World Burger Day @ The Hard Rock Cafe – A Burgertastic World Tour !

Few things come close to the awesomeness of winning a Burgerthon at the home of The Legendary Burger on a World Hamburger Day. Like more burgers, for example. Or Beer. Definitely beer. And some more burgers.

Miami Cuban Beef Burger

As the home of the Legendary and the Local Legendary Burgers, there couldn’t be a more apt place than HRC to kick off a world Burger tour. With eight burgers and eight cocktails on offer, the ‘preview’ was pretty…..exhaustive! I mean, literally – I was exhausted at the end of it. More like happy-exhausted. Add to that the super-chilled ambience of HRC, killer rock-n-roll playlists and you have a pretty potent formula for a great afternoon or evening.

As every meal should, ours too, started with alcohol. An array of exceptional to just-par cocktails was had, the gist of which is as follows –

el matador.jpgEl Matador – I was half expecting a sangria-like Spanish cocktail, given the Spanish connotation in the name of this beverage but it turned out to be more of a beer-based strawberry-ish tasting concoction, with hints of basil and a very, very welcome punch from the salt/chilli rimming. #NotDisappointed #NotDisappointedAtAll

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Watermelon Hoedown – while it did it’s job as a classic summer cooler, the original (intended) vodka content was a little de trop for me, so I had to customize this baby with a lot less vodka and a little more beer. The result was a balanced beverage that went down well.

hangman's blood
Hangman’s Blood – If you’re the type who can’t decide among spirits and end up wanting to have it all, this one’s for you. I don’t like my cocktails too strong, so I gave this one a pass but my friends who’re into whiskey called for repeats on this. #FoodForThought

Melonpalooza
All Jacked Up – Jim Beam, Whiskey, Captain Morgan’s spiced rum & honey with Pineapple juice. I thought the pineapple was kinda lost in all that alcohol but the freshness from the lime juice was there. Decent, if you ask me. Then again, I’m not really a cocktail guy.

All Jacked Up
Melonpalooza – a lovely blend of flavors from the Bacardi rum, coconut rum and Midori Melon liqueur; truly refreshing !

Sweet and Fiery
Sweet & Fiery – This one really left a mark; there was a bloody Jalapeno floating in the jar ! The mild sweetness of the beverage was complemented with a punchy aftertaste which got a little stronger with time. Or maybe it was the rum in my bloodstream making me feel so. I don’t really know.

Citrus Summer Shandy
Citrus Summer Shandy -This was easily the mildest and the fruitiest cocktail of the lot; for those out there who like their cocktails light and kinda syrupy. Bacardi orange, fresh orange, lemonade and passion fruit syrup – doesn’t get any more citrusy or fruity than that !

Crisp Sipper
Crisp Sipper – Basically gin & tonic, cucumber syrup (its a refreshingly overpowering flavor) with a touch of rosemary and thyme – this one’s definitely for the gin-patrons in the house !

Having had these, we moved on to the pièce de résistancethe burgers

The first one we had was easily the unanimous favorite, the top seed, the burger par excellence – THE ITALIAN CHICKEN BURGER
Italian Burger
The first thing you’d bite into would be the piquant sun-dried tomato aioli, next would be the crispy, golden, panko-crusted Cheddar Cheese layer (I’m drooling just writing about this), the third thing you’d dig through would be the herb-infused chicken patty and then finally the veggies and bun. Yes, it really was that brilliant ! #AbsolutelyRecommended

Carribean Burger
As part of the Burgerthon, I downed the Carribean Vegetarian Burger, a brown lentil based burger patty suffused with spices all through, topped with cheddar, quinoa relish and sunflower seeds. The sunflower seeds were obviously not evident, given the pace at which I gulped the whole thing down but the rest of it was pretty awesome.

Lebanese Veg Burger
The Lebanese Burger had a nice mix of garlic aioli, hummus and cheddar, but the oh-so-healthy beetroot base patty didn’t really cut it, for me. The texture was pasty and almost lacked binding.

Mediterranean Veg Burger
The Mediterranean Veg Burger had a very fresh mix of flavors, from the mango aioli and the spinach slaw;  the patty was nice and juicy, and the cheddar slice helped, too !

Istanbul Kafta Chicken Burger
The Istanbul Kafta Chicken had a lovely medley of cumin, coriander powder and pepper flavors…almost like having a seekh kebab of sorts ! The hummus aioli and feta crumble added a welcome brine to the bite, too. This one was another winner !

Indian Tandoori Chicken Burger
The Indian Tandoori Chicken Burger was a very-desi burger and that’s exactly what won it, for me. Felt almost like biting into a leg piece, I tell you ! Also, the cheddar, and mint mayo were another great combination that complimented the base flavors.

Mexican Quesadilla Burger
I didn’t have the Mexican Quesadilla Burger or the Miami Cuban Burger (first image in this blog) but I was told they were decent as well.

Limona Bomb
I didn’t have the Limona Bomb either, but I had fun photographing it. While it lasted. For all of 2 minutes.

And with that, we called it a wrap but I’m told, the tour is going to be around for a while, so  I’m sure I didn’t miss anything that I can’t come back for…(It’s on from the 1st of June to the 31st of July) Cheers !

In summary,
Food – 4.5/5 (for the novelty of the burger-innovations !!)
Service – 4/5
Ambience – 4.5/5 (it is, after all, an HRC)
Value for money – N/A (invited)

Hard Rock Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Out Auf This World – Aufside @ Hotfut, Swargate

Of boundaries and off-sides, Aufside has it all. Literally. I mean, there’s actually a full-size practice net that separates the restaurant from the mall-side entrance…Its so in-your-face that for a second I thought I was at the wrong place or something, when I got there. Thank God for the signs that scream “Aufside, this side ->”; if not for these I probably would’ve doubled back and taken some detour.

aufside 2.jpg
Sports Memorabilia

Anywho, so once inside, you’re greeted by sports memorabilia, a huge projector and two screens inside this cozy little box of a place that make for an unabridged sports-bar ambience. Add to that craft beer on tap, inexpensive all-you-can-drink options, pop-quizzes, karaoke and decent grub and you get an archetypal Friday-night haunt. And that’s precisely what Aufside intends to be all about.
aufside.jpgNow, atypical as it may sound, our dinner started with food and the drinks followed; but we got enough of both for the sequence to not matter. Here’s an account of the same –

Of the starters, the Crispy Chicken Tenders and the Herbed Chicken are the ones that left a mark; the Nachos, Grilled Prawns, Jalapeno Cheeseballs, and the Olive Bruschetta were alright…and the Honey Chilli Potato Bites, Cheese and Jalapeno Poutine and Sauteéd Mushrooms were a total miss, for me.

The Crispy Chicken Tenders were perfectly crumb fried, were hot and soft enough, inside and went very well with the cajun spice dip.

drink mushroom chicken fingers.jpg
An amazingly refreshing Mojito with the prawns in the foreground and the chicken tenders in the background

The grilled prawns were fresh, crunchy enough (no, not crispy, but crunchy the way grilled prawns ought to be) and were a tad briny, probably from the butter in the sauce they were tossed in.

The Herbed Chicken was nice and herby, and the meat was succulent.

The problem with the Nachos, if there was one, was that the flavors were not coming out as much as I’d want them too. Not that they weren’t there, they probably needed a little more punch.
cheeseballs.jpg

There were no Jalapenos whatsoever in the Jalapeno Cheeseballs but they were still great to have with and the Poutine was not served separately with the fries but was poured over them, rendering the whole thing soggy and cheesy. Tsk tsk.
bruschetta.jpg

The Olive Bruschetta was missing the melted cheese topping, but was still decent as it was (not everyone on the table agreed with me) and the Mushrooms were cold by the time I had them, so the fact that I didn’t savor them much is entirely my fault.fiery fries.jpg
The one thing that was really off (unanimously, across the table) was the portion of honey chilli potato bites, the heat from the chilli overpowered pretty much every other flavor the chef may have intended to infuse in the potatoes and left a pretty nasty burning sensation on the palate and down the throat.

mains 1.jpg
Of the mains, the stuffed crepes were a lovely cheesy; so cheesy in fact that the ratatouille was lost in there. Not that I’m complaining ! I love my cheese and they’d used more than one of them here, so…

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The Grilled Cottage Cheese was another winner, a perfectly done bed of cottage cheese that had an evidently nutty aftertaste from the peanut sauce and went very well with the sides.

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The Chicken Roulade was also a well done piece of work – succulent chicken breast stuffed with tomatoes, olives and … more cheese ! #ImLovinIt

beer cocktail defender.jpg
All this was washed down with a beer cocktail (the defender) that was a delicate balance between watermelon and beer (no, it wasn’t sweet, which is basically what I liked about it) but it went a little too flat after the first few sips. I always had to pair it with some food so it wasn’t much of a standalone beverage.

And our hosts were nice enough to keep, and offer Coronas.(Notice the ‘s’ at the end of the sentence, I’m talking about a plural noun here).

dessert 2dessert 1
Desserts served were both chocolate mousses and both of them uniquely wonderful in their own right. Just the right texture and not too sweet. Me likey.

All in all, Aufside is a great place to catch a match, catch up or just catch (remember, there’s a practice net right outside) and indulge in decent food and drink options while you’re at it.

In summary,
Food – 4/5
Service – 4/5
Ambience – 4/5
Value for money – 4/5

Here’s a beef starter that was as pretty as it looks, or so I was told.
rice mains 3.jpgOh, and not to forget the pork chops. The BBQ sauce was delish !
pork chops.jpg

Aufside @ Hotfut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato