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Monday, November 28, 2016

The Guardians Of Halahala - Shatrujeet Nath - Book Review

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Title: The Vikramaditya Trilogy:
Book 1 - The Guardians of the Halahala
Authors: Shatrujeet Nath
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Alternative History
No. of Pages: 428
Price: Rs 350
My Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author
Shatrujeet Nath has sold ice creams, peddled computer training courses, written ad copy and reported on business as a journalist and assistant editor at The Economic Times. His first book, The Karachi Deception, was published in 2013. He divides his time between writing fiction and poetry, reading, playing with his daughter, and dreaming of buying a small castle in Scotland. Till that happens, he plans to continue living in Mumbai.

Mythology and History is loved by all. We have grown up listening to stories about our heroes, of grandeur, of demigods, Asuras, Gods, wars, palaces, princesses, magic and much more all through our childhood. I Sure am a fan of this genre.
So when I get my hands on such a book which weaves spell through all these ancient fictions, magic, power, love, Gods, humans and more I just chance on the opportunity.
Retelling stories, Filming old folk lore's, history and mythology with liberties are trending now a days and everyone loves a good story.
The Guardians Of Halahala is just that written by Shatrujeet Nath its the first book in the series of Vikramaditya Veergatha and it sure makes an impact. This book right from its cover is captivating.
The cover depicts the action, storm raging within as well as all over. The mighty Vikramaditya amidst everything standing tall with fearless stride and his hell fire swords in hands is like the entire book summarised in one picture.
As soon as you open the book, an ancient kingdom map draws you in and just after you manage to read it you are taken by the glossary of names of characters from every kingdom with their short description.
The plot is laid and you are already in it, anticipation riding high all excited ready to lose yourself in the book and find new characters. No sooner than I started reading I couldn't stop, the narration is fast, captivating and the author builds suspense and entails you in it.
I found myself also wondering on the lines of Game Of Thrones (cant help, serious fan ) but the book does that to you.
The story is set in the middle of many kingdoms and all stories or happening are interwoven in one big plot. Be it the kings, their alliance, kingdoms, wars, devas, asura, enemies, relationships, loyalty, love, plotting, ghouls, magic and more - the crux the finality of it all is but one and that is power - supreme power.
Remember this book is not facts but fiction taking in from mythological stories and all the important characters and traits, happenings that we know of.
So the story revolves round Halahala - the poison that Lord Shiva consumed which made him blue in order to save the world from annihilation. So in this book a small portion of this poison - Halahala was stolen by a demon Veeshada and stored in his dagger.
Now after ages Lord Shiva himself entrusts the responsibility of this Veeshadas dagger to King Vikramaditya to keep it safe from the demons, the Gods and any other entity to safeguard the balance of power in the universe.
What follows is assaults on Vikramaditya's Kingdom from the Gods as well as Demons led by Indra and Shukracharya respectively in every form to attain the Halahala and achieve supremacy. On the other hand the book even follows the threats from Huna and Saka tribes, the disturbance of equilibrium in the Kingdoms. The ailing wife of Vikramaditya whom he loves dearly and can do anything for her but will he pay the price for her well being and in what way. Will she ever wake up from her deep slumber and recognise and love the king ever again.
The book revolves round the mighty Vikramaditya and his council of 9 and how they deal with this mayhem and emerge victorious on all accounts or not and at what price. The characters that the author has played with right from Betaal to the devas and asuras makes me want to get myself other books on them and relive these old characters and their stories (growing up on Vikram and Betaal series and tv serial too - what do you expect).
This is one of the good traits of a successful book - makes you want to read more and more about it and the characters involved in it.
The book ends on one of the battles- with lots of questions to be answered in the second part - The conspiracy at Meru.
Why and how did the Maruts disappear? What happened to Vishakha ? What will be the next step? What about Huna and Saka attack ? What price will this war incur? So many question - 2 more books.
I can hardly wait.
The book is a perfection in every way the author has been successful in involving, sketching and bringing to life so many characters with in depth research visible. There are no lose plots. The stories are interwoven beautifully. The author leaves you wanting for more with his immaculate descriptions of every scene. The grandeur, the seriousness, love, the war fare, mayhem, loyalty- every relationship is felt by the reader and every scene depicted and imagined to the hilt - such is the writing.
Must Read - Amazing book.

I was sent this personally signed book from the aurhor himself to review it however the views are completely mine and in no way influenced.
You can buy the book on Amazon for Rs 298 over here.

Check out the book review vlog 

Thanks To Jaico Books and the Author himself Shatrujeeth Nath enjoyed the book completely.
Cant wait to read The Conspiracy at Meru.

Until we meet again.
Happy Reading!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Double Roti with a Full Bar in an all New Avatar

Our very own Double Roti has thrown its doors open to its fully stocked Bar.
Yes you heard it right, Double Roti is now serving your favourite drinks and in style with live Music and scrumptious finger food (bar snacks ) to go with. This New Avatar of our "Awesomeness between breads" - sandwiches and burgers brand is being much appreciated by the crowds.
Offering an exquisite range of cocktails, some of which are inspired from the popular TV Series “Game of Thrones” like Wildfire, Winter is Coming and Kings Landing to name a few.
Double Roti, Pune, with its new offerings will continue to serve its exciting food menu which includes signature dishes such as Area 69 burger, Illegal Burger and Double Trouble.
With a seating capacity of 70, the outlet now includes a live bar counter and feet tapping music making it a favourite neighbourhood bar & café serving delicious meals at any time of day.

Not only this, Double roti is also offering a 2 plus 1 on all drinks through the day and a special combo offer for lunch (bingo).
I have still not finished - They are also having the ‘hottest burger contest’ with three sliders going from hot, hotter, hottest and any one finishing all three in 5 minutes will be entitled to a meal for two at the restaurant (simply wow).
The restaurant will also follow a weekly calendar with engaging evenings like ladies nights, game nights, and karaoke nights (yoohoo).
I am so gonna stalk Double Roti especially with such amazing offers and entertainment I am sure excited to try more especially after I got my share of the fare(I am sharing wait ;p).

On the opening of the launch of the new bar, Uday Balaji, Chief Executive Officer of V.M Hospitality who own the Pune outlet said, “We are excited to introduce Double Roti in its new avatar here in Pune. At Double Roti, the team is looking to offer an irresistible range of exciting cocktails and lip smacking bar snacks along with our existing menu. Our endeavour is to offer a perfect meal to our guests for under Rs 500 including a drink. Pune has a high density of students; Viman Nagar and its vicinity has an even higher concentration of young professionals and students, making Double Roti a relaxing getaway. We with our new avatar, intend to provide a regular hang out for guests, much like their neighbourhood local”

I am already loving the entire vibe and this grungy neighbourhood all day bar.

My favourite for the evening was Cranberry and Pomegranate sangria.
It was perfection of the sweetness of cranberry and pomegranate mixing so well with the red wine.
Must have especially for the wine lovers who love their wine on the sweeter side.

Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita

I  just fell in love with the caramelised onion with Feta.
The flavours were bang on.

 These were my favourite.
Crispy filled with flavour bite of soft mushroom with cheese, you cant just stop at one .
Must try !
Perfect bar snack.

Chicken Meat Balls
Another of my favourite. These were so good, no mess no fuss only taste.
Must Have ...

For the desi heart - the flavours were bang on, the meat was really soft and tender grilled to perfection and the masalas were perfect. It was so soul satisfying kinds, perfect bar snack again. They really have some good ones - must say and must try.

Cheeselings with chaat

Veg - Tiki Tiki Bun Bun
Delhi street style Aloo tikki burger
Non veg - Chipotle chicken
Pounded chicken flavoured with chipotle mayo and grilled onions.
Oh so good and messy, I loved it. the onions gave it a nice sweet grilled effect where as the creamy mayo wrapped the chicken patty which was so well done and soft to only enhance its taste.
Must have !

For the Nacho lovers, you definitely wont regret ordering them.


Restaurant: Double Roti, Pune
9 AM - 11 PM (Sunday to Thursday)
9 AM - 1 AM (Friday and Saturday)
₹800 for two people (approx.) with alcohol
₹160  for a pint of beer (approx.)
Address: Ground Floor, Shop 1, Lunkad Sky Max, Dutta Mandir Chowk, Viman Nagar, Pune
For Reservations Call: 020 30189237

The night was electrifying and I sure had a great time with such amazing vibes, ambience, company, awesome food and drinks.
Thanks a lot for having me Team Double Roti and Msl 2020.
Big shout out to the CEO Uday Balaji very humble, knowledgeable and an amazing host.

Double Roti is a complete VFM fun and awesome place on all accounts.
You sure will find me there on the weekend enjoying the whole ambience, food and drinks hunming to the music.
Surely try it out - Great place to hang out, grab dinner with friends or family or enjoy a couple of drinks with music.
Let me know how was your experience.
Until then !
Keep smiling..

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Warm up your Belly with Indigo Deli

Phoenix Market city opens its door to another legacy in the form of Indigo Deli.
This name needs no introduction.
Launched in 2005, Indigo Deli has defined the quintessential deli experience in India over the years.
After 11 years of delighting its patrons, number of awards, accolades and many pretty feathers in its cap, Pune gets to experience this phenomena of taste and classy relaxed ambience all packed in a punch.
Speaking on the launch, Anurag Katriar, Executive Director and CEO at deGustibus Hospitality Pvt Ltd says, - "Indigo Deli is currently our principle vehicle of growth. We opened two outposts of the brand in Gurgaon and Powai in the last two months and we are now excited to make our first foray into Pune."
This 92 seater, sprawling across 3200 sq. ft. is divided seamlessly across the bar and dining spaces with a show kitchen, as an interactive focal point. Precision of geometry has always been a consistent feature across the restaurants and this theme is re-interpreted to give Indigo Deli, Phoenix Market city, Pune its own character and sense of place.  The ambience boasts of rustic browns and warm lighting.
The place has a younger vibe than the other delis, known mainly for yummy food, drinks and hospitality will also have a live bar weekend live entertainment for that complete package.
Moreover, with the kitchen and food at its crux, the restaurant is laid out in an open plan seating layout. The highlight being the division of spaces in the form of a raised performance area with lit display shelving which shall sport a fine collection of wines and collectibles, open seating provides for larger gatherings and a horse shoe shaped booth seating for cosy semi private moods. All in all, the restaurant design exudes a moody and chic ambience using Indigo Deli’s signature material palette and colour tone.

Karen Anand enjoying the Deli

I just love their desserts and their home made ice creams are so good.

Expect comfort food at its best. Light cooking preserving the carefully selected local ingredients. Think global, eat local’ remains a paradigm for the menu that boasts the much-loved selection of sandwiches, salads, pastas, light meals, and such; a wide range of scrumptious desserts; a bevy of beverages and a daily changing, “specials” menu. Good food served well, each dish at this all-day eatery has a story to tell. From the Rueben Sandwich where the Pastrami is made in-house and the meat cured over 21 days; to the best-selling BBQ Pork Ribs with the right hints of smoky, spicy and sweet and the homemade ice-creams created using age-old recipes. The menu includes other all-time favourites like the Deli Roast Chicken, Eggs Benedict, and the signature Citrus Salad or the Corn Crusted Potato and
Jalapeno Burger. The thin crust pizzas are a Deli speciality – with the crispiest crust and an assortment of the yummiest toppings. Finally, indulge your sweet tooth, with the most delicious Crème Brulee or the Molten Chocolate Cake that will truly leave a lasting impression.

The daily changing special menu is the characteristic feature of Indigo delis all over which will be followed in Pune as well and will be curated and designed by the head chef at the outlet. Chef Tushar Deshpande, Sous Chef – Indigo Deli Pune.

Lets just dive in the comfort food treasure trove.

Raspberry & Rosemary Mojito
Must Must try, this was my favourite cocktail for the night.
Especially for people who like their Drinks fruity and on a sweeter side.
Perfect !

Pear & Basil Martini

Kiwi Lemonade

Guava & Sriracha Margarita
Quite nice with kaafir leaves thrown in. Very different taste, went very well on the palate.

Chicken & Corn Chowder
I normally like veg soups however this one was really nice, comforting, creamy and full of flavour.
The Bread basket was too good. The assorted variety was perfect. Special mention to the Foccacia - one of the best i have had, majority of us couldnt stop munching on it. Another must have of the deli. 

Bombay chicken wings with blue cheese dip

These were messy and yummy to the core.
The dip went so well it had undertones of beer and complimented the wings really well.
Perfect starter with beer especially.

Thin Crust Pizzas are their specialty and I have never had a pizza with such a thin crust which was so good.

3 Smoked Peppers And 3 Cheese red, yellow, bhavnagari peppers, cheddar, scamorza and fresh mozzarella pizza
So simple yet so tasty, whether you are a non veg or veg this veggie pizza is a delight.
MUST have. 

Risotto of wild mushrooms and red wine

I loved this one.
I like my risotto a bit soft and this one was a wee bit more al Dante but the taste was perfection . Everything came together amazingly well, must try.

Corn Bread
We specifically asked for this after hearing a lot of talk about this darling.
So glad we asked for the same, the bread was so good and so healthy. It was amazing, the texture was coarse yet smooth. The taste was sweet with spices hitting your taste buds every time you took a bite.
oh so good, Must try.

Seared mushrooms and garlic potatoes with brie and caramelized onions, on crusty french bread sandwich
 This was the best mushroom sandwich I have ever had in my life. It was melt in the mouth. The flavour was so good, the sweetness of the onions, the bite from the mushrooms, the soft garlic potatoes and the creamy cheese- the combination - mind-blowing. One of their best dish of the night.
MUST try.

Plum & Almond Tart

This was really good, looked like a pie but was a tart and so good at that.

I am in love with their home made ice creams you have got to try them, so creamy and so comforting.
Especially Bailey's, Nilgiri Vanilla, Belgian chocolate and Pecan Butter ( my favs )
Apart from these there were Salted Caramel, Blueberry & Mint, Strawberry cheesecake.

Chocolate Whiskey Pate

This was my most favourite dessert for the night.
Loaded with a big peg of whiskey, So potent and so sinful.
Bitter in every bite with the luxury of rich chocolate. Heavenly.
P.S They don't serve this one to kids.

Last but not the least a delicious hamper to carry home and spoil our self with some yummy jams, marmalade and freshly baked bread.

The night was really good. The service was fantastic, they ask for what you like and then suggest dishes or tweak them according to your choice.
Amazing place to sit back and relax and let them take care of you and pamper you silly. Be it a weekend brunch, meetings, romantic meal, night with friends, or just get some alone time with your thoughts or perhaps a quick snack after shopping- Indigo Deli wont disappoint.
The prices are on the higher side considering the quality they serve, the food is top notch and so is the ambience and service.

Thanks a lot to Carpe Diem and Indigo Deli for having me over. Special thanks to Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee - Executive chef of Indigo Deli Pune for taking such good care of us and spoiling us for choices.

Do drop by as they are now open and serving.
You wont definitely repent.

Indigo Deli, Phoenix Marketcity, Pune:
For reservations: 020 49300200 / 020 49300201
Timings: 9 am to 12 am 
Instagram: @IndigoDelicatessen
Twitter: @Indigodelis

Do let me know how your experience was.


P.S - I was invited for the Bloggers table however the opinions are completely unbiased depending on my own experience.

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