled lotus stems with peanuts and fried wontons served with a tangy chilli sauce.

Our meal began as it customary with a light Asparagus and Corn Soup followed by a Spicy and Sour Cucumber Salad. I realized that it is indeed quite a combination when I tried both the soup and salad one after the other. The flavours of salad were very different and I loved the Chef’s use of mild and spicy sauces.

Moving on to one of my favourite courses in Chinese cuisine – Dumplings.

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We were treated to a veg version, Corn and Chestnut Dumplings as well as seafood one – Prawn Dumplings. When I visited China, my friends with whom I stayed taught me to make dumplings and tasting these soft and succulent parcels sent a few shivers down my spine. I recommend the Prawn Dumplings without a second thought though do not expect the usual Indo-Chinese version one is used to.

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Our starters were another highlight of the meal with a wonderful array of different meats and vegetables tossed in some delightfully flavoured sauces and spices by the Chef.

The Chinese loved their vegetables and quite contrary to belief they are known for some of the best vegetarian preparations using different ingredients such as tofu, mushrooms, planktons, bok choy etc. We were in for a treat as Tofu Chilli Black Bean in Hunan Style was the Chef’s veg appetizer for the meal.

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As much as I loved the Tofu, my eyes light up when I saw the different meat and seafood appetizers brought to the table.

Chong Qing Chicken with Onion and Dry Chilli was an explosion of flavours and I fell in love with this appetizer that I almost forgot my surroundings while digging in. Though not much of Lamb person, I did enjoy the crunchy Crispy Fried Lamb Beijing Style.

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In my years of tasting and experiencing different dishes, I have the utmost respect for a Chef when they manage to bring out all the flavours especially in Seafood such as fish, prawns, lobster, crab etc.

Chef Luo Jinhong did not disappoint with his masterpiece appetizer of the meal – Pomfret in Schezuan Pickled Chilli sauce which made me utter a few guttural sounds of satisfaction.

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While we talked about our different views and mutual appreciation of the appetizers, we were served Iced Tea Sangria followed by our main course arrived. The usual fare of Olive Vegetable Fried Rice, Chilli Black Bean Fried Noodles with Schezuan Pepper Oil along with Sizzling Eggplant in Barbeque sauce, Tofu with Leek Hunan, Slice Chicken Shui Zhu Sauce and King Prawn in Xiang la Sauce. 

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Though under normal circumstances, I would dig into my main course rice and noodles along with the non veg sides, I am glad I decided to give the Eggplant and Tofu a try. One of those rare moments, when I vouch more for the vegetarian side dishes. That being said, little did I know the best was yet to come when I took a bite of the King Prawns. Hands down the best dish of the laid out menu that day.

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The meal ended on a simple note with a unassuming dessert Steamed Chocolate Bun with Honey Butter Sauce. Do not be disappointed with the look of this dessert as a bite of it would bring a smile to your face.

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Every meal needs that special something to call it a day and the Apple & Cinnamon Mocktail was the best digestif one could ask for. 


Date : 25th August – 3rd September 2017 for Lunch and Dinner

Ala Carte menu – 4 Course Chef’s Choice Menu – Starter, Soup, Main Course & Dessert, priced at INR 1350++.

For Reservations : 9980158286

OKO - The Lalit Ashok Bangalore Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flavours Of Bengal | Nook | Aloft Cessna Business Park | Bangalore

Aloft Cessna Business Park is one of the Hotels in Bangalore which takes great pride in serving their patrons with different Indian cuisines over the course of the year. I have been fortunate to have tried many food festivals at their restaurant – Nook and every new food festival is a wonderful insight into the diversity of culture which reflects on the cuisine of regions in India.

The month of August calls for a journey into the Land of the Tigers – BENGAL. Bengali culinary style is very unique with a perfect balance of main ingredients with unique seasoning. The variety of dishes found in Bengali cooking is vast though I am told that at least one meal a day should contain a fish course. The Hilsa fish commonly called Ilish is a household name where the head is particularly prefered.

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In addition, they also excel in some comfort vegetarian dishes with the predominant use of mustard oil and poppy seeds. Their style of using spice mixtures as flavouring is very different from what we use in South India particularly with the use of mustard paste in these dishes.

The ongoing food festival aptly named Flavours of Bengal showcases the journey of flavours from Bengal to Bangladesh with emphasis on spices, fish, vegetables and desserts.

The veg appetizers were Deem Chop, Naarkil Diye Tikki and Veg Chops. Each of the these simple looking starters had wonderful flavours and though batter fried did not taste oily or feel heavy on the stomach. The Deem Chop is my pick with stuffing of egg surrounded by the taste of beetroot.

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There were some dishes as part of the buffet which seemed very homely and I am sure would bring back fond memories of home for my Bengali friends. Bhaja’s simply known as fried food are supposed to be auspicious  and a must for any celebrations. The choice of Bhaja’s picked for this festival were Aloo Bhaja, Begun Bhaja, Korla Bhaja and Potol Bhaja. I was very keen to try them all and though they all were delightful, I absolutely feel in love with the Potol Bhaja.

These simple dishes lead the way for more interesting non vegetarian appetizers such as Junaki Murg, Hilsa Bhaja, Sarso Malai Chingri and Muri Ghonto. The Junaki Murg looked very similar to a Tandoori kebab dish but one bit into this soft meat and all thoughts about Tandoori chicken vanished.

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Just as I was wondering about the famous fish preparations, we were served the well known Hilsa Bhaja. As a Keralite, I am used to having fish on a regular basis though we do not eat Hilsa. I realized the Bengali’s love for this fish is not far fetched but the fish in itself has wonderful flavour. This is a dish not to be missed here.

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With fish being served, prawns also called Chingri was not far behind with the perfect use of Mustard (Sarso) in the preparation.

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The ordinary looking Muri Ghonto was my pick among the non veg appetizers with soft and mouth melting meat mixed with the perfect blend of spices that makes me remember even while writing this post.

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While I was taking my time trying their different appetizers, the friendly bartender concocted some interesting cocktails and mocktails with essence of the Bengal predominant in many of them.

After a heavy round of appetizers, I took a walk down the salad counter to let my stomach settle a bit as I knew the main course is yet to come. As always they have a predominant section loaded with different salads from chicken to fish to mushrooms and many more.

The layout of the restaurant is such that you can leisurely walk up to the bar as well as the lobby of the Hotel and I took that walk just to listen to the band playing that particular night. The band consisted of just 2 people and their choice of 80’s and 90’s music with their wonderful voices made the evening a memorable one.

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After humming along a few soulful songs, I made my way back to my table to see an array of dishes served for the main course. My initial thought is that I would not be able to do justice to these many dishes but surprisingly I could, thanks to the fact none of them feel heavy or oily.

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The highlight of the main course was the Bhapa Ilish, one of the most popular dishes in Bengal. The name Bhapa Ilish means steamed fish and this preparation is made with abundant use of pungent mustard paste steamed with a liberal dose of mustard oil. Though I personally do not like the use of mustard in my food, this dish was an experience I would not forget soon. I definitely suggest giving this  signature dish a try.

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The other non veg gravies for the main course were Murgir Mangsho Deem, Daab Chingri and Patori Ilish. While I loved the flavours of the Chicken (Murgir Mangsho Deem), I could not help give a thumbs up for the coconut milk based prawn curry (Daab Chingri) and of course the fish head preparation – Patori Ilish which is a speciality in Bengal.

In addition to the non veg gravies, the food festival also highlights the different preparations of vegetables with dishes such as Aloo Piston, Sukto, Moda Ghonto, Jhinge Posto and Cholar Dal. Among the breads served – Luchi, a deep fried bread was a showstopper.

Whats a food festival without a Biryani and hence the Kolkata Chicken Biryani ended that course on a satisfying note!

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Every course in Bengali cuisine has its significance but the sweets is known to be one of the most awaited part of the meal with many skipping a course to get to the sweets.

The sweets served for this food festival that night were – Rasogollas, Kacha Gulla, Chocolate Sondesh, Pati Shapta, Lady Kaine, Nolengur Payasam, Malpua and Malai Sandwich.

Personally this was the first time I tasted Kancha Golla and Pati Sapti and thought they were amazing and I had to stop myself for a second serving.

While the focus is on Bengali sweets and desserts, the Chef has ensured that patrons also have a choice of regular pastries and desserts which Nook is famous for.

This Bengal Food Festival holds a special place as I really enjoyed the very unique and different flavours of this cuisine well showcased by the team at Aloft CBP.

The Flavours of Bengal Food Festival is on from 16th August – 1st September 2017 for lunch and dinner on weekdays , priced at Rs.1199/- ++.

Address: Cessna Business Park, Sarjapur–Marathahalli Outer Ring Road, Kadubeesanahalli, Bellandur Post, Bengaluru – 560103

Phone Number: +91 80 4510 1010
Website: Aloft Bengaluru CBP

Ambiance – 4.0/5   

Service – 4.5/5

Food Taste – 4.5/5

Quantity/Quality – Buffet – 4.5/5 

Value for Money – 4.5/5 

8 Guilt Free Desserts To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth – Cafe Mangii

100th Post calls for a special one and what better to write about than desserts which are healthy too! 

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There is always some place you wish to visit but the idea of commuting 30 odd kms in Bangalore traffic in peak time traffic makes one wish they invented teleporters soon. 

By now you must know I’m referring to Cafe Mangii, the one located in Orion Mall. I have visited this mall probably only twice since it opened and this visit was to try their new Dessert Menu. 

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Though I arrived a bit post lunch the Cafe was reasonably filled with mall goers having a good time. Luckily enough they have a large area rather than the usual food court outlets surrounding them on the outside. The ambience is very casual yet buzzing with energy. This cafe overlooks the impressive World Trade Centre which adds to its charm.

Since it was a special get together and as is the norm I arrived well before time and had a chance to take a walk around as well as chat up with the Chef Sandeep Rane in charge of the new Dessert Menu. A very soft spoken chap who flew in from Mumbai to ensure everything is in place as it is necessary before any menu change. A very interesting point to note about this dessert menu was the emphasis on sticking to healthy ingredients keeping the current trend in mind. Of course, he has taken great care to ensure the desserts not only taste good but look good too. 

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Once the gang arrived, we had a few appetizers – Cajun Chicken, Baked Cottage Cheese and Veg / Non-veg sandwiches to wet the appetite a bit. 

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I have visited their UB City outlet so I knew their pizzas are awesome especially the ones I tried on this particular visit – Bell Peppers Veg Pizza and BBQ Chicken Pizza.  Dont forget to try their Pastas which pack quite the punch too.

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During the course of the evening, a few of us tried their cocktails as well as mocktails. They serve up some excellent cocktails. Definitely a must try here. 

Coming to the highlight of the evening, ‘The Desserts’. The new menu consisted of – 

1. APPLE CRUMBLE – The first dessert to be served in champagne glasses definitely made a lasting impression a set the mood for the rest to come. 

2. NUTELLA SURPRISE CRUNCH – Having Nutella in your dessert is not something new but having an eggless one taste so amazing was definitely a surprise! 

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3. ESTERHAZY – This combo of Chocolate Cream, Almond cake and Orange Marmalade was one of those desserts which looked amazing and it was hard for me to be the first to dig in. 

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4. 34 LAYERS – I really don’t need to explain this dessert as the name itself gives it away. Apart from the fact it had 34 layers made of chocolate ganache and mousse, it looked quite unassuming but it was all a chocolate lover like me could stop from drooling. 

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5. TIRAMISU – One of the best desserts for me here. Beautiful creation by the chef!

6. PHILADELPHIA BAKED CHEESE CAKE – Not a fan of cheese cakes I just took a tiny bit. Quite okay with the seasonal fruit compote.

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7. MOCHA FUDGE TREAT – This is a mouth watering dessert if you love Mocha. I can’t say no to anything coffee and I couldn’t stop with one bite. 

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8. MOLLEUX – A chocolate Sable biscuit served with vanilla ice cream. 

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I was glad to decided to come there as their healthy desserts left me with a feeling of wanting more knowing very well that I don’t have to worry about the calorie intake. 

One of the nicer places in Orion Mall away from the hustle and bustle of the mall crowd where service is prompt and most importantly with a smile. 

Cafe Mangii Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fitness | Spin Your Way To A Healthy You -PedalBeat

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “spin class”? 

Monotonous pedaling ? Loud Music ? Ladies cardio? Too easy?

In an age of short-lived fitness fads across the world, spinning is one exercise that has gained popularity over the years and still shows no sign of slowing down. From a professional soccer player like David Beckham to the world famous singer Lady Gaga and not to miss one of the most loved TV show host Oprah Winfrey everyone is obsessed with spinning!

While trends are common amongst the famous essentially what everyone is searching for is a good way to break a sweat and burn calories. Spinning is a well established exercise that is said not only to benefit one’s physical health but also mental health. This form of exercise has been recommended to those suffering from anxiety or depression.

Spinning looks the same as outdoor cycling or riding a stationary bike, but is a more intense workout. The group cardio fitness activity on stationary bikes increases your endurance, energy levels, cardiovascular health and most importantly – lower body strength.  The muscles used on a spinning bike, the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes are some of the largest and core muscles of the body. Research has shown that spinning also helps improve body composition, decrease fat mass and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

I love heading to my gym but there are many days I feel pretty lonely at the gym and always felt adding a few sessions of spinning can help meeting new people and experiencing team camaraderie can probably do wonders for my overall health.

Keeping that in mind, I jumped at the opportunity to check out a relatively new and exclusive spinning studio on Sarjapur Road – PedalBeat

PedalBeat has to its credit of being India’s first chain of Indoor cycling studio and Bangalore’s first exclusive spinning studio. They have studios across India in Chennai, Coimbatore and Hyderabad with the latest addition in Bangalore.

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They have customized workout routines and a typical class involves a trainer at the head of the pack, who leads the participants through routines that are designed to mimic conditions that resemble biking outdoors. The instructors here use a combination of music, inspiration, and enthusiastic training to lead members through a ride that encompasses each one’s fitness level and goals.

During my session here I felt that a combination of high energy music, coaching and camaraderie made it a fun and exhilarating workout.

A very important part of this spinning session is the use of heart rate monitor watches where the members are encouraged to set goals based on their heart rate. The readings from the watches would be visible on a large screen TV for the instructor and the member to monitor, hence altering resistance and cadence during the course of the session. This means you can choose to maintain a moderate, aerobic intensity level, or aim for throwing in intervals of an aerobic activity in your workout, on a particularly strong day!

Be it skilled riders, or novices, you can adapt your workout to fit your experience and comfort level. In the end, it’s your workout; the level of intensity is yours to choose.

After my high intensity 45 minutes trial session here, these are my 8 reasons why to join a spin class atleast 3 days a week, 

1. Burn Calories: On an average a person will burn close to 500 calories in a single 45 minutes session. In addition to burning calories, you will get the energy you need to give 100 percent to the whole workout.

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2. Less damage to the joints: After a session here, I realized that spinning does take a lot of pressure of my knees and ankles but at the same time maintaining the intensity, Spinning is a low impact exercise which is especially good for those who are injured but trying to stay fit and for those with joint problems who are trying to begin their fitness journey.

3. Sculpt your body and your legs:  Regular workout at the gym will help you to bulk up but that is definitely not the case for spinning. The preset interval training allows you to tone and sculpt your hips, thighs and buttocks muscles and improve your core.

4. Enjoy the workout with great music: Music is a huge part of working out for most fitness enthusiasts.  There’s nothing like keeping pace with a good beat and seeing everyone else around you on the same count. If your day has begun on bad note, it helps you restart it all over again.

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5. Team spirit working out in a group: The energy you feel from your spin class group exercise is contagious and makes you want to work harder than you would alone.This is probably because the instructor won’t let you get off easily and partially because you’ll be motivated by other people in the class working hard.

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6. Push yourself to your best: Spin classes are for everyone from beginner to advanced levels of fitness.  Pedal Beat offers an interval approach to pedaling on “flat ground” versus pushing hard to “climb a big hill”. Interval training gets the heart rate up so you can burn more calories in less time.

Spinning is an exceptional exercise and if you are new to it, you need to slowly ease in and give your muscles time to adapt. 

If you’re looking for a high-intensity workout a few days a week and you hate running spinning may be the ideal way to keep your heart and body in shape.

So if you like what you read above then head on to their webpage and give their trial session a go!

Spinning is amazing. It will help you better yourself.

Launch of Sumeru “Classiques” Paratha by Chef Ajay Chopra

The Indian retail food market is seeing a huge change in consumer behaviour with customers being conscious about quality, safety and health.


Established in 1989, Innovative Foods Ltd (IFL) is a well known and major player in the Indian food processing industry which markets their frozen food range under the brand name Sumeru.  They have been popular for their range of frozen food products in three different segments – the Staples such as peas and corn as Classiques ; the snacking food items such as fries, spring rolls, nuggets as Wassup and fine foods such as fish, prawns, sausages as 5 Senses. Each of these segments are differentiated by their unique packaging and variety.

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Sumeru is currently the only major brand to have a strong presence in veg and non-veg frozen foods segment. They have retailed these multi category products in 200+ towns across India. They have marked their presence in USA, Japan, Middle East, Singapore and UK, though their manufacturing units are based in south Indian state of Kerala. They are also the leading supplier to KFC, McDonalds, Subway and Pizza Hut.

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IFL recently unveiled a new line-up of frozen parathas, Sumeru Classiques at The Oberoi, Bangalore on August 10, 2017. Though they already have an existing range of parathas this launch aptly named Launch 2.0 is their entry into healthy and innovative parathas.

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I was quite pleased to be present at the launch as it has been quite difficult to find products in the Indian market which are healthy at the same time kid friendly.

The event began with Mr.Suraj Sharma, GM, Marketing IFL taking us through the history of the company, their wide portfolio of vegetarian and non vegetarians foods and the frozen retail market in India.

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He stressed on the growing acceptance of frozen foods in India wherein providing products which offer convenience and versatility to consumers has been the main aim of the company. IFL has spent a lot of time and research into making these new range of Parathas with emphasis on taste, health and convenience.

Chef Ajay Chopra, a well known celebrity Chef, TV show host and Judge of Masterchef India was recently named the brand ambassador for Sumeru. We were thrilled that he was launching these new range of Parathas for Sumeru and provided that special touch to the occasion.

The new range of Parathas launched were :

  • Beetroot & Jeera
  • Turmeric & Ajwain
  • Methi & Spinach
  • Multigrain

Chef Ajay Chopra’s association with Sumeru paved the way for a delightful cooking demonstration of how it is possible to convert a simple frozen paratha into a restaurant class meal at home within a short period of time. While Parathas are simply used as bread to be served with curries, Chef Ajay showed us that a little innovative thinking goes a long way in changing that mindset.

The dishes prepared by Chef Ajay Chopra were Pindi Chole Quesadillas, Vegetable Lasagne and Shammi Sandwich, all prepared in a span of 30 mins . We got a chance to taste the Paratha lasagne during our lunch and I really enjoyed the dish much to my surprise.

While he showed us the ease in whipping up these quick dishes, there are many more similar dishes which come to my mind and I must thank Chef Ajay in getting me thinking on those lines.

I have seen Sumeru range of products in most supermarkets as well as online platforms such as BigBasket, Zopnow and Grofers. These new parathas would be on the shelves soon at a reasonable price of Rs.80 – 100 per pack of 5.

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Without a doubt, this new range of ready to eat frozen parathas would be surefire success as it packs a punch with their unique natural flavours, simultaneously providing a guarantee of no preservatives, added colours or flavours.


Fitness | Bengaluru 10K – A Tough Yet Welcome Challenge

In this age when everything is fast paced it is difficult to spare time to keep ourselves fit and healthy with every day being more hectic than the previous. Good health is a necessity though it is pushed aside for convenience and other materialistic comforts.

Bengaluru has probably the largest running community in India and has seen a massive change in the marathon scene over the last few years with the advent of various running groups sprouting in every neighbourhood. Many come for this training as it is inspirational to be trained by marathoners and fitness experts and it sets a precedence for the amateurs and beginners.

In addition to these running groups, Bengaluru has also seen a steady rise in the number of marathons and races organized in the city. There are runs organized almost every weekend with some of the popular ones being Pinkathon, TCS World 10k, Bengaluru 10k and Bengaluru Midnight Marathon.

I have been participating in few such runs since January 2016. Though I do these runs more for fitness and to push myself to run longer distances, the Bengaluru 10k holds a special place in my heart. I ran my first Bengaluru 10k in July 2016 after recovering from an injury and set my best time hence the fond memories.


Bengaluru 10k was an event started in 2015 and was a huge success which led to it be organized as a annual event every July. This year’s edition took place on 9th July and it was a massive success with more than 10,000 runners participating and showing their commitment to leading a healthier life. The run for the last two years has been organized on NICE Toll Road near Nayandahalli metro which is a tough run due to the elevation on the route but is seen as a challenge for professionals as well as budding runners like me.

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This event has two race categories -Timed 10k and a 5k Fun Run. The Timed 10k is run by professionals as well as budding runners who are migrating from 5k’s to 10k’s. As the name suggests, the 5k run is more of beginners and kids though this time I did see a large number of youngsters participating probably trying to get into a healthy routine.

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Pre- run  Zumba sessions helped the participants warm up and get the heart pumping.

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The 10k was flagged off at 6.30 am and the 5K at a little after 8.00 am.Hydration was available every 2 kms from Enerzal and was well organized.

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Stand by medical facilities were available at different points of the course.

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Though I was quite unprepared and did not train as I needed to for this race, I decided to try to push my limits on this tough course.  I know I have a long way to go in terms of endurance and stamina but in spite of all the insecurities which ran through my mind during the course of the run, I was happy that I decided to participate. Though I am not satisfied with my timings I thoroughly enjoyed the run in spite of the aching joints and muscles and was happy to be a part of the run.

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For my endurance, I normally use gel Energize Malto Gel from Fast and Up which has been my go-to gel for the last one year.

I heard about another similar gel and tried this new endurance gel RRUNN from Unived for this run. Definitely a difference in taste though I am yet to to review the capabilities and advantages of this product since I have used it only for one run. More details on the gels I have used in upcoming posts.

Though I did not opt for it during the registration, breakfast coupons were available prior to the run and a steaming hot and simple breakfast was provided to the participants.

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Post run camaraderie among fellow runners along with the medal distribution ended the event on a heartwarming note.

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Overall, a very well organized event and I hope to be able to continue my commitment towards fitness and running with every run.



Do you run?  What do you do to keep yourself fit?  Waiting to hear from you!  


Image credits : http://www.bengaluru10k.com

Travel | Hotel Radisson Blu | Coimbatore

Every road trip is exciting especially when there are kids in tow, but this particular road trip turned out a little different thanks to our stay in Radisson Blu, Coimbatore.

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Coimbatore has always been a flash trip as we only stop over in this city on the way to Kerala for a lunch or a snack. Though I have lived in Chennai for 23 years, I realize now that I have never visited this city till I moved to Bangalore. Hence this trip we decided to halt at Coimbatore and spend an entire day in this city.

Coimbatore also known earlier as Kovai is the second largest city in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and known as the Textile and Engineering City of Tamil Nadu. This city known for its industrial set ups and textile mills is emerging to be the distribution hub of Tamil Nadu.  Though traditional in its roots, this city is diverse and cosmopolitan. The bustling city of Coimbatore has many attractions such as the Nilgiris Mountains, Marudamalai Temple, Thirumoorthy Hills, and waterfalls like Kovai Kutralam, Vaideki, and Isha Yoga by Sadhguru.

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This time our choice of stay was Radisson Blu as it was the newest hotel in the city and I was keen to try them for a change. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group owns the brand Radisson Blu and has partnered with GBJ Hotels Pvt. Ltd to expand hotels in South Indian states.


The hotel is at an excellent location on Avinashi Road being in the heart of the city. Being located about seven kilometres from Coimbatore International Airport (CJB) is a welcome respite for business travellers with easy access to the business centres such as Tidel Park and KGISL Tech Park, international convention centre – Codissia as well as industrial areas. For land travellers, the Railway Station is also easily accessible located four kilometers away.  We did not have to search for the hotel thanks to GPS and reached here around 12.00 pm.

Though having a side entrance and not a direct one to the front of their hotel it is still quite impressive and eye catching. Designed to welcome business and savvy travelers the ambience is quite breath taking with high ceiling lobby, contemporary designs and elegant interiors.

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Since I had made a booking in advance, we breezed in through the check in services and was escorted to our room. We had opted for the Standard Room which was located on higher floors with elegant pathways leading upto the rooms.

The Standard Room is quite spacious  with wooden floors and large windows providing a great view of the city. The room was equipped with basic amenities such as LED satellite TV, WiFi and a mini bar. I had informed the reservations desk that I needed a Queen bed and they were well informed that I could easily accommodate 2 small kids on their very large Queen bed. Of course, they would provide extra bedding for a child under 12 years at a nominal charge.

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Since we had just come in from a long 6 hour drive from Bangalore, the kids decided to jump for a leisure bath in their spacious bathroom which had a large welcoming bath tub in addition to their shower cubicle. The glass partion between the bedroom and bathroom adds a elegant touch to the entire room.

Other amenities were room service, DVD player (on request), electronic safe and complimentary bottled water, use of their swimming pool and fitness centre.The hotel has a total of 135 rooms including Business Class rooms, Junior Suite and Presidential Suite with amenities and facilities that include a Business Class Lounge, Business center, Swimming pool, Spa and Fitness center.


Additional features provided by this hotel are their accessibility features such as Wheelchair-accessible lobby, public entrance, public restrooms and restaurants which is a welcome addition and in my opinion a necessity.


After relaxing for a while in our room, we headed down to ground floor to have lunch at their all day dining restaurant aptly named SEASONS. This restaurant is open from 11.00 am to 11.30 pm on all days.

The restaurant is quite large with glass walls overlooking the lawn and the outside of their hotel. Since we walked in around 3.00 pm for a bite we did decided to go for their Ala carte though they do have Buffet during the lunch hours. The restaurant offers a spread of different cuisines giving the diners from a great experience.

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We also had elaborate breakfast at this restaurant which was an interesting spread from continental to indian including healthy options for fitness conscious people like me.

Other dining options is The Great Kebab Factory which claims to be Coimbatore’s first Indian concept restaurant serving a wide variety of kebabs from all across India. The tea time and dessert options are provided by The Cake Shop & Tea Lounge on the ground floor which is open from 11.00 am – 8.00 pm. Patrons can also unwind or enjoy a nightcap at their Lounge Bar.

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In the evening hours, the kids wanted to use the pool and it was nice to see a kiddy pool along with the infinity swimming pool. One thing I noticed was there is no constraint for space in this hotel and even the pool area had adequate area for those wanting to relax or get a nice tan by the pool.

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We also used their spa services with my hubby deciding to go in for a relaxing massage to unwind after the long and tiring drive here. Their spa menu is quite impressive offering various services including beauty services.


I was lucky not to miss my daily workout routine thanks to a well equipped in house gym and a very affable trainer.

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This stylish and modern hotel also has an 5 meeting rooms, a 9,400-sq. ft. banquet hall and a lawn for pre-event entertainment specially designed for social functions, meetings, modern and family travelers.

I was glad to have made a choice to stay at Radisson Blu as my family enjoyed the stay at this luxurious yet comfortable hotel.

If you’re traveling for business or leisure, step in and give this city’s newest upscale hotel Radisson Blu Coimbatore a try!


No. 164-165, Avinashi Road, Peelamedu
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641004


Tel: 1800 1800 333 (international)
Tel: +91 422 222 6000 (local)
Email :

Taste of Malabar – Malabar Bay

Kerala known as the “Land of Spices” has a cuisine which offers a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and is said to be linked to its history, geography and culture.

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Malabar cuisine is assumed to have been influenced by various cultures making it distinctive. Kozhikode and Thalassery are mainly the centres of Malabar cuisine. In Bangalore, the trend begun with the “Thalassery biryani” and now Malabar food has become very popular with the food lovers here.

Being a hard core food lover I visit many restaurants for different cuisines except for restaurants serving Kerala cuisine since I am from God’s own country hence the thrill of tasting familiar cuisine doesn’t interest me.However that perception went for a mighty toss after my visit to Malabar Bay and I must say I was truly humbled.

Being in the food circle, it is but natural for some meet ups just to catch up, gossip and eat good food which is not possible to do for us bloggers normally. Malabar Bay was a suggestion from one such foodie and finally we managed to make it there for a weekday lunch.

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Though mentioned BTM, it was located very close to Forum Mall. The restaurant has a non-conspicuous entrance especially from the outside and only once you enter you realize how spacious the place is with two floors of seating. The ground floor caters for breakfast, students, bus crowd and the evening crowd all who want to grab a quick bite. The first floor is divided into 2 areas, one for the office crowd who expect quick service and a separate area, which is for more leisurely dining.

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A quick walk through the first floor would bring a smile to your face as every turn would remind you of Kerala and that is the intention of such decor.

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Though I would normally not mention about the service staff in the beginning of a review, I felt it is right to mention the friendly nature of the staff who had a genuine smile on their lips from the time we entered the restaurant.

Since we were a big boisterous group we decided to occupy the leisure dining area where we knew we could relax and have a good time without disturbing the other patrons.

To begin our meal, we all decided to try a few of their mocktails – Bay of Malabar, Ginger Bay, Tender Bay, Green Mango cooler, Samba Lime, Heavenly Cooler and few more that I fail to recollect. I liked all the drinks but the Bay of Malabar and Green Mango Cooler were a personal favourite. Who would have thought a restaurant known for their food would serve up some delightful drinks!

My favourite part of any meal is always the starters. I fill myself with starters and normally jump straight to dessert. With this in mind, some of us (me included) went a bit haywire in ordering the starters. We started with a light Seafood Soup that was a nice way to begin our meal.

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Some of the starters I recollect from memory were – Prawns Tawa Fry, Malapuram Chicken, Avoli Thawa Fry, Mutton Liver Roast, Mutton Roast, Koyilandy Chicken Fry, Malabar Mushroom fry, Chemmeen Kondattam, Kozhi Thullichathu, Duck Mappas, Vazhi Thirinna Kozhi Fry.

For those not familiar with Malayalam these dishes would sound very weird but if you are lucky enough to have a Mallu friend then I suggest you take his/her help in ordering. As is noticeable from the above list, we tried everything from Chicken to Mutton to Mutton liver as well as seafood.

To add a little lightness to the heavy dishes, the staff got us a plate of Spicy Raw Mango Salad, which complemented our meal. I loved their Chicken (Kozhi) and Prawn preparations though their Mutton dishes were good too. My best dishes among the starters were the Prawns Tawa Fry and Vazhi Thirinna Kozhi.

Traditional Kerala food is vegetarian which includes Kerala Sadya, which is an elaborate meal prepared for festivals and weddings. A full-course Sadya is served on a plantain leaf and consists of rice with 20-30 different accompaniments and desserts is eaten usually on festivals such as Onam and Vishu. We had a chance to taste a smaller version of  Sadya meal which is comfort food for me. This is an excellent choice of meal for a weekday lunch.

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With room for very little, some of us braved a few main course dishes – Pothichor, Appam with Chicken Shappu Curry, Allepey Veg Curry and Tomato fry. I was glad to notice there were many dishes for the vegetarians as well here.

The showstopper was the Pothichor which not only looks like a work of art when served but tastes as good as it looks. Though Appam is staple dish at my home the combination with Chicken Shappu curry was delicious.

Finally coming to dessert, which I could only nibble into due to the large amount of food I gorged till now. My bravehearted friends ordered for Biscuit Pudding, Kairali Jamuns, Banana Toffee Ice Cream, Phirni and Shahi Tukda.

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I tried them all, though I really took a liking to their Biscuit Pudding which I landed up ordering 2 nos. as a takeaway to relish at home.

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We ended the meal with Chukku Kappi,which is a herbal concoction perfect to digest food after a heavy meal.


This experience was an eye opener for me as I realized there is a lot to be tried even in your own cuisine and hats off to these guys for the great food they are dishing out every day.

Ambiance – 4/5 

Service/Hospitality – 4.5/5

Food Taste – 4.5/5

Beverages– 4.5/5 

Quantity/Quality – 4.5/5

Value for Money – 4/5

Pizza Hut Celebrates The Spirit of Womanhood With “Start-Up Hours”

Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur!  Well, who doesnt like to work for themselves? 

So what do you need to become an entrepreneur, is it a brilliant idea, financial assistance or just an opportunity. I believe that entrepreneurs are born from a simple idea or motivation to do that something which comes from within themselves, with a keenness to change the world. It may all seem far fetched but that is where a bit hand holding and guidance comes in the form of start up services.

Pizza Hut, the world’s leading affordable casual dining and delivery restaurant brand recently announced the launch of an entrepreneurial assistance campaign “Start-up Hours” in association with a start up platform, Chatur Ideas. The campaign is aimed mainly at aspiring women entrepreneurs in Bangalore offering holistic start-up services to empower women in their journey to build a profitable and innovative start-up.

Pizza Hut with its presence in over 100 countries is one of the flagship brands of Yum! Brands Inc. Pizza Hut’s trademark dining experience has been recognized by Brand Equity to make it the ‘Most Trusted Food Service Brand’ for 11 years in a row. They were also awarded with “Food Service Retailer of the Year 2016” by Franchise India.

Pizza Hut provides a never before opportunity to work out of any of their outlets, utilize their area as temporary work stations, network with people, discuss ideas and make that entrepreneurial dream come true. In this day and age, no business can run without facilities like Wi-fi which is also provided from Monday to Thursday from 11 am – 6 pm. They aim to provide women entrepreneurs the interactive environment that would help them to grow in the market. Pizza Hut is one of the very few brands that have worked on the concept of heroism by women and have also saluted the heroic efforts of Sakshi and Sindhu at the Rio Olympics. The brand even has stores that are managed completely by women.

Food for these budding entrepreneurs comes at a steal with a special menu available at Rs. 199 per head which includes a main course, appetiser and beverage.



I was invited to this launch at Hotel JP Fortune along with some women entrepreneurs and aspiring ones, like myself. The event begun with the official launch of Start-up Hours by Mr. Rajat Wahi from Pizza Hut. A very affable individual who emphasised the need to encourage budding entrepreneurs and through this new campaign they hope to support the women in Bangalore with an interactive environment and VFM food.

Chatur Ideas, a start-up platform offers services such as mentoring programs, raising funds, entrepreneurship trainings, building network with relevant professionals and a 360 degree execution support. Their aim is to empower women in their journey to build a profitable and innovative start-up.

Their organization firmly believes in supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs and they aim to be able to provide this guidance to every part of the country.

Women entrepreneurs availing ‘Start-up Hours’ will also have an access to Chatur Ideas eminent mentor panel which includes industry stalwarts like Google, JP Morgan, Religare, Facebook etc. The panel along with imparting domain specific knowledge will also leverage their network to provide the right guidance to the aspiring entrepreneurs. Chatur Ideas will also offer social media services at a subsidized cost to the women entrepreneurs.

Certain eminent women entrepreneurs and startup club founders were invited to speak at the event to inspire the women present at the event. It was an enlightening hour where it was we got to hear the stories and struggles behind these successful women entrepreneurs.

With the noble thought to assist women entrepreneurs in Bangalore, Pizza Hut’s partnership with Chatur Ideas hopes to combine a comfortable work space with guidance and good food.

With my own plans of utilizing my 15 years of Pharmaceuticals experience, I hope to be able to use this unique opportunity very soon!



Women Blogepreneur Workshop with Priya Shiva

Though this post is more of a personal one, I am quite excited to share a wonderful experience. Recently I received an invitation for a blogging workshop and I wondered if I truly need to attend one and what would I learn from it. But a small nudge from the lady who was conducting this workshop made me attend and I must say it was a Saturday well spent.

The Women Blogepreneur workshop experience was a combination of different emotions for me from friendly, helpful, creative and most importantly surprising!

A little back story about Me: 

In 2016, I started my writing journey with a review of a restaurant for a popular restaurant platform, Zomato and within a few months of writing I realized I enjoyed writing and decided to start my own blog. Fast forward a few months later , my blog was up and running though I know the difficulties I had while setting up my blog with absolutely no assistance. I learnt from the many mistakes I made over the course of time and today I am quite of proud of what I have achieved on my own.

I am quite aware that food blogging especially in Bangalore is a very crowded scene and I have spent the last 6 months working hard to learn the tips and tricks about designing, social media, branding, reading articles / blogs / websites to ensure the content I put on my blog give my readers an engaging read. Now I was ready to invest more time and effort and take it to the next step for myself and my blogging.


About the Speaker: 

Though in the food blogging arena for a while now, I am more of a restaurant and product review blogger and I have not ventured into the recipe creation space of food blogging.

I have heard about a popular food blogger, Priya Shiva and got connected with her on Facebook recently. I was quite impressed with her blog Priya Kitchenette especially for someone who seems to have created her own style with an amazing food blog which specializes in vegetarian food recipes.

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A glance at her blog would definitely keep you hooked with her simple yet delicious recipes. Priya started her blogging with a intention of posting a recipe everyday and she now holds the record for blogging everyday for one whole year, and also is the winner of the ‘Best Food & Drinks Blog’ at #WIN15 Blog Awards organized by Blogadda.

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On a bright and early Saturday morning, I made it to Hotel Royal Orchid, the venue of the workshop. The turnout for this workshop consisted of beginners, newbie bloggers,experienced writers and entrepreneurs who wanted to learn the nuances of blogging.

Blogging Workshop Content:

During this day long workshop the attendees were given guidance and directions to help them set up their first blog.


Subjects covered included setting up a blog, blog design, creating great content, structuring blog posts, understanding social media and its advantages,photography and branding. 

Sessions also covered tips for building a social media presence and monetizing a blog.

The workshop also included a few activities with brands set up by Ms.Priya for her sponsors –Preethi Kitchen Appliances  and Vaya India.

A very interesting part of the workshop was the affiliate marketing session conducted by Ms.Tulsi, the Co-founder of Spice Safari.


My Experience: 

This workshop was not about far fetched ideas, complicated suggestions or making you figure out things for yourself instead she was ready to guide everyone present there every step of the way.

Face-to-face workshops are a great opportunity to share thoughts and ideas and this workshop allowed me to share my experience about blogging journey and how I balanced everything along with my family.

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The workshop can be mind boggling and intense for a beginner but eventually is incredibly helpful and informative. Being taught the basics of blogging and social media by someone who blogs for a living is truly enlightening. 


She has gained a loyal follower in me as she keeps her advice realistic and I wish her the warmest of wishes for her future endeavours.

Final Thoughts:

Everyone has gone through a phase where you were new to blogging or social media and needed all the help you can get. This workshop not only assisted in this but also formed a small community of ladies who support and encourage each other.

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Success does not happen overnight but it needs hard work, passion and consistency.

A special mention to the hospitality partner of the event – Hotel Royal Orchid where it is always a pleasure to return to. Their staff were always at hand and a thank you for the interesting lunch spread at their all day dining Cafe – Limelight.

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Among the ladies present at the workshop, I had the opportunity to meet a very unassuming and quiet lady, Divya Haldipur who is a self taught baker and runs her own business by the name Itsy Bitsy Bytes. She was nice enough to get one of her creations for our group which was sinful!

I am very glad to have been a part of this get together and I can’t wait to start implementing everything I learned into my own little blog! 

Always remember – One Can Never Stop Learning!