A pleasant evening(not much windy or cold) at the corner of the port of Rotterdam where some clouds hiding the sun and preventing its rays falling on a ship.
Paris is not only a romantic city, but a place with a rich cultural heritage.
It is very rare to find that culture outside India especially in Europe. But this street in Gare du nord breaks all this controversies. The entire street gave a look of mini India.
Madras cafe, a South Indian restaurant is located in a very busy street of Paris – Rue du Faubourg St-Denis that also houses other south Indian Restaurants like Saravana Bhavan, Krishna Bhavan etc. It is a small restaurant which is serving both south and north Indian dishes(both veg and non-veg).
From nowhere it came to occupy the top rank in my list of “Best south Indian restaurant in Europe”. It is worth for the money. We almost tasted all the varieties of south Indian dishes in three days (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
My personal favorite was Onion Uthappam and Masala Dosa. They are very much customer friendly, comparatively cheaper and on top having the original taste.
Now let me go in detail into Uthappam: Onion uthappam which is a south Indian dish where they serve dosa with onion topping. The main highlight was the chutneys which accompanied Uttappam. They serve onion chutney, Sambar, coconut chutney, Green coriander chutney. They were all mouth watering stuff. I really don’t know the reason behind the taste of the nicely fermented uttappam.
A full meal for lunch had almost ten varieties of side dishes along with rice with appalam. To finish of with a filter coffee was a complete meal and holds the taste till the end of the day.
Negative points :
It does hold a negative point by not serving IDLIES (My husband’s personal favorite) and its interior was like a local Indian restaurant including a clumsy WC next to kitchen.
Rating – good , Cost – Reasonable, Customer Service – good
It was a snowy night. The temperature was below -10 degree. Since it was a third due for a treat from our friend Santhosh, this time for his MS graduation completion we decided to go out to a good restaurant for our dinner. We came across this name “Bombay Palace” from one of our friend and with a good review. We decided to explore it on that day despite the heavy non-stop snow, slippery highways and with no winter tires in our car.
We reserved a table over the phone. Started from home by 6 p.m and reached there by 7, though it would be a 20 minute drive on a normal day. We managed to park the car near the restaurant. It was a nice location near the Scheveningen Beach (Den Haag). The place was totally empty due to the bad weather. We ordered the same usual veg.biryani, naan and other stuffs like samosa etc., A special order was “Gobi manchurian” which is very rare in Europe. The owner as expected said that this item is not in our menu card. But he would prepare it special for us. As said he kept upon his words. Gobi Manchurian was very special, served with a bowl of plain rice and tasted excellent. We did not expect such an original Indian taste in Netherlands.
Other items were also reasonably good in taste and price. The hospitality was very good. We enjoyed completely.
Trip to India (Chennai) with Lufthansa :
Schipol Airport (Amsterdam- Netherlands) <– 1 Hour –> Frankfurt Airport(Germany)
Transit time —> 2 hours
Frankfurt Airport(Germany) <– 8 Hours –> Chennai Airport (India)
That was the first time I traveled with strangers all alone. No known faces. It was a day journey from Rotterdam to Chennai. So I started from home by 4 a.m to catch my 7’0 clock flight. My husband dropped me in Schipol airport and accompanied me till the security check. It took about one hour on air from Schipol to Frankfurt which was covered within the time we realize the take off. The transit time was about 2 hours in Frankfurt. I was a bit tensed to catch up my gate within that time. Without looking down even for a single minute, my whole concentration was on the direction board till I reach the gate. When I saw all Indian faces in my gate, was quiet relaxed and felt that I almost reached my place.Got a corner seat in the waiting hall and fixed my headphones and started to listen to some music from my mobile in order to cross the time. When we heard the announcement for boarding I was very much curious in getting in first. Soon after finding my seat, placed my hand luggage under my seat and got totally settled in my two-seater window seat. Now the tension started again that who is my neighbor? When each person passes by I felt like, “Is he next to me or Is she next to me?” .Finally when the flight was about to start there came a man, neat formally dressed in his late 40’s and sat next to me.
I usually sleep in my 8 hours flight voyage. But this time it was a bright afternoon and a stranger next to me, I was not felling to sleep. Consequently went searching for some movies from the display in front of my seat. Then I ended up in English movies “The last Air bender”, “Dinner for Schmucks” and one Hindi movie (Of-course with subtitle) “Once upon a time in Mumbai”. Meanwhile we were served with lunch.
Unexpectedly Lufthansa vegetarian meal was very much scrumptious this time (mild pulav, paneer- cauliflower gravy, palak and some sweet pudding). For the evening bite it was a kind of veggie puff and veggie samosa with ketchup. They were all yummy .
Got my immigration form. I am bad at filling forms as I usually get confused with something or the other and end up in making some mistakes. Hence normally my husband fills these forms and I will be in safe hands. Keeping this in mind I took a note of all the steps in the form and things needed to be filled in with a sample copy from the net before hand of my journey. As expected the form was totally in a different style than the one I saw in internet with so many new fields which made me baffle. I just filled in the fields that I was sure and left the rest. I was sentient that a big queue should be crossed before the immigration. Time flew and the flight was about to land. Only at that time it happened to talk to my neighbor. He is a business man living in US. We exchanged few of our vocally. With lots of exhilaration to meet my family on one side and some angst that I need to leave back in a week on the other side I was looking down the lights of “the capital city”.
Landed safely. Collected all my belongings and came down to the hall. As expected the queue was big and got adequate time to call my husband to fill the vacant portions in the form. After the immigration, I came down in an urge to find my check-in baggage. Found it right away and happily came out of the hall by 3.45 a.m.
Though it was a thrilling and fun filled journey, I missed the travelling fun with my husband.
Rating – poor , Cost – Expensive, Customer Service – average
I would give a rating of 1 for this restaurant which is located in Den Haag (the administrative Capital city of Netherlands). It is located in a busy street near to the Shell head office.
We went there without any prior table reservations. We got the menu card and quickly went through the vegetarian items. First thing stopped us was our very own “Idly sambar” as starter. Then we went along for “Bhatura and channa masala”. Before our starters they served us with pappad and 3 different chutneys which we thought was a good idea so that we were not made to wait and meantime we can have some crunch. So it happened.
But we were waiting for a long time that we got confusions if they started to soak the rice for idlies only after our order. I was not hungry initially and this time duration rapidly ignited it. After half an hour came our starters “The SO called Idly sambar” – We were really shattered on seeing that. Our imaginations went to those big idlies dipped completely in sambar in a bowl. But on our table was a big plate with 3 small round stuff (I could not compare it to even the mini idlies !!! ) . Ok we should not expect more then this for starters.
The taste was extremely bad. It was very much dry and we hardly could get any taste from sambar or coconut chutney. Most worst thing about that is in the name of “Preparing fresh” they added more amount of baking soda which made us to burp continuously.
Then we waited for another three quarters of an hour to get our main course. Totally lost the patience and increased hunger we got irritated. Then finally it came. Very less quantity of side dishes which was not sufficient for that bhatura. We got rice and palak supplementary for bhatura which was the only delicious thing for that day.
So to conclude this days experience, we decided not to turn up again and not to advice any of our friends too.
Third day in Switzerland- Luzern :
We decided to visit Pilatus mountain today which has the steepest cogwheel Europe located near Luzern. Reached there, got the tickets and waited for the trail to come down. When our turn came I rushed inside to hold a corner seat so that I can take some pictures and videos. Its was a slow journey towards the top of the mountain and the duration was 40 min. It was really a steep climb which was a bit adventurous too. On the top finished our lunch with some pasta and rice with some sauce. Took a small walk over the top of the cliff for some pictures. That was the end of the trip and we came down. Felt like was it worth the money”????”
Then we decided to visit the city Luzern. Parked the car near to the central lake in a shopping complex. We took a walk alongside the lake. Inquired the rates for a motor boat and pedal boat ride. As we were tired and the temperature was hot, we decided not to go for it. Then another photo session with the surrounding buildings and lake.
Found the grocery shop “Coop” and thought we could buy some bread for the next few days. All fresh vegetables even at the end of the day, lot of varieties of bread and it was something wonderful about Switzerland.
Finally we reached an Indian restaurant nearby and this time the highlight here is, it had also SOUTH INDIAN food which was a very rare for us in Holland. So with a quick go through of the menu card outside, we opened the door. Haaa I could smell the spices which was displayed in the entrance. Good way to welcome people. Then followed by the stairs and then opens the main door with a nice bell sound.
Pleasant inside view we were welcomed by the manager and got our corner window table. Here is the menu card. Though our usual naan and gravy items were list, our eyes went direct to the new entries “Idly and Dosa”. So with no further discussions we ordered for one Idly (gives 5 idlies with sambar and chutney), one uttappam, one masala Dosa and one medhu vadai . Yummy – the taste was very good. Being out of India we should not expect that Indian taste especially in south indian food as the difficulty in fermentation process of idly batter is a known fact. But despite that the idlies were soft and got dissolved inside with coconut chutney and sambar. Uttapam tasted good with some carrots and coriander leaves in it. We also got onion chutney there.
After finishing our dinner, my husband (a big coffee fan) asked for a coffee. Double happiness on his face hearing that they have “Madras coffee” there. Hey “exactly the same taste” was the feedback after the coffee.
We were very much impressed by the menu and thought that we need to meet the CHEF !! A guy from kerala. We also took some pictures with them. But the sad part is that we forgot to take some pictures of the delicious food we ate.
So friends if you happen to visit Luzern (Swiss) definitely check in here :).
Second day in Switzerland- Zurich:
We started our trip to Zurich. Today it was early in the morning (8:30 a.m) getting down from our home, breaking through the earthed clouds which were floating at a very bottom of the ground.
Reached zurich by around 11:00 a.m (delayed due to traffic and route diversions by 30 min), parked our car in Bleicherweg. We came out to Stockerstrasse perpendicular to the parking, discussing the next move. For a second I got diverted by some nice tandoori smell but didn’t take it as a matter in that tension. Then we started to walk towards the Information center with a small city map.
Reached Information center (i) which was located inside the city railways. We also found a tourist spot got all the city maps and tourist information. With no idea where to go first we walked around the city center along the lakes and buildings. By the end of the day when it was 4:00 p.m, we decided to make a move. Somehow using the map we reached near the street of our parking from the place where we were roaming. It was the same Stockerstrasse where we started our journey for the day. At that point I still could smell the same aroma which tempted me earlier that day.
Yes, it was a restaurant just behind the place where we stood that morning searching for the directions. I should definitely mention about this restaurant.
Tandoori – We quickly went through the menu card which was on the outside door to find out if it had any of our vegetarian stuff? It is an Indian restaurant and had all Naan varieties, side dished, and so on. We got in. The time was 5:00 p.m so with some hesitation we entered in and it was totally empty(we could not expect any European restaurants to open their kitchen). At enquiring in the reception for a “Take away” we got a gentle “Yes”. Though our order was very less(2 Naan + Paneer Tikka Masala), we did not have any specific conditions like – minimum order should be a particular amount or we must order for some drink etc. The lady at the counter replied “It would take 10 mins”. Got the parcel exactly within that time but with a additional packet of rice? They serve rice for free with all their dishes. Some bonus happiness for us.
The amount was moderate and the customer service was also good. After the long day travel we felt so tired even to eat as we were not hungry. But when we decided to eat at-least little and opened the side dish…. Hmmmmmm wow…. It tempted all the hidden hunger.
The taste was from a real punjabi Dhaba. Not much oily and worth for the money. We felt so happy and would like to happily recommend it to anyone searching for Indian restaurants in Zurich.
Here is the address: