This post is kind of a recap of non Indian cuisines & eateries in Gurgaon – I have covered detailed reviews of many of these eateries in doifferent posts in this blog . Needless to say that this is not a comprehensive guide of food places in Gurgaon but then it is good to start with – its about our favourite pik or not so favourite pik.
This post was first written in early 2011 for www.socialmantra.in. I am republishing this with minor changes. You will find updates to restaurants that we have revisited if u click on the links below.
Moving to cuisine from our neighboring country China, I must first explain the two types of food available Gurgaon. The first is authentic Chinese & the second is Chindian (Indianization of Chinese food). Manchurian is a common example of Chindian food – When I went to China years back, I asked for the famous Chinese dish Manchurian, to be told that they had never even heard of this. Later while reading a book called Rude Food by Vir Sanghvi, I came to know that Manchurian was invented in Mumbai by a Chinese origin Indian National hailing from Tangra in Kolkata who later opened a very successful Eatery in Delhi!!!! The Chinese of China have never even heard of it. The technique is basically to make koftas of meats & vegetables in the Indian way, deep fry them & then cook them in Chinese sauces. This form of food is so popular that last time I was in Boston I saw a restaurant with a board saying Indian Chinese Restaurant!!!
A good example of a restaurant serving Chindian food is Yo China. With most of the Chinese cuisines tweaked to cater to local tastes, this little eatery in MGF mall is a super success. Food is very tasty in general – Starts with a limited but good selection of dimsums (very chicken heavy). Honey chilli potato is a good vegetarian starter that even carnivores like me would love. Special mention for the fish & prawn dishes in starters as well as main-course. The full pomfret is excellent & so is garlic fish. Crispy mutton is also worth a try. There are a few very good sautéed chicken options as well. In the desserts section, there is a unique ‘snickers sundae’ which is actually pieces of snickers chocolate pieces dunked in vanilla ice cream. In food courts of other malls, movie halls & large departmental stores, you may come across a little colorful Yo China Cart which serves yummy momos & honey chilli potatoes. This is our favorite ‘little munch’ during our Gurgaon hopping exercises.
A restaurant called Monk in Galaxy Mall near 32nd Milestone serves very close to authentic Chinese cuisine. They obviously taste so different than the Chindian fare that one of our friends lamented after dinner ‘I think the Tangra (Kolkata’s China Town serving Chindian fare) Chinese is better – This one is too Chinese’!!!! Some of my Chinese National friends also agreed to the authenticity of this place during their visits & said ‘this is 90% + authentic’. The place has an open kitchen & the seafood dimsum, lamb dimsums are worth a special mention. There are of course different versions of good chicken dimsums as well. In the maincourse we like the sticky rice bowl with a seafood topping / lamb topping / chicken in XO sauce etc. Dessert has few Chinese options coz in reality there are very limited Chinese desserts that exist.
China Club on MG Road (besides the Welcome group hotel) is among the best Chinese options in Gurgaon. I still remember the full lobster that we ate five years ago. Dimsums are good, so are the starters & main-course. They have Chinese chefs & the food is very close to authentic. Nothing much to write about as almost everything we ever tried was good.
Dimsum Bros in Ambience mall is real good. As the name suggests, it is a dimsum specialist. As soon as u sit, they serve coated nuts & an ‘out of the world’ garlic sauce – memorable & remarkable. You can order ‘Baskets’ of 6, 8 or 12 dimsums & they are served one after the other, choice of both vegetarian & non-vegetarian. There is a ‘special’ dimsum menu where costlier ingredients like caviar, smoked salmon, scallops etc are used. We usually finish our dinner just with the excellent dimsums of different varieties. On extra hungry days in the past we have tried the main-course & they have not been disappointing either. A definitely new concept & a place to spend a good evening with some outstanding food.
A restaurant serving Far East Asian Cuisine is Rred Hot Cafe in Sushant Lok-I. We love the Tom yam soup in cold winter evenings. The starters to the main course are all quite peppy & the taste appeals very fast. The chef has a very good knowledge of local taste buds & has either tweaked his dishes or smartly chosen the ones that would appeal more. The prices are very reasonable & every time we have dined here, we have liked it. No comments on authenticity as I have not travelled much to these countries. The serving staff is a disappointment with average to poor product knowledge but I guess all other positives cover up for this only negative.
Dine Esty, again in Sushant Lok, is a nice Chindian joint with an excellent live Japanese Teppanyaki counter. You can sit in the counter like one sits on the bar, and watch the chef cook the meats, fishes & veggies in front of you on a flat hot plate – approx. 2 feet wide & 5 feet long. Almost all teppanyaki we have tried were good. There is also a long list of vegetarian & non vegetarian dimsums, sushis, sashimis etc in the menu – For the hardcore Japanese items like Sushi & sashimi, you might not like them in the first encounter – They are more of an acquired taste.
For Korean food, we went to Gung the Palace, near Bikanerwala, with crossed fingers after a very ‘average experience’ at the famed Kumgang Gonie at The Ashok, New Delhi. As we entered, a young Suited Korean Guy welcomed us & showed us to our table. Later we came to know that he was the General Manager of the Restaurant. Soon after sitting we noticed that the room is lined with cabins whose doors were shut. Outside each door there were many shoes. While we were wondering as to what was happening, one of the doors opened & we saw a Korean gentleman come out. Inside the cabin, people were sitting on the floor around a table and having dinner in the traditional way!!! The General Manager then introduced us to the attendant & gave us the menu card – within seconds we figured out that we could not understand what to order. So we asked him about the most popular dish & he showed us two chicken dishes. After few seconds of being surprised, I asked chicken? Then he came up with ‘chicken is what the Indians like’ vs ‘two options that the Koreans like’. Needless to say that we ordered the mixed meat & seafood grill that the Koreans like. First came the famous kimchi salad along with omlettes, green leaves, veggies, nuts, etc as starters on the house. The Kimchi served here has a definite fermented feel to it. Then came the live trolley grill – a portable cooking station in which a traditionally dressed (looked like) Korean girl grilled the miscellaneous meats to perfection – I can feel my mouth-watering even as I write this post. The evening was a delight & a truly wonderful experience. Very Highly recommended.
Wild Fire at crowne plaza is a Brazilian place to spend a very nice evening in an excellent ambience – We dined here long back & still remember the great non vegetarian set menu. This started with ok soups & ok starters & then moved on to some excellent & unlimited grills. The chef was coming to the table with the grilled meat pierced by what looked like a 3 feet ‘sword’. He was repeating his different varieties of grills, all of which were good but some were a bit too subtle (bordering bland) for the Indian palate. Most of the meats, we were told, were imported – special mention for Brazilian Tenderloin, German sausages & grilled prawns. They have a good selection of alcohol to go with the meats as well. What is interesting is that even a carnivore like me found the most unique & tasty option to be the grilled pineapple, which came at the end. Overall, a good place to try out grilled food with subtle tastes.
Kobe Sizzlers is a good steak cum sizzler joint at Ambience Mall – It has a wide variety of steaks & sizzlers & they are good. The taste is strong due to the sauces they use & overall it’s a very good place to have steaks & sizzlers. A word of caution for the vegetarians is that the place is usually filled with smoke of the sizzlers & a strong smell of the meats………..avoid if u cannot bear the same. If u can ignore the smell, ur taste-buds will thank u.:)
Wow Italia at food court, MGF Mall has one of the finest low cost Pizzas in Gurgaon – What I mean by Low cost is less than those in Star Hotels. The Pepperoni, Royal Parma Ham, Genovese, etc are some of our favourite pizzas. What is good about these pizzas is that these super thin & crunchy Pizzas are hand made, dressed with toppings & baked all in front of you. If you get hooked to this, you would hate the breaded variety of Pizza served by the likes of Pizza Hut & Dominoes. However, these pizzas are best had straight out of the oven to get the best taste & fresh flavors. We also liked the Ravioli in white sauce here. The Lasagna was good but not great. Overall, this is our favorite Pizza place during days of penury & otherwise.
Trident Hilton at Shankar Chowk serves one of the best Pizzas in Gurgaon –The Pizzas are handmade & then baked in a Wood fired Stone oven – That ensures a nice smoky flavor with the taste. The ingredients used are exotic in both vegetarian & non vegetarian options and you can choose from a good range of Cheese to go with your Pizza. We loved the assorted seafood Pizza which was not on the menucard but was specially made after a request to the chef. It was one of the best Pizzas I have ever had (including my eat outs at Hongkong, China & the US). Needless to say, they have a good collection of Liquors as well to go with ur food. A brilliant place to enjoy a good evening.
Azzuro is another Italian food joint in Arjun Marg which serves pretty good food. We tried the salads, whole fish & also handmade Pizzas & those were good. Yet to explore this place more but initial impression has been good.
Spaghetti kitchen I would say is the second best pizza place in Gurgaon – It is located near Bikanerwala. The Primavera Pizza is the signature vegetarian hand-made, super thin, crispy pizza with a juicy, tasty, lip-smacking & marvelous toppings. We as usual asked for additional pepperoni toppings & that even enhanced the already great taste of the Pizza. Another unique dish is a super tasty fish called John Dory in mustard sauce. John Dory, with its very formal name, is a very tasty fish on its own & these guys do a great job in augmenting the taste with their preparation. I am at loss of words to describe how good it is. The Seafood Risotto that we had here was also good & so was the tenderloin steak. There were quite a few disappointments as well in the numerous times we have been there but overall the place is a must go.
Toninos on MG Road in Chattarpur Delhi ( little drive from Gurgaon before u enter the hustle bustle of Gurgaon) is a very romantic place to have quite good but not outstanding italian food. It is a great place to spend a nice evening.
Inside the large Spencers shop on MG Road, there is a Bakery called Bread Talk – Its got the best confectionary award from The Times Food Guide. The bread & baked items are really god & u can see the same being made in front of you (thru a glass wall). The pastries are very good too. However, the fillings in the patties, the sausages used or the seekh kababs used as fillers are very inferior & hence brings down the overall tastes of such items. You can surely buy good bread for your Sunday morning sandwich.
Bagels cafe on Arjun Marg is a little two storied shop selling salads & Bagels – Our personal favorite is the simple goat cheese bagel. There are a lot more varieties & we tried many of them. Found those good but not outstanding. They serve few kinds of interesting non-alcoholic drinks as well. Good place to hang out with friends & snack up.
Mocha, near Galleria, is a super cool hangout joint that serves a wide variety of Coffee, snacks & chocolates. While the coffees are very good, the snacks are ok or at most good. The chocolates are a specialty & in case u love chocolate, u can order a chocolate fondue….be sure u have company to share the huge portion of fondue – else u r unlikely to have chocolate for a long time due to overdose.
Good news is that Chokola of Khan Market has opened in Galleria market. It serves excellent chocolate products, a cool range of bakery products, Eggs benedict & lots of interesting breakfast stuff.
Zaitoon in DT mega Mall is one of the few Food court places which I wud love to revisit – Do not miss the mutton platter. They have excellent veggie & chicken stuff as well.
I guess thats a lot to start with – Will keep u updated.