Each area of this city has a mainstay eatery – a place you go with your college friends, your family, for business, for borthday treats or just for solid food. Chembur has Grand Central.

We have been visiting this place for over 15 years, and amazingly its position remains unchanged atop Chembur’s popular eateries. The food has a range from Punjabi to Chinese and even some seafood. Having tasted it all (except the poor dead fish, of course), I would be very comfortable putting this restaurant under “purely punjabi” and nothing else.

Start your meal with one (or more) masala papads and possibly an aaloo chaat. The punjabi main course has many good options including malai kofta, dum alu, paneer tikka and biryani. The pick of the bunch is probably the Navratan Korma. Roomali roti used to be excellent there but this last time it really seemed to be lacking mositure and was altogether too dry. I would stick to the Lasooni Naan or tandoori roti.

The ambience is of a decent “family” restaurant and that is exactly what it is. Service is pretty average – don’t expect too much and you will be quite satified.

My recco – Stick to the punjabi main course and always start with possibly the best masala papad anywhere.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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The fact that paneer can be used to make any kind of cuisine is exploited to the maximum by Ivy. This nice, comfortable joint in the building adjoining the Shoppers Stop in Ghatkopar seems like they know what Indians like to eat and cater unabashedly to it.

The menu is seemingly endless and had us confused on what to order for a while. So we had a bit of everything. The paneer tikka was not surprisingly decent enough. Not spectacular, but not too shabby.

We also tried their chinese appetizer and found the babycorn salt & pepper a very good sample of Indian chinese fare.

The main course had several options with paneer in it again. The juxtaposition of Punjabi and Indian chinese food in the menu may show what people want, but seemed to confuse everyone as they were not clearly marked as separate styles of cuisine.

The main course veggies were steady, though unspectacular punjabi fare. Lots of veggie options, but they tasted not to dissimilar to each other.

The energy is comfortable and groups of families gathered around tables seemed to indicate that all were happy with the food in front of them. That is always a good sign for any restaurant. That alone buys them one bone.

But in a menu dominated by punjabi food, we recommend you try the babycorn salt & pepper – and that really sums it up. This restaurant is nice and comfortable. The food is pretty plain vanilla and not something we will go out of our way to recommend.

My recco – If you visit Ivy, go with friends or family and just enjoy the comfortable ambience. This does make the food taste better.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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What’s in a name? This evidently was the thinking behind the restaurant formerly known as Toss’n’Grill. The brothers who owned the restaurant which has 2 outlets less than 50m apart have split. They both retain the same menu. One gets the original brand name and the other retained the original phone number. Funny!

 Anyway, back to the food. This place has an eclectic menu and that’s putting it lightly. Kababs, mughlai food, pastas, hummus & pita – they have it all. Typically a recipe for disaster.

But, surprisingly, they have managed to pull it off – to a degree, at least.

The kababs are very good. Multiple paneer tikkas, potatoes tandoori style etc – either as is, or in the form of roti wraps are all very good. The main course mughlai is not too bad and the dum alu is actually quite good.

The pasta is in “white sos” as per them. Not quite an SOS, but not very good either. The pasta is far from al dente and the sauces lack authenticity. Eat only if not in the mood for the other 3 styles of food on the menu. The only saviour is the excellent garlic bread.

The mediterranean food – particularly Hummus & Pita – is excellent. A pleasant surprise with thick consistency and garlicky goodness, the hummus will make you beg for more.

The fact that lebanese food works well in conjunction with frontier food like naans and kababs make the mixture work.

My recco – Start off with hummus & pita, work your way into some kabab rolls and end off with some pasta salad. Your stomach will be confused but the tongue satiated.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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Some times the heart desires good hearty food – no pretences, no fussing around. At such times, Punjab Sweet House at Pali Naka is a great bet.Located in a very competitive neighbourhood for restaurants, PSH is the old boy on the block. They have been around for a long time and I don’t see them going anywhere. The food matches the name and rarely attempts any deviations.The ambience is one of a busy chaat house. You jostle for space to get to the counter and drool on the hot jalebis, samosas and the like.

Their pani puri is passable. But, I would stick to Punjabi chaat dishes. The papdi chaat is divine and the best south of Lajpat Nagar. What I would recommend above all else is the hot samosa (divine in our now 6 month monsoon season). Ask for the chole or green chutney to accompany it, and you will be in heaven. A new discovery is their Dhokla. This bastion of punjabi-ness seems to have a gujju hidden in the kitchen. Very fluffy, light and tasty. You can pretty much try anything which you would opt for in a good punjabi snack joint.

Pricing is low, portions are large and flavour is consistently good.

My reccoShow up hungry and in a casual mood. Get some samosas, lassi and (if you must) sweets.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:punjabsweethouse-dec24.jpg

The ITC Sheraton group is known for the Bukhara and Dum Pukht. With such a pedigree of Indian food, would we dare to enter their Chinese joint?

You bet we would.

The Shanghai Club is easily the least marketed, least known 5-star chinese restaurant in Bombay. No one knows it exists and you get zero bragging rights by saying you dined there.

Its literally your last stop at the ITC Grand Central in Lower Parel. You walk all the way through the indian restaurant, meander past their glass-walled kitchens with buttery kababs and fluffy naans until the decor suddenly turns oriental. You cross the India-China border and there you are!

The ambience is very nice. Great lighting, good room between tables, lovely limitless tea. The cutlery gleams and the crockery has some quaint chinese design elements.

Your journey here has to start with the appetizers and for me, they stole the show. The dim sum is dead-on. Only one veggie option, but the steamed veggie dumplings are as good as anything you get in Singapore. Another nice starter are the crispy, chilly pepper vegetables. Just the right mix of spice and flavour.

We tried the Gong-bao veggies and the Ma Po Tofu. The tofu is silken and the sauce delicate though not as spicy as the original. The Gong-bao is a poor cousin of the real deal – Kung Pao is meant to be a fiery mixture of dried red chillies and peanuts. This fell short! The rices have decent options, though they lacked a pot rice option. We had the ginger peppers rice and it was nice.

The pricing is high, but not as high as you would expect.

TIP: By investing in an annual ITC Sheraton Plus Card you get great discounts on your meals (upto 50% off for a couple meal). If you like their food, worth coughing up the 6 grand.

Overall, a decent experience, but you could get better chinese elsewhere.

My recco – Worth a visit, if you are a regular to ITC for one of the expos. But, if you visit rarely try the indian place first.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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Having been raised very close to the original Kailash Parbat, I spent a good part of my childhood enjoying their snacks and sweets.

Malad has been starving for a quality snack joint outside InOrbit Mall. Enter KP Express, if you please. A small, efficient, clean version of the Colaba original. Same food, different ambience is the claim.

Thats a lofty claim and we took up their challenge and tested the menu. The fact that they are 100% vegetarian is a nice plus.

The chaat is all excellent – Sev Puri, Dahi Puri, Bhel Puri – all excellent. Pav Bhaji is actually better than I remember. We then tried the “main course” (read heavier snacks).

The Ragda pattice has always been their mainstay and it is awesome. The pattice were slightly overfried on the outside but perfectly done inside. The pattice was the correct consistency – not too thin, not too lumpy. The green chilly paste and onions formed a nice garnish to this simple dish. A must-have. Another fan favourite is Chola Batura. But, this was quite ordinary here. The Bathura were too crisp and the Chole lacked the punjabi richness.

A friend tried the Sindhi Kadi Rice, and that was not too shabby. The Thali meal was perfect for lunch. Not too big, and not too small either. The best part of the thali was the free Gulab Jamun. They could pretty much charge whatever they want for that dish -amazing still after all these years.

The ambience is ok. Pretty basic. We have been there twice and once half the joint was occupied by a kitty party, but I will not hold that against them. After all, everyone seemed happy enough! 🙂

My recco – Focus on the chaat and light snacks and try out the variety. Leave space for the Gulab Jamun and you will leave contented.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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