Monday, November 17, 2014

Ghar Aaja Pardesi: The California Boulevard, Gurgaon

You know how there’s an unwritten rule about pooping your gut out before going for an Indian wedding? It helps you clear enough gastric real estate to realize full worth of the shagun ke paise right down to that one rupee. However, the opening of The California Boulevard (TCB) at Gurgaon quite recently demands for such a rule to be written down in ink on something as sacred as Amitabh Bacchan’s right arm, with the word “shaadi” replaced by the restaurant’s name. Because, it would be nothing short of blasphemy to visit this holy shrine behind IFFCO Chowk Metro Station on a stomach half-full.

TCB’s first restaurant at Rajouri Garden left quite a few enthralled by the sheer passion with which the team had brought together themes of Hollywood, Harley Davidson and international music to a part of the capital for which beat-boxing is nothing other than the sound of heavy sirke-wale-pyaaz induced burping. But just a year since its inception, TCB has finally hit G-Town, a place where it more belongs, and how!

With a larger area to put their love for Hollywood on display, the place takes you back to the time when you first crossed the Gurgaon toll booth and were amazed by the city’s resemblance to Bangkok; except this time, it doesn’t take a giant like DLF to give you a glimpse of some foreign land. While the signature Harley at the entrance and Walk of Fame remain, the restaurant boasts of a “Regal Cinema” replication that plays classic Hollywood movies in HD and a bar that looks stunning, to say the least. Further, the two striking surf-boards and a Lakers Basketball wall piece that adorn the open smoking area are sure to dazzle your eyes even if, in all honesty, you’ve never watched any sport but cricket.

To all the Baniya’s who fit the description of “paise toh aa gaye but class nahi aayi”, TCB is the perfect place to learn how to spend one’s money and create an ambience which is nothing less than that offered by the Westin’s and Vivanta’s despite keeping it well within the budget of the Honda City’s and Hyundai Verna’s.

However, the primary selling point of the restaurant lies not in its décor, but in its hospitality and product offering that complement each other wonderfully. It all starts with a valet escorting you to your table, after which the management ensures that your glasses remain full and your entrees arrive at the perfect time. The service seems so impeccable that if one were to understand how the management keeps a watch on all your moves, sensing your every need, it would be creepy as creepy could be. The fact that a personal attendant remains camouflaged in the vicinity and comes to your attention as soon as you require may leave the over-anxious worrying about the servers almost hearing all the poop jokes that you crack with your family at the dinner table. But the staff’s non-judgmental eyes are quite reassuring. And it goes without saying that not all dinner company is as obsessed with bowel movement humor as yours truly.

If one is known by the food he eats, TCB is sure to put you through a multiple personality (dis)order, but in a good way. The menu flaunts of offerings from Italy, Mexico, Japan, South East Asia, Arab and Europe, all done beautifully: authentic, where necessary, and fusioned where found magnificent. The Mezze Mezze, Spring Rolls, Quessadilla and Bruschetta are nicely done, but Dilli ki Chaat and Paneer Sushi remain the stand outs. The former, for the crispy spinach base, and the latter for giving a fancy touch to what is basically a paneer and mushroom pakoda. But both, most importantly, for catering to the heavily Punjabi taste buds that we carry around Delhi NCR.

The chef’s originality shows in a number of dishes, like in the sensuous Khumb and Singhade ki Galouti, and in the TCB special Kulfi Gazzak, which on first look appears to be a block of chocolate, but as soon as the server blows on it with a flame torch, the chocolate casing melts, hinting at an inviting kesar kulfi underneath. The dessert screams food porn like none other as there’s no better description for it than imagining a chocolate nigga’ pressing on top of a Caucasian kulfi in the heat of the moment, missionary style. Uncomfortable sounding to most, but we all know that it’s worth it.

It goes without saying that the team at The California Boulevard knows its business from the back of its hands. The more than generous portions of zucchini, egg plant and other vegetable assortments in the form of Greek Vegetable Moussaka and Cheese Enchiladas among many others stand evidence to the fact that both Chef Karen as well as the proud Harley loving, Sardarji owner, Rajan, make beautiful mothers. You can almost picture Rajan looking at you lovingly while you have your food, proud of the fact that he could make you have your veggies. He ensures that your trip to the restaurant is like a trip to your maaika, where your magnanimous mother gives you much more than she takes. He stands at the exit to see you off, with tears rolling down his cheeks. It’s difficult for him to hide the love he feels, or maybe, it’s just Karen chopping some onions for her next creation, which you must catch while it’s still fresh to eat.


  1. I was reading this while having dinner, and my saadha moong daal and gobhi-aloo meal seemed to get more depressing with every word I read. -.-

    The way you write about food makes it seem even more porn-y. I want this Kulfi Gazzak you've mentioned. Nay, I NEED it!
    I've wanted to taste Enchiladas since I first read Percy Jackson (but that's beside the point :P).
    And the maaika analogy! Where do you get this stuff, man? :'D

    Ooh, btw, California Boulevard is a 15-min-drive from my house.
    *runs to dad and shows him this review*
    He 's a foodie; now that he's read this, we're definitely going to go there soon. Yayy! Woot!
    But, are you sure you still want jalebis after tasting the awesome dessert at CB?

    1. I hope you went since you commented! If nothing else, go for the Kulfi Gazzak. Worth every penny spent and more. Have you done any food reviews? Share, if any :)

  2. Article aside,you write well.Do you practise writing a lot?
    My problem is I can't remember appropriate expressions and words when writing.
    I have an expansive vocab but can't seem to stick words on my head. Any tips on how to write well?

    1. This blog is probably the only crap amount of practice I get. I do a bit of legal drafting at work though. But I don't know if that counts.

    2. Sme people go gaga over you Sarthak.using other's cloak of anonymity.
      Some crush perhaps.

    3. gently bloweth the breezeNovember 27, 2014 at 6:29 PM

      Oh yes yes you are! :') :* :D

  3. kya likha hai bhai! *_* (i don't have any intentions to bhai-zone you, it just goes with the flow! :P) i'm a mumbaikar, but i want to visit delhi at least for the sake of TCB now!! :P

  4. Just had a foodgasm! TCB louveforever!!! :')

  5. Hai Sarthak,
    First time reader and went through your posts.
    I like it when you write hatke posts that are about ordinary things yet escapes our attention.
    Do some serious philosophical posts also.

    1. Sure will. Topic suggestions are welcome :)

    2. "Food for thought or thought for food"

      Its a tough one, I know, but no harm in trying out.

  6. Replies
    1. Please talk to my mummy and papa about this *dabaaoes pallu between the teeth and rushes to the kitchen*

  7. write something about relationships

    1. Already have quite a lot. I could share the links here, but I'd want you to fish :)


If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D