CCU Undercover: Maharaja’s Haveli

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

It was time to get CCU’s bhangra on again as she channelled her inner Indian and decided to swivel her hips into another restaurant where the smell of curry, paneer and fresh mango lassi permeated the air.

Grabbing the bottom of her sari, she sashayed in, followed by her equally dressed up, jewelled up family and like royalty, they seated themselves to be transported back to Old India…

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Do you remember I went to another Indian restaurant and reviewed it? Castle Taj? Well, that was good. Now, in comparison to the review I am about to show you today, it seems to-tahl-ly average. Legit. And I suppose this is to be expected when Haveli has the reputation for having the best chaat in Sydney. But more on that later ;)

You walk into Maharaja’s Haveli and BAM, I don’t know if you subconsciously fell into the DeLorean or into the Doctor’s Tardis but you feel an instantaneous connection with old India. I wish I could have taken photos to show you but there are models everywhere, of beautiful old fashioned weaving, rickshaws and scenes from the time of kings, when India was at its peak!

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The restaurant is actually divided into three parts.

  1. The café-style low-key area. There is no fine-dining jazz, it is simple chairs and tables, with a menu above the counter and a huge display of Indian sweets.
  2. The fine dining room. Adorned by photos of old Indian kings, colours, old-style seating, regal portraits and wonderful artefacts from the old world such as pottery and serving dishes. If you want to dress fancy, I recommend you sit here :)
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  3. The vegetarian ‘real experience’. Now I did not know about this but according to granddaddy, there is a section in which you sit down, cross legged (bet you have not done that in a while) and are served in the traditional style of eating on a banana leaf – fun right? :D

We chose the fine-dining room, and were quite impressed. Water was on the table right on arrival, which was good start. But then disappointingly, our table of 6 got only 3 menus, which we found to be a little inconvenient.

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Then arrived the customary pappadums, thin, a little extra oily but deliciously crunchy complimentary snacks to ‘wet the appetite’. They came with a light, refreshing mint chutney. While I am not a huge fan of these crisps, I did enjoy Haveli’s basket :)

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Entrée time! I am sure you are used to this by now but my family LOVES entrée. And we have good appetites. Put two and two together and you get a lot of entrees than usual. But when you see the photos, you will totally understand why ;)

First up, was the Chilli PaneerCubes of homemade cottage cheese in a delicious chilli mix (Indian Style Chinese) ($15.90). If I may quote my brother, it was ‘Exquisite’. No other word for it. The paneer was soft and tender, the vegetables were far from dry and the dish was dripping with flavour. Win :)

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Now, I mentioned above that Haveli is reputed for its chaat. Chaat Paapri. Now, there is no description, nor a price I can give you for this delectable entrée. So I will have to go out on limb. Basically, this dish consists of fried savoury doughy biscuits which are topped with homemade yoghurt, sweet Indian sauce, coriander chutney and spices. Throughout the biscuits, there is a scattering of boiled chickpeas and potato lumps, the entire dish being topped with shredded cabbage and more spice.

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Love it? Yes. Would eat it forever? Yes.

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Now we come to a little favourite of mine. Onion Bhaji – Onion rings dipped in a spicy chickpea batter and deep fried (2 pieces = $7.90). This dish is full of flavour. There was an explosion of flavour without the explosion of oil in your mouth, which is actually quite rare in Indian cooking!

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Now, our family, as you can probably tell, is a little paneer obsessed. Homemade Indian cheese is never to be missed with us ;). Therefore, we ordered another paneer dish, the Paneer Tikka Khandari – Chunks of cottage cheese, capsicum, onions, marinated in yoghurt, herbs and spices & cooked in tandoor ($15.90). It was smoking hot and had a smoky flavour, which really heightened the flavours already infused in it. Oh, and the slight steaming when lemon was drizzled over it… oh yeah…

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And look at how soft the paneer is!

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You think we have finished our entrees? Hahahahahahahaha no.

My brother and daddy eat meat. Therefore, I have quite a treat for you meat lovers. Because my brother and daddy admitted that they have not had better Indian meat anywhere else. Ever. Oh snap! If that is not praise, I do not know what is!

Chicken. Chicken, chicken, chicken. Nawabi Murg Tikka – Boneless tender chicken marinated in tikka sauce overnight and cooked in a tandoor ($15.90). I am sorry, but truly, the description should be indicative of how delicious this must have tasted.

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And how could they possibly not get the lamb? Succulent, fleshy, tender lamb? Lahori Barah Champ – Aromatic and succulent lamb cutlets with freshly ground spices and char-grilled to perfection ($17.90). My dad is not a huge fan of Indian lamb usually, but he could not stop eating it. I think that says enough for the quality of the meat!

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Before I move onto mains, it is essential I mention the drinks, bien sur! The Mango Lassi ($5.50), a drink made from alphonso mango with yoghurt, was not heavy at all, rather sweet, heady and delicious! And with a cute design too!

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Daddy stuck to his Lemon Lime Bitter ($4.50), a classic :)

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Phew, finally, DINNER TIME ;)!!!!
Funnily enough, we are not really rice people, rather people in love with naan bread. Nothing beats delicious naan bread!

We get two types. First, the Garlic Naan –Plain flour bread spread with fresh garlic and cooked in tandoor ($3.50). As you can probably tell, they were nice and soft and flavoured beautifully!

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We also got a basket of Plain Naan – Plain flour bread baked in tandoor and glazed with butter ($2.90) since, according to my brother, a classic is a classic!

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As a refreshing accompaniment, I also ordered a Cucumber Raita – Grated cucumber with churned spice yoghurt ($4.90). It just provides that extra tangy kick with the heat of the curry! I was pleasantly surprised because it came as such a generous amount while usually, it is given in a relatively small bowl in other restaurants – no complaints here :D

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Now, Curry #1: Multana Sabzi – Combination of mixed vegetables, spiced with fresh spinach in cashew nut based sauce ($17.90). Does that not sound utterly exotic? Yes? I agree, completely! It was an unusual flavour but quite tasty! I also loved the colour, that green is very attractive in food!

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Curry #2: Kadahi Paneer (of course!) – Paneer pieces stir-fried with tomatoes, red chillies, onions, capsicum and home ground spices in a wok & cooked to perfection ($18.90) – Soft, tender paneer pieces in possibly the most delicious gravy I have ever had. Brilliant dish and one of my personal favourites :D

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Curry #3: A staple dish for my brother and daddy, the Murg Makhni (Butter Chicken) – Tandoori chicken pieces cooked in a tomato puree and finished with butter and fresh cream ($22.90). Soft, tender and beautiful gravy, the smell made my mouth water!

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Curry #4: Dhal Makhni Kandhari – Black pulses slow cooked overnight and finished with ghee and cream ($15.90) – This is a very creamy dish and one of the few dhals I could spoon. Legit.

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Dinner, oh how fulfilling you were. So warming and curry-loving and delicious. But you were not the end of our culinary adventure.

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WHAT?

You must know. Despite me telling you that my family is full of health-crazed, devoid of excess sweet consumption… um… abnormal people… sometimes (on a full moon), they gain the two stomachs that I carry on a daily basis :)

And sooo… we move on to…. Desserts!!!!!! 

Meet Mr Falooda. Oh Sorry, Mr Kulfi Falooda. A pistachio and almond flavoured Indian ice cream dessert served with soft noodles with a dash of rose syrup and cream ($8.90). It is important, the distinction that this is Indian Ice Cream. It is made quite differently to normal ice cream. Frozen directly, no churning, it is a little icy when made at home. And the flavours. Oh the flavours. Yum…

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The rose-flavoured infused noodles, god their flavours mingling with the ice cream is incredible. I don’t think I have ever tasted a better falooda anywhere else. And my dad. I think he legitimately wanted to adopt and nurture this falooda forever. It was definitely his baby ;)

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And, since this dinner was for my brother’s birthday back in March (yep, holding out on you haven’t I!), even he ate dessert. Dessert? More like a conglomeration of gorgeous sweets. My fit-like-hell, no sweets brother. He had Haveli’s Special Dessert – A combination of gulab jamun, kulfi and ice cream served with fresh cream and chocolate topping ($11.90). But he was not completely off his rocker, he declined the cream and chocolate topping, which was a smart move.

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I mean, I am all for lotsa-sugar, but chocolate and gulab jamun? Whipped cream and kulfi? There are some combinations that any chocolate lover could not stomach. My brother, he devoured this. The gulab jamun was warm and soft,the kulfi and vanilla ice cream was drizzling all around. Heaven to touch up any meal! :)

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The elders of my family finished off the meal with some paan, an Indian stimulating preparation of tobacco and areca nut, wrapped in betel leaf. Here, it came in a small bowl with a spoon, not traditionally. Can you believe I used to eat this? Give me liquorice any day but it is quite a strong part of Indian foodie culture :P

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General Overview

  • Very fast service but honestly, the waiter was giving a ‘hurry eat and get going’ vibe, similar to Red Spoon Thai actually…
  • Nice solid gap between entrée and dinner, usually misjudged by many restaurants, of around 20 minutes
  • Brought new napkins and cutlery between courses – a small but significant aspect of good dining!
  • One thing was that the café and formal dining room had different menus – the chaat was actually not on the menu in the formal room, yet when asked for, was available – everything should be available everywhere – it is less confusing and makes for more business therefore is a win-win situation
  • Unlike Taj, the leftovers came packed, thankfully
  • A Personal Request: In an Indian restaurant with mainly Indian families, DO NOT play cricket matches… otherwise no one talks to each other… take it from experience :P

Rating: 9/10

Booking: Usually not necessary

Note: So your foodie adventures do not end, so click here to experience some of the top chef restaurants throughout Las Vegas, the city of glamour, gambling and 21+ fun ;)

Address & Contact Details:

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Maharaja’s Haveli
14 Douglas Road
Quakers Hill
NSW 2763

Number: 9626 1913

Maharaja's Haveli on Urbanspoon

http://www.maharajahaveli.com.au

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Comments

comments

72 Comments… add one

Carolyn Chan April 23, 2013, 5:35 am

That sure is a lot of food !! But Indian and mostly Asian meals benefit from eating in large groups so you can order lots and try a bit of everything. And now you have me craving a good Indian curry…

Sandra April 23, 2013, 1:41 am

I would have lost my mind in this restaurant. Each dish is mote tantalizing than the previous one. Rose flavored infused noodles, are you kidding me!!!!

dianeskitchentable April 22, 2013, 6:42 pm

I had a great time drooling all over your photos – sorry didn’t mean to make such a mess but everything looked really good.

LinsFood April 20, 2013, 12:36 pm

I’ve got a bone to pick with you, my darling! How could you be so cruel?! I can’t decide which one to pick! The paneer tikka might just have edged the others out – just!

Tandy April 20, 2013, 5:47 am

Great review Uru :)

Asmita (@FoodieAsmita) April 19, 2013, 7:15 pm

OMG,
This food looks amazing! I loved the picture of the falooda. So craving it right now. Yummy!

Inger Wilkerson April 19, 2013, 12:22 pm

So much beautiful food! Sounds like a great time!

cakewhiz April 19, 2013, 2:33 am

i loveeeeeee indian food. there are not that many great indian restaurants in chicago or maybe i just have high standards and don’t like that …lol.
BUT this restaurant looks amazing!!!! all that food looks authentic and cooked to perfection. oh how i wish i was in australia too! :P

Kambrook (@KambrookAU) April 19, 2013, 2:15 am

Oh yum… My weakness are Indian sweets… this place looks excellent. I’ll have to go there.

A_Boleyn April 19, 2013, 3:22 am

I love most Indian sweets and make great gulab jamun (if I do say so myself) though I have to work on my rasgulla.

http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/116059.html

Luckily there’s a great Indian grocery store nearby with jalebis, burfi, ladoo etc so I don’t have to make them myself. :)

Choc Chip Uru April 19, 2013, 8:08 pm

I would really recommend A_Boleyn’s sweet recipe it looks fantastic :D

Cheers
CCU

navane64 April 19, 2013, 1:21 am

I love the decor, I love the ambiance, above all the dishes are those I will jump high up. What an awesome spread of foods with those equally power packed drinks.

sprint2thetable April 19, 2013, 1:15 am

I looooove Indian food!!! I’m actually posting MORE tomorrow. I’ve been on a bender. ;)

However, I have to agree with you on the sweet desserts. The only time I skip dessert out is at Indian restaurants. Actually, all Asian restaurants.

Liz April 19, 2013, 12:12 am

What a delicious way to celebrate your brother’s birthday!!! I love your restaurant reviews :)

grace April 18, 2013, 11:12 pm

thank you for taking all those pictures! i’m a huge fan of naan but i can never make it good enough myself. :)

Balvinder April 18, 2013, 11:07 pm

You are killing me with all those mouth watering dishes. Chilli paneer, spicy lamb and falooda ice cream, I can not control my drool. I have to go.

juanitascocina April 18, 2013, 9:21 pm

Ohhhhhh, I want that mango lassi!

Kiran April 18, 2013, 8:36 pm

I absolutely love that your family is made up of foodies!! And I’m drooling over the menu :D

amy donovan (@amy_donovan) April 18, 2013, 8:07 pm

I loooove Indian food and this meal looks SO amazing! I wish I could go there, too. Awesome review!

Curry and Comfort April 18, 2013, 2:22 pm

Fantastic meal. Wish I could have joined in. :)

Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen April 18, 2013, 2:20 pm

This is always one of our family’s favorite sort of restaurants.. and this looks like an awesome one! I, too, am a Naan lover:D xx

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella April 18, 2013, 9:19 am

Hehe I love how you write “dinner time” after all of the entrees! It must be fun dining out with your family! :D

Choc Chip Uru April 19, 2013, 8:07 pm

Different to being out with friends but equally as awesome for sure :D

Cheers
CCU

on thehomefrontandbeyond April 18, 2013, 9:01 am

This was absolutely fascinating–I hung on every word–what an education in Indian cuisine — it it almost as if we were there with you — you use words beautifully!

Katerina April 18, 2013, 6:42 am

What a feast and what a restaurant! Everything looks mouthwatering!

Tisa April 18, 2013, 5:34 am

You are quite the entertainer, Ms. Uru and having read this awesome review I believe my mouth is watering beyond my control. Thank you.

The Foodie Affair April 18, 2013, 3:54 am

What a feast you had there! Mango Lassi sure looks refreshing!

bakerbynature April 18, 2013, 2:38 am

Oh girl, now I’m starving over here!!!

Norma Chang April 18, 2013, 12:29 am

All the dishes look so delicious, but how did you and your family manage to finish all that food?

Minnie@thelady8home April 17, 2013, 11:49 pm

We just came back from Florida, and the Indian dining experience there was meh! to bad. Terrible in fact! This looks Deh!li!CI!OUS!!!!!! That was a feast fit for a Maharani :D

bentodays April 17, 2013, 10:48 pm

The dishes look awesome! Thanks for introducing the different dishes and flavours to us!

Suzie April 17, 2013, 10:23 pm

I love a healthy appetite and I can see you and your family have that! I love it. These dishes were making my mouth water as I was looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions. The lamb was calling my name for sure ;)

A_Boleyn April 17, 2013, 8:45 pm

An amazing meal and so MUCH food. You must take a lot of leftovers home or you have very hearty appetites especially with the desserts. I’ve had paan in Toronto where they sell the lovely green triangles filled with sweets/spices. I’ve made decent plain naan at home but the ones from the tandoor oven … they look SO good. :)

Choc Chip Uru April 19, 2013, 8:07 pm

Haha in this case, the appetites were insanely healthy, felt like we had not eaten all day just for this ;)

Cheers
CCU

Three Well Beings April 17, 2013, 8:23 pm

What an amazing meal, Uru…just fabulous! I don’t know of a restaurant quite like this one, although Indian food is very popular in Southern California and I do have a favorite. It would be wonderful to have you with me when I place my next order. You have a delightful way of sharing ingredients and what to expect. Do you enjoy Okra? I was wondering if it was available in Sydney. There are some Indian dishes with okra that I really enjoy–can’t think of the name–but periodically I just have to taste them! :-) I would love the dining room with the regal setting! A great meal with a sense of history. Yes!

Choc Chip Uru April 19, 2013, 8:06 pm

Thank you so much my friend :D
Yep, okra is available here though frozen is more common than fresh. It is called Bhindi, and is okra stir fried with spices so that is becomes a little wet and slippery but releases all its flavour :)
Definitely delicious in a roti wrap, like my mum used to give us as kids :)

Cheers
CCU

Kathleen Richardson April 17, 2013, 8:17 pm

Looks like a lot of wonderful choices for the vegetarian of the family. I’d want at least a taste of everything!

Heather April 17, 2013, 8:10 pm

oh my! that is some amazing food you all got to experience- I LOVE Indian food, I would be in heaven here!

Jenny @ BAKE April 17, 2013, 7:53 pm

all this food looks so good!

pamasaurus April 17, 2013, 5:41 pm

Oh, wow. That all looks amazing!

cookingactress April 17, 2013, 5:41 pm

How fun! That place looks lovely!

The Squishy Monster April 17, 2013, 5:15 pm

omg, I’m drooling over here, Uru! Everything looks bomb..I would SO go here if it were closer, lol

Nami | Just One Cookbook April 17, 2013, 4:30 pm

Mango Lassi and those garlic naans are MUST item. Everything looks pretty good here. I love your review…always report in details with yummy photos. ;)

john@kitchenriffs April 17, 2013, 3:54 pm

I’m at that awkward time of day between breakfast and lunch, and you’ve made me so hungry! Sounds like a terrific place – thanks for the fun post.

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking April 17, 2013, 3:34 pm

Wow, everything looks like it was SO delicious! Great recommendation!

TammyeHoney April 17, 2013, 3:30 pm

I was full after the appetizers lol…wow what a feast indeed. That would be enough food to feed hubby and I for a month. lol.. Great review as usual thank you

Marta @ Co dziś zjem na śniadanie April 17, 2013, 2:49 pm

You had so many delicious things, I love to go out in a bigger group, as you can always try more :)

Jennifer Eloff April 17, 2013, 2:17 pm

Wow, what a feast! I love the sound of the butter chicken and everything else too! That was a LOT of extra-delicious food!!

erika April 17, 2013, 2:13 pm

Lol you always write the most enthusiastic reviews! Love them! I WANT that fluffy looking garlic naan and the fried paneer! YUM!

Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook April 17, 2013, 1:42 pm

What a fantastic feast! I am stuffed just reading about all those delicious dishes!

chef mimi April 17, 2013, 1:17 pm

I love that at your young age you already appreciate the concept of a leisurely meal! Bravo!

Micha April 17, 2013, 1:07 pm

Sounds like a fabulous time! Nothing better than good food and good company…

Coffee and Crumpets April 17, 2013, 1:02 pm

Now that’s a great restaurant! The food looks really good and the chaat…YUM! One of my fave things to eat. The falooda, the gulab jamun, kulfi…heaven! And what better way to finish off …paan! I haven’t had paan in years, I wanted one in Houston but no one would get me one.
Happy birthday to your bro Uru…looks like he had a great dinner for sure!

Nazneen

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes April 17, 2013, 12:49 pm

Indian cuisine is so tempting! It´s 9:50 and you´re making me hungry girl! And I don´t eat breakfast ever…

Choc Chip Uru April 19, 2013, 8:04 pm

Haha that awkward time inbetween meals! I guess a snack like a samosa could not hurt… ;)

Cheers
CCU

apuginthekitchen April 17, 2013, 12:30 pm

Oh my I want some of every dish, it looks so good I wish that restaurant was in my neighborhood I would be there today!!

yummychunklet April 17, 2013, 12:29 pm

Yum to the lassi and the paneer!

Tina Evans April 17, 2013, 12:22 pm

Wow. What a great night :)

Barbara April 17, 2013, 11:25 am

Every dish looks delicious!

viveka April 17, 2013, 10:39 am

Love Naan bread …. can’t eat that on it’s own as a snack .. *smile
Not a big lover of Indian food, but I good Chicken Marsala I enjoy dearly, but that’s is about it. I can’t see what is in the dishes and that puts me off – not only Indian food. I want to see what I eat. Great review as always, Uru – great photos.

mmmarzipan April 17, 2013, 10:35 am

Oh, I so want to have lunch there… TODAY!!!!! Amazing sounding/looking food!

Profiteroles & Ponytails April 17, 2013, 10:22 am

This restaurant looks like it is worth the flight to Australia! The onion bhaji’s are a favorite but that paneer looks to die for too!

Saskia (1=2) April 17, 2013, 9:12 am

Excellent post Uru! Lots of drooling as I scrolled. Love the decor, especially the painting and the coloured glass. Oh boy, that Chaat Paapri looks incredible. So much texture and colour!

Manjul Agarwal April 17, 2013, 8:13 am

Superb!!

Choc Chip Uru April 19, 2013, 8:03 pm

Thank you daddy!!! Brings back memories non?

Love
Uru

Angie@Angie's Recipes April 17, 2013, 8:12 am

That’s my kind my restaurant! Everything looks so saucy and mouthwatering. Love those soft and tender paneer the most!

Acacia April 17, 2013, 7:14 am

A very enjoyably review! It looks like you had a great time. My family is similar to yours in that we love to order lots of different dishes. After all it means we can all try a little of everything! Delicious photos.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 17, 2013, 6:52 am

My goodness, what a fantastic restaurant. I felt like I was enjoying every bite but I tell you – I wouldn’t have shared one of those Onion Bhajis with you. Yum!

thecompletecookbook April 17, 2013, 6:45 am

I miss eating like this – we used to enjoy meals like this when we lived in Mauritius.
:-) Mandy xo

Alice @ Nom Nom Cat April 17, 2013, 6:38 am

YUM! OMG your family orders so much food!!! Haha. Sounds like a fantastic meal :3 I daresay I could live on mango lassi and garlic naan alone. Cheers!

Choc Chip Uru April 19, 2013, 8:02 pm

Haha I do not know how we ate so much but in reality, so could I :D

Cheers
CCU

Lisa April 17, 2013, 6:38 am

What a gorgeous restaurant and what a feast! I want to eat every single dish you photographed..and I could devour that whole plate of Naan! Awesome review, Uru!! I wish it was near me!

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