Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Weekend Past...

Just an account of the weekend gone by...

AG and I started the weekend with a dinner at Tandoor on Friday. Tandoor is the Indian restaurant at Holiday Inn. It had been recommended by some colleague of AG's. We had booked a table thinking this would be necessary, it being a friday evening. But when we reached at 8:30, the place was two-thirds empty. The decor was an attempt at emulating the rajasthani style but the effect was unimpressive and the lighting was too bright which I though was a bad idea for a restaurant with not too good interiors. Now bright lighting is a very good thing if you have architectural details or ornate cornices or crystal chandeliers to show like the Tiffin room at Raffles, but if all you have are bad replicas of Rajasthani paintings, then I would say stick with soft, dim lights. Anyways we bravely went ahead and ordered food. I actually even ordered a cocktail (something that AG wisely refrained from). The cocktail was a poor concoction and it was brought to me in a simple ordinary glass, not even one of those fancy cocktail glasses. I knew then that this didn't augur well for the rest of the dinner. But nevertheless I looked forward to my tomato shorba. Ugh!.... that is the only thing I can say about that vile brew they brought in and called soup. And the paneer tikka we ordered with it was average. For main course we had asked for Handi chicken, roomali rotis, pudina paranthas and the ubiquitous dal makhani. The Handi Chicken had been described on their menu as chicken cooked in peshawari spices. I would advise them to change it to chicken drowned in peshawari spices... so strong was the taste of cardamom and cinnamon in the dish. The roti and parantha were disappointing, if anything could disappoint after what we had already been put through! The star of the evening was the humble dal makhani. It was among the best I have eaten. But what a pity the rest of the evening's experience was so off-putting. I don't think we will go back there.

Saturday, early morning saw us jostling among a few hundred other Singaporeans at the Suntec convention centre hunting for good travel deals at the NATAS fair. Thankfully we had gone there with a clear plan in mind. We would get in, buy a good deal for a 3 night stay in Cambodia and get out as fast as we can. The entire thing still took us 3 hours!! But at the end of it we had our bookings for a 3 night stay in Le Meridien at Siem Reap and return tickets on Silkair for the Diwali weekend in November. And we came out of the convention hall hungry enough to start gnawing away at our knuckles. Headed straight to Chutney Cafe in the basement food court at Suntec. IMO chutney cafe is the best place for authentic North indian fare at prices which doesn't require you to sell yourself first! And those people have now started buffet lunches on weekends. AG and I feasted on divinely soft garlic naans, tangy paneer makhani, dal, fish tikka masala, chicken curry and topped it all off with some delectable gulab jamuns. The weekend before AG and I had set out for Esplanade and ended up at Chutney cafe for evening tea. They serve some amazing samosas and to-die-for peas kachori... with fresh mint chutney and sweet tamarind chutney! The service is horrid but the food more than makes up.

Saturday evening... watched Salaam Namaste. Bedok Theatre does have some lousy management. And every time we go there they seem to have scaled new heights! This time they kept the whole crowd (and trust me there was quite a crowd!!) sweating and cursing in the staircase. But since Bedok is the only place showing Hindi movies, we are left with no choice but to grin and bear. The movie was VFM or paisa vasool as we would say in Bombay. Saif and Preity look great, though I do think it is time Preity had that facelift! And the movie has the usual feel of those in the Johar-Chopra genre. It also uses the taboo topic of live-in relationships... a first for a mainstream Indian movie. The music is average and the editing in the second half leaves much to be desired for. The movie starts well and the comedy from Javed Jaffrey hits all the right notes. Arshad Warsi is wasted in his regular comic side kick character. And Jugal Hansraj has been brought back from the dead to do a small nice-boy role, which is the only kind of role the poor guy can essay with some conviction. The idea itself is 'inspired' from the Hugh Grant starrer Nine Months and the last few scenes are a direct lift from the movie. But all said, the movie is worth a dekko.

Sunday, attended a desi blogger's meet at Mindcafe. Mindcafe is this lovely little hangout place tucked away on Prinsep Street and is based around this cool concept of board games. It provides a huge collection of board games to its patrons in addition to the usual cafe fare of fries and drinks. The meet itself was well-attended and was quite a bit of fun. It was a great opportunity to meet fellow bloggers and indulge in some general chit-chat. Here is a list of attendees:

Ended the weekend with Sehar. Now, I have always suspected that Arshad Warsi is a very good actor and can do far more than the funny side kick. Sehar has proved that these suspicions are well-founded. The movie has some excellent acting and slick, slick editing. The storyline is your usual good cop against bad thugs and corrupt system. But the acting, editing and dialogues have made this movie a delight to sit through. The dialogues are written in beautiful Hindustani and is like music to one's ears. A must watch!

Coming weekend, we have planned a trip to KL. Now wading through this week trying to reach the end of it. Hmph!