Aniello’s (Diani, Kenya)

Cross-posted from http://lawolf.net.

Rating:

While in Diani, we ate our best non-Olive Branch meal at a cute little Italian place called Aniello’s, recommended by Hassan from Kenyaways. The place has a romantic atmosphere, and seems to be a popular hangout for visiting Italians. Unfortunately the mood lighting made photography with our point-and-shoot difficult. But we shared a good pizza, crab ravioli, and a scoop of tiramisu gelato. I don’t remember the name of the pizza we tried, but it was the best pizza we’ve had in East Africa and featured two types of cheese, basil, and tomato sauce. The crust was thin and flaky, with the right amount of crunchiness. The crab ravioli were extremely fresh, although one needed to be a bit careful of the stray bits of crab shell hidden inside a few of them (oops!)

It’s a great little spot, and I’d certainly recommend it over most other options in Diani – for one thing, the pizzas are much better than those at Forty Thieves.

Aniello’s apparently has two locations in Diani – the one we chose was further north, across from the Barclay’s bank and just past the Nakumatt. There is another one in the Diani Shopping Center, although Hassan told us that the one we chose has the better menu of the two, most notably for the inclusion of the pizzas.

Pizza
The pizza looked better in person than this photo attests

Crab ravioli
Fresh crab ravioli

Aniello’s
Diani, Kenya

The Olive Branch (Galu, Kenya)

Cross-posted from http://lawolf.net.

Rating:

The stretch of sand occupied by Kenyaways, where we spent most of our time over the past four days, is a bit isolated from the action of Diani, to the north. Even beach resorts and hotels are quite spread out on that part of the coast. As such, it is extremely convenient that Kenyaways has a fantastic and reasonably-priced restaurant, the Olive Branch. We consumed all of our lunches there, and we wished that we had opted to stay for dinner on two of the three occasions that we ventured up to Diani for mediocre food.

During our four day stay, we sampled many different dishes, including the ceviche and smoked sailfish salad, falafel burger, Thai fish cake, prawn and avocado salad, grilled prawns, butternut-lentil-coconut curry, big garden salad, and the hamburger (Kenny, not me). The ceviche, served with toast, was quite tasty, although its consistency was more like a tuna fish salad than most ceviches I have tried. The falafel burger was certainly a standout, a delicious chickpea patty on a homemade bun, served with a fresh salad. I also loved the butternut-lentil-coconut curry, which tasted like Thai-Indian fusion, and was served with rice and chapattis. The Thai fish cakes were two juicy fish patties, pan fried but not greasy, served with a large helping of salad. They were delicious, and could also have been great on a bun as a fish burger. The big garden salad was extremely fresh, and featured greens heaped with a big spoonful of feta-like cheese, tomatoes, avocado, capers, and several types of nuts. Yum.

The restaurant staff, Alex, Hassan, and David, were always helpful and amazingly friendly. Hassan told us that the Olive Branch was the best restaurant in the area, and we believed him. He also recommended Aniello’s in Diani, where we had a very nice Italian meal.

If you find yourself at Galu Beach, definitely stay at Kenyaways for the laid-back kite surfing vibe (even if you don’t kite surf!), excellent balcony views, and perfect beach. And while you’re there, you could do much worse (trust us, we did!) than eating all your meals at the Olive Branch.

Big garden salad
Big garden salad

Falafel burger
Falafel burger

Ceviche and sailfish salad
Tuna ceviche and sailfish salad

Prawn and avocado salad
Prawn and avocado salad

Thai fish cakes
Thai fish cakes

The Olive Branch, Kenyaways
Galu Beach, Kenya
+254 (0) 728 886 821

Hallimane (Bangalore, India)

Cross-posted from http://lawolf.net.

Rating:

Hallimane was one of the best restaurants that Archana introduced me and Kenny to last fall, and we returned this week with our Seattle friends for a decadent lunch feast. It is conveniently located in Malleswaram, just a short walk from Sean and Archana’s apartment and an even shorter walk from the wedding hotel.

Its name is Kannada for “village house,” indicating that the menu features the typical foods of rural Karnataka. Of course, for variety, there is also an array of North Indian dishes available, but everything is vegetarian.

Like many casual lunch joints here in Bangalore, Hallimane has a system where customers order and pay at the counter and then deliver receipts to various stations to collect their food. Most hot dishes can be picked up indoors, while ragi and akki rotis as well as parotas must be collected from the men working the flat grill outside. Because Hallimane is always packed, this process involves elbowing your way through throngs of people, and is not recommended for claustrophobics.

Two of their signature dishes are made of ragi, the grain of Karnataka: ragi roti, and ragi mudde, which is a mushy steamed ball of grain. The mudde was certainly not for me, but Kenny and I love love loved the roti, which is made from a batter that includes onions, chilies and dill. We even tried making our own in Archana’s kitchen last fall, but had problems with the rotis falling apart. Thus was born our invention of the ragi waffle.

On our visit with the Seattle friends, we devoured a huge two-round feast, including several orders of ragi roti, two akki roti (made of rice flour), two aloo parota, one ragi mudde for everyone to try (no one enjoyed it much more than I had on the first visit), and a rava idly. We even tried a couple of North Indian dishes this time – channa masala, shahi paneer, naan, and kulcha – and they were excellent, probably the best North Indian I’ve had in Bangalore. For less than $2/person everyone was in food heaven, followed by a huge food coma that threatened to impede our last-minute wedding reception shopping.

Overall, it was an epic food day, starting with Veena for breakfast, continuing with Hallimane for lunch, and finishing off with a huge dinner buffet at Jayamahal for Sean and Archana’s wedding reception.

Lunch at Hallimane
Mini-feast at Hallimane with Kenny and Archana last fall

Kenny and Archana
Kenny and Archana love Hallimane

Hallimane feast
Hallimane feast with the Seattle friends

Hallimane chefs
These guys make the delicious ragi and akki rotis

Hallimane
3rd cross Sampige Road
Malleswaram
Bangalore, India 560003
+91-80-65611222

Hotel Fanoos (Bangalore, India)

Cross-posted from http://lawolf.net.

Rating:

Hotel Fanoos is a hole-in-the-wall establishment in Johnson Market, a Muslim quarter of town, serving up delicious grilled meats from the tandoor, rotis, and shwarmas for rock-bottom prices. Sean took us on a walk over there one evening recently when we were working late in the Babajob office. I had been keeping a mostly veg diet, but breaking it with mouth-watering shwarma and bright green chicken hariyali kebab was so good I knew it had to be right. The roomali rotis were paper-thin and the hariyali was spicy, juicy, and delicious. The kebabs were not quite as tasty as those at Khan Chacha, but certainly the best I’d tried in South India so far.

Two weeks later, we were working late in the office again and craving kebabs fresh out of the tandoor. We made the 15-minute walk over, and again ordered our favorites: chicken hariyali, roomali roti, and chicken shwarma. While we waited for our order, Sean ventured through the service area upstairs to wash his hands, and when he rejoined us had a look of disgust on his face that I will not forget. Per his warning, I did not go check it out myself.

When our shwarmas arrived, we were all quite hungry and didn’t inspect them too closely before we started devouring them. Admittedly, we had all noticed that the shwarma spit was almost bare, and that our sandwiches were made with some of the dregs lying at the bottom. It hadn’t occurred to us until we had each finished about half a sandwich that these strips of chicken would be raw. But indeed they were quite undercooked.

At this point, we had mostly lost our appetites. We nibbled on the hariyali kebabs and rotis that we had ordered but didn’t feel inspired to finish them. We each took a precautionary Cipro tablet that night and swore that we wouldn’t darken Fanoos’s door again. Everyone was fine the next morning, so we congratulated ourselves on conquering Fanoos and thanked the Cipro for whatever role it may have played in our success. After all that, the truth is I’ll probably be back, but I’ll stick to the grilled items and pass on the shwarma.

Bottom line: this place serves mouth-wateringly delicious kebabs, but it certainly comes with risks, even for well-conditioned stomachs like ours. I generally have no problem eating street food, or even the raw vegetables and chutneys that everyone warned me about, but I don’t mess around with raw chicken. If you stick to anything cooked in the tandoor, you’re probably fine, and if you must try a shwarma just make sure there’s more than the dregs left on the spit.

We have no branches
They have no branches

Hotel Fanoos menu 
The huge menu of dirt-cheap deliciousness

Hanging chicken
Kebabs ready for the tandoor

Roomali roti and chicken hariyali
Delicous roomali roti and chicken hariyali kebab

Kenny at the Chicken CounterSean and Lauren eating shwarma
Happy, unsuspecting customers dining on shwarmas at the chicken counter

Hotel Fanoos
17 Hosur Rd, Johnson Market
Bangalore, India
+91 55362712

Ketan (Mandrem, India)

Cross-posted from http://lawolf.net.

Rating:

Next door to the Dunes is a cute little family-run guesthouse and vegetarian restaurant called Ketan. At Rs100 (about $2), their vegetarian thali is the most expensive, but also one of the most delicious, I’ve had in India. It’s also large enough that Kenny and I can share one for lunch or dinner if we order a couple of extra chapatis.

We dined at Ketan three times during our week in Goa, and each time the thali featured a different combination of vegetables and curries. My favorite thali items were the dal and the delicious pumpkin sabji. Everything was a winner though, including cabbage, beets, and gobi curry.

There was always a very cute little boy running around the restaurant and sharing his toys with the guests. He looked great in my sunglasses. His older brother, Ketan, apparently inspired the guesthouse/restaurant’s name. We also befriended Keshav, who I believe was the patriarch of the family. He gave us a ride down to Anjuna for the weekly market, and also offered a good rate on a taxi to the airport at the end of our week.

IMG_0188

Ketan
Junes Wada, Mandrem Beach, Goa
+91-832-2247943
+91-942-1257616
ketanguest@yahoo.co.in