Lighthouse In The City

We definitely didn’t have a real hard time hunting this place which was in absolute tandem to our tastes and preferences. Sometimes, good things do come easy and are extremely overwhelming. Lighthouse 13 is one of those places which aren’t in your face yet provide a satisfying experience.

The place is wisely divided into two sections, for those who know us well, won’t be surprised to know that we chose the open space over the closed floor. The terrace overlooks the hustle-bustle of the heart of the city, yet the night time seems totally divine especially on Wednesday’s when soft sufi music only adds to the serenity of the whole ambience.


The food is another highlight of this restaurant as it brings together the best of national and international cuisines. We have to say that each dish would talk about the meticulous nature of the chef. The condiments which come with every dish would leave you biting your own fingers. We absolutely fancied the hummus, sun dried tomato hummus and avocado dips which came in the mezze platter.


What instantly popped out our eyeballs in the bar menu were the wine cocktails. So, we both ordered our separate share. Though, the drinks were refreshing, somehow they didn’t live up to our expectations as the flavours were quite subtle.
As we enjoyed our wine, the chef generously spared time and helped us decide on the menu for the evening. Discovering our love for cheese, he planned it accordingly. From interesting salads like Fattoush to zucchini crepes, the evening had it all that had a touch of cheese.


The menu is honestly quite glamorous with exotic offerings like oysters, prawns, salmon, and duck- all made available under one roof. The ones who’d like to turn towards the safe zone of pasta and pizza, then there are enough options.

And for all those, who like lots of chocolate to end their meal, there is nothing that would work better than a tiramisu or a chocolate mousse! It was absolutely heavenly savouring these under the skylight.

Well, we’ll be honest and admit that the thing which would actually get us back to this buzzing joint is its interesting ambience. After all, this that one important factor which we all are always desperately looking for!
So, those in search of a beautiful rooftop that can assure peace, tranquility and amazing sheesha then do visit this place and if possible make it a Wednesday for their live Sufi night. Cheers!

The Café Breakup

Back in 1996, Bengaluru witnessed the start of café culture with the opening of the first Café Coffee Day outlet at Brigade Road. And like we all know there has been no looking back ever since with the company, ABCTCL opening over 1000 cafes around the country.

I can clearly recall how everyone fell in love with this café that is rather known for its tagline, ‘A lot can happen over coffee’. True that is! Many of us chilled over the frappe and warmed our evenings with cappuccino. I myself had a strong emotional connect with the chocolate fantasy and I am sure many more have memories to cherish.

We openly accepted this new culture like it was always ours and did not mind shelling off big bucks on small coffee cups. But the quality, taste and the ambience was worth it. It really was! I still remember almost risking a friend’s life midnight once to gratify my CCD coffee craving. Even while travelling coffee lovers like me would beam at the sight of a CCD for that would be one thing making us feel at home.

We had CCD’s everywhere soon. From our colleges to homes to offices, there would be one outlet in our approach for sure. Now there are more. At every nook it exists like a pit shop. That’s just a fair deal for the CCD lovers.

But hey what the company could not realize is that this fast pace multiplicity would also come about at some cost. Now when you go to the nearby CCD you still get the same ambience and the same friendly staff. But what you don’t get is the same coffee. The paneer tikka have lost its flavour and the chicken puffs are bland and boring. Sometimes I have encountered stale food and the things that you want are generally out of stock and a lot is not available because whipped cream is gone for a toss. My favourite cold coffee is generally gross for it’s either too light or just too strong. And after such experience when the cheque arrives, paying a small fraction of your money also looks like a fairly big deal.

I am not writing this post because I hate CCD but for the love I have for it. I am making this effort so that someone reads it and rectifies before the standards stoop even more. Love you my frappe… I so want you back the same way.

xoxo

Shagun

Spicy By The Coast

In a city where people fondly feast on butter-chicken and naan, the idea of South Indian dining remains subdued. All that we can recall of the cuisine is idli-dosa.

Hey, don’t get us wrong here but we seldom plan a dinner to a South Indian joint. It mostly happens by chance that when we’re famished, we simply stash into a nearby restaurant to taste the culinary expertise of the south.

However, a place that helps us come out of this notion with ease and proof is Spice Water Trail.

This restaurant often finds space in leading supplements every now and then, but for long it remained on our list of must visit places until now that we finally headed to this eatery which is quietly nestled in the much happening Greater Kailash M Block Market. The first thing that we learnt about it was that it is run by the massive Alchemist Group.

The people at this place take everything from their food to décor rather seriously. We all know that South Indian seafood is a rage, so you’ll even witness an exotic fish as a part of each table’s dressing.  The elements used in the decor are literally drawn from the coastal areas of India.

Since we happened to visit the place when neither of us wanted to eat non-vegetarian food, we diverted our energies in selecting the finest vegetarian stuff.

Here is when, we got a chance to go beyond idli, dosa-sambhar and rather explore the unique authentic eats of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.

As we were glancing through the menu and struggling to take a final call from the exhaustive menu -our drinks landed on the table. The drinks were so tasteful that we called for another round sans any guilt. Well, why feel guilty when one is on the virgin path? Their tamarind drink and Aamras were divine!

Tamarind Jaccuzi

Aam Ras

The Podi Idlis and Kuzi Panyaram served, as starters were good. Podi Idlis are small Idlis tossed in a special spice mix called gunpowder. Whereas Kuzi Panyarams are shallow fried rice and urad dal dumplings from Tamil Nadu.

Podi Idli

Kuzi Panyaram

Accompanying them were interesting chutney combos such as a mango based one.

Chutneys

For the main course, we opted for Appams and Vegetable Stew (mild curry of vegetables with coconut cream); and Kerela Parota and Ullitheeyal (Madras onions cooked in decimated coconut gravy).

Appam and Veg Stew

Ullitheeyal

We cannot but admit that we have a sweet tooth and that is why we impatiently dug deep into our bowls of well-prepared Pineapple Halwa but sadly, it did not flatter our tongues as much. Though there were ample of other options to gratify our sweet cravings, we were too full to try. Nevertheless, we are sure that there must be a lot in this section too that we would drool over and we left that to our anticipated quick revisit.

So, next time you plan an outing, consider taking a break from regular North Indian and Mughlai cuisine and we don’t think, we need to mention the divert. Moreover, if you like to dine in with many folks, then they also have a special section for private dining for a large group on the upper floor. Happy Dining!

Sin Well Committed!

Well, everyone tries his/her best to avoid committing sins. However, this is one of those rare places that’ll happily make you commit the second sin over and over again. The sinners that we are, both of us headed to one of our most sought after places, Second Sin in MGF Mall, Saket to enjoy a lazy and laidback Sunday brunch.

If sophistication and modish designing is your kind of pick, then you would surely love this place for its white and beige drapes, upholstery and lacquered furniture. All this complimented with shimmering chandeliers and candles. If like us, you love alfresco dining, then their terrace options are beautiful. But right now let’s talk about what we are supposed to, the brunch.

Well, their brunch buffet is nothing but an elaborate spread of luscious delicacies, a live band performing, loads of sangria flowing and a lot of fun. Trust me; you’ll land up putting a mountain of food with every turn you take to explore the offerings.

We’ll both take you to explore the same in our own ways separately.Vegetarians should strictly listen to Shagun and non-vegetarians should no way listen to her and definitely listen to Sonali.

Shagun- For vegetarians to start with, there was yummy carrot soup and loads of bread options. You should also not miss the mezze counter and specially the green tomato salsa. And before I forget, as we enjoyed our soup, a magician walked by and entertained or rather amazed us with his amazing tricks.

Post the soup, it was the salad station that lured us with the myriad colours and nutrients. Yeah, we really do consider health while we eat!

My pick would be the marinated mushroom and corn salad. The mushrooms were soft, juicy and well flavoured. The chef was sweet enough to serve us hot starters like shallow fried cottage cheese which even went well with the sangria. The live pasta counter was something I could not resist and got my kind of white creamy pasta made fresh with loads of broccoli and bell peppers. For the main course, I treated my taste buds to a mix of Thai and Indian dishes but my favourite remains the Red Thai curry. I won’t mind confessing that I was too stuffed to head to the desserts but I did take a scoop or so from Sonali’s platter and it was gratifying as well.

Sonali- The non-vegetarian lovers would be overwhelmed to see justice being done to their favourites right from the start. Cold cuts, salads and soups- you can’t ask for a healthier start to your lazy Sunday afternoon. The salad bar lets you dig into a variety of dressings and ingredients. What’s more is that you’ll see enough seafood being used in preparing the delectable dishes. For all those who have a soft corner for prawns, you shall sure be spoilt for choices.

Their Indian tawa offerings are absolutely worth binging into! So, do keep some room for all the heavy duty stuff as that is surely going to win your heart. And, don’t hesitate in asking the chef to toss some fresh pasta and pizza for you!

I  have to repeat again and again but yes, I do have a sweet tooth and yes, I did go overboard while satisfying my tingling taste buds. The gulab jamun, bread pudding and the like are extremely well-prepared.

A visit here is worth the money for the simple reason that good food, live entertainment and alluring ambience- are all made available under the same roof! And for those who’s outing isn’t complete without sipping some fine wine-let the Sangria keep pouring into your glasses!

Had a good time and we are definitely craving for another Sunday well spent...

Manely Luscious – Amit Ranjan

For someone who comes from a family of professionals, a glam career does not come easy. But if you have passion, determination and conviction then it does not get too difficult also and Amit Ranjan is evidence enough. One of the most bankable models in Indian fashion fraternity today, he entered the modeling scene in 2007.

Recently seeing him walk the ramp in Van Heusen Men’s Week 11, I knew what the buzz around him was about. To use clichéd words, I think he rocked the ramp with his commanding looks and aah how can I miss his hair that me and Sonali are so in love with. Not to overlook, he has a great sense of style too. So, it was only fair to extract a bit of gyaan from this complete fashion wrap up.

Varun Bahl & Karan Johar's show at VHIMW 2011

 Helipad On Heels- You were one of the most suave models in the Van Heusen Men’s Week. Did it require some extra effort and additional workout sessions?

Amit Ranjan: Thanks for the compliment. I work out five days a week – weights and cardio basically. In fact, my ankle twisted just before the event and I had to skip my prime time workouts. Hopefully, nobody noticed.

 

- Trust us nobody did. Amit many people possess good looks and a fit body but not everyone makes a successful model.  What according to you is that additional thing that is a requisite for a good-modeling career? 

Because everybody with good looks doesn’t want to be a model! On a serious note, you have to have the right attitude to carry yourself, hard work and patience to become successful in any field.

- What according to you is a healthy state of body and mind?

Healthy mind and body go hand in hand. There is no space of conflict between the two.  To be in harmony with nature and stay calm is the key.

-  Many young people fall in the trap of boosting instant muscles via supplements. Can you please suggest them the right way to go about it? (May be your fitness regime helps)

Instant supplements should be avoided as far as possible. If you have to, go for something like whey protein. Of course fitness is a long term and routine project. There are no shortcuts, no magic wands, guys!

- You have a glam career where despite late nights you manage to look good. How can one maintain a good balance?

I am selective about where and how many times I go to parties. And I am a tee totaller. I live a simple life. Many would find it boring!


- You are a night or day person?

Totally night. I find nights mysteriously beautiful and serene. Ha Ha!

- We would agree with that. So what are your favourite gym and spa in the capital?

A: Planet X at preet Vihar and Levo Saloon and Spa at Gurgaon.

- Eats which are a total no in your diet?

Junk food is a complete no.

- How can you be so perfect. I mean no liquor and no burgers. Anyway, something we have been dying to tell you is that we envy your luscious mane. You are one of the rarest men we love with long locks. What gives them strength and shine?

Thanks, again. Simple routine hair care.actually – Oiling, shampoo, conditioning, protection from rough weather and dust.

- Ok so now one secret about you that the girls must know.

A: That I am unfortunately and unfashionably not gay in this age and day!

Ayurveda Reinvented

No matter how much science drives us, our roots never fail in providing that ultimate panacea for urban stress. Working through the week does tire us and there are no qualms about it. However, what gets in peace is a choice that all of us make in distinct ways. Some head to clubs to intoxicate whereas some stay home for they love their sleep.

Thanks to Sonali, I have become a spa lover too and recently I headed to one all alone while she was at work slogging. I am sure she will hate me for this but then little self-indulgence is good.

Having heard about NeoVeda Spa at The Metropolitan Hotel, I felt the urge to try it. The booking part was easy and convenient with a responsive and cooperative staff at the other end. Based on the water and earth themes of ayurveda, the spa translates the ancient Indian knowledge of life and well-being in a language that today’s generation can make use of in their journey of self-discovery.

Every treatment here finds space in a different specialised room, which I feel is great. I really liked the couple room that looked like a total idealistic getaway which beautifully blends rejuvenation and romance.

Couple Room

Now was my turn to select the treatment and very honestly I was craving for a hot stone treatment but considering the weather I settled for Balinese Spa treatment which is a relaxation massage.

What came as favourable specks were the ingredients used in the base oil- black pepper and eucalyptus as both relieved my sinusitis and headache. My therapist, Manisha was a total sweetheart too as she made sure I was comfortable and convinced with every inch of the treatment. The massage was truly relaxing as it unstressed all my muscles and my headache was relieved to a great extent. To add to the ayurvedic touch, they served a hot herbal tea post my shower. For a person like me who detests tea in any form, it was quite strange but I drank it until the last sip. I loved the subtle flavours of the herbal tea and honey and I don’t think I need to mention how it made me feel better with the acute cold.

The relaxation lounge

However, there is still a lot I would want to explore here and some of the signature therapies that I would want to try are NeoVeda Experience, Energy Equalizer with Volcanic Hot Stone and Vedic Journey.

So next time you feel stressed think twice before feeding yourself with liquor, anti-depressants and the likes for there’s a spa waiting to take care of you. And if you happen to visit this  spa which you must then don’t forget to share your experience with me for I have finally understood the value of patient listening. Stay rejuvenated!

Sexed Up Heels

It’s the new thing driving me and Sonali crazy- ‘Condoms’. Please do not tell to yourself that we have completely lost it because what we are talking about are the ‘Heel Condoms’. Right to their name, they actually have the caliber to sex up your heels. The awesome concept is a product of beStylish.com

 To pour in some clarity; these condoms are accessories to style up the footwear.

The Heel condoms are available in two designs:

- Condom style: The original ‘Heel Condom’ that protects and decorates the heel portion of your shoe, this style fits stilettos ranging from 2-5 inches.

- Panty style: The evolution of the original heel condom, this style has been designed to fit all heel types, be they thin, thick, high or low.

 How to use- Ahem! Its easy. All you need to do is slip them up your heels and either place the elastic band under your foot to keep in place or tie the two straps around your ankle. Check out how awesome they can make your heels look. I am sure you would want them!

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Surreal Spa Surprise!

My love for spas isn’t a hidden fact! I don’t make any fuss in admitting that I love exploring new spa outlets every now and then. So, if I am not working or shopping, I am definitely spa-ing. Time is luxury and opting for spas in that precious pamper time is like a double whammy! But wait, this time the spotlight wasn’t on me. I wanted my co-blogger and dear friend-Shagun to experience a spa that sure wins my vote for being the most innovative day spa in the recent times. Quietly nestled amidst the hustle-bustle of Defence Colony Market is Seven Seas Evania Spa.The place gets its inspiration from Santorini in Greece and is done-up beautifully in hues of blue, gold and white. You come here once and it’s definite that you’re going to fall in love with it. Trust me, I am not even getting down to counting my number of visits to this few months old spa outlet. And why should I stop myself from touring a place that gets the best from around the world. The menu is rather out of the box as you get to treat yourself from the likes of Chocolate Fondue, Blueberry Cheese Cake or Hot Lava Shell Massage. So, having tried and tested it myself, I urged Shagun to unravel an unusual spa experience.

Here is Shagun narrating all about her first spa date:
If I state that spas are rejuvenating, it’ll be pointless for its no news. So don’t sulk because that’s not what I have to say but what I have to share with you is a spa which is out of the ordinary and after the experience I well agree with Sonali.  Imagine a spa that can relax you and felicitate for your meetings professional and personal both at the same time. I really adore the idea of chatting while getting a relaxing foot massage. That’s exactly what Seven Seas Evania is all about. Thanks to my chum Sonali who insisted that I visit this spa and the sweet therapist, Chong who treated me with a tempting foot massage.
From the spa’s extensively indulgent menu, I chose the Blueberry Cheesecake treatment. From the first moment I heard the name, I fell I love with the treatment for the love of blueberry cheesecake. I knew this was going to be one yummy indulgence and my feet would be instigated to forgive me for not taking care of them for so long.

Staircase

The staircase leading to the basement is beautifully adorned with raw textured white hue and chrome lighted hanging lamps that add illumination.

Lamps in the staircase

Treatment Room

The interiors are equally interesting with a raw and earthy feel to it. You instantly feel disconnected from the worldly stress as you enter the spa treatment room. Big comfy white chairs entice you to rest yourself as the therapists prepare for the treatment followed by a short brief about the chosen treatment.
Starting with cleansing the feet using crushed rose petals, she softly scrubbed my feet with a specially formulated cream to get rid of dead skin particles. What I had been anticipating was the next step that is of massage. For this she used a white lotus cream that not only relaxed but also made the skin smooth and silky. (Yes, it did)
Fortunately, I had Suvrat, our photographer on the next chair whom I kept chatting with or else I was sure to sleep off. So relaxing and mesmerizing, the treatment was a pampering session for my feet. Now was the real yummy time, as my feet were treated with an aromatic Blueberry gel.

As the treatment came to an end, I was offered a complimentary back and shoulder massage which came as a cherry on the cake. If you are someone who’s always glued onto the workstation, then this massage is sure to relax those tired shoulders and neck.
Like they say that everything should have a sweet end, then this spa keeps up to the belief as they offer you lip-smacking ice cream before you step out of the place so heavenly.

Earthy Interiors

And while Shagun was away, I got chatting with the person behind this gorgeous project- Arpit Sharma. Here is a little inside into our conversation to get you answers to the not-so often asked questions:
• Is it a good idea to come here for a date?
Arpit: Well, our spa specializes in hand and foot treatments and we like people who love themselves. This place is pretty good for a date because you can come here, relax- gift yourself and your partner a lovely treatment. It’ll be a wonderful experience for both!
• How about having a birthday party at the spa? What are the special offerings like?
Arpit: We give the guests a very special treat. We book the whole place for them, we serve them wine and champagne. Also, a very special cake is ordered. And to add to that we offer really special treatments.

Will visit again soon
All we can say towards the end is that to bless yourselves with good times, think less and head straight to  Seven Seas Evania.

 

Van-Heusen-India-Mens-Week 2011

Here are some of our favourite picks from Van-Heusen-India-Mens-Week 2011. Though fashion weeks we always look forward to, this time it was extra special  because its not always that men take out time in styling themselves. But this time the energy and enthusiasm was worth a special glare. Here check for yourself…

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Photographs- Shazid Chauhan

Hard Rock: The Mexicana Way!

Well, when one visits a place of international reckoning, there is a slim chance for disappointment!  And when it’s Hard Rock Café, then one can be assured of some pulsating music, friendly staff and an electrifying ambience. But this time it was a slightly different experience for it was lunch that we headed for and not a regular hard rock musical evening.

The moment we reached the doorstep of Hard Rock Café at DLF Place in Saket, we did feel a sudden transformation of sorts. It was indeed a much needed change wherein we could let ourselves loose as we cut off from the outside world. The place is so high on energy that you just cannot be left wandering in low spirits.

We cannot but thank our server, David who helped us a great deed in selecting just the most divine dishes as we braced ourselves to taste mouthwatering delicacies from Mexico.After much talk, we finally ordered for Albequerque Cottage Cheese & Veg Burrito served with fries, sour cream and  glaucamole; BBQ Chicken Toastada and Vegetarian Tacos. Each of these dishes bought much respite to our tingling taste buds. The non-vegetarian pizza was full of flavour and colour, it also notched-up our love for the Mexican cuisine.

Vegetarian Tacos

BBQ Chicken Toastada

Veg Burrito

One definite high of Mexican eateries is that they come with lip-smacking condiments and dips, giving a whole new meaning to feasting!

For those like us whose outing isn’t complete without sipping into interesting cocktails, then the offerings would be a welcome surprise! The special menu gives a Mexican twist to every drink. Also, you’ll notice that wise use is made of tequila, a trend again hailing from the native land. Our pick would certainly be the margarita with a mandarin twist.

Margarita & Cosmopolitan

The journey to the world of Mexico begins at Hard Rock Café from August 29th to September 18th, 2011.

xoxoxo, Shagun, David & Sonali