Review: The WOK

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Wok speaks to the moment’s casual ethos. Instead of plates, your food is served to you in cardboard boxes.It is a grab and go refueling station for the office-goer and shopper. Does home delivery too.

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THE DEFINTIVE RECIPE FOR HEALTH

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Found. Finally.  The only one of it’s kind. A guiding light. It guides through the  swirling, whirling tidal waves and tsunamis of information and misinformation on “food” and  it’s “health benefits”. Should we reduce our carb intake? Increase our protein? Atlast, there are definitive answers. The reason?

They are based on science and evidence-based medicine from the globally renowned medical center. They are being conducted in the world leader of medicine and reseach, Mayo Clinic (a non profit center). Not only does Mayo Clinic have 150 years of expertise in complex medical conditions, they also have extensive knowledge of how wellness affects our health. They are applying their knowledge and research it so that everyone can benefit.

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OVER THE TOP IN DUBAI

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Over the top and over the moon in Dubai? How do I define it? Let me count the ways… Okay so Ive dined in the worlds highest restaurant (At.mosphere) in the worlds tallest building (Burj Khalifa). Tripped out on sushi at the glamorous Zeta while the worlds largest choreographed fountains danced and sang. Dined at the glamorous Pierchic which floats like a jewel in the sea. But here in the accompanying photograph Ive captured the over the top spirit of glitzy, edgy, flamboyant Dubai: Tall, gutsy, glamorous chef Silvena Rowe reigns over the hearts, palates and imagination of Dubai with her trio of  Omnia restaurants. The newest one shimmers with it’s three storeyed see through mirrored kitchen and conjures modern magic with Emirati fare. Having eaten an amazing meal in Omnia we invited Silvena to get a taste of what our 26 year old Indian chef Himanshu Saini was creating with modernist Indian fare in Tresind (which has also been the talk of the town) Dubai’s leading brand builders Rita Karanjia Mehta and Leela Dhar updated me with invaluable insights into dazzling Dubai. Ofcourse, as I continue research on the definitive guide to Dubai, Ive been eating at many an amazing surprise …from the fine dining Govindas (without onion and garlic) to Wolfgang’s Puck’s cutting edge steak house where the chef creates vegan fare too. Dubai does dazzle.

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SPECTACULAR FEAST

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Feasting on the spirit of Dubai with Cynthia Munoz and Chef Alan Gobeil in Zeta
Feasting on the spirit of Dubai with Cynthia Munoz and Chef Alan Gobeil in Zeta

Here’s a feast to beat all feasts. It pampers all my senses…there is light, sound, dance, music and ofcourse food. As though all this were not enough there is also the worlds tallest building and the worlds biggest choreographed fountain to keep me company. If the accompanying photograph had a video and sound track, heres what you’d see and hear… glittering and shimmering fountains leaping and swirling and twirling into the evening sky as different colored lights bathe and sway with them. These fountains dance to music and Whitney Houston’s husky ”I’ll always love you” echoes sensuously as the fountains sway to it’s melody. And as though blessing it all and taking the ringside seat like a benevolent all-caring Pasha is the worlds tallest building, The Burj Khalifa which shimmers glamorously. And right here while feasting on this spectacle I am feasting on the freshest of fare created by the brilliant Executive chef Alain Gobeil . All this is the glamorous Zeta Restaurant where the heart of Dubai seems to throb  in all it’s  glory. In many different ways.

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SINGAPORE SURPRISES

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Simone Arora, Zarine Khan, Connoor Kripalani Thadani, Urvashi talwar, Sajni Gill SSTANDING Raj Anand and Phillipe Chaumat In Singapore
Simone Arora, Zarine Khan, Connoor Kripalani Thadani, Urvashi talwar, Sajni Gill SSTANDING Raj Anand and Phillipe Chaumat In Singapore

I’m convinced that the very gorgeous Zarine Khan’s family is not only the first family of film in Bollywood but also of food as they are all super-gourmets. So when I met both mother-daughter  (Simone Arora)  super-talented celebrated home decor designers  I couldn’t resist getting all their Singapore foodie secrets from them. I spotted them at  the French showcase of innovations designs and trends in home and dining décor, Maison Objet, which I regularly attend in Paris and now past two years in Singapore. The dynamic Raj Anand and Philippe Chomat  welcomed them  to this  sprawling show, the second edition in Asia which displays cutting edge designs of tomorrow today.. Also here were superstylish Singaporean foodies… Urvashi Talwar, Sajni Gill, Singapore’s restaurateur and  home-décor entrepreneur and  best-selling author Conoor Kripalani Thadani, I not only got updated on the latest in dining trends but also  got the latest on where to eat in Singapore ..please email rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh and will share with you. Happily!

Review: Romano’s

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Italian

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Cracklingly new. Shiningly new. Newingly new. Now, that Ive hammered the message through about this brand new Italian restaurant, let me tell you that I got to know  about it not through a PR release or chef, but through my long-distance call to my very knowledgable foodie-dynamo buddy Dilip Joshi who  has answers to all (almost)  my questions.

 DECOR

Nudged into the armpit (almost) of my most beautiful T2 airport (Im quite crazily in love with it) the brand new JW Marriott glitters. Walk past the shimmery lobby with dripping chandeliers and youre in for a surprise. The sprawling, high ceilinged, dimly-lit dark wood, very handsome and macho  restaurant is a total contrast to it. A pleasant contrast. An open kitchen bustles into view and two staircases lead into the bar area on the mezzanine.

FOOD

Traditional Italian. Short menu. No pizzas. No Ossobuco coz no beef (ofcourse) Im told their chef is from Naples, but was on leave when we ate here. Food was still good. Which is a super sign. For starters, the Buratta (Rs 695)  (from Bangalore) was voluptuously creamy, kissed by basil pesto and a must try. It was the superlative  sea bass (Rs 1595) baked in parchment paper, flavorsome with lemon sauce and clams that was the star of the show. Delicious Pepper spring chicken  rosemary potatoes pickled  chillies (Rs 1295). Huge big sharing portion of delightful tiramisu (therefore priced at Rs 650).

   

MINUS POINTS

Okay! since it is not even a fortnight old, there being no Gelato no Proseco no Grappa is understandable. But why was the spaghetti alio olio so limp and overcooked? And the  

Scallops in  Butter brandy (Rs 745) with grit in them? Vegetarians need more dishes, please. The side dishes of vegetables do not count (though our side dish of green beans was yum) The sommelier was knowledgable, helpful, though the wine list could do with more Italian wines.

 

 

MY POINT

Though  Romano’s homestyle Italian menu and cooking aren’t particularly adventurous or inventive, (not enough vegetarian dishes) it’s dishes do a deft, unusual seesaw between heartiness and delicacy. These strengths and the restaurant’s macho cozy setting will take Romanos a long way.

P.S.Even though only a fortnight old, it was already quite packed.

 

ROMANO’S JW Marriott Sahar,  IA Project Road, T2 Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport 

28538661

RATING FOOD 3.5 DECOR 3.5 SERVICE 3.5

Open for dinner only

Meal for 2: Rs 5000

 

OSCARS OF FOOD…INDIAN WINNERS

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Stop press! Hot news for foodies. At the most prestigious “Asia’s 50 best” awards ceremony our very own Indian cuisine came up tops. Gaggan Anand,  a Kolkatta born, Bangkok based chef’s restaurant Gaggan was voted as Asia’s best restaurant.   Making it to this coveted list are restaurants from Mumbai, Delhi and Srilanka too.

 

 

Winners all...SEATED  William Drew (in a beige jacket) , Charles Reed (centre) Tetsuya Wakhuda (Lifetime achievement awardee) STANDING Rajesh Kewalramani, partner Gaggan, (Blue jacket)  JP Singh (Bukhara)  Gaggan (Asia’s best) Manish Mehtrotra (Indian Accent) Bindu Panicker (Bukhara) Dharshan Munidasa (Nihon Bashi and Ministry of crab) in Singapore.
Winners all…SEATED William Drew (in a beige jacket) , Charles Reed (centre) Tetsuya Wakhuda (Lifetime achievement awardee) STANDING Rajesh Kewalramani, partner Gaggan, (Blue jacket) JP Singh (Bukhara) Gaggan (Asia’s best) Manish Mehtrotra (Indian Accent) Bindu Panicker (Bukhara) Dharshan Munidasa (Nihon Bashi and Ministry of crab) in Singapore.

SNAPSHOT OF THE BEST

Please take a look at the photograph I shot in Singapore last week at the most prestigious Oscars of food awards… Asia’s 50 Best 2015. As you can see, there is many a winner from the Indian subcontinent along with Asia’s best our very own Gaggan as well as the lifetime achievement award winner the legendary Tetsuya Wakhuda.  Whoa! what excitement and anticipation there was before the awards were announced. And when Gaggan’s name

was announced there was an uproar of delight and celebration. And the hall was chocobloc with the crème de la crème of the foodie world. Superstar chefs had flown in from all continents, including South America. It’s here amidst all this spectacular talent that progressive  Indian cuisine  was honored.Kolkatta born, ponytailed  Indian chef partner Gaggan Anand and Rajesh Kewalramani’s restaurant “Gaggan” (Bangkok) was declared  “Asia’s best restaurant”.

Ive had the most mindblowing meal in Gaggan, Bangkok. Here this brilliantly creative chef makes art and science copulate in his kitchen and the results are astonishing. Our very own papdi chaat’s tangy, chatpatta flavours are recreated in a quivering white blob. The plump potato filled snack, the samosa appears on a plate in fantasy form and so on. Dish after dish delights.  Also here to receive the award  for India’s best restaurant was the brilliant Chef Manish Mehrotra. He transforms comforting and well-loved ingredients (aam papad, chyavanprash) and teases with surprises.Global favorites (foie gras, smoked salmon, truffle oil) are married with Indian regional dishes with panache.And therein lies the magic.

Interestingly long with this progressive Indian restaurant is the landmark Bukhara which has not changed it’s menu past 35 years. To receive the award for New Delhi’s award winning Bukhara’s rugged charm of the North West Frontier cuisine were chef JP Singh and Bindu Panicker.  Grand corporate chef Hemant Oberoi’s Wasabi was awarded too and he consistently and brilliantly marries authentic with creative and produces Japanese masterpieces follow. Im  delighted  that Dharshan Munidasa’s Ministry of Crab and Nihon Bashi from Srilanka are both  on the list. He dazzles us with outstanding and authentic flavours.

 

 

MUST FOLLOW

This is it. This are the ultimate guiding-lists you must follow if you are a global-foodie. Do you (like me) like to see the world through your tastebuds? I save up and travel to eat and to find the finest. The best. These are the “Worlds 50 best” and “Asia’s 50 best”  the most accurate snapshot of dining opinions. Meticulously, painstakingly compiled from votes of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘foodies’. Powering this initiative is the London based dynamic team of Charles Reed, group editor William Drew, Tim Brooke Webb and Rachel Quigley. Through the year they ensure that the voting process is carried on systematically and accurately throughout the different regions. Each time the  actual award ceremony becomes more spectacular than the last. Each time it has many more who’s who of the culinary word attending it. And each time it delivers an exciting and accurate compass to Asias 50 best and the Worlds 50 best restaurants. As William Drew, group editor  said

“Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants aims to celebrate success, reward innovation and hard work,” he ends with ” and provide diners with guidance on the greatest places to eat across the continent”.  Lets raise a toast of gratitude to that!

 


 

TOP 10 WINNERS 2015

Gaggan – Bangkok, Thailand (GagganAnand)

Narisawa – Tokyo, Japan (Yoshihiro Narisawa)

Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet – Shanghai, China (Paul Pairet)

NihonryoriRyugin – Tokyo, Japan (Siji Yamamoto)

Restaurant André – Singapore (André Chiang)

Amber – Hong Kong, China (Richard Ekkebus)

Nahm – Bangkok, Thailand (PrinPolsuk)

8½ Otto E Mezzo Bombana – Hong Kong, China (Umberto Bombana)

Waku Ghin – Singapore (Tetsuya Wakuda)

Jungsik – Seoul, Korea (Jung SikYim)

Review: ASADO

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Multi-cuisine

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Whats going on? Why has Bandra’s newest restaurant been proclaiming it is a “Latin American fine dining restaurant”? Help! I am seriously questioning my own knowledge of geography. Does  Latin America include Italy and Japan et al?  Ofcourse, this cuisine does have influences from all over the globe. But confusion gets more confounded when the waiter in Asado  tells me that “pasta is a Japanese dish”. Thankfully, my guest Pierre Ortoli has not only lived and worked in Buenes Aires  as has Dr Mathilde Richou osteopath but her father also has vineyards in Argentina. Our review follows

 DÉCOR

Kitschy or cute? Handpainted walls  recreate a quaint Latino town in this  65-seater. Clear blue skies, fake birds perched on fake lamp posts too. Outdoor seating too. Casual, relaxed ambiance.

 FOOD

So don’t get stuck on the label  and go looking for “Latin American” fare (they do have a few names of dishes from there. No ceviches). You’ll enjoy the flavorful edamame truffle risotto, okayish beef empanadas. It’s the Brazilian beef steak (Rs 2000 plus) done rare that dazzles. Both our desserts…churros and Tresleches were just about okay.

MINUS POINTS

Stodgy Kataifi prawns and vegetarian flautas. Ditto for the veg wraps. Fatty pork spare ribs, though Bbq sauce delicious. All the Vegetarian dishes we tried  were limp and floppy. The servers were uninformed about the cuisine.

MY POINT

Asado “Mumbai’s first Latin American fine dine”  doesn’t just flit tentatively across a few borders but knocks down a whole bunch of them altogether.

It bops around the globe and serves some okayish though expensive dishes and wines (our bill for three was Rs 14000, with wine). Our meal began with great expectations and ended with a whimper.

P.S. But then I walked outside onto Bandra’s SV road  and found myself wanting to give Asado the benefit of the doubt. It has the location. It has the enthusiasm. With better judgment, research, a lowering of prices and a Latin American trained chef perhaps it could live upto it’s ambitions. We wish it all the best!

ASADO  Monorama Chambers, Ground Floor, S V Road. Bandra West

Ph 6568 6666

RATING FOOD 2.5 SERVICE 2.5 DÉCOR 3

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Multi-cuisine bar

Good Wife
My fab foodie blind dates…Shayan Italia (the guy making fun gestures) Pooja, Jumana, Mohit, Jigar, Hunaina at The Good Wife

First Question: Is  BKC’s new wife any good? Answer:Take a look at the photograph I shot. Second Question: At The Good Wife, how was my foodie blind date with six readers? Answer: Take a look at the photograph. This new bar serves up  a cocktail  of  relaxed merriment which is infectious. I am absolutely over the moon to spend an evening here with my  fabulous foodie blind dates.

DECOR

There’s fun written all over this new bar. It’s large, has a warm, welcoming feel and is packed. We love the wall mural sketch with it’s  Neanderthal man, Batman and Spiderman  playing cards and so on. There is a choice of seating arrangements…comfy and dinner table too.

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FOOD AND DRINK

The co-host of Discovery Channel’s series Cocktail Kings spearheads the bar here. So there is drama and flavour, my drinking buddies rate these highly, be it  The Good Wife, a whisky sour cocktail ( sprayed with a vodka based black cardamom spray) or  The Wolf Of BKC, ( orange vodka based  with a rose aroma.) The tostada  sprout chat brims over with zing and texture and is a must try. Tasty Baby Lamb Sliders – and their vegetarian version of corn jalapeño sliders too.  Goodwife home salad, fresh and well made. Okayish though oversauced pasta ( Fetuccini, penne). Succulent Five spice crispy duck delights, Vanilla Panacotta and chocolate fondant pass muster.

 MINUS POINTS

Here’s the irrepressible Shayan Italia’s fun take on the Rosemary Chicken Tikka – “A touch dry for my liking and everyone questioned where the Rosemary was? I thought it being late and she may have gone to bed” It certainly was dry and lacklustre. Ditto for the  Forest Mushroom Filo, stodgy Chicken Gyoza,  and three Peppercorn Chicken. The roast chicken disappoints.
MY POINT

Why did the Rocking Tham brothers (of the award winning Trilogy fame) name this relaxed, fun, buzzing bar “The Good Wife”? I don’t know of any good wife who conceives cocktails with such imagination and mixes them with such skill or magnetizes such a buzzing crowd.  The food is a mixture of appealing and ho-hum.  Dont go for the food, go for a fun-time to this open-through-the-day bar. This Good wife is  a plausible cynosure of a fun night out and not just a grubby refuelling station.

P.S.Our Shayan Italia has the last word about The Good Wife “ The Queen Bee took so many of our photographs that we left the place like rock stars. In the end they all concluded that I was the one making the most of the evening, purely because I’m a complete loser, hopelessly single and still looking for “The Good Wife”

The Good Wife, The Capital, ground floor, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), call 40109433

Open 11.30 am to 1 am

RATING FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DECOR 3.5

MEAL FOR 2: RS 2500


 

 MY FAB FOODIE BLIND DATES

This is it. This is why I love my work as foodcritic…to connect to and meet foodies Ive never met before. To feel the foodie pulse of the city through them, to discover new places, to get their reactions and ofcourse I absolutely love meeting them.  Each one is a gem: theyve taken the trouble to come from all over (Malabar hill, Jogeshwari, Ghatkopar, Khar.) The well-organised, dapper Jigar Parmar (@jigarparmar), construction maestro, foodie, diver  books the table in his name.  Ever helpful.  Mohit Chatrani (@hungrybawarchi) head chef,  blogger, YouTube channel owner gives his take on the food. Gorgeous girls sparkle the evening, be it Hunaina Sonsara  (@hu_nai_na)  housewife,stylist,foodie who loves travel Jumana huzefa electricwala, who is truly a multidimensional creative energy in human form.  @ jumanahuzefa proud homemaker,adventure lover who brings along a handpainted creative gift.  @PoojaDharani CS and Law student, Foodie and an aspiring Food Blogger charms. Not to be missed is the multi-talented, articulate, great fun (pl see photo again) Shayan Italia @biryani360  who has set just up  Biryani360 a great new concept Im yet to try. .

 HOW TO BE MY FOODIE DATE? Should you want to be my guest and dine with me, please email rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail,com, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh and hashtag #dinewithrashmi. I will get in touch when Im back.  And even as you read this, I am in Singapore as jury chairperson of my region, attending “Asia’s 50 best restaurants” awards (crossing my fingers for our Indian winners). Watch this space!