Chocolate Excess Cake and Strawberry Cheesecake at Cocoa Tree MG Road Kochi

Cocoa Tree MG Road – Best Cafe in Kochi

Back in 2005/2006, Cocoa Tree introduced the cafe culture to Kochi and ever since has been serving delicious coffees, pastas, burgers, milkshakes, pastries, cakes, sandwiches and more.

Located within the Avenue Regent Hotel on MG road, Cocoa Tree cafe has set the tone for the newer cafés in Kochi city and in Fort Kochi in terms of quality of food, great service and ambiance.

While the menu of Cocoa Tree has evolved since 2005, it’s current avatar is still a beacon of tasty food, even for the odd vegetarian 😉

Fish and Chips at Cocoa Tree MG Road Kochi
Fish and Chips

Must Eat:

  • Spicy Fries and Potato Wedges: fried and seasoned to perfection, the potato fries and wedges are supremely delicious. What I don’t understand is that both are not on the Menu, yet you can order them 😳
  • Chocolate Excess Milkshake: thick, rich chocolate excess cake based milkshake churned with loads of vanilla ice cream – heaven !!
  • Vietnamese Iced Cafe: the best cold coffee on the menu, great balance of coffee and sweetness.
  • Basil Pesto Pasta: pesto sauce on the creamy/cheesy side – very delicious 
  • Mushroom Melt Sandwich: one of the best sandwiches loaded with grilled mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, cheddar cheese and basil mayo 😋
  • Loaded Mac and Cheese: very rich, creamy and yumm.. 
  • Strawberry Cheesecake: cheesecake topped with fresh strawberries – master class 😍
  • Chocolate Overload with scoop of vanilla ice-cream: if you are a chocolate fan, this is the ultimate chocolate dessert they offer – bloody damn good!
Basil Pesto Pasta at Cocoa Tree MG Road Kochi
Basil Pesto Pasta 😋
Chocolate Overload with Vanilla Ice-cream at Cocoa Tree MG Road Kochi
Chocolate Overload with Vanilla Ice-cream 🤤

Useful Information:

  • Read the Menu: Especially If you are a vegetarian, as some seemingly veg food may have a non-veg ingredient.
    • Ex: Loaded Mac & Cheese is topped with with bacon pieces – so ask them to not add the bacon topping OR give the bacon topping separately in a bowl 
  • Ordering the Desserts: desserts on the menu are limited, check out the display counter for more options of cakes, pastries and ask them pair it with your fav scoop of icecream and chocolate/caramel sauce
  • Ambiance
    • Air conditioned cafe with comfortable seating and pleasant ambiance 
    • Suitable for friends, couples, family and kids
    • High chair for kids: available 
  • Service: The entire staff are warm, hospitable and easy going 👍🏻
  • Restroom
    • Clean, separate toilets for men and women are present
    • Wheelchair Accessibility:
      • Restroom: Yes
      • Entrance: Yes
      • Seating: available 
  • Home delivery of food: available on popular food delivery apps
  • Parking:
    • Cars: free parking with valet assistance in the backside of Avenue Regent Hotel + limited parking spots on the front side of the cafe
    • Motorcycles: free parking in the backside of Avenue Regent Hotel
  • Mode of Payment: Accept cash, cards and UPI 
  • Timings: Open all days of the week: 11am to 11pm
  • Location: Cocoa Tree, MG road, Kochi [link to Google Maps]
  • Other Branches of  Cocoa Tree:
    • Panampilly Nagar
    • Kakkanad (Closed Permanently)
Inside Cocoa Tree MG Road Kochi
Pleasant vibes inside the cafe ❤️
Shifu's Veg Momos Platter with the view of Central Park at Panampilly Nagar Kochi

Best Momos in Kochi at Shifu Momos Panampilly Nagar

Steamed, Fried, Schezwan, Manchurian, Afghani and even Cheese Baked” veg and chicken momos that taste out of world 😋, washed down with bubble ice tea and the nostalgic softy ice cream – all this is in a small shop overlooking a beautiful park 😍 in the posh residential-commercial neighbourhood of Panampilly nagar in Kochi.

As with most momos shops, Shifu Momos started in 2012 as a small roadside cart that has now grown into a bustling full-spec takeaway restaurant.

While most make good chicken momos, Shifu Momos have aced them both (veg and chicken momos) 💯.

Veg Afghani Momos and Veg Momos Platter at Shifu Momos PanampillyNagar Kochi
Veg Afghani Momos (half plate) and Shifu’s Momos Platter 🥰

Must Eat:

  • Classic Momos: steamed momos made to perfection 💯
  • Crispy/Fried Momos: lip smacking fried delight 😋
  • Schezwan Momos: steamed momos are fried and then cooked in spicy schezwan sauce – my favourite ❤️
  • Afghani Momos: latest addition to their menu, fried momos cooked in a non-spicy, creamy white sauce
  • Cheese Baked Momos: momos stuffed with melted cheese 
  • Momos Platter: if you are a 1st timer, go with Shifu’s Momos Platter that contains 3 different types of momos (4 pieces of each flavour)
  • Bubble Ice Tea: Very tasty, loaded with sugar and bobas 
  • Softy Ice-cream: Soft ice-cream on a cone – choose between vanilla, chocolate, mix (half vanilla + half chocolate) 
Best Momos in Kochi at Shifu Momos Panampilly Nagar
Shifu’s Momos Platter – Veg 😋

Useful Information:

  • Momos Chutney: All momos are served with lip-smacking spicy red momos chutney and thick, delicious white mayo – feel free to ask for a refill 😊
  • Chowmein: They used to make chowmein noodles topped with momos, but this has been discontinued 😢
  • Be an early bird: due to demand, they run out of momos by 7pm/730pm
  • How to order
    • Choose between veg or chicken
    • Choose the size [full plate is 10 pieces, half plate is 5 pieces]
    • Followed by the flavour/type [Classic/Crispy Fried/Schezwan/Manchurian/Afghani/Cheese Baked]
    • Pay first and collect your order
  • Ambiance
    • Takeaway only [get the food, find a spot to eat by the footpath/public park opposite the shop/ in your car]
    • NO dine-in
    • Listed on popular food-delivery apps
  • Restroom: NO restroom facility for the patrons
  • Family/Couples/kids friendly:
    • Opposite Shifu Momos is a beautiful public park to relish the food
    • ⚠️ Kindly DO NOT litter the park, carry back the thrash to throw into the dustbins at the momos shop ⚠️
  • Parking:
    • No dedicated, valet parking for cars and motorcycles 
    • Find a public parking spot on your own for both cars and motorcycles 
  • Payment: Cash, UPI, wallet payment, debit/credit cards are not accepted 
  • Timings
    • Open: Monday to Saturday- 3pm to 8:30pm
    • Closed: Sunday
  • Location: Shifu Momos, Panampilly Nagar, Kochi [Google Maps link]
Shifu Momos Panampilly Nagar Kochi

The combination of quality, delicious food and pocket-friendly prices draw momos fans from every corner of the city and even travellers into Shifu Momos.

Masala dosa with jamoon and vada at Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room DVG road Basavanagudi Bengaluru

Breakfast at Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room Basavangudi Bengaluru

Crispy masala dosa, fluffy khali dosa, crunchy vada dipped in delicious sambar coupled with the retro ambiance of Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room restaurant on DVG road Basavangudi delivers a nostalgic breakfast experience of good-old south Bengaluru.

Mahalakshmi tiffin room is reminiscent of my school days when social sharing meant sharing the table at the restaurant inevitably improving our conversation skills with people 😊

Interiors and old school ambiance of Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room DVG road Basavanagudi Bengaluru
Old-city retro ambiance 🥰

Must eat:

  • Khali Dosa
  • Masala dosa
  • Vada: one of the best vada in south Bengaluru, super crispy, tasty and the sambar is very flavourful
  • Special dosa: it’s triangle-shaped masala dosa with a dollop of butter on top
  • Sagu Masala dosa: available only in the morning, it is Masala dosa stuffed with mixed-vegetable Sagu instead of the potato-based palya
  • Bonda soup: available in the evening only

For the sweet tooth ❤️

  • Jamoon: the best Jamoon in and around Basavangudi – absolute deliciousness 😋
  • Carrot Halwa: tastes good, but Jamoon is a master class
  • Kesari bath: very delicious and not overly sweet
Khali dosa with butter at Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room DVG road Basavanagudi Bengaluru
Benne Khali dosa with filter coffee 😋

Useful Information:

  • Ambiance:
    • Be prepared to share the table with strangers
    • Separate dining section for family
    • Non- AC
    • Basic retro, no-frills ambiance that thrives on delicious food and fast service
    • Family and kid’s friendly
  • Mode of payment: Cash only (They do not accept UPI, wallet-payment, credit/debit cards)
  • Parking:
    • Motorcycles: free, public parking in front of the restaurant
    • Cars: no dedicated or valet parking – one of has find public parking in the vicinity of the restaurant (finding a car parking space is tough, since the area is crowded with shops, street vendors and road repair works)
  • Service:
    • No online/phone reservations is accepted
    • How to order: Find a table, place the order with the waiter and pay the bill at the counter after eating
    • Service is fast and the waiters are polite
    • Riding helmets: they have a separate space inside the restaurant to keep the helmets
    • Weekends are very crowded, more peaceful to eat on a weekday
    • Large groups of 5+ people: Anticipate a waiting time of 15-20mins or more to find a table
    • Food Delivery: Not listed on any food delivery apps, once has to go in-person to the restaurant to parcel the food
  • Timings:
    • Thursday to Tuesday: 6:30 am to 11:30 am and 2:30 pm to 8:00 pm
    • Closed on Wednesday
  • Location: Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room, DVG Road Basavanagudi (Find on Google Maps)
Mahalakshmi Tiffin Room DVG road Basavanagudi Bengaluru
2022 BMW G 310 GS Ownership review in India

A day with the 2022 BMW G 310 GS

BMW’s G 310 GS has been the ‘economical gateway’ into BMW Motorrad’s Adventure universe

While the initial offering of the 310 GS didn’t see many takers, the current avatar of the 2022 BMW 310GS has started to win hearts of the entry-level adventure riders.

What has changed in the 2022-model from the 2017 ?

  • Massive price cut from the 2017 model 🤩
  • Refined Livery, that resonates more with BMW’s big adventure motorcycles such as ’40 Year GS’ , ‘RALLYE’ 😍
  • New, elegant-looking All-LED headlamp 
  • Ride-by-wire throttle that delivers smooth and crisp on/off throttle response
2022 BMW G 310 GS Review in India
New headlight – looks good and offers good throw at night

As a Dual Purpose Adv:

The G 310 GS excels on smooth tarmac, broken roads and encourages beginner off-roaders to take on more challenging landscapes.

Despite the relaxed geometry, the G 310 GS boogies through the corners with utmost fluidity.

The plush suspension tackles the rough urban pavement and bumpy off-road terrain with poise.

The Metzeler Tourance on/off-road tires allow the G 310 GS to trundle over moderate obstacles on the trail.

One Size Fits All Ergonomics:

Don’t be fooled by the intimidating stance of the G 310 GS – for it fits short and long motorcyclists alike.

BMW Low Seat for G 310 GS: For shorter riders, the 15 mm low seat (835mm > 820mm) makes it easier to climb on and off your bike and gives you easier access to the ground.

BMW High Seat for G 310 GS: For the giants, the 15mm high seat (835mm > 850mm) is also available.

The motorcycle comes with 4-level adjustable clutch-lever and brake-lever to accommodate the spectrum of tall and short riders.

The taller riders don’t feel cramped in the OE configuration of this motorcycle.

City Commute:

The adv geometry doesn’t deter the G 310 GS from navigating tight gaps in traffic and the soft suspension absorbs even the harshest city terrain with ease.👌🏻

Ride-by-wire throttle, crisp fueling and anti-hopping clutch come together to provide a smooth riding experience.

Pillion Comfort:

Soft, wide pillion seat coupled with neutral sitting position and long-travel suspension translates to fantastic comfort for the pillion. 

Except the lack of power, 2-up touring is a good, pleasant experience.

Touring:

Acres of space to mount luggage (tail luggage + side panniers), soft, long-travel suspension and well-cushioned seats provide comfortable experience – but is limited with a meagre 11.5L fuel tank and dismal 34hp power output — such is the life of a 175-kg motorcycle with a single-cylinder 313cc engine.😀

Touring on a 2022 BMW G 310 GS in India
Comfortable motorcycle to tour | On-road and off-road

Cost of Service:

Avg of INR 6,000 (includes engine oil change, oil-filter replacement, labor)

Full tank range

  • City: 250 kms
  • Highway: 300 – 330 kms

Must have accessories:

  • 12v Power Socket: located near Instrument Cluster, it is an add-on accessory – useful to charge the phone or sat nav device
  • CentreStand: the G 310 GS does not comes with a centre stand from the factory, BMW sells as an accessory

What I Like:

  • Sharp Handling: unlike a typical ADV, the G 310 GS corners well and turns on a dime
  • Soft Long Travel KYB Suspension: that gobbles all the undulations on road
  • Comfortable Seats: for both rider and pillion to cover long distances 🥰
  • Long Service Intervals: 10,000 kms or 1 year between each service 👌🏻
  • Quality Panels & Switch gear: the quality of plastics, overall fit-and-finish feels like a full-import motorcycle
  • Elegant-looks: the G 310 GS is a very aesthetically pleasant looking motorcycle

What I Dislike:

  • Instrument Cluster: is an eyesore, the legacy monochrome LCD display while shows adequate info, lacks the ‘oomph 😞
  • Non-Switchable ABS: without the switchable ABS, one can’t slide the back wheel 
  • Clunky gearbox: Decent upshifts but downshifts are not smooth. Finding N is a task.
  • ADV Protection: Except the OE plastic bash plate. Hand protectors, metal bash plate, engine protection guard are a miss. (They are sold separately by BMW Motored as Accessories)

Conclusion:

The BMW G 310 GS is a suitable entry-point to BMW’s celebrated GS range. Like any budget-friendly ADV, the baby GS has its quirks, but it also provides a welcoming environment for developing riders. 

Living with a 2022 BMW G 310 GS in India
A great beginner’s ADV ❤️
Luxurious Pet Friendly Vacation Retreat at L'Attitude by the Lake Kamshet Pune

L’Attitude by the Lake Kamshet Pune

Overlooking the pristine blue waters of Andre dam and lush green hills of the Western Ghats, this 2-acre serene pet-friendly stay in Kamshet is the perfect getaway from Pune for a lazy, luxurious vacation with family and friends.

Previously under SaffronStays, now run by Ama Stays & Trails of The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) aka the Taj Hotels Group, L’Attitude by the Lake is an eco-friendly, ultra-luxurious villa-bungalow crafted-beautifully using reclaimed wood, mud & exposed brick.

L'Attitude by the Lake Kamshet Pune by Ama Stays
Overlooking the waters of Andre dam – view from the main bungalow 🥰
Cosy Interiors at L'Attitude by the Lake Kamshet Pune
Cosy Interiors ❤️

Features and Amenities:

  • Type of accommodation: Bungalow with separate rooms/entire place
  • Number of bedrooms: 5 (Spacious AC bedrooms with double beds, extra beds/mattress can be arranged on-request)
  • Number of bathrooms: 5 (attached to each bedroom) + 1 (common)
  • Swimming Pool: Yes (regular – not heated)
  • Best suited for:
    • Groups, Family and Friends
    • Girls night out
  • Number of guests allowed: 10 adults (check with the resort before booking)
  • Alcohol Consumption: allowed, carry your own alcohol & mixers (they don’t sell alcohol, mixers, soft-drinks at the homestay)
  • Smoking: smoking is allowed except in the AC bedrooms
  • Games include:
    • Indoor board games like Taboo, Pictionary etc and carrom board
    • No outdoor games 😞
  • Children allowed: Yes
  • Common area
    • Spacious, beautiful, cosy indoor seating area with TV
    • Comfortable dining area 
    • Massive outdoor verandah seating area with swing
    • Separate fridge to chill beer, mixers etc
  • WiFi: Free WiFi for guests
  • Free parking (non-sheltered) within the resort premises for cars and motorcycles
  • Food
    • Indulge in lip-smacking authentic Konkan & Maharashtrian veg and non-veg food. So damn good that I wanted to take cooking staff back home 😋
    • Incase you want other cuisine, the staff can cook them (on prior request)
    • Barbecue: in the garden overlooking the waters of Andre dam
  • Work-cation: Although I feel sorry for someone who has to work at this beautiful place 😢, their WiFi is good and can support work bandwidth.
  • Wheelchair Access to the homestay: Yes, only to the main bungalow (only 1 bedroom & bathroom of the main bungalow is accessible by wheelchair)
  • Perfect for long walks: Serene outdoors for long walks 💚
  • Pet-Friendly
    • Spacious outdoors for pets to roam
    • Please inform the staff about your pets, so they can make necessary arrangements for their food & stay
  • Medical Emergency: They have a doctor-on-call, please inform the staff for any specific-needs
Swimming pool at L'Attitude by the Lake Kamshet Pune
Delicious food and BBQ at L'Attitude by the Lake Kamshet Pune
Delicious food and BBQ with a view 😋

Do Not Expect:

  • Bar & Cocktails: Inspite of the 5-star luxury, there is no bar, cocktails to order
  • Spa & Gym: No
  • Access to Andre Dam/Water Activities: While this place offers magnificent views of the water-front, shore of the Andre dam is not accessible from the property + No water activities like kayaking, boating etc 😞

Useful Information:

  • Check-in after: 3 pm 
  • Check-out before: 12 pm noon
  • Staff: extremely friendly, accommodating – they speak very good Hindi, Marathi and English
  • Price: INR 6,900 per person/day (includes taxes, 3-meals a day, coffee/tea, snacks)
  • Location: L’Attitude by the Lake, Kamshet, Maharashtra (Link to Google Maps)
  • Distance from Pune city: 55kms
  • How to book: Visit website
Weekend holiday retreat L'Attitude by the Lake Kamshet Pune
The nights are even beautiful 🤩
Mushroom pizza at Baba Au Rhum Anjuna Goa

Baba Au Rhum – Best Cafe in Anjuna North Goa

Named after the rum-infused French dessert, Baba Au Rhum is a French cafe-restaurant, bakery, pizzeria in Anjuna, North Goa.

Its claim to fame is the delicious fare of english breakfast, coffees, pizzas, breads, cakes, burgers, croissants, pasta, craft beer – augmented with great music and outdoor seating under the trees overlooking a paddy field.

Hummus Platter with Fried Mushroom at Baba Au Rhum Anjuna Goa
Hummus Platter with Fried Mushroom 😋

Must Eat:

  • Hummus Platter with Fried Mushroom: This starter served with bread and veggie sticks is absolutely delicious, especially the hummus 😋
  • Plate of French fries: Served with 3-dips of tomato ketchup, mayo and mustard sauce –  the fries are very tasty and compliment the beer
  • Eggplant Parmigiana (Veg): Thin slices of eggplant layered with tomato sauce, fresh basil and plenty of parmesan and mozzarella cheese – supremely delicious. Hands-down the “best veg main-course on the menu” 😍
  • Mushroom Pizza: Thin-crust 13-inch pizza, loved the taste and texture of the pizza.
  • 4-Cheese Pasta (Veg): If you are a cheese-lover – don’t miss this, extremely cheesy and delicious pasta
  • Vietnamese Coffee & Cold Coffee: Loved them both, right balance of coffee and sweetness
  • Croissants: This is the best croissant in Goa – choose between a regular or an almond croissant
  • Baguette Sandwich & Croissant Sandwich: While we couldn’t try these, most of the patrons and staff vouch for their deliciousness.
Eggplant Parmigiana at Baba Au Rhum Anjuna Goa
Eggplant Parmigiana 😋

Useful Information:

  • Best Cafe for breakfast, after late night partying in North Goa
  • Don’t miss the  Bakery and Desserts Menu at the cafe entrance
  • Online/Phone Reservations to book a table: Not accepted
    • Anticipate a waiting-time at the cafe, since it gets crowded during popular hours especially during the tourist season
  • Staff is very helpful and polite
  • Alcohol and Smoking Info:
    • Full-bar menu of Cocktails, Wines, Hard-liquor, Craft Beer (tap and bottled) and Branded bottled beer are available
    • No Hookah 
    • Smoking inside the cafe is allowed [No separate smoking and non-smoking areas in the cafe]
  • Ambience
    • Casual, Non-AC, Outdoor cafe with music, 
    • Family and Kids-friendly: Yes, but limited [since there is no separate smoking/non-smoking areas]
  • EV Charging Point: Not available for cars & 2-wheelers
  • Wheelchair Friendliness:
    • Entry and seating areas of the cafe are accessible by wheelchair
    • Wheelchair Friendly Toilets: Not available
  • Parking:
    • Cars: No valet parking, one has to find a car parking spot on his/her own around the by lanes of the cafe
    • Motorcycles: can park right outside the cafe
  • Toilets: clean, separate western-style toilets for men & women are present in the cafe
  • Hours of operation:
    • Tuesday: Closed
    • Wednesday to Monday: 9 am to 5 pm and 6 pm to 10 pm
  • Billing Info:
    • 22% VAT is added to all alcoholic beverages
    • Service charge is added to all food, beverage orders (along with CGST & SGST)
  • Mode of payment: they accept Cash, Credit/Debit Cards and UPI
  • Location: Baba Au Rhum, Anjuna, Goa [Google Maps Link]
Plate of fries at Baba Au Rhum Anjuna Goa
Plate of fries with 3-varieties of dip 😋

Due to the pandemic – the quality of the food across the other popular cafes has deteriorated with the change in cooking staff and other reasons. However Baba Au Rhum has managed to retain the delicious taste of food since.

If you don’t mind the smoking, Baba Au Rhum ticks all the right boxes of delicious food, lovely ambience, great stuff and good music to deliver a wonderful dining experience in North Goa

Cafes that serve the Best Hot Chocolate in Bengaluru

Best Hot Chocolate in Bengaluru

Its Hot Chocolate Weather in Namma Bengaluru 😍

☕️ Discover the cafes that serve the best hot chocolate in Bengaluru and how to identify a cafe that makes great hot chocolate ☕️.

How to find a cafe with great hot chocolate?

It’s all about the ingredients – before ordering a hot chocolate, ask the waiter/cafe owner/chef on what they add to the hot chocolate.

  • Stay away if its a hot chocolate/cocoa powder especially the ones you get in a supermarket 
  • The main ingredient of a decadent hot chocolate is good quality ‘dark-chocolate bar’ or ‘dark-chocolate chips
  • Cafes with delicious, rich hot chocolate make a ‘Chocolate Ganache mixture’ (a thick paste made of quality dark chocolate bar melted with butter, fresh/whipped cream, milk and sugar in secret proportions), this chocolate ganache determines the thickness, flavour and % of dark chocolate in the hot chocolate drink 

☕️ The below list of cafés in Bengaluru making delicious, rich hot chocolate use good quality dark chocolate bars/chips and not ready-mix cocoa powders to create a sinful indulgence.

Smoor Lounge – Multiple outlets across Bengaluru

It’s an expensive affair, but their pastries, desserts, cakes are delicious nonetheless.

Attentive staff and plush, comfortable ambiance.

  • Types of hot chocolate served : Belgian Classic Dark, Classic Milk, Spiced hot chocolate, Hazelnut, Caramel Hot Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Cafe 
  • My favourites: Spiced Hot Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Cafe
  • Price: INR 230 to 250
  • Location: Smoor Lounge across Bengaluru (Indiranagar, Jayanagar, Koramangala, Kamanhalli, RMV 2nd Stage)
  • Parking: limited private parking Smoor customers for motorcycles and cars 

GroundUp Coffee, Jayanagar and Residency Road

The new wave of coffee shops that procure, roast and serve coffee from single-origin heritage estate. Limited food/snack menu, decent coffee (hot, cold, cold-brew), but their ice teas and hot chocolate are brilliant.

Cafe ambiance is good, more inclined towards a working cafe, than a place to relax with friends.

  • Types of hot chocolate served : Signature Hot Chocolate 
  • My favourite: Signature Hot Chocolate 
  • Price: INR 240
  • Location: They have 2 outlets
  • Parking: free public parking for motorcycles and cars
Signature Hot Chocolate at Ground Up Cafe Jayanagar Bengaluru
Signature Hot Chocolate at Ground Up Cafe

Happy Belly Bakes – Multiple outlets across Bengaluru

Delicious all day breakfast, crepes, pizzas, waffles, pastas, quiches, kombucha, Ice teas and an array of desserts such as pastries, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, cheesecakes, gingerbreads, cake sickle and cupcakes 😋.

The Primrose road outlet (near Trinity Metro Station) sports a mini-library with comfortable seats, cosy interiors and friendly-staff.

  • Types of hot chocolate served: Hot Chocolate, Dark Hot Chocolate
  • My favourite: Dark Hot Chocolate
  • Price: INR 140
  • Location: Happy Belly Bakes across Bengaluru (Primrose Road, Benson Town, Indiranagar)
  • Parking: limited private parking Happy Belly Bakes customers for motorcycles and cars

Lavonne Cafe, St Marks Road

Everything they serve is delicious – croissants, coffee, pastas, pastries, sandwiches, english breakfast, ice tea and more 😋.

Complimenting the delicious food are the ever-polite staff and comfortable, pleasant ambiance of the cafe.

  • Types of hot chocolate served: Classic, Raspberry, Peanut butter Hot Chocolate – all served with marshmallows
  • My favourite: Belgian Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows (Classic)
  • Price: INR 250
  • Location: Lavonne Cafe, St Marks Road (Google Maps link)
  • Parking: paid public parking for motorcycles and cars 
Best Hot Chocolate - Classic Belgian Hot Chocolate at Lavonne Cafe Bengaluru
Classic Belgian Hot Chocolate at Lavonne Cafe

Aloha Drinking Chocolate, Indiranagar

They make ONLY Drinking Chocolate and its extremely delicious 😋. They serve hot and cold drinking chocolate with generous amounts of dark chocolate, made with organic milk and no thickening agents. They even have Vegan Hot and Cold drinking chocolate.

Order via Swiggy/Zomato or Takeaway only (No Dine-In).

  • Types of hot chocolate served: Classic, Salted Caramel, Hazelnut, Chilli, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Orange, Coffee (Choose between organic milk or vegan milk)
  • My favourites: Classic Hot Chocolate, Chilli Hot Chocolate, Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (all with organic milk)
  • Price: INR 218 to 268
  • Location: Aloha Drinking Chocolate, Indiranagar (Google Maps link)
  • Parking: free public parking for motorcycles and cars 
2022 Honda CB300R Ride Review in India

A day with the 2022 Honda CB300R

Inheriting the design-cues from its elder, powerful siblings the CB1000R and CB650R, the 2022 Honda CB300R flaunts a ‘neo sports cafe‘ look that translates into a compact and elegant looking motorcycle.

Astride the motorcycle, the 2022 Honda CB300R evokes one feeling – “Spirited and Agile”. 😍

It is incredibly peppy to ride, raring to pop a wheelie but not edgy like the KTM.

A sweet 30bhp single-cylinder engine mated to a crisp 6-speed gearbox equipped with an assist and slipper clutch wrapped in a compact frame, makes it a nimble motorcycle to flick in and out of traffic and on winding roads.

Living with a 2022 Honda CB300R in India
Love the headlight ❤️

City Riding:

It is a smooth operator in the city – the smooth, linear power delivery with no jerky throttle, light clutch, comfortable suspension, neutral riding position – deliver a peaceful and good riding experience in the city.

Highway Riding:

This 30-bhp single doesn’t feel short charged on the highway. It can cruise at 100-120kmph all the day and has enough punch left to make an overtake.

Pillion comfort:

While the pillion seat is flat, it has very little space (especially when a medium-heavy built rider is at front) + the rear foot-pegs are higher, making it uncomfortable for long rides.

City commute with pillion is manageable for short distances.

2022 Honda CB300R First Ride Review and Impressions
Styling: notice the beautifully crafted exhaust pipe 😊

Luggage Options:

The plastic fuel tank rules out mounting a magnetic tank bag. However a Kriega tank adapter can help mount a Kriega US-5, US-10 bags at the front.

Rear luggage options are plenty – tail-bags, saddle-bags can be mounted.

How does the CB300R fare with short riders?

With a seat-height of 801mm, anyone above 5’2 – 5’3 would be able to flat-foot the motorcycle.

Is the CB300R women friendly ?

Being a compact, lightweight, smooth motorcycle with reasonable seat height, the 2022 Honda CB300R is sure to be a hit with the women riders.

2022 Honda CB300R - Women friendly motorcycle in India
Should be a comfortable motorcycle for women riders!!

Mileage and Full-tank Range:

The CB300R comes with a small fuel tank with a full-tank capacity of 9.7 litres.

  • City Mileage: 25-28 kmpl
  • Highway Mileage: 30-33 kmpl
  • Real-world full tank range: 200kms

Suspension:

The overall suspension setup is good, but towards stiffer/sporty side – enables the CB300R to corner well and hold the line. Mind you, it is not uncomfortable at all, but not as plush as a regular commuter.

Front Suspension is a USD fork made by Endurance in India (while the previous BS4 CB300R came with a Showa unit)

Rear suspension is a preload adjustable (7-level) mono-shock.

Brakes:

Brakes on the CB300R are progressive, offer good bite and doesn’t feel stiff/wooden.

The Dual channel ABS with IMU doesn’t intrude in a good way, delivering safe braking.

Cockpit view of the 2022 Honda CB300R India
Basic LCD instrument console + good quality switchgear 👍

What I love about the Honda CB300R:

  • Fueling and Engine: Smooth power delivery and refinement
  • Gearbox: Gearshifts are crisp, no false neutrals, assist and slipper clutch is light
  • Handling: very agile and extremely compact motorcycle
  • Mirrors: offer good visibility and doesn’t vibrate at good speeds
  • Overall Motorcycle: is super fun and smooth to ride ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What needs improvement?

  • Fit and Finish: Some components look like test-mule version and not full-fledged production model – notice the exposed cable duct on the left side panel (refer image below)
  • Placement of horn and indicator so weird
  • Price: It’s assembled locally (unlike the previous BS4 version which was a CKD import ) With no major updates wrt features and heavy localisation of components(USD fork is Endurance unit vs Showa and MRF tyres replacing the Michelin) it should have been priced at-least INR 30-40K cheaper
  • Features: Misses out on Adjustable levers, riding modes, mobile connectivity
  • LCD Instrument Console: is very basic [offers good readability in sunlight and at night] for the price point and what it’s competitors offer
Poor fit and finish - exposed wire routing on the 2022 Honda CB300R in India
Notice the exposed wire routing on the left side panel – looks straight out of a test-mule 😞
Touring on the 2022 Honda CB300R in India
Super fun to tour ❤️

The Honda CB300R is an absolute hoot to ride – in the city, out on a highway and on winding roads!!

The combination of smooth-power, agility, compact dimensions of the motorcycle and a sporty suspension elevate the riding experience on the CB300R and never fails brings a smile. 😊

Entrance from the main house to the swimming pool Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara

Avriti Sierra Retreat Homestay in Ramanagara Karnataka

Located just an hour away from Bangalore city, amidst a lush farm of mango trees and verdant monoliths of Ramanagara, Avriti – Sierra Retreat sports a minimalistic beautiful villa with private swimming pool and a delicious fare of home-cooked food.

Minimalist staircase of the main house at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
❤️ Love these stairs..
Spacious Gazebo overlooking the swimming pool at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
Sitting area at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
Dining area at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara

Managed by Ayatana group, this minimalist homestay accommodates:

  • A main-house with swimming pool, common area overlooking the pool , dining area, common bathroom, kitchen, a cozy reading room/office, 2 massive bedrooms with separate bathrooms and a massive terrace overlooking the hills of Ramanagara
  • 4 independent double-rooms located separate from the main house, with access to an outdoor dining area in a gazebo, and the common swimming pool
  • All bedrooms with views of either the swimming pool or the large monoliths of Ramanagara , or both
Main Villa with swimming pool at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
Main villa
Comfortable bedrooms at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
Beautiful and spacious bedrooms 😍
Open bathroom with natural light at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
Naturally-lit bathrooms..

Features and Amenities:

  • Type of accommodation: house/entire place
  • Number of bedrooms: 6 (all rooms have double beds, extra beds/mattress can be arranged on-request)
  • Number of bathrooms: 6 (attached to each bedroom)
  • Swimming Pool: Yes (regular – not heated)
  • Best suited for:
    • Groups, Family and Friends
    • Girls night out
  • Number of guests allowed: min 6 – max 16 people (check with the resort before booking)
  • Pool breakfast: Yes, breakfast served in an floating tray in the swimming pool.
  • Barbecue: Yes
  • Games include:
    • Outdoor Basketball and Volleyball court
    • Indoor Table Tennis table
    • Indoor board games like Taboo, Pictionary etc
    • Indoor carrom board
  • Children allowed: Yes
  • Common area Fridge: to chill the beer, juice, mixers etc
  • WiFi: No
  • Free parking (outdoor) within the resort premises for cars and motorcycles
  • Food: delicious home-cooked veg and non-veg food is available. During the booking, the food menu is shared for the guest to select and finalise.
Kitchen at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
Coffee by the swimming pool at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
Coffee by the pool ☺️
Beautiful staircase leading down to the Swimming pool at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
Excuse the multiple shots!! In love with these stairs 🥰

Do Not Expect:

  • Work-cation: They have a small reading-room, workspace, but NO Wifi to support work bandwidth, however there is 4G-coverage on mobile network
  • Pet-friendly: No
  • Smoking: Not allowed
  • Wheelchair Access to the homestay: No
  • Air-conditioning: None of the bedrooms, common-areas have AC 🙁
Reading room and workspace at Avriti Sierra retreat homestay in Ramanagar
Reading room and workplace🤓

Useful Information:

  • Check-in after: 12pm noon
  • Check-out before: 11am
  • Staff: very friendly, they speak very good Hindi and basic English
  • Price: INR 4,000 per person/day (includes taxes, 3-meals a day, coffee/tea, snacks)
  • Location: Avriti – Sierra Retreat, Ramanagara-Kanakapura road, Ramanagara town, Karnataka (Link to Google Maps)
  • Distance from Bengaluru city: 50kms
  • How to book:
    • DM them on Instagram/FB
Beautiful views from the rooms and terraces of Ramanagara monoliths at Avriti Sierra Retreat homestay in Ramanagara
View from the Terrace 🙂

Avriti- Sierra Retreat Homestay is the perfect quiet getaway from Bengaluru city to unwind with your loved ones.

**NOT a Sponsored Post**

Yamaha Aerox 155 scooter review in India

A day with the 2022 Yamaha Aerox 155

The Yamaha Aerox 155 is unlike anything we have encountered. 

Built on the maxi-scooter format, the Yamaha Aerox 155 immediately stands out from the regular-fare of flat floorboard scooters in India, thanks to the X-design motif, which covers the fuel tank and engine bay.

Aerox review - Living with a 2022 Yamaha Aerox 155 scooter in India

How does it feel to ride the Aerox 155 ?

Don’t be deceived by the silent humm upon starting, powered by liquid-cooled, 4-valve VVA 155cc motor derived from the R15, the Aerox has oodles of power across the rev-range.

The combination of linear power and smooth yet crisp throttle-response deliver a fantastic riding experience.

Mind-you, the Aerox doesn’t quite have that instant rush you get from an EV scooter, but once it gets going, it’s very rapid and linear, and doesn’t lose momentum until the speedo is showing triple digits.

City Riding:

With 15ps at disposal, the Aerox 155 is zippy, fun to tackle gaps in traffic and shrink the distances between stop lights. Weighting in around 126kgs, it’s effortless to ride in the city.

The massive under-seat storage space of 24.5L makes it practical for shopping runs and the office-commute.

Highway Touring:

Never before has a scooter felt so “in-elementoutside the city, the Aerox is comfortable out on the highway, holding speeds of 90 to 100 kmph feels natural and not-strained.

Where it truly-shines is on a winding road, the Aerox 155 feels almost like-a-motorcycle through the corners, holding a line brilliantly.

Ride Quality and Suspension:

Unlike most petrol scooters in India that use a monoshock, the Aerox gets twin shock absorbers at the rear that are set up on the firmer side. 

However the front fork sports a conventional telescopic shock absorber that isn’t as stiff as the rear.

Overall, at high speeds or on smooth pavement, there’s little to complain about, but going over bumps at city speeds isn’t the most pleasant affair

Yamaha Aeroz 155 scooter ownership review in India

Is the Aerox good for short riders ?

With a seat height of 790mm, it slightly taller than most scooters, hence riders below 5’4 won’t be at ease.

For the tall riders (above 6ft), legroom is in short supply. The front fairing constantly brushes the knee and the prominent step in the seat, holds back the rider from sliding back on the seat. In tight braking situations the knee rubs into mobile storage compartment knocking it open.

Pillion Ride Experience:

The pillion seat is decently flat and wide, sitting back-to-back is comfortable, whereas sitting sideways isn’t possible.

Although the visible grab rails are missing, the shape of the under-seat cowl provides a comfortable grip for the pillion.

Mileage & Full Tank Range:

Inspite of such performance on tap, the Aerox’s stellar fuel efficiency in the city is courtesy its excellent Automatic stop-start system.

  • City: 40-50kms per litre
  • Highway: 55kmpl at a steady cruise of 70kmph
  • Expect a full-tank range of 180-200kms

Yamaha YConnect App:

The Aerox 155 connects with the Yamaha YConnect Motorcycle app via BlueTooth, unlike SIM-enabled connection on modern electric scooters.

Hence we don’t get features such as on-screen navigation instructions and music control, but you do get call notifications and SMS alerts.

Last Parking Location: At the outset this seems like a useful feature, but this only has details of the last time the scooter was connected to the phone over BT and cannot be used to trace a borrowed or stolen vehicle. 

Where the Aerox 155 lacks:

Since the Aerox would compete with other 150cc ICE rivals and even electric scooters – it misses out on the following:

  • Features:
    • No keyless operation , while the international variant has this feature
    • Full-function LCD/LED display with SIM-enabled features such as vehicle tracking and full-navigation 
  • OE Replacement Tyres: The current tubeless tyres on the Aerox 155 are NOT available in India. Hopefully, owners will have more tyre choices available by the time these ‘Made in Indonesia’ IRC SCT-005 OE-tyres wear out.
  • Front Smartphone Charging Pocket: too small, doesn’t fit a typical smartphone
  • Under-seat Storage Amenities: NO charging point in the under-seat storage space 

The Yamaha Aerox 155 is the ONLY AFFORDABLE maxi-scooter out there, that is an absolute joy to ride in city-traffic and even on the highways. A masterclass engine coupled with fantastic handling makes this the most fun scooter in India and yet is practical enough to make the domestic-errand runs.

Yamaha Aerox 155 scooter in India review