In a nutshell:
Imposing facade, great ambience, superb service, excellent beverages but ‘jack of all trades, master of few’ when it comes to food.
Address & other details: California Boulevard
Meal for 2: Rs 1500 onwards.
Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Short description – in case u r in a hurry:
California boulevard to me is a Jack of all trades, master of only a few. Has an excellent guy at the bar – excellent bar tender. But the guys at the kitchen r still tender ( in terms of skills / exposure) . They need to raise the bar.
The menu card is as thick as a novel and has a humungous list of dishes from around the world. The menu card is easy to read and understand due to descriptions below every dish.
However, the sheer variety probably led to a situation of average to good food but almost nothing stood out as outstanding. It wud b better to have lesser variety but better, more authentic dishes.
Beverages , as I mentioned were outstanding.
The facade of the restaurant is imposing and very attractive even from a distance. A Harley Davidson dedicated parking attracts attention as soon as one gets to the parking lot.
Inside the restaurant is beautiful. Dimly lit, the restaurant has elements of California boulevard – from gaslight lookalikes to names of stars embedded on the street to ever changing hi Res black and white photographs of Hollywood stars to posh sofas and seats and a full sized red streetcar ( like a tram). Great place to spend an evening with friends, or on a date etc etc.
A/C was at Arctic level. I was wondering if they have a pet polar bear!!!! Pointing this out did not really make much of a difference. They changed the temperature from night at North Pole to noon at North Pole!!!!
Service is attempted ‘white gloved’. Some guys are really good. Some others are average. The guys generally try to take care and were very very polite. This aspect they can get beyond full marks.
I saw the chef take rounds of the tables but did not get to talk to him as we were busy in an intense conversation. It was nice of him not to interrupt.
Cutlery was good. Guys changed plates as many times as we got new dishes. They did all that they cud, to keep up the service standards.
Food varied from bad to average to good to even very good. Nothing that we ordered stood out as outstanding.
Prices were as per gurgaon standards – not cheap, not expensive , on a relative scale. I did not however find it value for money. I have spent 3-4 times of this amount in other restaurants and still found those value for money!!!!!! It’s not about the absolute amount of money that determines ‘value for money’ but it is about the price that the food commands…..
Detailed description – in case u have the time to NJOY reading:
To begin with, we ordered Cheesy chicken chowder – creamy chicken soup with veggies from the streets of California. Well, must admit I never tried this in California but have been a big fan of New England clam chowder in Boston.
Clam chowder is usually thick, creamy, has full flavours of clam and has small pieces of potato in it.
The chicken chowder had Flavor of cheese, taste of cheese and also a creamy texture. Chicken expressed itself only thru texture, no taste, no flavor of meat. This chowder was thick as compared to most soups but was Thinner than the clam chowder I am used to. The chicken chowder was Nowhere as flavourful and YUMM as clam chowder, not that I did not expect it to b that way. The chicken chowder was Slightly low on salt but not bad. Rate it 3.5/5.
For drink we ordered Ginger roger – it had full flavor of ginger and it had chunks of ginger floating in the drink. Lemon made its presence felt. One of the best expression of multiple flavours at the same time. Rate it 4.5/5
We also tried Clove and green apple lemonade. It was very Refreshing. Full of flavour of clove till the last drop. Never had a clove drink so good. Rate it 4.75/5
We the ordered grilled lamb skewers. These were presented to us in Malaysian satay form. These had a Mild bitter aftertaste and a Smokey feel. Great to taste. I loved the Burnt edges. The meat was not very soft and not very firm but had an intense meaty flavor. It was not juicy as well.
The satay was served in a glass and there was Salad at the bottom. The salad was awesome. Rate this dish 4.25/5.
We r generally find of good spinach dishes – the ones in which flavors of good spinach emerge. So we ordered Spinach and walnut seekh.
It however turned out to b a glorified hara bhara kabab. It came with 4 chutneys sweet chilly, onion jam, ginger and chilly jam and green chutney. The Tamarind chutney that was served with it was very good.
The kabab was Soft inside but dry. Outer part was not crisp but firm. Unlike a true kakori kabab that breaks off if one attempts to pick it up, the spinach kabab one cud hold in the middle and still not break it.
Rate it 3/5
The next dish we ordered was Tandoori salmon. We had earlier Had this dish in Punjab grill. There the fish was very juicy, masalas were stronger and fish taste and flavor was somewhat overpowered by the spices.
Here the fish taste and flavor was preserved very well. The spices made their presence felt but in a much more subtle way. Fish was flaky but dry – way beyond enjoyable limit. It was good nevertheless.
Rate the dish 3/5
We also tried Watermelon martini sans alcohol. It had a strong flavor and taste of watermelon. Use of citrus fruit juice added a twist to the a taste and also the flavour. Once again, a great drink. Rate it 4.5/5.
For main course we ordered mutton habibia. According to the menu card it was Middle Eastern braised lamb in rich nutty onion gravy and flavoured with mint.
The dish was served in a metal saucepan. Very well presented.
The gravy had lost its characteristic due to excess cream added to it. The spices were lost. It was not hot. Mint did not make its presence felt. It was just another non directional gravy served in delhi with lots of cream in it. Rate the gravy 2/5.
The meat had bad cuts. Mostly bones. It was not fresh either. Had smell of long refrigerated meat – not a good feeling at all. The meat probably was not fully cooked in the gravy – flavours of gravy did not mingle with flavours of meat. Meat was soft but I did not feel like finishing it due to the ‘old meat’ smell. Rate the meat 1/5
Overall rating of mutton habibia averages out to 1.5/5.
For dessert we ordered tab Tim grob. This Thai dessert is supposed to b a coconut milk base, water chestnuts, crushed ice and sago. The idea of having that combination is to have a balance between strong taste and flavour sweet , thick coconut milk and balance that out with tasteless but textured sago, crushed ice. Water chestnuts give flavour and texture.
What was served to us was a lumpy thick canned coconut cream with some water chestnuts, some crushed ice and no sago. The proportions were totally wrong and we cud barely finish 20% of the whole. Extreme sweet, no balance of taste, lumpy creamy extra thick base. Unbelievable. Rate this 1/5.
We ate a few spoons & kept it aside. Someone came & asked for feedback – we said exactly what is written above. They took it off the bill when the bill came. I insisted that they put it back but they did not put it back to the bill. So u will not see this item on the bill.
Overall rating of food and beverages at the California boulevard averages out to 3.6/5
Rating of just the food is 3/5
Rating of beverages is 4.6/5
I Wud never Get back here to eat out. Might stop by for a drink though. Might get a bunch of my friends here for a catch up where talking to each other in a nice environment is more important than the food we have. Music is played at perfect volume – loud enough to b enjoyed and not so loud that conversations happen very smoothly….