Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Day At Sura Vie - Sanjeev Kapoor's Popular Restaurant in Delhi

Last week I received an invite to review the Grand Buffet Lunch at a popular Sanjeev Kapoor restaurant in Delhi called Sura Vie


I have been a huge fan of Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, one of the most celebrated faces of Indian Cuisine in the world today. For me, Sanjeev is not only a successful chef but an equally successful entrepreneur, author, consultant, and TV show host and judge. After all who can possibly forget Khana Khazana - the longest running show of its kind in Asia - aired in around 120 countries and seen by over 500 million viewers worldwide.

Only a fool would turn down an offer like that!


Sura Vie is located in the heart of Connaught Place (CP), one of the largest and busiest financial, commercial, and business centers in New Delhi. Parking is a hassle in CP, so if you're planning to visit Sura Vie via your own conveyance, try taking the metro instead.

First Impression


You can tell that the restaurant is recently renovated, perhaps to render a more contemporary look and feel.


Among the first few things that caught my fancy, I particularly liked the dim lighting, LED lit tables, soothing background music, multiple projector and TV screens, and colorful couches.

 
If you're fond of soulful Sufi music, make sure to catch the famous Sufi band 'Aawaaz' live in action every Thursday night. Plans are underway to host a Fashion Night at Sura Vie every Tuesday of the week.

Aawaaz - A Sufi Band

The property has two floors; the first floor can accommodate up to 40 people and the second floor can accommodate up to 80. If you're someone who likes to sit closer to the bar/lounge area, move to the second floor directly.

Colorful Couches on Second Floor

The DJ console is set on the ground floor. While you are dining, entertainment is taken care of with the first-of-its-kind concept of live acoustic music with same visuals being played on screens.


A Projector Screen at Sura Vie

At the restaurant, I was introduced to Sura Vie's Corporate Chef Vicky Sharma, who provided his valuable insights into the daily operations of the restaurant. Chef Vicky has over 16 years of work experience, including stints at the Vivanta by Taj - Ambassador (New Delhi), Vivanta by Taj - President (Mumbai), Vedas (China), etc.

Second floor sitting area at Sura Vie

According to the chef, Sura Vie is primarily a fine-dining restaurant, which is open seven days a week from 12 pm to 12 am. Known for hosting parties, reunions, events etc., the restaurant attracts high profile crowd from Delhi and NCR.

The Grand Buffet Lunch is served between 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm every day, barring Sunday when it is served till 4 pm.

Grand Buffet Lunch


Being a multi-cuisine restaurant, you can choose from a wide variety of food options like the Chinese, Thai, Lebanese, Indian, etc.

The Grand Buffet Lunch contains a lavish, healthy, and oil free spread, featuring over 50 dishes from all over the world.

The sumptuous spread is divided under the following sections:

  • Chaat: This counter has some of your favorite, finger-licking Indian Street food such as Bheeja Kulcha, Gol Gappa, and Paapri Chaat.
  • Starters/Entrées: Try picking some lip-smacking and innovative starters like Fruity Seekh, Cheese Melters, Lemon Grass Chicken Tikkas, Makhmalli Boti, Tandoori Lolly Pops, and so on.
  • Mezze and Mexican: Indulge in an interesting assortment of Nachos with salsa and cheese, traditional Hummus with Pita bread, Tzatziki, Babaganoush, Tabbouleh Salad, Mexi Salsa, Sour cheese, and Refried beans.
  • Salads: In this section, you'll find a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian healthy delights.
  • Pasta and Dim Sums: Pick your favorite spaghetti, penne, or fettucine and get it cooked with vegetables and sauce of your choice. The Dim Sums counter brings to you appetizing vegetarian and non-vegetarian Dim Sums made to perfection.
Dim Sums
  • Main Course Section: Features your favorite dishes from across the globe, for instance, Noodles and Thai Green Curry, Fish Roulade, Deewani Handi, Dum Biryanis, Oriental style noodles, Cottage Cheese Curries, Daal Makhni Nahari, Safed Korma, Saag Koftas, and more.
  • Desserts: My personal favorite, this counter has a classic variety of desserts ranging from Blueberry Tarts, Butter Scotch and Pineapple Pastries to Rose Kheer, Gulaab Jamun, and more. In short, a scrumptious spread for everyone with a sweet tooth.

Grand Buffet Lunch


What I Liked


We were very well taken care of by Jyoti, who works as a Senior Floor Supervisor at Sura Vie. The staff, in general, was prompt in responding to our queries about the menu.

In fact, it felt like a delightful gastronomic expedition; a culinary extravaganza that featured an eclectic mix of mouth-watering delicacies from around the world.

The menu is carefully designed by Sanjeev's team of experts, led by Master Chef Saurabh Saxena, who heads the Sura Vie Kitchens and Operations.

Mocktails


We started the Grand Buffet Lunch with two signature mocktails - Peru Pyala and Spicy Affair.

Peru Pyala

Both Peru Pyala and Spicy Affair are unconventional Guava drinks that contain chaat masala, Tabasco (very hot red peppers), and salt.

Spicy Affair

My rating
:
  • Peru Pyala: 4 out of 5 for its unique taste and flavor. I liked that they mix Guava juice with lemon juice and mint.
  • Spicy Affair: 2 out of 5 for its classic presentation (too "chilly" for my comfort though).

We later ordered two more mocktails called Seventh Heaven and Ginger Mint Lemonade, respectively.

My rating:
  • Seventh Heaven: Essentially a fruit punch topped with strawberry crush and lychee. The fruit punch is a mishmash of mixed fruit juice, apple juice, vanilla ice cream, and blended pineapple/orange slices. I'd rate it a 5 out of 5.
    Seventh Heaven

    • Ginger Mint Lemonade: Fresh ginger muddled with mints and topped with lemonade. My rating: 4 out of 5.
    Ginger Mint Lemonade


    Appetizers


    We tried both non-vegetarian and vegetarian appetizers from Chef Naresh Kumar's kitchen. Chef Naresh works as an executive chef at Sura Vie. I have to admit, the vegetarian delights were much better in taste.

    Non-vegetarian 
    • Achari (Pickle) Chicken Tikka: Slightly tangier and spicier than what you'd generally expect. The homemade achari masala was great though. I'd rate it 3 out of 5.
    Achari (Pickle) Chicken Tikka

    • Lucknowi Mutton Seekh: If you're fond of the Awadhi cuisine, go for these mouth-watering kebabs without thinking twice. Savor the kebabs while they're smoking hot and don't forget to ask for the mint chutney and lemon wedges. My rating: 4 out of 5.
    Lucknowi Mutton Seekh

    Vegetarian 
    • Matar Methi Tikki: Matar (or Green Peas) make great tikkis when combined with potatoes and a handful of methi (Fenugreek) leaves. My rating: 5 out of 5 (an absolute must-have).
    Matar Methi Tikki

    • Exotic Green Paneer Tikka: The green color in this tikka comes from the same herbs and spices that are used to make the Indian green chutney. I am not sure if the marinated Paneer was fried or baked, but something sure felt incomplete. And it is for this reason alone that I rate this dish as 3 out of 5. 
    Exotic Green Paneer Tikka

    Salad 

    • Spring salad (My rating: 4 out of 5)
    • Beetroot salad with sesame seeds (My rating: 3 out of 5) 

    Main Course 

    • Green Thai (fish) curry - Vegetarian/Chicken/Prawn (My rating: 3 out of 5)
    • Grilled chicken with Mushroom sauce (My rating: 3 out of 5)
    • Hyderabadi chicken biryani (My rating: 4 out of 5)
    • Keema mutton (My rating: 3 out of 5)
    • Baked vegetables (My rating: 4 out of 5)
    • Veg Thai Massaman curry (My rating: 3 out of 5)
    • Burnt Garlic Noodles (My rating: 3 out of 5)
    • Corn Rice (My rating: 3 out of 5)
    • Mushroom matar hara pyaz (My rating: 4 out of 5)
    • Middle Eastern cuisine (My rating: 3 out of 5): Includes Falafel, Hamas, Jajiki, Mutabal (Eggplant dip), Sour Cream, Salsa, Kidney Beans, Nachos, Pita bread, and Lavash. 
    Main Course

    Desserts 

    • Gulab Jamun (My rating: 3 out of 5)
    • Seviyan (vermicelli) kheer (My rating: 4 out of 5)
    • Mango souffle (My rating: 3 out of 5)
    • Italian Bomb (My rating: 4 out of 5)
    • Tart (My rating: 3 out of 5)
    • Pastry (My rating: 3 out of 5)

    Desserts

    The buffet also comprises exotic foods like Gosht Dalcha, oriental style stir fried smoked chicken, Lulla Mussa Dal, Safed Murgh Korma, Fish in lemon butter, Shaadi Wala Paneer, etc.

    The best part is that the lunch menu changes every day, so there are plenty of choices for everyone. The buffet lunch also includes exciting offers on alcohol.

    So what are you waiting for? 

    At INR 777 plus taxes, the Grand Buffet Lunch provides the best bang for the buck.

    If you're a sucker for elegant interiors, jovial ambiance, entertaining music, extensive beverage menu, and warm hospitality, Sura Vie CP is the place to be!

    Thursday, August 20, 2015

    Take Your Local Business Online With Dot Bharat Domains

    Have you ever wondered which domain name is the best suited for your online business in India? Should you go for a domain name that ends with a .COM or a .IN or even better a .भारत? If you're deciding to go online as an entity – be it individual, brand, or company – you definitely need to consider a domain name that provides the biggest bang for the buck.


    Today, the INRegistry is responsible for operating and managing .IN, which is India's Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).

    The .IN domain name provides a distinct identity for Indian brands, companies, and individuals in the cyberspace.


    In my opinion, every business owner/brand in India must have an Indian language domain and website. Imagine a small restaurant in Valsad, Gujarat, who may want to have a  .ભારત domain to reach out to a wider audience locally. Or an artisan in Madurai, Tamil Nadu may want to go for a .இந்தியா domain to attract more customers within the state.


    The good news is that now you can go for a .भारत domain name or other regional language domains (see below):

    .भारत
    .Bharat in Devanagari
    .ভারত
    .Bharat in Bengali
    .భారత్
    .Bharat in Telugu
    .ભારત
    .Bharat in Gujarati
    . بھارت
    .Bharat in Urdu
    .இந்தியா
    .Indiya in Tamil
    . ਭਾਰਤ
    .Bharat in Gurumukhi (Punjabi)

    Such regional language domains fall under the umbrella of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), which in essence are domain names represented in local language characters. These domain names contain letters or characters from non-ASCII scripts.


    The INRegistry is the government establishment in India responsible for registering IDN in Indian languages.


    Plans are underway to launch the IDN in other Indian regional languages like Bangla, Urdu, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, and Gujarati. 


    With 60,000 Indian villages connecting with broadband this year through the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN), this move will certainly encourage a lot of local businesses to flourish by having online presence in regional language domains.


    The main thing to remember is that this initiative will primarily benefit the large non-English speaking population in India, who will now be able to type the URL in their native regional language, thus bringing about a greater demand for generation of local content.


    As Internet users in India are slated to surpass those in the US by the end of 2015, this looks like a great move already. I strongly advocate the dot Bharat initiative; it'll not only bridge the existing digital divide but also herald an e-commerce revolution in our country.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    Top 10 Strategies to Succeed as a Technical Communicator

    Like it is with any specialized profession, technical communication too requires some strategic planning. 

    Here are my top 10 recommendations to build a flourishing technical communication career.

    1. If you did not study technical communication in college, make sure your current TechComm job promotes analytical thinking, problem-solving, writing, and communication skills. 


    2. Learning to conduct research and break down technical information quickly will go a long way in realizing your success as a TechComm professional.


    3. Determine the domain that interests you and take a TechComm job in that domain.


    4. Become familiar with publishing software like Technical Communication Suite, Flare, Captivate, SnagIt, etc.


    5. Join a professional body like the Society for Technical Communication (STC) or Technical Writers of India (TWI). Participate in several technical writing forums on Facebook and Twitter and share your knowledge with the rest of the world.


    6. Put together a portfolio that showcases your best TechComm work.


    7. Start a technical writing blog and update regularly with new, interesting posts. You can include the blog address in your Resume.


    8. The definition of content is changing rapidly. Content today is no longer about text alone. With rise of rich media social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and SlideShare, content now encompasses video, audio, images, animation, etc. As technical communicators, you must learn to create rich media content to increase brand reach and interest and achieve greater mindshare with your target audiences. 


    9. If you're able to influence the customers' purchasing decision through your content or training, you should not hold back your thoughts.


    10. Selling technical writing as a service offering is also one area where technical communicators can gradually progress. From being documentation manager at a large conglomerate to solution architect at a mid-size services MNC, I found that career progression quite natural. 

    Finally, remember that your success as a technical communicator can help a company reduce the total cost of training and support, and achieve better re-use of content via text and digital assets.

    Sunday, August 16, 2015

    How to Build a Career in Technical Writing

    A lot of times people ask what I do for a living and my short answer to them is that I am a technical writing specialist. I am not sure if they truly understand that as well, so I take an extra minute of their time to talk about my profession.

    Even though technical writing is a much sought after profession in several technology organizations, sadly there isn't much information available on the Internet about how to build a career around it. This blog post attempts to bridge that gap.


    Think Beyond Writing - Focus on Domain


    A technical communicator's job in today's context is more than just writing. In fact, many organizations assume that you can write well and are looking to hire someone with a strong interest in technology and domain.

    The more depth you tend to acquire in a particular domain over a period of time, the more premium you can demand in the longer run. In fact as technology continues to evolve, employers are looking to hire techcomm experts in specialized domains such as semiconductors, IT, travel, etc.


    Having spent 14 years in this industry, including a 7-year stint in South Korea, I can tell you that employers appreciate if you know about the underlying domain in which they operate. Experience in domain comes in handy and saves a lot of valuable time for the employer who doesn't want to spend too much time in handholding. I remember how my experience of working for a leading semiconductor business unit at Samsung proved useful when I started a new job at Agilent (a company that dealt in Electronic Design Automation). I was able to apply all my learning on the job and was better equipped to handle meetings with developers and design staff.

    GUI Based Documentation Is Dying


    Trends show that the demand for GUI based documentation is on a decline, and there is a solid reason for that. Most modern-day applications are designed to be user friendly and intuitive.

    That said, the demand for technical communicators to contribute in system documentation is at an all-time high. If you know a programming language, you could play a key role in documenting APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) or writing tutorials that developers can leverage.


    Needless to say, the salaries for programming writers are higher than generalist technical writers.

    Don't Underestimate the Power of Communication


    As part of your role, you'll be meeting and spending time with a lot of people other than your own team of writers or editors, such as the staff from development, testing, business analysts, or deployment team. 


    Learning to buy their time and valuing their knowledge goes a long way in terms of relationship building and making sure that you have your ground covered up from all possible angles. Gone are the days when writers worked in silos.

    Enhanced Skillset - Need of the Hour


    While your written and verbal communication skills can land you a decent technical writing job, you might still be required to hone your skills from time to time to become a domain expert.


    For creating developer documentation like API/SDK/Deployment manuals, you might be required to understand the advanced concepts of programming. In some cases, the employer might even expect you to know or do coding. Imagine a scenario where you're handed over some header files to modify or edit the developer comments within the code. If you don't have the relevant knowledge of programming, you will not be able to perform the job, leave alone adding any value.

    Wearing Different Hats


    While it is a luxury to have a graphic designer or an editor at your disposal, more often than not, you are expected to wear different hats or asked to do more than what was defined in your offer letter or job description. This is not such a bad thing!


    Sometimes you'll be asked to create a document template in Word or HTML and knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) (or more specifically, Styles) will be good to have. At other times, you may be required to create or edit images, illustrations, or videos. It doesn't hurt to know a few graphic designing tools like SnagIt, Photoshop, CorelDraw etc.

    Bridging the Gap between Technical and Marketing Content


    By any chance, if you're working for a services company, try helping the marketing or presales team by writing or editing proposals, case studies, whitepapers, website/blog content, etc. 


    The management truly appreciates someone who can help the company win contracts or look good in front of customers.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Broomberg - Redefining Clean Living

    A few days ago it dawned on me that my house needed cleaning, er, massive cleaning. The drawing room in particular was such a mess.

    It could've easily taken me and Sadhna an entire week to put our house in order. Last time we tried cleaning, results were far from flattering. So we decided to look for options online this time around.

    It's not like we don't have domestic help at our disposal. We have employed a part-time maid who frequents the house every evening for cleaning. But how do you manage two tiny toddlers, whose idea of fun is to jump on sofas, coloring the walls, and throwing things all over the place. It is a tall order to contain kids of any age. Also, both me and Sadhna have full-time jobs that suck the life out of us. Cleaning is the last thing we ought to be doing on weekdays.


    To our surprise, help was just a click away in the form of Broomberg, a one-stop solution for professional home and office cleaning. It was so easy to place a request on their website, www.broomberg.in. You can either call their toll free number 80 1010 4040 or email at info@broomberg.in. Ta da!

    A Broomberg Staff Member in Action

    Booking a service from Broomberg is easy as a breeze. On placing request, a professionally trained team will arrive at your doorstep at the prescribed day and time and perform the cleaning, leaving behind a shiny sparkling house. The best part is that the cleaning services are pretty affordable; in fact the service starts at just INR 899 only. Isn't that cool!

    A Broomberg Staff Member Cleaning the Window Glass

    Among the gamut of cleaning services that Broomberg engages in, Sofa Cleaning is what I opted for. You could also go for Steam Cleaning, Wood Care, Fridge or Oven Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning, Mattress Sanitization, and Facade Cleaning.

    Sofa Cleaning (Courtesy: Broomberg)

    At the moment, cleaning services for homes and offices are only available in Delhi-NCR, including Gurgaon and Noida.

    The staff carries their own unique equipment, including vacuum cleaner, organic cleaning agents, steam cleaners, scrubbing machines, and various other tools which are required to clean.

    Broomberg Equipment

    Essentially, you could choose from three types of services - Deep Clean, Super Clean, and Ultra Clean. The Broomberg staff may also make a recommendation based on the condition of your home or office. For example, if you have never gotten your premise deep cleaned, trying out the Ultra Clean service pack will be a fantastic option.

    Broomberg is the brainchild of Samrat Goyal and Ishan Baisoya, who came up with the unique concept of 'clean, disinfect, and sanitize' in November 2013. 

    Samrat Goyal
    Ishan Baisoya

    They have professionally trained and verified teams within the company to get the cleaning done perfectly. You must read their articles on "10 filthy spots in your house that you never knew existed" and "Household items that can be used for cleaning".

    A Staff Member Wearing Broomberg Shirt

    Finally, get your house the most trusted, able, and best cleaning hands. Get Broomberg.