Essence, Park Plaza, Zirakpur

On our last night at home, we went to Essence, Park Plaza for dinner. The restaurant menu on Zomato looked good and had something for everyone- North Indian, Southeast Asian, continental etc.

I was looking forward to a quiet place, but the restaurant turned out to be quite noisy. We reached around 8:30 and had to wait for a bit. There was a buffet spread but all of us wanted à-la-carte, so we placed an order for honey chilli vegetables, asian spinach and corn rolls, couple of mocktails, beers and wine.

To my surprise, they only had one variety each of beer, whiskey and wine. Moreover our server kept pushing us to take the only beer available(even though we didn’t want it), since there was some offer on it!

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Dak Bungalow, Whispering Willows, Zirakpur

Lots of new eateries have come up in Zirakpur since our last visit here. And the other day I found just the perfect place for a family dinner.

Dak Bungalow is a huge bungalow converted to a restaurant. In British India, dak bungalows were houses providing free accommodation to govt officials. They were also famous for their excellent food.

We reached the place at night, so not much of the garden area was visible. But from what I could see, the place looked beautiful. Interiors had a certain old world charm with ornate solid wood furniture and comfortable couches. Tables were spaced away from one another which was a good thing.

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Empire restaurant, HSR

Weekends always turn both of us into gluttons, not that I’m complaining 🙂 And since it’s a mandate to have pizza on Friday/Saturday, we ordered from good ol’ Domino’s after noticing high delivery times for other places.

After polishing down food from Domino’s with some beautiful Sula Dindori Reserve Shiraz(yes, wrong pairing I know!), we felt the need to have something spicy.

And so I placed an order from Empire, HSR for dosa chicken. Hubby of course being mostly vegetarian, opted for jeera rice and paneer butter masala.

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Candolim, Goa

This was our last evening in North Goa and we thought “you can never have enough of beaches, isn’t it” :)? And so, we went to the lovely Candolim beach.

Mum & Dad enjoying the lovely beach

This beach was less crowded than Baga and Calangute, and hence cleaner too. Waves were high here and we couldn’t go much deep into the waters. But we did have lovely walk to Fort Aguada.

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Grapevine, HSR Layout

A dreamy little cafe, hot cup of tea, some yummy snacks and a crossword puzzle with Mr.H and I felt I could spend my entire evening here. How could I have failed to notice this place!

This charming cafe has simple yet classy decor, an open bookshelf built around a huge tree trunk and a wine rack with some wines on display near the entrance. The place has a cozy feel to it, and the glass wall on one side makes it look bright and spacious.

I think I spent first half an hour just gazing around at the lovely surroundings, and then my eyes fell upon coloring sheets and a crossword puzzle on our table (yay!). Our server handed us their beautiful menus and a big case of color pencils for the coloring sheets 😀

They have varieties of coffees, teas, shakes and appetizing dishes. We asked for coco berry tea, macchiato, a portion of spinach & artichoke onion rings, and started off with the crossword puzzle 🙂

Service was super quick and our server appeared soon with our food and beverages. Tea was accompanied by delicious chocolate cookies. Both tea and coffee were excellent, but the showstopper was onion rings.

Slices of onion stuffed with spinach and cheese, dipped in a light batter and fried to perfection, sinful and delicious 🙂 I loved the light batter, which made the onion rings light and fluffy rather than weighing them down. The dip served along with the dish was equally good. I wish they start serving even number of rings, so that we won’t have to fight over the last piece 😀

The cafe is an absolute delight, and we had an amazing time with incredible food and puzzles. It’s a perfect place to relax. I am definitely going back for dinner soon!

Ambiance: 4.5/5

Food: 4/5

Beverages: 4/5

Service: 4/5

Grapevine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Habanero, Indiranagar

Yay! Hubby finally agreed to drive to Indiranagar for lunch (maybe due to my relentless requests :P). But the place we were were planning to visit had no valet parking, and finding a parking place in Indiranagar is a challenge.

Habanero was nearby and we decided to stop there since it had valet parking. Their Koramangala outlet is closed now, and there are no other Mexican places in that area. This one looked like a rustic village house with minimal decor consisting of tiles etc.

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