Hichkee, Yamuna Kinara, Agra

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

A smooth hiccups-free experience at Hichkee !

In my exploits as a Food Blogger mostly people want me to visit a place for sharing my experience with them and help them improve on customer experience.
Then there are places like Hichkee where I want to visit not because I haven’t been to a place like Hichkee before but just to gauge and understand if it’s really worth all the hype and is it really all glittery or does its food and hospitality really has its heart at the right place?

Location & Parking: Located on the rooftop of Hotel Alleviate next to Yamuna Kinara, the Valet parking is both necessary and works well to rush off to level 4, hoping to leave behind your day’s worries for a while !

IMG-0150Timings, Reservations & Waiting: They have started operating now from 5 pm till 1 am everyday to counter the heat. Reservations and Waiting is an area where they do come under some stick. For the record the reservations can be done up-to 8.30-8.45 pm but not on weekends. The best time to visit on weeknights is to reach latest by 8.45 pm and on weekends to be on the safe side reach by 7-7.30 pm if you want to completely avoid any waiting time.

The Drinks: Being a Teetotaller, I tried a number of Mocktails and Shakes however nothing could beat the Chocolate Oreo Shake & Drooling over Guava mocktail during my outing. #stronglyrecommended

The Starters: The Cheese, Capsicum, Corn and Coriander (hence named 4C) preparation was like a cheese bowl but in elliptical shape was a starter full of Cheddar cheese, that was both delicious and filling. For my veg counterparts this is a must order !

IMG-0196Among the crop of non veg starters the best I liked was the Zarda Chicken Kebab that first tasted like a Malai chicken kebab but then gave me a tangy chatpata flavour. #lovedit
IMG-0198The Mutton Kali Mirch was equally appetising with the flesh falling off the bone and an unusually creamy texture for a Mutton starter went well with a subtle flavor of black pepper and thankfully the pepper flavor wasn’t overpowering in nature ! #recommended
IMG-0200Steamed Chicken Momos with a twist of stuffed cheese was both surprising and appetising. Personally I am not a fan of Momos and if at all I do eat then fried is what I prefer but this steamed Momo was perfectly steamed with no rubbery exterior that are a deal breaker for many a preparations. The filling was done fantastically well with cheese and delicious minced chicken and I liked it a lot. #beststeamedmomosever
IMG-0201The Indian style pasta was very unlike your regular pasta and as the name promised, had flavours of a paneer Makhani like gravy and was served with tender chunks of Paneer. #innovativeforsure
IMG-0199Bhatti Ka Murgh was like a regular Tandoori chicken for me, that was a tad dry and needed to be a bit more juicy, gave the feedback to the Chef which was taken gracefully indeed !
IMG-0202Thai Curry Fish with Basa being served in Oriental gravy was further accentuated by usage of Lemongrass and ginger being the chief ingredients. The Fish was cooked very well with its sides being crunchy and the meat beneath extremely tender. The pickled Broccoli served with rice was pretty tasty as well.

Mutton Dum Biryani: My favourite food is biryani and expectedly if I see it in the menu I am always on the look out to try it. I wasn’t particularly hopeful about the biryani in Hichkee being a Cafe however I was again pleasantly surprised by both the quality and quantity of the preparation. It wasn’t quite the spicy types preparation like Hyderabadi however nor was it all aroma and nearly bland like a Lucknowi variant. This was a preparation served with dry fruits, tender Mutton, fluffy and  well moist rice that was medium spicy and went very well with a Mutton Korma like Saalan and very well made Raita. #biryanimasterkhushhua

The Verdict: Having dined at best of the best places in cities across India and the world, I can say this is definitely among the top 3-4 places in Agra and compared to top picks of Cities like Pune, Mumbai, NCR, I would rate Hichkee on par with some of the stalwarts both in terms of Ambience (the view of Tak is pretty good as well) hospitality and great food ! I am already getting hiccups where I think my taste buds miss Hichkee and I would love to visit them soon on my next trip to Agra. To conclude – Yes they do live up to all the hype and certainly gave me a dinner to remember for some time to come !

 

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Mocha, Fatehabad Road, Agra

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

One of the best Cafes I ever visited !

Rating – 5/5

So where do I start about one of the newest entrants in Agra in the Cafe’s category – Mocha ! Should I talk about their stupendous rooftop Ambience and seating, quality of crowd they get or should I straightaway come to the main part – their amazing food..Oops feels like I am getting ahead of myself, let’s take one aspect at a time. Though I usually don’t give a full on rating but this experience truly deserves it !

Location & Ambience : To be really honest once you take a look from outside it just doesn’t give away a lot about the Ambience part having been situated at a vantage point on Fatehabad Road. However once you enter their multi level seating – indoor on first floor and outdoors/rooftop on second it feels really good especially at the top with some colourful artefacts / swings with some not so loud music and thankfully so !

The Food : Man oh Man if you’re into global cuisine like Burmese Khow Suey, Indonesian Nasi Goreng, Banoffee Pie, Lebanese Mezze platter apart from the usual Indian and Chinese cuisines this is “the place” for you without a shadow of doubt !

NonVegPlatterSome of the delicious items Agra Foodsters tasting panel tasted Today were : Aslam’s butter chicken tikka – though it has nothing in common with the old Delhi delicacy but a tasty chicken tikka nevertheless followed by some crispy and tangy chicken wings and a mild preparation – stuffed Chicken Tangdi as part of the Non Veg platter.

The Fudge Brownie Freak shake was huge and was my companion till the end of my meal and was worthy of a freak shake as how it should be, full of cream, brownie chunks, gems and choco chunks, yummy 👅

PizzaThe thin crust three Chilly vegetarian pizza was again pure love full of cheese and was a simple preparation without a lot of toppings but it still did the trick of making us drool.
MuttonBiryaniThe mutton Dum biryani was pretty unlike Agra and was tilted towards the Hyderabadi style of preparation and overall it was enough to leave a mark on biryanimaster though a slight area of improvement would be to have more meaty pieces to make it an irresistible preparation.
ChickenSizzlerUsually I don’t have a lot of personal affinity towards Sizzlers however the Peri Peri Chicken Sizzler was pretty decent for a Sizzler preparation and I am not surprised that I indeed liked it.

Though both the Desserts were absolutely fine however I was totally blown away by the Chocolate Avalanche preparation which was a mouth watering combination of Chocolate Mousse, chocolate truffle, chocolate Brownie and chocolate fudge combined with chocolate icecream was sinful at its best. Priced at 225 bucks this preparation is worth every single penny and is good enough for 3-4 people.

Among the newer breeds of cafes recently opened in Agra I would rate Mocha right among the top ones. Moreover given the quality of food and Ambience at roughly 400-600 bucks per person this isn’t an exorbitantly expensive proposition either. Go for it and I am sure you would love it as well.

Jahanpanah, Sadar Bazar – Agra

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

Jahanpanah tussi great ho, Tofu kabool Karo !

Rating – 4.5/5

While not asking the reader to frame a visual from the famous Hindi movie about the above dialog I just want to emphasize the fact that they are true to their name i.e. a Jahanpanah of their trade of Lucknawi food ! This was a special tasting for me as well as being the Agra Foodsters Admin this was my first Agra Foodsters event in 10 months !! The occasion was big and Jahanpanah didn’t disappoint either the veg or the non veg folks and played perfect host to this momentous Agra Foodsters outing.

IMG-7842First things first I am the sort of foodie who just wouldn’t care about service, ambience, customer service, prices or any such aberrations as long as the food getting served is fabulous. To be really honest Jahanpanah still after 3 years of my foodie association still have their heart at the right place and I would love to go back to their food time after time.

Following is my experience of their food with increasing order of my likeness for the individual items:

IMG-7837Tawa Mutton Chaap – Needed to be a bit more gravied than what it was and the meat was a bit dry as well. This is not yet launched in their menu and the Foodies provided the relevant feedback and I am sure once it’s launched it’s going to be a huge hit.

IMG-7839Tilwaale Aloo – The very reason that I have rated this ahead of a mutton dish speaks volume about the preparation, with a tasty cheese stuffing this is your sure shot veg starter – a usual departure from Paneer based starters for my veggie friends.

IMG_0513Nargisi Mutton Kebab – Wow and wow this was a typical shami Kebab preparation enhanced by coating of egg batter and stuffing of raw onions that have this a crunchy bite – a delight in every bite indeed !

IMG-7840Kalmi Murgh – This is your goto chicken starter if you’re looking for something that isnt very spicy, yet is flavourful, mild and tender all at the same time, loved it ❤️

IMG-7838Dal Makhani – Not quite the frosty thick types and overpowered with cinnamon this was one drool-worthy preparation that had the perfect balance of spices. The fact that the humble Dal Makhani finds itself ahead in front of so many non veg preparations should again say a lot about this delicacy.

IMG-7841Mutton Galawati Kabab – The absolute melt in the mouth Mutton Kababs, I can only say the only better ones I have had are from Tunday Kababs, Aminabad – Lucknow so these are pretty relevant in the Agra Food scenes and among the top ones IMHO.

IMG-7835Akbari Phirni – Well if you have tasted the phirni of an extremely successful and biggest barbeque chain of India and feel that they absolutely murdered the preparation and you get nightmares as soon as someone mentioned the word “Phirni” then you should taste this. The Phirni here would restore your faith in humanity once again and you might end up ordering more than one👍🏼

Mutton Boti Masala – The best Mutton gravy preparation I tasted in a while, the first bite sent me into a fountain of flavours and it was so good that everyone just gobbled it up without even waiting to click the pictures as is the religious norm for bloggers these days. It seems to be the only item whose image you won’t find in any of the reviews so that’s one more reason for you to visit Jahanpanah for this and the preceding item if not for anything else.

IMG-7836Mutton Biryani – A typical and simple Lucknawi Biryani devoid of any serious spices that do many places just sprinkle for the sake of it. As they say beauty lies in simplicity and this was one beauty I have every time I am in Agra and the trend will continue in the years to come.

IMG_0523Four delicately spiced tender mutton pieces in flavourful basmati rice using a typical Dum preparation gives this the best dish of the tasting tag and Lucknawi biryani for me can’t get any better than this at this price point !

The Verdict – Overall they are an absolutely awesome place to have some authentic Lucknawi food, the rest of the parameters like location, service, parking facility and value for money quotient are pretty decent as well. Go for it and if you’re serious about your Lucknawi food whether Veg or Non Veg then this is absolutely it !

My Favourite Agra Veggie Joints

Having been born and brought up in Agra and having spent most of one’s life in Northern parts of India spoils your taste buds for good. However the best part about Agra is the variety of cuisines I grew up with – Mughlai, Awadhi, Punjabi, North Indian, Continental/English/Italian (so many 5 star Hotels) and even South Indian due to the influx of so many tourists courtesy The Taj Mahal. So once you have lived here you’re ready to go anywhere in India and do well in terms of food as you’re exposed to so many different cuisines. It does offer it’s own challenges though as the rich taste we get here is difficult to be replicated exactly anywhere else.

Through this blog I am gonna relive all those lovely memories of the rich and varied food which made me a foodie during my growing years 🙂 

This post specifically is about my favourite veggie places in Agra.

Vegetarian Places for Lunch / Dinner

  • Dasaprakash, Meher Talkies, Baluganj – This is the place to be if you like your Dosas, Idlis and all of the South Indian Cuisine. The prices are fairly expensive but the dining experience, taste and service makes up for it. Goldrush Ice-cream is something I never miss when I am here.
  • Manoj Restaurant, Johri bazaar Road, Old City Area – Offers some delicious Dosa and mouth watering Pav Bhaji without the use of onion and garlic ! The pricing is extremely moderate, always packed but you get a seat in 5-10 minutes usually. Ambience and hygiene are not the greatest.
  • Udupi Brindavan, Civil Lines – More or less in the same category as Dasaprakash, does the job for people living in that side of the Town, if you can’t make it Dasaprakash at-least pay this one a visit. One dimension where it scores is apart from South Indian it offers decent Chinese and some Italian options as well.
  • Om Bhojanalay, Sadar Bazaar – One of my favorite places, extremely crowded after 8 pm offers some yummilicious Paranthas, Butter Paneer Masaala, Kadhai Paneer and the limited Veg thali are some of the delicious items.
  • Thaaliwaala, near ITC Mughal – The food definitely is a bit spicy which is a good thing and one can share their Thalis, taste is typically Punjabi and North Indian and overall a good enough place for vegetarian food.
  • Filmy Zaika, Jamuna Kinara – On a slight expensive side of things but the taste and relaxed ambience more than makes up for it. They serve one of the best Paneer Tikkas in Town, if you’re here just don’t miss it !

These were some of the Vegetarian delights I visit every now and then, hope you already have been here, if not I would advise you to start right now 🙂

 

Om Bhojanalaya Agra Cantt, Agra

Blast from the Past!

Rating – 4/5

Well this belongs to the category of places that believe in simplicity but don’t compromise on the quality of their food.

People looking for sophisticated servers, good ambience etc please don’t go there. It’s a simple and at times a chaotic place and doesn’t always check marks on the overall cleanliness front but its food has its heart in the right place.

I have had numerous meals at this place ranging from the 75 rs. limited veg thali (now 100) to the wonderful kadhai paneer, mutter paneer gravies with butter naans and kulchas. I almost loved everything from their menu and its an extremely pocket friendly place. In under 300 bucks two people can enjoy a hearty meal at this pure vegetarian restaurant.

They also have a related restaurant pretty nearby which almost offers the same taste in a better ambience and is of course slightly expensive.

The crowd here usually comprises of families and is nearly packed in the evening, especially on weekends so go early and enjoy the taste and observe the interesting surroundings.

Absolute value for Money and a big thumbs up for the taste.

Dasaprakash Restaurant Rakabganj, Agra

Pure South Indian Dosa experience !

Rating – 4/5

This is Dosa Paradise, if you love your Dosa’s the South Indian way then this is the place to be.
It serves a lot other dishes as well but is best known for its authentic Dosa or the Dosae as they like to spell it.
My all time favourite is Butter Masaala Dosa and it’s prepared in authentic south Indian style with no North Indian adulteration 😉

This is one of the few places that still serve you Dosa and it’s masaala aloo separately much like the same way as done down south.
One of my other favourites is the Veg Cutlets and in desserts I order Gold Rush(simply awesome) every time I visit the place.
Ambience hasn’t changed a lot over the years and service is a bit laid back to put it modestly.
The prices are a bit on the higher side but you won’t get this kind of stuff anywhere else in Agra so go for it if you have a craving for South Indian Cuisine 🙂

Aahar Civil Lines, Agra

Has deteriorated over the years !

Rating – 2.5/5

Aahar has been operational in Agra since forever I guess 🙂
I have fond memories of this place as this was our venue for celebrating friend’s birthdays. This I am talking from my school days when dining out with friends was a big deal and celebrating one’s birthday in Aahar was something we looked forward to. They had some amazing dishes like Kadhai Paneer, machurian & fried rice, cutlets were my all time favourite along with some amazing pastries. This I am talking about 10 years back in time and all friends in my group loved this place.
Coming to the present times, the food quality and the quantity has gone down a bit. Prices have increased expectedly however the taste and passion in serving value for money food has gone out of the window.

All the above items which I mentioned with fond memories don’t live up to their expectations anymore and to top it all there are all kinds of taxes that gets added up in your bill. One can easily expect their final bill to shoot up by atleast 150-200 bucks as a result of these taxes.
Not too many restaurants in Agra charge this much and I wonder if the Tax department has any special tie up with this place 😉
The rating of 2.5 is only because of the vivid memories from the past as it’s a place which gave us a lot of joy during our school and college days 🙂