Chin Chin – An Unfortunate Chinese Affair

I’ve been to Chin Chin a few times before writing this review. My recent visit shocked me, well, disappointed me actually. Chin Chin has a branch in Sharjah, specifically located in Al Majaz. I visited on a Friday night, and the service might have been poor due to the crowded place.

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Upon entering I was asked to wait for a table for around 10 mins. This was acceptable considering the crowd. Our server apologized for the wait and was kind enough to make us feel comfortable.

We ordered a Chinese Chop suey (From our usual American one), Crispy Beef, Chicken Chilli, Chicken Hakka Noodles and a Veg. Fried Rice. Needless to say, the Crispy beef, being one of their star dishes, was the best! The beef would just melt in your mouth and you could have as much as you want, and still not be satisfied! 😀 This one is highly recommended! They also have a chicken option for those who don’t prefer beef.

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The vegetable fried rice and Chicken noodles were good, the usual type. Coming to our chicken dishes, the Chicken chilli was a gravy dish. The chicken was well cooked, but topped with a lot of cornflour. All in all, the dish was good, but didn’t justify it’s name as it lacked the spicy flavor. Since I am a fan of spiciness, I really expected so much from this dish, but it failed to deliver.

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The Chinese chop suey was something that is best forgotten. When we asked the waiter previously about the difference between this and it’s American version, we were said that it’s just the red sauce.

( The Chinese chop suey is pictured below. I usually order my noodles as a separate )

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I was very disappointed with this dish in particular. Mainly, because it looked appetizing but did not taste so. It seems like Chin Chin prefers serving bland food to its customers. Our server agreed to request the chef to add in some spices. Mainly, some ginger or garlic, for some flavor. But even then, it was distasteful. ( The updated one is pictured below )

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Place wise, the restaurant is pretty small and dimly lit. Taking pictures proved quite difficult due to direct overhead lighting 🙁

It was quite nice to watch the chefs at work though. They provide a see through glass through which you can see your meals being prepared in front of you. If you plan for a quite dinner, do not visit on a weekend, as they are filled with large groups of family with crying kids running all over the place.

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Will I be coming back? I really don’t think so. Unless they change their recipes or their menu altogether. Have you ever had an experience where your taste buds just don’t agree, however pleasing the dish might look? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Till then, happy eating! xx

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A Taste Of Punjab! – New Sind Punjab

Tucked away in the old side of Dubai, what you see from the outside is entirely different from the inside. The saying, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, stands true here. New Sind Punjab has two locations in Dubai. The branch I visited was in Al Karama. From the exteriors, you’d think that this is a basic restaurant, but when you enter you’re actually surprised. The restaurant has two floors, the lower one serves bachelors mostly. ( I’m assuming this as there were just men having lunch downstairs ). We were taken to the upper floor which is usually reserved for family. The top floor is spacious and comfortable, with dim lights. It had a pleasant and soothing ambiance, again this might be as we were the only ones present at the time.

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As we scanned the menu, I noticed that the prices here are very affordable and are quite light on the pocket. We ordered a butter chicken, reshmi kebab, chole bathure, with butter naans and parathas. A special mention to the server here, he was very helpful and suggested us what to order. Also, Chole Bathure is a breakfast meal, but he requested the chef to prepare it for us since we asked for it.

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Coming to the food, the butter chicken, upon arriving, seemed average. The butter chicken is supposed to have a tinge of sweet flavoring to it, which was missing. When pointed out to our server, he immediately brought us a newly prepared one! This one tasted creamy, tasty and also had the right amount of sweetness!

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The Reshmi Kebab was not as expected and came off as a little dry, which proved difficult in having it. The Chole Bathure is a combination of pooris and chickpeas curry. While the pooris were soft, and not too oily, the curry was equally good to have. It also reminded me of the times I’ve had chole bathure in my childhood.

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The parathas were good. Nothing much to rave about, they are like the ones you’d get in any household of an Indian family. The butter naans, on the other hand, were delicious. In this case, the more butter, the merrier. 😉  They were served with a good amount of butter, which will have me gaining a few of those inessential calories…

Overall, Sind Punjab provides a good competition to most of the high end Indian restaurants out there, which might be appealing to the eyes, but not too good taste-wise. It also is quite pocket friendly and can be rightly known a true hidden gem of Dubai. I know I will be coming back soon to try their famous biryani and chicken tikka!

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A Tasty and Healthy Alternative: Soulfull

I was recently invited to Soulfull for a meetup organised by Zomato. Soulfull is located in the Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC. It also has another branch in Abu Dhabi. What I loved about the restaurant, is that it promotes a healthy concept, while also being socially responsible by contributing unsold items to charity.

We were presented with an extensive menu. And by that, I mean a six course meal! We were taken to the kitchen upon entering, where the owner, Mr. Tamer Ali and the head chef demonstrated a tutorial of their best selling salads! A very informative show it was, where we got to learn the different types of greens! Something that I don’t usually pay attention to.

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Prior to our grand meal, we were served a Mango Ginger Limonata. This cocktail was a delight! As much as I love mango, I wasn’t too sure of the ginger. But this one blew me off! Especially since it was so hot outside. A perfect refreshing drink, I must say!

  Our first course was an option between a lentil soup or a pumpkin with ginger soup. I decided to go for the latter ( as it is something I haven’t tried before ). I don’t usually prefer pumpkin, but this was made into a creamy soup that had a hint of ginger. The best part is, the ginger did not overpower the soup.

For starters, we were served Grilled Mushroom stuffed with artichokes and Quinoa Bruschetta. First, I would love to appreciate how beautiful these dishes looked. Soulfull certainly deserves a 10/10 for presentation.Coming to the taste, the mushrooms were perfect, the artichokes placed on top were perfectly grilled. The cheese with sauce on the top most layer did the trick, by giving it a wonderful flavor. The bruschettas, on the other hand, were topped with tomatoes and quinoa. I didn’t like them as much as I liked the former dish, as I felt there was just to much of tomato here. They could probably try to add another vegetable or a sauce to balance the tomatoes.

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We, then had our salads placed in front of us. And, I must admit, we were spoilt for choice here, as there were not two or three, but five salads to try! Kale Halloumi and Chicken Salad, Steak Salad with dry fig and Blue Cheese, Pumpkin Feta Salad ( these were the ones demonstrated to us ) with Mediterranean Quinoa and Fattouchna.

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My favorite was, the Kale Halloumi and Chicken Salad. I’m not a fan of salads as such, but this one was an exception. The others didn’t do much for me, so I chose to eat their toppings that were much better. Namely, the steak and quinoa. A special mention to the Fattouchna here. The presentation was super cute! With spiral toasted pita as toppings.

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Coming to the fourth course, which was REAL food. Finally! We had wraps and sandwiches brought to us. These were Halloumi, Charcoal Chicken, Steak Sandwich and Roast Beef with Frittata. The Charcoal chicken was a clear winner here, it had grilled chicken, parmesan cheese and guacamole. About the roast beef with frittata, there was just something about it that I did not enjoy.

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The Mains and Grills! This was the part I was looking forward to, but sadly I was already too full 🙁

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We were served Fussili with Shrimps, Yakisoba, Mix Grill, Peri-peri Chicken and Grilled Salmon. The fussili was a let down, the shrimps did not complement it well. Also, it tasted too bland, a sauce would be good. The chicken was shaped in a heart, with peri peri sauce served on the side, this also was mediocre. The chicken was good as a separate, but the sauce had a sweetish flavor. Some spices would do good.

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What I liked from this course, was the Yakisoba. It was a joy to have! The beef with the sauce and noodles, was perfect! And I can’t believe it is healthy!

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Lastly, for desert, we had the sweet energy bites and raspberry cake. The energy bites were in three flavors ( matcha, cranberry and dark chocolate ) I, obviously loved the chocolate one. The cranberry was chewy and filled with oats and dates, and I quite liked that. The matcha ( Green tea ), on the contrary, was filled with coconut. I quite didn’t like that. This again, is my personal opinion.

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After all that we had eaten, it was just to hard to have more food. But, being the glutton I am, I devoured the cake almost immediately. The Raspberry cake was topped with bread crumbs and had alternative layers of yogurt and raspberry underneath. A perfect alternative to cheesecake! And a healthier one too!

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The service at this place is impeccable, with the servers always being there when needed. Also, from the demo class, I could see that the chefs here are passionate about what they create and they rightfully impress their customers.

I would like to thank Zomato for inviting me try Soulfull. This restaurant breaks the misconception that healthy food is boring and bland. Instead, it can be made tasty if cooked with the right ingredients. Also, I would like to thank Pallavi for inviting me, and help me meet foodies who share my passion! Looking forward to more meetups in the future!

Discaimer: I was invited here as a guest, but my reviews remain unbiased.

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The Cake Heaven: A Heaven Indeed…

I am solely writing this post to thank this kind lady who bakes the awesomest cakes ever! She has been baking cakes for all our friends’ birthdays from the past 2 years. The Cake Heaven, is a heaven for cake lovers indeed!

Fahmeeda Moosa, a dear friend now, keeps outdoing herself with every cake she provides. I, thank you for coming up with the best ideas for customized cakes, even when we come to you just 3 days before. Thank you for making such rich, chocolatey and delicious cakes.

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I remember this was the first cake we ordered. For a friend who’s a volleyball player. The cake was beautifully designed. And all of it was edible! Yes, the slippers and the shades too!

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These are some of the cakes done by Ms. Fahmeeda. She is quite a pro!

11310980_1664303153802947_1025194630_n Oh! And this one’s the best of all! My birthday cake! Designed for a girly girl who loves makeup! The best part is, all the cosmetics here are edible. They are made of fondant that is scrumptious. Also, you can keep them as mementos for however long you like! This was a year back, and I still have some of the brushes with me.

Looking forward to ordering more cakes in the future!

You can find The Cake Heaven on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCakeHeaven

Additionally, you might want to get in touch with Ms. Fahmeeda directly: https://www.facebook.com/fahmeeda.moosa

Ribbons, Balloons and Everything Nice

After hearing a lot about this newly opened bakery, I decided to pay it a little visit. Ribbons and Balloons is located near Haji Ali, in Oud Metha, Dubai. Upon entering this bakery, I was welcomed with a scent of freshly baked cakes. The interiors were pink and go very well with the name.

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Since I arrived a little early, they were still baking their cakes to be served in the evening. The manager at the bakery was very friendly, he helped me select and even suggested some of their specialties. I chose a piece of Nutella Cake, a Rocky Road brownie and a Chocolate Cupcake, and ordered for them to be taken away.

The Nutella Cake slice was delectable! It was chocolatey and gooey. ( I love these kind of desserts! ) The portion served was big enough to fill your tummy as it is quite rich and heavy.

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The Rocky Road brownie was filled with almonds and nuts ( Priced at AED 8 for one ). Though, it was a bit hard to eat since it had gotten dry. Not my most favorite, but I’d definitely love to try the chocolate brownies next time.

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And lastly, the chocolate cupcake ( AED 10 for one ) , this was a cute one. The cream on top was delicious and not too sweet. The cake with the cream was a good combination. A bit over priced, but oh well, you can spend sometimes 😉

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Since I didn’t have much time and was early, I couldn’t try the other stuff they had. Ribbons and Balloons also serves jar cakes that come in small, medium and large sizes. They do customized cakes as well and also have eggless and sugarfree cakes. This bakery makes it just perfect for everyone out there! Here’s a link to their Facebook page!

Do check it out and tell me what you guys thought! 😀

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There’s SOMETHING new about Chili’s

I had recently mentioned in my last post, about how I wanted to try the new dishes at Chili’s. So, I did just that when I had gone with my friends for lunch a few days back.

Chili’s, happens to be my favorite restaurant for comfort food. The place I usually visit when I want some mouth watering burgers, cheesy pastas or when I’m craving loads of chocolate.

So, we ordered a Tripple Dipper for appetizers. This dish can easily be shared by 3-4 people, and is priced at 59 AED. We are given a choice of selecting three appetizers from seven! We chose Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers, Big Mouth Burger Bites and Boneless Buffalo Wings.

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The chicken crispers dipped in honey were just perfect! There weren’t too sweet nor too savory. The burgers looked small, but were very filling. The beef patty inside was well cooked. The buffalo wings on the other hand were a bit mediocre, but appreciated by friends nevertheless.

Since we were already too full to order separate main dishes, we ordered two pastas and decided to share. A Chipotle Pesto pasta ( priced 65 AED ) and Smoked Chicken Jalapeno Mac and Cheese ( also priced 65 AED ) .They were served with garlic toast which were a delight to have, with the sauces served earlier in the starters. The Chipotle Pesto pasta was loved by my friend. Not too much cheese, since she isn’t a fan of it, with the delicious chipotle pesto sauce.

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The Mac and Cheese on the other hand, had loads of Jalapenos! I, personally am a fan of those. The smoked chicken was cooked well and cut easily. (Unlike some places that have chicken that’s hard) The cheese was just the way I liked it, combined with the spiciness of jalapenos and soft smoked chicken, it was a winner! Definitely coming back for this one!

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After these dishes, we were too full to have any desserts. But, as I make a check sign on my list, I mentally add the newly added Guacamole Burger and Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie from the menu to my list. Check this space for the review next time I visit Chili’s. 😉

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