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Peng you quan – Friends restaurant (central plaza mall, golf course road, gurgaon)

In a NUtshell A serious, no nonsense, authentic food restaurant that made me feel several times , that I was sitting at a restaurant in China – look, feel, decor, smell, detailing, vibe. Address & other details: peng you quan Meal for 2: ₹500 onwards Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself … Continue reading Peng you quan – Friends restaurant (central plaza mall, golf course road, gurgaon)

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Sonabridge (hotel zhongqiao, golf course road, gurgaon)

In a NUtshell I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming – the food at sonabridge made me think I was in Guangzhou, no tweaking to meet Indian tastes, ditto same. I had been searching for such a place in the last one & half decades in NCR. Address & other details: sonabridge Meal for 2: ₹800 onwards Cuisine type : … Continue reading Sonabridge (hotel zhongqiao, golf course road, gurgaon)

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Shim shim ( bright street, Park Circus KOLKATA)

In a nutshell: A relatively new tibetan food restaurant in a very unlikely location that serves some great Tibetan and other oriental style beef dishes Address & other details: shim shim Meal for 2: ₹300 onwards Cuisine type : Very few vegetarian, mostly Nonvegetarian Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill … Continue reading Shim shim ( bright street, Park Circus KOLKATA)

Republic of Noodles (Located in Lemon Tree Hotels – Goa, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon, Aurangabad)

In a nutshell:

Very enjoyable Asian Cuisine with a good variety, cool ambience & good Hospitality

Cool ambience at The Republic of Noodles Restaurant, Lemon Tree Aurangabad

Address & Other Details: Lemon Tree Hotels

Meal for 2: Rs 1000 onwards

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Short Description – In case u r in a Hurry:

Though we have stayed in Gurgaon for many years now, we have not been to the Gurgaon or Delhi Lemon Tree Hotels. Our first brush with Lemon tree was at Aurangabad & this is where we saw a board that mentioned ‘winner of Times Food Guide Best Asian Food’ award. I was surprised. Times Food Guide in Aurangabad?? Checked with the Hotel Lobby & then came the story – The Delhi chapter had won the Times Food guide award twice. Since the menu & recipe is same across all the Republic of Noodles restaurants, they had put up such an advertisement.

Nonetheless we decided to give it a try & we were not at all dissappointed. Infact we loved the experience at this place.

Top view of poolside restaurant & open kitchen

The Restaurant at the Aurangabad property is pool-side. So the ambience was very good. Though there is a little bit of electric lighting in the corner, the real light for the dining table is just a candle – So even without planning for a ‘candlelight dinner’ u inadvertently end up in one.

the dining plates

The kitchen was an open kitchen on the poolside. One can go & take a peek at whats cooking. The service was reasonably on time & the guys serving were quite warm & knowledgeable.

We went for the dishes which showed up as Chef’s recommendation in the menu card. Loved the food. Honestly it was much better than my expectations. I cannot vouch that the dishes were 100% authentic but they were really good to taste.

Detailed Description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading:

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Excelsior Hotel (281, Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hongkong)

In a nutshell:

Exceeded my expectations as usually Coffee Shops in Hotels r not the best places to have a memorable meal. Liked it.

Excelsior Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hongkong

Meal for 2: HK$ 300 onwards

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Non Vegetarian


Have been staying in this Hotel for the past two days & have had different kinds of food so far. Here is how it was.

Room service

We asked for Fried seafood noodle – It turned out to be what we know as American Chopsuey in India. Deep fried thin noodles, Hard & crispy in texture, looks like a nest, placed at the base of the plate. Gravy poured on top of that. The gravy soaked noodles tasted better than just the dry crispy ones coz those were different from normal noodles but attained a very interesting texture.
Pok choy was the only green vegetable in the noodle & among the seafood were large prawns, calamari (squid) & some excellent scallops. The scallops were very soft in texture & had a very robust taste. Prawns were soft, mildly juicy & not at all chewy. The calamari was a bit short of optimum in terms of the texture. Overall, a very enjoyable meal.

Fried noodles with seafood

Fried Oyster cake with leek & egg omlette – A deep fried food, this conceptually cud have been a baked dish as well. A bit more oily – the texture initially reminded me of Fish Batter fry that we used to eat around at Benfish Kolkata. However, quite quickly I figured out that it was closer to fish Kabiraji.

oyster omlettes

The inside was deshelled oysters (as it is) bound together by egg & sprinkling of leeks. I found the same dish being served at the traditional Roadside eatery at Temple street night market. Tasty, Enjoyable & interesting dish but a bit too oily for some people. Maybe this one wud have felt much better if it was cooked by any method other than deep frying………… but who am I to comment on traditional dish of this place??………….. just a humble foodie.

fresh fruit platter to end the meal

Breakfast & Lunch spread:

Its got a huge breakfast & lunch spread wth Oriental & Continental sections.

There was a tiny Indian section too. Live stations constantly had queues. Needless to say that the Indian food was just ok. Nothing great.

Special mention to the salmon sashimi at the Japanese counter, Peking duck at the Chinese Counter, a very large dessert & fruit section. The sashimi was outstanding & the wasabi was good at hitting the sinuses. The Peking Duck at China Garden, Hyatt, New Delhi is much better.  The choice of everything was so high that at times I was feeling like a kid in a candy shop.

peking duck, sashimi & honey pork

The coffee shop

Went for Thai Fish cake & salad with Nuoc Cham dressing. The texture reminded me of crab cakes. The fish cake had a slightly thick outer layer & very soft & juicy inside. Tasty & cool – though some people might find it a bit oily since it is deep fried. I liked it & likely to order again.

thai fish cakes

For main course, had ‘fish balls with flat rice noodle soup’ – Though the menu card mentioned fish balls, the dish had fish ‘cuboids’ as well. Loved it so much that had it again next morning at the live food station. So here is how it was made:

Continue reading “Excelsior Hotel (281, Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hongkong)”

Hongkong Street Food – Tong Tai Seafood Restaurant (Temple Street Night Market, Hongkong)

In a nutshell:

A roadside Chinese Dhaba in which u actually sit on plastic chairs on the road & eat from makeshift tables – some marvelous fresh seafood & other Chinese food. I wud have regretted to have missed this place.

te facade of the shop

Meal for 2 : HKD 200 onwards

people sitting on plastic chairs & tables on the street & eating

How to get there: Get to Kowloon station & take a taxi to ‘Temple Street Night Market’.

live (most of them) seafood on display

Cuisine Type: Predominantly Nonvegetarian, limited but good Vegetarian selection.

live seafood – view 2

Short Description –In case u r in a hurry:

In many years of my regular visits to Hongkong, there has hardly been an occasion when we have not visited the Temple Street Night Market. It is a makeshift market that comes up everyday post sunset, on a place that is a road in the daytime!!!! I guess there are hundred or more stalls in this place & they sell a huge variety of merchandise like – Chinese traditional dresses for adults & kids, very innovative toys, paintings, a plethora of things that u can use for decorating ur home, Hongkong memorabilia, DVDs & fakes of all kinds of brands from clothing to accessories & shoes.

A very common sight in Hongkong – Full roasted birds of all shapes & sizes hung – with their beaks intact

What this market also has is a few roadside eateries that served fresh seafood & other Chinese food. On the display is a host of sea animals of different shapes, colors, textures & sizes. U can choose from them & they will cook it for you in the way you want (u will have to choose from multiple choice questions). U can also order from a printed menu card in which almost every item has a colored picture.

the aquarium section – u choose ur food

We generally used to go to one of these eateries for a long time – The food was great but the service was dramatically poor. They wud not come to take the orders for long, u wud struggle to get a fork (food is usually served with a pair of chopsticks), they might forget serving one of the things that u ordered etc. We always thought that all popular street food joints are like this only. Yesterday it crossed our mind to try out a new joint. To our pleasant surprise, the service was perfect, so was the behavior & the food was awesome. The food was actually better than our earlier joint.

from shelled beings to swimming fishes (background)

What is interesting is that on each table u will get a toilet paper roll – in place of tissue paper, for wiping ur hand!!!
Incase u r a nonvegetarian beyond just boneless Tandoori Chicken, do not miss this place if u happen to be in Hongkong. This is a foodie’s heaven.

Detailed Description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading:

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Spectra, Coffee Shop, Leela Kempinsky (NH8 Gurgaon, besides Ambience Mall)

This post covers our visit on 4th july 2020 & also our first experience in 2011.

Read about Our First dineout experience after the COVID pandemic lockdown

Read about the first eat out (but not done in) experience after the COVID pandemic lockdown here – tres

Keep scrolling down to Read about our first experience at spectra in 2011.

In a NUtshell

An excellent dinner in a restaurant after 4 months of eating at home – wonderful experience overall, great food, enhanced by our host.

Address & other details: spectra

Meal for 2: ₹2000 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. 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

This was our first dinner in a restaurant ever since cities got locked down due to COVID. We were deliberating between different options & narrowed down to spectra. We were looking for European food. Very Glad that we came here – the experience was totally worth it.

The restaurant is situated inside leela ambience gurugram. As we alighted from our vehicle, a guy in uniform came for valet parking. I handed over the keys & the car. He asked my phone number (he said it was mandatory). I asked for the receipt. He said physical receipt will not be given & that I will receive an SMS in 10 minutes. The SMS however never came. After our dinner I walked out of the gate, told the security about my car. He asked me for SMS. I said I did not get. He got me the car & handed over the keys!!! So imagine someone can quote another person’s Bentley’s number & drive it away!!! Super wierd.

As we entered the hotel we were asked to put all our metal belongings in a tray and pass through the security so that there is no need for physical patting and checking. As we reached the lobby, we were asked to stand in front of a machine that could measure the temperature without physical contact.

After this,when we moved on to the restaurant, it was about 7:40 PM and the restaurant had about 4 to 5 tables occupied. it was as silent as it could be it. No chatter, no clattering of cutlery. It seemed like walking into a restaurant in a hotel at 7 AM in the morning for breakfast on Sunday, sharp at the opening time.

When we had called earlier, the guy did not tell us that the last order will be before 8 pm. We were lucky we walked in at 7.40. Else we would have to return.

Our server was extremely warm and constantly kept us engaged throughout our stay in the restaurant. We felt like being guests at his home.

As we sat, he got us a scanner. It had a QR code, which we had to scan from our camera of the phone. immediately as we scanned the code, a link appeared and it had the entire menu of all the restaurants in the hotel. The E-menu was Crisp and very very easy to navigate through. it was very user-friendly, I must say.

The final check however came in traditional printed paper. Thankfully, inside the restaurant we could takeoff our masks because the tables are apart anyway and due to low occupancy people were seated far from each other.

Few customers in the restaurant and imports not yet being normal, led to some ingredients being absent in the kitchen. so few of the dishes that we wanted to have , cud not be served to us. However, whatever we had was outstanding and by far made up for not getting the ones we were looking for.

Absolutely loved the food

Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:

As we waited for the food, we were served a complimentary Immunity booster – it had strong celery flavors, had a tinge of salt, it was not too sweet & overall it was a great refreshing drink. Rate it 4.25/5

We ordered grilled Norwegian salmon. It was just brilliant. It was so juicy that At times it felt like that I was having watermelon!!! The fish was flaky, full of flavors and perfectly cooked. the skin on top was Crisp & super enjoyable. Chef had made a marmalade Inhouse, that was spread on top of the fish. excellent. Loved it so much that our plate was polished white by the end of the meal. Rate it 4.5/5

Grilled lamb chops were perfectly cooked as well. The pieces of meat used in the lamb chops were also excellent. The meat pieces had a layer of fat in the corner. These had become Crisp outside. as we would bite into the meat, the Crisp thin layer of fat wud burst into a flavorful thick liquid. Outstanding is an understatement. rate it 4.75/5

For dessert we had banana walnut caramel tart. The tart base was very good. The filling was good, the caramel sauce excellent, the bananas were very ordinary, flat taste ones – not too sweet, a hint of salt. Overall the dish was very good. Rate it 4/5.

Overall rating of food & beverages average out to 4.25/5

Really happy we went there. Wud go for a Japanese dinner some day.

Below is the original post from 2011

In a nutshell:

Loved the experience & the food – a few ifs & buts though on the food. Will surely revisit to try out other cuisines.

Inside Spectra, Leela Kempinsky, Gurgaon

Address & Menu card : Spectra

Meal for 2: Rs. 2000 onwards

Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Cool & colorful decor at Spectra Leela kempinsky gurgaon

Short description – In case u r in a hurry:

As u walk into Leela & then into the Coffee shop Spectra, ur eyes r overwhelmed with the decor & the look. I wud not say that it is the most artistic place I have been to but it is a visual delight.

........... a visual delight

As u walk in the restaurant u realize that the staff is very warm. I have this funny habit of wearing the most ordinary of clothes to a 5 or a 7 star & then asking for non bottled filtered water – The reaction is very interesting to see coz a section of the staff in most of these places tend to judge u by these initial parameters. Here at Spectra the reaction was as warm & normal as it could get & they passed my funny test with flying colors.

The Coffee shop has a very very interesting Japanese counter where u can chat with the chef, tailor-make ur sushis & sashimis & sit & eat on the bar table. The Chef rolls the sushis in front of u from scratch &serves.

A little away from there is the Chinese counter. Here again u can sit on counter, chat with the chef , tailor-make ur food & eat soups, stir fries , soupy noodles like thukpas etc. All ingredients are kept there as well & the colors of them are a visual delight.

There are also a good representation of cuisines that u usually do find too many Top end Restaurants specializing in. e.g Arab cuisine, Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean . They also have a large list of good unusual food (unusual when compared to menu cards of other delhi restaurants).

The menu card has a very large & wide selection vegetarian section.

Other interesting options are a breakfast spread Rs. 750 + taxes, a Lunch buffet of Rs. 1600 + taxes , a Sunday Brunch (with sparkling wine, house red & white wine, beer & vodka cocktails) & a Champagne Brunch for Rs. 3500 (Champagne in place of Sparkling wine + everything else) .

We liked the seafood soup, loved the Moroccan seafood grill & Freaked out on the outstanding tenderloin steak.

Detailed Description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading:

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Dine Esty (Sushant Lok 1, near Park Plaza Complex, Gurgaon)

In a nutshell:

Pretty good Chindian / other Asian food & a very exciting & cool live Teppanyaki station – must experience it.

Address & other details: Dine Esty

Meal for 2: Rs. 1000 onwards

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

The Chindian (Indianized Chinese food) is tasty & nice but lacks on the authenticity front. For ‘close to authentic Chinese food’ in Gurgaon, YUMMRAJ recommends The Monk, Galaxy Mall. However, if u do not give a damn to authenticity & r willing to dig into anything tasty, Dine Esty is a good choice. Infact its a very good choice for a nice evening out with some good food.

The main dining hall – another view

We have been to Dine esty several times & always had been eating at the Live Japanese Teppanyaki  (Japanese Grill) Counter. This time around we decided to sit in the main dining hall & ordered some Chinese (turned out to be tasty Chinjabi) alacarte section.

starter at Dine Esty

The menu card was almost 10 pages long & really requires a great deal of study by foodies to decide on food. Too many interesting names pop up before the eyes & ity becomes a challenge (in a good way) to narrow down & finalize the order. In the menu card there are sections like soups, dimsums, starters, main course etc like everyone else but all these section in turn have detailed sub sections  – chicken, pork, lamb, vegetarian, duck, fish, crab, seafood. I saw some interesting items like seafood dimsum, crystal dimsum, pork gouza, prawn harkaw (a dimsum that has potato starch as wrapper) – I fondly remembered harkaw that we had at Royal china. To summarize, every Chinese place has sections but this one was in great details.

 The interior has three sections – a lounge & bar setting on the left (as u enter) & this is covered by a see-through wooden partition. Then there is the Main dining Hall with Restaurant setting & at the end is the Live Teppanyaki counter where u can sit on the counter & njoy seeing the food being prepared in front of u. A chat with the chef is also an interesting option. Getting the food made with ur choice of sauces is surely another option.

The lounge & bar setting behind the wood partition

The Japanese concept of teppanyaki is very cool though – it is essentially a flat Metal plate (say 1meter by 2 meters) that is heated at all times. The customers have the option to sit around this hot plate & the Chef stir fries veggies / fish / meats in front of u & serves fresh out of the Teppan.

Stir frying on the teppan right in front of the customer seats – u see the cooking right infront of u

Inspite of the fact that the sauces here r tweaked to cater to Indian tastes – the overall taste is very enjoyable. ………….. Infact not too many people might b able to appreciate the 100% original taste the way it is served in Japan or China. I Do love the original though & do not mind the tweaked versions at times.

Detailed Description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading:

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My notes on Punjabi & Chinese Food in Gurgaon – The most popular food categories

Welcome to the Millennium city of India – Gurgaon. The name Gurgaon is derived from ‘Guru Gaon’ since Guru Dronacharya got this village as a gift from his royal disciples. The ‘Gaon’ referred to above, became a town over the ages & even today the old part of the city looks like any typical Indian small town. It is only about a decade back that the new city was built & this is visually different than any other city in the country with its numerous high-rises & swanky malls.

In spite of having a bombardment of Punjabi food on offer, surprisingly there is not one shop which serves an Amritsari macchi tikka as good as Makhan Fish shop in Amritsar or a Bhuna Baingan & Dal Makhani as good as Kesar Da Dhaba in the bylanes of old city of Amritsar. In case u have had the opportunity to taste the fantastic true blue Amritsari Kulcha on Lawrence Road, Amritsar, u wud hate to swallow down the breaded variety of kulcha that is served at most of the eateries in Gurgaon.

In fact, if u had been courageous to eat at Bajwa Ka Dhaba (opposite Highway King on Jaipur road), then u wud shudder at the thought of eating Punjabi in Gurgaon. I can’t resist telling the story of Bajwa ka dhaba – so here it goes………………………

Continue reading “My notes on Punjabi & Chinese Food in Gurgaon – The most popular food categories”