Soul Satisfying South Indian Food at Tirupati Vrindavan

South Indian food is something that I can enjoy only once in a blue moon because I don’t find that authentic taste at much of the places. But this newly opened place Tirupati Vrindavan has changed my perception completely. It not only serves amazing South-Indian food but also has a very peaceful and cool ambience, very apt to its name that is derived from two religious and spiritual places, Tirupati for Lord Tirupati and Vrindavan for Lord Krishna. It’s a place away from the usual hustle bustle, loud music or a fancy set-up that we normally see in the restaurants these days. This place focuses on the quality of its food and believes in ‘keep it simple silly’ funda. I was invited there by Dish Guide, who have this amazing app called Foodie, which helps you locate best dishes in your neighbourhood, do check it out.

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At the onset, we were served a welcome drink of Butter Milk, and I really have to say that it was the best buttermilk I ever had. It wasn’t anything like the regular buttermilk; this one had a nice ‘tadka’ of sarson, kari patta and jeera. It was very refreshing and I just loved every bit of it.

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The buttermilk was followed by an amazing ‘Rasam Shot’, I am calling it a shot because we got ourselves served in short steel glasses instead of the whole portion, but I suggest that you try and have the entire portion, its simply worth it. In fact I regret not ordering the full portion. It is one of the best things they have in their menu. It was served along with crispy papads.

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For starters we tried their special Fried Idly, Masala Idly, Dahi Vada and Medu Vada, which were served with an assortment of chutneys and hot sambhar. All three dishes were good, but I personally loved Fried Idly the most. It was crispy on the outside and yet retained the softness that a normal idly has. I didn’t even care for the sambhar, it was just great in itself. I loved the sprinkle of gunpowder masala over the idly which gave it an enhanced taste. The second best dish that I liked was the Dahi Vada. The dahi was perfectly sweetened, not over sweet, but just perfect and the vadai were mouth meltingly delicious.The masala idly was also good, as it was an idly tossed in brown onions and tomatoes masala. The medu vada was good, but nothing exceptional. For drinks I tried their Aam Pana, and you must definitely try it out, it was really good.

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Fried Idly

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Medu Vada
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Masala Idly

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Dahi Vada

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Aam Pana

We were a group of 5 people and hence wanted to make the most of our visit to this lovely place, hence we decided to order more number of dishes and share amongst us so that we get to try more variety.

For the main course, we settled for Masala Dosa, Mysore Masala Dosa, Curd Rice and Lemon Rice. Both the dosas were amazing, crispy and loaded with masala potatoes in the center.

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Masala Dosa
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Mysore Masala Dosa
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Lemon Rice
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Curd Rice

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The curd rice, I guess was prepared in a little hurry and was missing the tadka, it was nice, but I think by now I was expecting more out of every dish and thus it was a little disappointing. The lemon rice was just perfect and I relished every bite of it.

The afternoon of this great culinary experience was brought to an end with their special filter coffee. It was raining outside and I guess there is nothing better than a cup of hot coffee on a rainy afternoon.

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For those who love South Indian food, this is the place you must visit and those who don’t like South India food, I suggest you please visit this place and I am sure you will start loving this cuisine.

I also happened to meet the owner of the place, Shubham and he came across as a very warm and friendly person and I think it’s his persona that is reflected through the restaurant that he has made.

I really urge all my readers to give this place a sure shot try and you will love it.


Tirupati Vrindavan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Her Resurrection- Book Review

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The book has been very aptly dedicated to Jyoti Singh and all the innumerable victims of sexual violence.
It takes you through the tragic journey of Maya,the protagonist of this highly moving and poignant tale.
The author has beautifully captured the ethos and pain of Maya tracing her journey from a young eight year child,a burden,as referred to by her father. From child sex abuse to the rape of a teenaged Maya.The hatred and ridicule of the Society which still considers women as the weaker sex to be lorded over and abused by the so called superior species of man, this book discovers many shades of her persona, beautifully captured in words.
The centre of her strength through these early disasters in life of Maya is her mother who installs a sense of purpose in her.
Maya from a remote village who despite all opposition sets out to realise her dream of education.
The journey takes her to Mumbai where she is forced into prostitution and her subsequent getaway from a brothel to further deceit and abuse at the hands of men to her eventually overcoming her utmost desire to kill herself and redeem and reclaim her dignity form the crux of this moving story. The book literally showcases the cruelty that our society has to offer especially when it come stop rape victims and women involved in flesh trade. But it also shows the power and strengths that every woman possesses and the fact that she can overcome any challenges life throws at her and emerge as true winners.
A very beautifully penned story capturing the pain, the grief and the undying underlying grit of Maya. Its a tale of survival and reclamation of one’s own identity.
A must read.
Grab your copy today.


Available on Amazon


Price Rs 150/-

Book Review- Once in a Lifetime;Happens Again

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The book is co authored by Mr Ashish Kumar Mall and Ms Lovely Kumari both third year students at KIIT University,Bhubneshwar.While Ashish is pursuing Electronics Engineering Lovely is a Computer Science Engineering student.
The one word the book after reading evokes is Nostalgia.
One can very easily relate to the hero of the book Ashwin and his best friend Ankita.
The book traces the teenhood journey of Ashwin. The adolescent age when one is constantly ready to fall in love at the slightest chance. Each girl who passes your path seems a Princess and the one you happen to get close to a queen.
Those teenhood infatuations,friendship,love,breakups,love lost,new love found makes for an interesting read.
I think most everyone will be able to connect with the situations and lead characters of the book be it Aswin his friend Mitu and the three girls mainly involved Ankita,Bhawana and Ria.
You will find an interesting twist at the end of the book.
Go ahead grab a copy and re visit your teens.


Price: Rs 169, available on Amazon


 

Ladakh based Drukpa Nuns bike across Nepal and India in 2500 km Cycle Yatra; reach Chandigarh

Chandigarh: Led by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, of the Ladakh based Drukpa Order, 500 monks and nuns cycled into India and reached Chandigarh as a part of their 2500 km journey to Hemis Monastery in Ladakh.

The Drukpa Order, which has come to be known for its insistence on gender equality and celebration of diversity regularly organises such events to highlight issues of global significance. The Cycle Yatra, which commenced in Kathmandu (Nepal) on 3rd July 2016 from one of the monasteries of the Drukpa lineage, has become an annual feature of Order’s efforts to promote awareness about the Environmental Crises in the region and inspire collaborative action to resolve it.

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The two month long Yatra traverses through some of the most arduous routes in the Himalayan region amidst adverse conditions. From the quake-hit regions in Nepal, to the monsoon hit towns in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Pathankot, Srinagar, Sonmargand Kargil (J&K) – The Yatra will culminate at Hemis Monastery, 45 kilometres from Leh. Where it is scheduled to arrive, prior to Naropa 2016 – a grand spiritual festival that is held once in every 12 years, celebrating the 1000th birth anniversary of the Indian Saint Naropa, patron of the Drukpa Lineage.

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Picture of Drukpa Nuns cyclying through Dehradun

“The Himalayas have been the home of the Drukpa Lineage for over 1000 years now. Recently, the region has faced several environmental disasters that caused unwanted &unprecedented loss of life and upset the natural ecosystem. Our aim through this journey is to inspire people to be one with nature instead of being in a constant state of war with it. The Himalayas and the earth were formed millions of years before we were and it is our duty to respect them,” said His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa – the 12threincarnation of the head of the Drukpa Order.

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His Holinesshas personally led the Cycle Yatra from Kathmandu and plans to complete 2500 kilometres all the way to Hemis Monastery in Ladakh – shattering the conventional concept of the role of the spiritual Guru.It is through his vision that the number of women being inducted into the Order has increased manifold since his accession. The nuns of the Drukpa Order are instrumental in the activities of the Lineage across the Himalayan Region and are fondly known as the ‘Kung Fu Nuns’ for the role they have played in resolving on ground issues.

For his tireless efforts, His Holiness has been conferred the title of ‘Keeper of the Himalayas’ by the United Nations.

About Drukpa Lineage:

The Drukpa Lineage (the “Dragon Lineage”) is an integral part of Himalayan and Central Asian legacy and culture. Dating back to the Indian scholar-saint Naropa, the Drukpa Lineage is woven into the history of Buddhism the geographic locales of India and Central Asia. It is strategically located along some of the world’s most significant historical trading routes and has over 1000 monasteries in the region. The state of Bhutan, honours the Drukpa Lineage as its state religion.

The present Gyalwang Drukpa is the twelfth reincarnation of the founder of the Drukpa Lineage, whose tenant of “service before self” and their zeal to convert compassion into action to tackle international challenges has earned the lineage a robust global following.

Book Review- The Soft Target

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The book traces the life of the lead protagonist Mohan.
Born in the Village of Bolangir,Odisha to very timid parents who have literally struggled through life.Mohan is blessed with intelligence beyond his young age but at the same time he is cursed with a rarest of rare disease.He is mind is hyper active bordering on genius.But what the mind dictates his tongue cannot relate.Let me give you a small example here.You ask Mohan How are you? His reply would be The Sun is shining bright.But despite this handicap he was a brilliant student topping in the school as well as state level. His parents were worried and garnering all their savings take him to Madras for treatment.The Doctor there is really at wits end and tells them that there is no remedy for this rare ailment but advises the parents to give him psychiatric counseling.
As they return to their village Mohans resolve to excel gets stronger.
He loses his parents in an accident and blames God for everything in his life.
But he challenges God that he will no longer be his soft target and to negate his one weakness he is determined to excel in academics.
From here on the author very skillfully takes you through to Mohans journey from a village to the prestigious IIT Bombay where three other protagonists join him by coincidence and how they form a formidable friendship.
The trials and turbulations at IIT and subsequent success for the four and then the murder and political intrigue in which Mohan gets involved lead to an absolutely fascinating tale.

A perfect weekend read.


Price: Rs 249/-  and available on Amazon


 

Sandwich Factory-Home to Global Foods at Reasonable Prices

I was recently invited at this cozy little joint called Sandwich Factory in Mayur Vihar, and though its little far off for me but it was definitely worth the visit. The place is small, and doesn’t have too many covers, but is an ideal place to grab a quick bite with your family or friends. The menu isn’t very elaborate, but still they have a handful of options to choose from and all of them are very very delectable. The prices are very pocket friendly and will appeal to the youth a lot. The ambience is cool, cosy and vibrant and you would love to spend time sitting, chilling and enjoying your food there.

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Starters:

Masala Fries, Chicken Nachos and Chilli Garlic Nuggets, the fries were crisp and had chatpata spicy taste and the chilly garlic nuggets were good too. The nachos do have a scope of improvement, as instead of chicken cubes I think shredded chicken should be used so that the chicken doesn’t run away from nachos and also there should be a little more cheese to bind the chicken with nachos. Both the owners of the place, Amit and Yashdeep were present there and took our suggestions very positively.

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Mains:

Signature Bruschetta was served first and it was surely the best, I just loved it and this is definitely that one dish that I can go back for anytime. The bread was so soft and the topping just perfect. There was then the Creamy Bruschetta which too was great, but I would still any day prefer the signature version.

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Next was the Jumbo Chicken Focaccia Burger, now this burger is inviting as soon as you look at it. You will know what I mean when you see the pic, it is a burger that has expressions, little naughty and quirky types and is so much fun to only see it. The taste was great too and that added to the entire experience of eating this burger. It seems like a friendly burger who first you don’t wanna eat(you can’t eat your friend), but one bite into it and you will only put your hands down after finishing it off.

 

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Last but not the least were the Mexican Chicken Quesadillas and I enjoyed them a lot. The filling was just perfect and I loved it. It was the second best dish for me after the Signature Bruschetta.

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Drinks:

we tried the Watermelon Mojito and the Mint Ginger Mojito, both of them were simple and refreshing, by simple I mean that the original tastes were very much retained and not overdone or over powered by any of the ingredients used. A lot of times people end up using too many ingredients which kills the real essence of the drink, but nothing like that here. I liked them a lot.

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The only disappointment was lack of desserts which they accepted and are working on a special dessert menu to be included soon. I look forward to visit the place again especially when they include some delicious desserts too.

All in all, the place is definitely worth a visit and I give it a generous rating of 4/5.

 

Sandwich Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Ribbon Trap-Book Review

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The Ribbon Trap is the first publication of its Author Shine Syamaladevi born in a small village in Kerala.Himself an avid reader and a daydreamer he got the opportunity to travel across the nation on various official appointments.

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The journeys across fuel led his passion and resulted in this, his first book a true labour of love .
The Ribbon Trap is a poignant love story of Krishnaprem and Smita.
The author beautifully captures the undying love of both right from the very young age of school going mates.
The journey from childhood to adulthood is very beautifully sketched amidst an array of emotions.
The ever changing life has one constant,their unwavering love for each other.
No hesitancy or doubts creep into their love even when they are staying apart in different cities due to work related postings.
As they grow so does their love for each other.
Then as destiny would have it Smita is pulled into a game of deceit and murder.
Embroiled in the falsely implicated case she goes through living hell only on the unwavering strength of her love for Krishnaprem to whom she wants to return.
Krishnaprem is also with her and for her all through the horrendous turn of events in a backdrop of political intrigue,police brutality,and shockIng betrayal from certain very close individuals.
I again stress the beautiful and undying love for each other for me is the underlying strength of the story.
Well worth the read. Commendable first attempt.


Book Price: Rs 256/-


Available on Amazon


 

Teesri Panchayat-Redefining the concept of partying on weekends with Myolo

As we are all aware after the hard grind at work during the week we all look forward to the weekend.To meet our friends and party away.
What generally ensues is long conversations between friends to choose a venue which is suitable to all and more so it has to pocket friendly too. Generally speaking all these pubs bars and restaurants today are frightfully expensive. So to find a decent place with reasonable prices is quite a task. Now here is where Myolo comes in with a refreshing concept of House Party.
Members are sent invites through social media and networking for the party which is held in a house.

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The entry fee is 300/Rs for which a pint of beer is free.
For every subsequent beer you take it costs you Rs 99/.
They also have a sort of quiz at the bar and if you get the answers right the pint will cost you Rs 50/
They have a game called beer pong for which you can register and play.
The winner is entitled to free beer all through the evening.
The atmosphere is downright casual with some lounge sofas thrown in.
You don’t have to worry about dressing up just the shorts tees and comfy footwear will do.
What I mean is anything will do.
You get the chance to mingle and make new friends.
Now when we go to any restaurant pub or a bar there is no entertainment value available apart from large screen TVs.
Here is where Myolo scores big.
They have an evening spread out with great entertainment value. This as they fondly called was the Teesri Panchayat, the third evening in a live performance series events. The next Saturday will be the Grand Finale between those who have performed in the last three weeks.
You have a stand up comedy act and the one I attended was superbly done by Amar a stand up comedian.The act was specifically youth oriented and enjoyable.

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Then they have an open slot for a five minute performance by budding artists.
This time it was another stand up comedy act by a young and upcoming artist Rishabh, which was commendable.

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Then came the slot for some Sher-O-Shayari.
This was presented by Honeish Batra and I was quite impressed with the young fellow who had incorporated lot of modern day content into his Shayari.

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Last but not the least there was a live musical performance by Prabhjot and he sang some awesome English songs, melodious and foot tapping too.

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Lovely performances.
All this while you are lounging on the sofa a bottle of chilled beer in your hands with some chips and peanuts provided on the house.
Really a nice way to party with no hang ups .Just the cool casual atmosphere with friends all around.
For the young its the  ideal way to spend your weekend with friends without hurting your pocket with entertainment galore.

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About Myolo: Myolo headquarters otherwise houses an office of young team members who are working on a revolutionary dating app. They also hold some specific dating events and are coming up in a big way.

Feng Shuii- Oriental Dining, Restaurant Review

Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. Feng Shuii, a newly opened oriental dining restaurant resonates this meaning in the truest sense. Located at the upcoming Gallery on MG, which would soon host some of the nicest Restaurants, this one is surely gonna be a hit. The moment you enter the place, the ancient art form of Feng Shui, the artefacts, and the harmony greets you and takes you in the Chinese Era. The ambience is beautifully done and one cannot ignore the tastefully placed art pieces that reflect the true essence of Feng Shui. I mean you would really want to get up from your seat, take a stroll inside the restaurant, and just stare at these art pieces, they are so beautiful.

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I somehow always feel that the place that emits positive vibes has to be good overall, and in case of Feng Shuii this stood absolutely true. Not just the ambience and environment is so harmonious and beautiful, but also the food is excellent. I was called here for a bloggers review meet and I am so glad I could make it.

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Drinks:

Their drinks menu consists of fresh juices, some mocktails and aerated drinks. I settled for a coke this time, as I love the fizz with Chinese Food.

Starters:

Chilly Paneer, Chicken Satay and Chilly Fish were served for starters. Chilly Paneer was simply amazing, perfectly done, neither too spicy nor sweet or bland. My son isn’t very fond of oriental cuisine as such but he always enjoys Chilly Paneer when I make it at home. We have tried Chilly Paneer at a lot of places, and most of the times it ends up being too spicy especially from a child’s point of view, but here at Feng Shuii, my son just loved it, in fact so much so that he didn’t have anything else but two servings of Chilly Paneer.

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The Chicken Satay too was delectable and was served with a subtle peanut dip. Chilly Fish is my all time favourite, but again barring a few places I never like the way it is prepared in restaurants. The best that I had was at Drums of Heaven restaurant, but now Feng Shuii is going to be my new favourite for Chilly Fish, it was mind blowing. The fish was tender and yet has a very crisp coating, the spices perfect, and the veggies added to the flavour and crunch. I can back for it anytime, in fact my mouth is watering as I write this review.

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Dimsums:

We tried the Mushroom & Cheese Dimsums and also the Juicy Chicken. Being a hard core non vegetarian, I still preferred the Mushroom & Cheese dimsums, they were just lovely. It was such a mouthful treat, the creaminess of mushrooms and cheese made it so rich in taste. I am praising mushroom dimsums doesn’t mean the chicken ones were not good, they too were delicious, all I wanna say is that even if you are a non vegetarian, please give the mushroom version a try, you won’t be disappointed.

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Main Course:

The main course consisted of both Thai and Chinese dishes. The main course was served like a buffet, but the fun part was that rather than we walking up to the buffet lay out, the buffet came to us in very smart serving trolleys that come equipped with electric heaters and can keep the food warm for upto 8 hours while being unplugged. These small little innovations and changes in food presentation make a lot of difference in ones overall experience.

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The first dish that was served was Massaman Curry with Nasi Goreng. Massaman Curry is a relatively mild Thai Curry that in itself is an interpretation of a Persian Dish. The flavors of the massaman curry paste (nam phrik kaeng matsaman) come from spices that are not frequently used in other Thai curries, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cumin, bay leaves, nutmeg and mace and this makes it very different. This paste is first fried with coconut cream, and only then are meat, potatoes, onions, fish sauce or salt, tamarind paste, sugar, coconut milk and peanuts added. It is usually eaten with Rice, and in this case it was Nasi Goreng. Nasi goreng, literally meaning “fried rice” in Indonesian and Malay, can refer simply to fried pre-cooked rice, a meal including stir fried rice in small amount of cooking oil or margarine, typically spiced with sweet soy sauce, shallot, garlic, ground shrimp paste, tamarind and chilli and accompanied by other ingredients, particularly, chicken. These came across as one of the best fried rice I have ever had, I just loved it. I can eat them anytime, with or without any gravy.

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Next was the Thai Green Curry served with Steamed Rice. I have never been really fond of Thai food, and here also my perception and taste didn’t change. I did try some of it, but didn’t find it too exciting.

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Fish in Black Bean Sauce was good, I tired it with some Veg Fried Rice, but somehow the gravy was little too salty, so inspite of being good, the salt spoiled the taste.

Hakka Noodles with Chicken in Sweet Chilli Sauce was good too. The Chicken was tender and gravy little sweet, but still it was a good combination with hakka noodles.

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Dessert:

The best part is always reserved for the end I guess, this simple yet amazing dessert Belgium Chocolate, did just that. It was a perfect ending to the delightful meal. It wasn’t over the top, not even had a very fancy presentation, but the taste was just wonderful. Its heaven for chocolate lovers. Must try.

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Service & Hospitality:

The staff was very very hospitable and attentive. The service was a little slow but I am sure they will improve it.

Overall the experience was just amazing and I give a generous 4.5 star rating, do it give it a shot and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Fengshuii. The art of Oriental Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thought for the Day

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