Thursday, August 5, 2010

Il Forno

Il Forno is worth trying only if you are craving for pizzas. In our case, "A" was a bit tired of Ladakhi food and was yearning for a slice. They serve decent pizzas but I won't recommend anything else...

Pizzas and tandooris are made in this oven.

Thin crust pizza and reasonably tasty marinara sauce with some good melted cheese.

Lasagna - A bit mushy, kinda like eating cheese soup.

Rooftop seating. Service is extremely slow, but you can literally see the whole town go by from up here.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 7/10

Would we return?
Only if "A" is craving for pizzas.

Zangsti Road

Amdo Cafe

A local jewelry shop owner recommended this restaurant. The menu has a wide variety of Tibetan food but we stuck with the "safest" dishes (probably because it wasn't me who did the ordering). The food can be quite spicy and by now (4th day in Ladakh), my mouth is starting to develop tiny blisters from the dehydration and energy deficiency, so it became painful and annoying to eat spicy food.

Mutton thukpa - this is a slightly different variation. Instead of long noodles, these are bite-size noodle pieces.

Phing sha, eaten with tingmo (below).

Tingmos - steamed buns, texture and tastes very similar to the Chinese baos.

Mutton momos.

I think this fried-noodle dish is called Thantuk.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 8/10

Would we return?

On Main Bazar Road. It's not hard to find even though it doesn't really have an address. Just ask around, I'm sure a friendly local will tell you how to get here.

Leh View

Kashmiri food is popular in Ladakh for the obvious reasons - Ladakh is in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Apart from Kashmiri food, Leh View restaurant, like all other restaurants in Leh, also serves Chinese, Israeli and European food. The hygiene of this place is questionable but the service is friendly and the view is beautiful.

Kashmiri crispy chicken.

Freshly baked tandoor rotis.

Yakhnee mutton - the flavor is very mild but the meat is cooked to perfection.

Kashmiri dum aloo - so different from the dum aloo we eat in South India. It has a nutty flavor and the potatoes literally melts, you'd think you're just eating gravy.

Dahl fry - so yummy, we did a re-order.

Mutton roganjosh - the meat is so tender and soft. Highly recommended!

And here are the views...

Rooftop seating area.

View of Leh town from the restaurant.

Sunset shot - see how the moon and star aligns? Pretty nice, huh?

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 8/10
"A": 7/10

Would we return?

Main Bazar - it's about 2 doors from the ATM machines (there are only 2 in town). You can't miss it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bon Appétit

You can meet the most random people in Ladakh. All you need to do is smile and start talking to strangers. While camping at beautiful Pangong Tso, we met a couple of people who work at the Indian NDTV food show Highway on My Plate.

What a great recommendation it was! We LOVED this place so much, we came here three times in the 14 days we were in Ladakh and even made friends with the owners. This place is unlike any other restaurants in Leh. Bon Appétit literally took the Leh gastronomical scene up 15 notches. Sure the service was extremely slow, but in Ladakh, there is really no rush to do anything or go anywhere.

Jungle tea - cinnamon "tea" with rum, served warm and yummy. We also ordered mojitos, which is made from spearmints grown from their own kitchen garden.

Trio dips - baba ganoush, cucumber dip and humus.

Lamb skewers with cucumber dips - one is spicy the other one is sweet. Apparently, the guy from Highway on My Plate liked the sweet dip so much he ordered a whole bowl and finished it.

Moroccan chicken breast - Chicken breast marinated in cinnamon and cloves. I have to say, it wasn't the most popular dish on the table.

Aubergine parmesan - crispy aubergine sticks served with yummy tomato sauce.

Chicken momos - a slightly modified version of the traditional one. Served with spicy tomato sauce.

Mutton shapta and tingmo - stir-fry slices of mutton served with steamed buns.

Chocolate momos - I know, it sounded weird to us too at first but it works! Deep fried "dumplings" stuffed with chocolates and served with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. It was yum!

Bon Appétit uses (or tries to use) ingredients grown in from their kitchen garden.

Outdoor seating area.

The indoor seating area. They hired a Swiss architect who was obviously very familiar with Ladakhi aesthetics. The building, floors and furniture are made of local stones, mud and wood.

This is what we had when we came back from brunch.

Paneer vegetable sandwich - "A": fact, I like the brunch menu even more than I do the dinner menu.

Mutton sandwich - served with caramelized onions.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 9.5/10
"A": 9/10

Would we return?

Changspa La

Sunday, August 1, 2010

La Pizzeria

I know the signboard is very enticing but this is NOTHING like a pizzeria. When we walked in, we saw the waiters sitting around, smoking. I had a bad feeling about it but we stayed on thinking maybe the food might be good. After all, they had a good logo.

I think the management or owner should replace the wait staff and more importantly, the cook. Otherwise, I think they should just shut down and not waste precious space.

See the creamy white stuff on top of the pizza pie - they are not cheese, they are some sort of sweet creamy substance.

Half of the things from the "Italian" menu were missing, so I ordered carbonara. The waiter said, "with chicken, ok?" I said sure. When the dish came, my spaghetti was smothered in sweet creamy sauce and had a half-boiled egg on top but no chicken to be found. I took two bites and abandoned the rest.

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 1/10

Would we return?
Hell No!

Changspa La