17 December 2016

Fantome Bar Exchange

Conveniently located at South Point Mall, just behind my home base in DLF's Phase 5, I noticed Fantome Bar Exchange a few weeks back while detouring past the mall due to the never-ending metro line construction. Just opened 1 1/2 month back, I finally dropped in a few weeks ago for some drinks with a girlfriend before heading out to an event. Once settled however, we didn't leave. The ambience was inviting and the music selection was good, but not so loud as to be off-putting where we couldn't sit and conversate. (Note to bars in Gurgaon: Knock it off; you don't all have to try to be a dance club. If you are a pub or a family restaurant your music should never be so loud that I have to shout to the person sitting across from me.)

Wanting to catch up with another friend in the vicinity, I suggested we meet at Fantome to see if it would be as charming as the first visit. I also wanted to try some of their handcrafted beers this time around. Verdict = nice ambience, good service, and pretty good pub grub.

I was surprised to find that there were only three fresh beer options (Hefeweizen, Blonde Ale, and Dark Lager), but enjoyed them all. I did laugh a little when the waiter asked if I needed one glass or two for the pitcher of Hefeweizen I requested. Even though I mentioned someone was joining me, obviously I look as though I could finish one all by my lonesome. Added bonus, since it's a bar exchange, you pretty much never have to pay full price for drinks. I love the concept of ordering at a certain rate that goes up and down based on its popularity (especially since I normally drink G&Ts which is not a popular liquor here - Indians love their vodka and whiskey).

We started with a cheese platter that was weirdly served with only thinly sliced apples or teeny apple chunks to eat with the several kinds of hard, jiggly, and soft cheeses. They looked confused when we asked for bread or crackers. Clearly not that many cheese-lovers order this option. However, they did bring us some pita bread with which we could mix and match the cheese so we were happy. 

We then dined on a dinner of appetizers much to the amusement of our servers. The tandoori broccoli was delicious, the hummus pita chicken skewers were quite good, only the cheese fries were a bit bland. Indians do not appreciate salt enough in my opinion; fries and salt are a match made in heaven, people! It's like peanut butter to jelly! We were also given a complimentary plate of bruschetta (oddly delivered post-dessert). It looked inviting with its baby tomatoes, but after our feast of appetizers it was difficult to continue. I managed to rally and really liked it. It was a little juicy from biting into full tomatoes rather than chopped, but it was on a bed of some sort of cheese or sauce and there was just enough balsamic vinaigrette to give it a kick but not make it soggy.

As many of you know, I'm not big on sweets. However, my friend decided the brownie was a necessity. It was soft and chewy and the ice cream was nice. However, what the blue concoction was mixed with the chocolate sauce was weird. I thought it might be gelatin only to learn the true origin of gelatin and can safely say that in this country of vegetarians, it was definitely not gelatin.

Confused by the dry ice and blue sauce....
That said, drop in for a visit the next time you're on Golf Course Road. It's worth the try!

02 December 2016

Hungry Expat's "Indianized" Stovetop Scrambled Eggs

Inspiration for my next "Indianized" dish came quickly today. I am a huge fan of breakfast for dinner which is why I took my leftover "salsa" concoction from my baked potato and Indianized myself some dinner out of it. Scrambled eggs are another favorite of mine and super quick and easy.
                3-4 eggs                              1/4 c milk                           2 tsp butter 

For some pizzaaz one may also add some cheese and cilantro and definitely salt and pepper, but they're pretty bland the traditional way, even with a side of bacon and toast.

01 December 2016

Hungry Expat's "Indianized" Best Baked Potato

Growing up, baked potatoes were my go-to meal because they were quick and easy and required pretty much zero level of skill to make. An American baked potato, while filling, comprises of very little and is easily cooked:
                                                potato                            butter
                                                sour cream                   cheddar cheese
                                                salt                                  ground black pepper

It was also common to spice it up a bit with the ever popular Bac-os (for those of you uninitiated in American imitation food - that is bacon flavored "bits" made out of soy or some such) or chives. If you were really ambitious, you could also cover lightly in olive oil and dust with sea salt for a better baking result, but I rarely exerted that little bit of extra effort and opted for the quick and dirty microwave.