Showing posts with label Iftar Pack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iftar Pack. Show all posts

Thursday, 25 June 2015

After beginning the Ramadan Iftar series with the review of Pista House Haleem, this time around wanted to check out on the Iftar fare from a non conventional place that serves one of the best home delivered Biryani in Chennai. Among the non conventional outlets, Daawat Biryani's Iftar menu seemed to have caught my attention well before others. Knowing that food from Daawat Kitchen can rarely be disappointing, decided that their Iftar pack would be my first pack of the season.

As always went through their offerings and placed my ordered on the previous evening for a Haleem Combo and an Iftar pack. Although you just need to order one out of their three combos for them to deliver, I wanted to get a broader overview of their fare and hence ordered for the above two combos. As highlighted in my first post of the Ramadan Iftar series, the review style will be crisp and on the following parameters.

First up the Haleem combo consisted of 500ml of Haleem and 5 pcs of medium shaped triangle Mutton Kheema samosa. The Iftar pack comprised of about 175ml Haleem, 2 nos of Kheema samosas, 3 nos of Chicken kebabs, a Chicken roll, Phirni and 150ml of Ice Lemon tea. 


First things first, the Haleem looked considerably different to what I've so far known to as Haleem. I've been having Haleem for quite a few years now with some of them being hand brought by family when they fly down from Hyderabad just to let you know that I'm no stranger to it. The Haleem was very thin and watery as compared to the rich and gluggy authentic ones. To be honest the consistency was more of a hardened curry rather than the one that is synonymous with Haleem. It was also much lighter in colour as I was able to make a comparison with another Haleem that I carried over from the previous evening. Having a total of about 675ml of Haleem, I resorted to some kitchen experiments to get the consistency right. After reducing it for about 10 minutes with a vented pot, I was able to get a texture comparable to the traditional ones. However this Haleem was devoid of any bones and was to an extent flavourful minus the extra work I needed to do in order to overcome the runny consistency and get the true feel of having Haleem.

The mutton samosas were quite flavourful but would have liked it to be packed with more filling for the price being paid for it. The wrappers used for also great as inspite of being cold during the delivery, it didn't turn very soggy. The Chicken kebabs were a complete miss for me as the kebab was completely dried out and provided a sort of fine dusty texture on the palate. It was just too dry. On the contrary the Chicken roll was spot on. I loved the filling and the succulent parotta that was used to make the roll all added to the flavour. The roll was big enough for a person to consume and felt it to be the best item in the Iftar pack. 

As for the drink, the lemon ice tea there is nothing much to elaborate excepting that it was just about 150ml which in no way could be a sufficient quantity for a fasting person. Coming to the dessert in the pack, the Phirni unfortunately was again a major let down. Don't know if it was the packaging or what but when I transferred it to a bowl, it fell into it as a big ball. It had become way to thick and lost the complete feel of the semi liquid phirni that one craves for. As I had to scoop it out rather than spoon it, felt that it was a tad too high on sweetness level. However because of how it had turned too by the time it reached my place, I decided to do away after a few mouthfuls.


The Haleem combo is priced at ₹ 375 while the Iftar pack is priced at ₹ 295. Delivery charges are extra and for Kilpauk it was ₹ 55. 

Felt the pricing to be higher in comparison to the average price in the market. 500 ml of Haleem is priced at about ₹ 200-₹ 250 elsewhere. While the pricing of the Iftar pack is at the same as most other outlets, the number of items in the pack is comparatively much less here. The basic ingredient of breaking the fast which is the dates and water are not part of the Iftar pack. This coupled with a few other things leave the Iftar pack incomplete and wanting for more. Adding to this, the delivery charge, I felt just inflated the overall pricing because if the food was top notch it wouldn't have pinched so much.


The overall packaging was good except for the juice and dessert. The Haleem came in a sturdy container while the samosa and kebabs were boxed in an aluminium box. The roll was wrapped in the usual wrapper. However the Ice tea came in the form of a pouch knotted with rubber bands which was a big big disappointment.The same was the case with the phirni too. I seriously believe the packaging of the phirni had a major role in how it was perceived by me.

  • Quantity - 3/5
  • Quality - 2.5/5
  • Price - 2.5/5
  • Packaging - 3/5

Overall I felt a bit disappointed as the high expectation I had keeping in mind how awesome their awesome is was definitely not matched by their Iftar offering.

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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Continuing in line with the Ramadhan (Fasting) month, today’s post is again an Iftar special but with a huge difference. During my childhood days, when I used to be in the Middle East, every Ramadhan we usually head to a couple of restaurants located in luxury hotels for Iftar. Each of these restaurants used to have a lavish spread of dishes and was truly a feast for the palate after about 16 hours of fasting. Keeping in line with the grandeur that Arabs exhibit, the spread used to have exotic fruits to wide range of meat cuts and summing up with an extra-ordinary variety of desserts. Moving over to India, this was always a miss, the sheer opportunity to sample around 50 dishes in a single go. Remember, I said sample not devour. ;)

A key question that I kept asking myself all these years was why hasn’t luxurious hotels caught up to this market yet. If cost was the only excuse then I can definitely vouch that it shouldn’t be. Again this year the same thought was crossing my mind when I suddenly stumbled upon what I’ve been wanting for ages. ‘Anise’ at ‘Taj Coromandel’ have finally decided to distinguish themselves and raise one notch above their counterparts. Yes, finally an Iftar special from a restaurant in a luxury hotel.

The iftar special at ‘Anise’ is meticulously crafted by the Executive Chef of Taj Coromandel, Chef Alok Anand and the outcome has been a deliciously nutrient rich menu following the traditional Iftar route yet having an own personality of its own. The Iftar Special is a Set-Menu beginning with ‘Iranian Dates’ served along with ‘Jallab’. Jallab is the Middle Eastern take on Rooh Afza aka Rose Milk. It is a drink made up of Dates, Rose water and with a topping of Pine Nuts minus the milk. This was followed by a big fruit bowl that set a perfect tone for the rest of the evening.
(Iranian Dates)
(Lassi & Jallab)
(Fruit Bowl)
With the fruits dusted, we were asked for a choice of a ‘Shorba Laham’ and ‘Lebanese Style Lentil Soup’. The mutton shorba had a strong flavour but was a tad too spicy for being served during Iftar. The Lentil soup made up for the shorba in a big way. Perfectly tempered lentils that provided the soup a completely different dimension in terms of texture. With the soups done, next up was the ‘Garbanzo bean and mint salad with Grilled Chicken’. The vegetarian alternative to the chicken salad was the classic ‘Fattoush’ salad. The salad was perfect in terms of portion size and had a very unique lemon dressing to it that captured the mood of Mediterranean in the right spirit.
(Lebanese Style Lentil Soup)
(Garbanzo Bean & Mint Salad with Grilled Chicken)
For the mains, one has an option to select either Chicken, Mutton, Fish or Vegetarian. The mutton being the ‘Gosht Biryani’, I decided to opt for the ‘Dejaj Mashwi’ to carry on with the authentic experience. The Mashwi was a portion of lemon roasted chicken with a Dill butter and served with some Horse Gram rice along with a vegetable ragout. The highlight of the mains was the intricate way in how it was balanced. The rice was very unique and together with the combination of chicken and ragout, made for a wholesome experience. As I enjoyed savouring my chicken, my friend went in for the Gosht biryani. The aroma of the biryani was so strong that I couldn’t resist its temptation. How can you have an amazing biryani sitting in front of you and not devour the same, hence I decided to take a go at the Gosht Biryani too. Honestly, it was the best possible biryani I’ve ever had at a restaurant in a 5 star hotel. Tender and juicy mutton pieces with a strong flavoured rice helped it stand apart from the other very average rice aka biryani that is available elsewhere. While the mains were being served, a glass of sweet rich lassi was bought to the table.
(Dejaj Mashwi)
(Gosht Biryani)
To bring closure to the Iftar menu, a portion of ‘Oum Ali’ and ‘Basbousa’ were served for the desserts. Oum ali is a form of milk pudding baked using condensed milk, nuts and puff pastry. Coming to the Basbousa, it is my favourite Mediterranean dessert and one that I’ve mastered baking myself at home. So it was a pleasant surprise to be served one. Basbousa is a semolina and coconut dessert sweetened with rose water and orange blossom. To balance the overload of sweetness, a small array of fruit platter accompanied the desserts, the perfect way to end the gourmet Iftar.
(Dessert Platter)

The Iftar Special Menu is available at Anise in Taj Coromandel till the 28th of July, 2014 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The four course set menu will cost you ₹ 1,250 plus taxes.

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

In today’s modern lifestyle, every member of the family is busy in their own ways. Not blaming them but that how the order of the day has become. The biggest fallout of this is probably family time during a meal. I still remember 15-20 years ago, how if not for every meal at least for dinner all of us assembled at the table and sat together talking about the day and enjoying the meal. But the bitter truth is today it evades most of us.

However there is one month of the year where this opportunity strikes for a sizeable section of us. Yes, I’m taking about the Holy month of Ramadhan. No matter how important a work is, as the time of sunset comes closer, the entire family is promptly settled on the table saying the prayers in unison and preparing ourselves to break the fasting that we set upon at dawn.

Traditionally, the fast is opened by consuming a portion of dates along with the Holy Zam Zam water but because Zam Zam water is a scarcity in India (Until unless you’ve had someone who had recently visited the Holy city of Makkah) regular water suffices the ritual. After the opening of fast, depending on each family’s tradition, a variety of snacks, sweets and juices follow. Some of the common dishes are Samosa, Spring Roll, Vada, Bhajji, Cutlet, Flavoured Agar Agar, Roohafza (A variant of Rose Milk), Nonbu Congee (A special variety in comparison to the traditional Congee) amongst others.

Now for those who are non-natives of Chennai and observing fast, it becomes a challenge as getting all savoury, sweet and drinks at a single place become difficult as most restaurants are non-functional around that time. But thanks to the advent of a slack of Arabian themed restaurants in Chennai, this problem has found a permanent solution. Until a few years ago, a handful of restaurants had something known as the Iftar Pack and to the best of my knowledge Hotel Blue Diamond was probably the first. But now the options have become unlimited. Almost every restaurant now has a special pre-packed pack that can be picked up from the restaurant and the fast opened at the convenience of one’s accommodation. Curious on knowing how each pack differs from the others, I’ve decided to check out on some of them during this year’s Ramadhan. The first of which was today from Zaitoon.
(Iftar Pack)
Zaitoon’s Iftar pack comprises of
  • Dates
  • Bottle of Water
  • Cut Fruits
  • Lemon flavoured Juice
  • Mini Shawarma
  • Koji Rice with Laham (Mutton)
  • Parotta
  • Chicken Curry
  • Kubus with a quarter piece of Grilled Chicken accompanied with Garlic paste
  • Savoury Puff
  • Haleem
  • Gulab Jamun
  • Payasam

(Iftar Pack Opened)
The offering is quite extensive and must say that it was a complete meal by itself. Some highlights of the pack are that the lemon flavoured juice was indeed a Lemon flavoured Tata Gluco+ water. Although it can be deceiving from being a juice, it was a good alternative because the body does need that extra bit of energy after being on a fast for more than 14 hours. The mini Shawarma was not mini in a big way. It was the regular sized roll with slightly less amount of filling. The rice was spectacular as always while I felt the Parotta to be a little hard and doughy inspite of heating the same. The curry was appropriate but my only issue was that it was way too much to be eaten with a single parotta. Perhaps it can be used along with some Bread/Chapathi/Rice for the pre-fast meal. The grilled chicken was the usual fare. The puff was a bit flaky to my liking while the Jamun and the Payasam were just fine. Another standout in the pack was the Haleem which incidentally tasted much better than the one that most people usually head to in Egmore. I’m yet to try it out from there this year but if it tastes the same as last year, then I think we have winner at Zaitoon.
(Iftar Pack Contents)
A true value for money the Iftar pack is priced at ₹ 299 and is available across all their outlets from 4:30 pm onwards.

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