Cream Centre – the name says it all! When you are here, you better not think about calories. But you can think of having a fun time with friends and family.
Cream Centre has been around for 57 years and now they have 27 outlets in India and one in Dubai. I had heard about this vegetarian joint a few years ago but somehow never made it there. This week presented an opportunity for a menu tasting at their new Camp outlet and I was eager to check it out. The location is in the Woodland Hotel near Sadhu Vaswani Chowk, so it is also close to the station area.
The first thing that struck me was the huge menu, and it even had pictures!
The drinks menu had some ice cream sodas, iced teas and frozen margaritas (non-alcoholic). I tried a lime soda but it turned out to be made with whipped cream rather than ice cream. When I learned that their iced teas are made with fresh brewed tea, I lamented that I had not stuck to my usual.
We chose an array of appetizers and they arrived in a long procession. The American Corn Cheese Balls were super crisp and were oozing with melted cheese. Loved it!
The Paneer Ka Baap Tikka was a sampler of different kinds of paneer tikka like their Original Tandoori Paneer Tikka , Hariyali Paneer Tikka, Lal Mirch Paneer Tikka and Kali Mirch Paneer Tikka. There was a Tandoori salad with potatoes which I liked. Marinated potatoes taste so good, but we usually don’t pay much attention the humble spud. This platter is a good way to satisfy the different tastes in a family. The Original Paneer Tikka had strong mustard flavors, almost like kasundi, and maybe with some American inspiration.
The Onion Rings were served like a tower of rings Red Robin style. The portions were ample and enough to satisfy all your onion rings cravings. There was a nice crunch to the ring. These rings are served with chaat masala which you sprinkle on the top. Actually, a Cajun spice mix or paprika will also taste really good here.
The Cheese Chili Toast again had generous portions. The Bambaiyya Ragda had two crispy good sized patties which were stuffed inside. I think that is a nice touch for a fine dining restaurant.
Mushroom Ragout Pizza turned out to be surprisingly good. The mushroom mince topping was almost like a meaty mince with some celery. The stringy mozzarella and thin crust made the pizza perfect. Only in India can you see the words ‘ragout’ and ‘medu vada’ on the same menu!
Double Baked Penne was just about OK. I like my pasta loaded with veggies. The pasta was good but slightly strong on nutmeg.
Channa Bhatura is a Cream Centre signature dish and they did not disappoint here. Frankly, when I think Chana Bhatura, the buck stops with Haldiram’s Nagpur. But a huge puffy 12 inch round Bhatura is sure to fulfill all your fried food fantasies.
The chana is made with a signature spice blend which is common across all their outlets, I was told.
The Paneer Chili Sizzler was mostly just paneer chili served on a sizzler plate. I would like to give their other sizzlers a try and they have a big variety.
After stuffing ourselves with so much food, we decided to give the main courses a pass. Desserts were called for.
Cream Centre has a big selection of desserts starting with the Sizzling Brownie Fundae. Fruit Factory beckoned and I was floored by the sweet sundae.
They also have Cream Factory ice cream which had some interesting flavors. The Calcutta Meetha Paan ice cream hit the spot.
Many things that are central to the Cream Centre menu like the paneer and the cheese they use or the spice blends are specially sourced. I have not eaten at any other Cream Centre location, but it is nice to see that there is an attempt at standardization.
Overall, folks living in the Camp, Wanowrie, cantonment area are going to be glad to find almost every kind of vegetarian food in a fine dining setting.
To me, Cream Centre seemed like American Diner meets fine dining. Some of the aspects such as tall drinks, big sundaes, ice cream sodas, large pictorial menu definitely seem reminiscent of American family restaurants. There is a slight retro feel and the menu offers almost everything you can think of so they are definitely trying to please a wide demographic.
Prices are reasonable, there is ample parking and service is friendly. Plus there is no fear of cross contamination since this is a pure vegetarian restaurant.
Special thanks to Corporate Chef Kiran Ravi for patiently answering all our questions, and taking all the exuberant suggestions from the crowd in his stride.