Travel

OOOH CALCUTTA

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I go back to my city of joy regularly…I have shot TV shows, eaten at and written about (sometimes all three at the same time) many a favourite place  here..be it Jhalmoodi and puckas on Russel street, Chinese in Tangra, breakfast on the street in Bentick street,  Bhojohari Manna, Oh Calcutta,  6 Ballygunge, Kewpies, Mocambo Jhalfarezi, Nizams (Flurys is not on my list). Rossogullas, sandesh and kheerkadam capital, (Nakur, Ballaram Mullik, my favourites). Was fortunate enough to be invited to my  brother’s birthday banquet to the latest, hottest happening restaurant making waves in Kolkatta…Yauatcha (in Sanjeev Goenka’s brand new mall). It was as good as ever.  Next trip, am going to eat club kachori, Kesariya jalebi at  Gupta brothers new Alipore (recommended by @justcookies_mumbai) Also

Anjan Chatterjee’s Mezzuna, Shaun Kenworthy’s——- Tea at Mrs magpie, Aaheli at Peerless Inn (recommended by chocolate_and_zucchini Sliders at Smokehouse Deli, Cocomalai and daab sherbet in Paramount shakes in college street  (@dishabrokenwings) @anamikachatterjee @skydiverprotima thanks for your recommendations.

P.S. My timeless Calcutta favourites? The 125 year old  Chittaaranjan rossogulla and rabdi, 2 century old Royal Calcutta Golf Club and the gracious,iconic Oberoi Grand,  which work the Calcutta magic..

Gaggan Rockup in Mumbai

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The wow never wavered. I loved every moment of   hosting  the Gagganrockup (not popup, please note) alongwith Timescity.com
It was a rocking exclusive 5 hour gastronomical experience. Flamboyant, articulate  36 year old, Kolkatta born Gaggan Anand, globally acknowledged for his cutting edge Bangkok restaurant (Gaggan. Judged as Asias 3rd best and no 17 on the Worlds 50 list)) performed (that’s the only word) thru the evening, wearing his signature golden. Onitsuka Tiger keds et al.   Along with his 6 member team (4 nationalities) he used science to deliver traditional indian flavors thru a 15 course dinner(be it the quivering white orb
which exploded with thepapdi chaat flavor or an ethereal dhokla). In the Four Seasons  swish “The Kitchen at The Mansion”     applauding his   wizardry and relishing his magic were the creme da la creme of gastronomes….
… Ambika Hinduja, Raman Macker, Riyaaz Amlani AD and Sabina Singh, Sanjeev and Alyona Kapoor,   Jay Singh, Shobhaa De with Arundhati,  Avantikka and Pramod. Farokh Khambata, zeba and Rajesh Kohli,  Kabir Bedi wt Parveen Dusanj. Camelia Panjabi, Aroon Purie Kalli Purie, Gayatri Rangachari Shah, Anil Dharkar. Amy Fernandes. Also present was the dashing young brigade of Anandita De Raaj Sanghavi and Karan Bhojwani.

OOH! LA! LA! PARIS

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Breaking news. Even more magic is happening in Paris: Not just in superglam, rarefied gastronomique restaurants but also on the streets and train stations.I eat in the Legendary three Michelin starred chef Eric Frechon’s fabulous and affordable Lazare (in the Lazare train station) I dine at his gastronomique restaurant at the iconic Le Bristol (across the Presidents palace and also the President’s favorite) too. I not only catch up with Alain Ducasse (have shot my TV show in his Monte Carlo restaurant) but also get a peek into the about-to-open, high-profile super hush -hush Plaza Athenee restaurant. And then comes the surprise I love the choux puffs at Ducasse and Michalak’s street side  choux puff counter.

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Paris sizzles with high-octane newness and youth… For the first time ever I dine at a restaurant where perfume and food overlap. International perfumer Guerlain’s restaurant by Michelin starred Guy Martin conjures up their signature  perfume inspired dishes. I ’m thrilled  to dine with the dashing young Michelin starred Chefs,  Akrame  (of the 7 month old, Michelin starred Akrame) and the charming Executive chef of the Peninsula John Edern . The brand new less than a month old Peninsula dazzles  and right next to it, the fourth generation family owned Raphael continues to hold it’s own and weave timeless charm as I meet the lovely owner Veronique Valcke,   Coffee with Helene Avril at the Goerge V,  shopping at Maison de Truffe ,Hediard, calling on the Indian ambassador, Elodie Berta’s drive through Paris in the teensy weensy Twizzy electric car (which anyone can hire)  and lighting a candle of thanks at the Madeleine church …all this in two magical days.

P.S. Need Paris info? pl mail rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, twitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh

GOD IN New York City

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My Meal at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel

Pardon the blasphemy! I’m convinced that God lives in this adrenalin-fuelled dagger-shaped New York City. How else do I explain the  most divine of palate-pleasures on the street to my transcendental experiences in the greatest cathedrals of cuisine? I’ve been in NYC less than 30 hours and am already getting blown away by dish after dish’s  visual and gustatory starbursts. I write on my laptop from this sublime heaven of haute cuisine (also a shimmering Parthenon of pleasure ) – Daniel Boulud’s  Daniel, which has been crowned with 3 Michelin stars for the past 21 years and continues to reign supreme.

The ever smiling spectacularly brilliant Daniel’s   creative French 15 course menu dazzles, and pairing these with wines is NYC’s best sommelier, our very own Raj Vaidya (originally from Mumbai). My dinner companion Rahul Nair, NYC based foodie and screenwriter  obviously has food and films in his genes as his father Sameer Nair now heads up a leading mumbai film and TV production company.Last night’s Jean George’s champagne shrimp salad seduced at The Mark, and I had an exciting Lebanese lunch at Ilili thanks to the king of hospitality design Adam Tihany and his lovely wife Marnie.

Within the next five days I will have sniffed out NYCs  cheap and cheerful and worshipped at  many a haute temple. Please email Rashmiudaysingh@gmail.comtwitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh and I will share the good word with you. Amen!

Review: CHINA PAVILION

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Chinese

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I’m doing three things which I love: flying in from Paris, then going directly from the airport to a restaurant review. Most importantly : to a brand new fortnight old Chinese restaurant in Andheri.  Surprisingly it already has many a diner. I go up and chat with many of them. Having heard about China Pavilion’s “Lettuce wrap” from a friend  Sohil Parikh, Neelen Shah and Meghna Vora   have driven from Bandra and  love it. On another table  Sambit Das is celebrating his birthday. Buzzing around them is Erol Leong (ex Golden Dragon, ex China Garden, ex Mayrose)

DÉCOR

Located opposite the police station, the red-tile roofed eatery has a simple, predictably pleasant ambiance.Wooden tables, wooden floored, TV screen, Chinese artefacts et al.

FOOD

There’s Chindian and there’s homestyle Chinese. Its the pricing which is the winner here. Rs 299 (you read that right) for an unlimited lunch here. Student combos (Rs 110 for a limited meal)

The menu offers a choice of  twenty sauces ( sweet spicy Devil sauce, Thai Garlic and more) and you can ask for your choice of meat, seafood and veggies to be cooked in any. Garlic and spice do the garba and the bhangra in a lot of the dishes. Be it Prawn pepper chilly or Chicken jade spicy  with spinach and garlic. Manchurians  and Schezwan sauce drizzled fare here. Bland homestyle fare for you? “Fee noodles” “Egg fantasy” , Bok choy, simply tossed in natural flavors. Must trys? lettuce wraps and crisp yet moist  spring rolls.

MINUS POINTS

No pork. No beef served here. Today there is no crab or asparagus available and only one okayish dessert of honey noodles. The suimai and dimsum, though thin skinned are falling apart, overcooked soggy bassa and some of the dishes are lackluster. No alcohol served here.

 

MY POINT

You can expect moderately priced Chindian and homestyle Chinese fare at this fortnight old Andheri eatery with it’s comfy and gleaming ambiance. Don’t go looking for gourmet Chinese but at Rs 299 for an unlimited lunch you cant go wrong.

 

Opp Versova Police station, Near Cosmopolitan school. DN Nagar, Andheri (W) ph 26352900

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 AMBIANCE 3.5

Meal for two: Rs 1000


OOH! LA! LA! PARIS

2(1)

Breaking news. Even more magic is happening in Paris: Not just in superglam, rarefied gastronomique restaurants but also on the streets and train stations.I eat in the Legendary three Michelin starred chef Eric Frechon’s fabulous and affordable Lazare (in the Lazare train station) I dine at his gastronomique restaurant at the iconic Le Bristol (across the Presidents palace and also the President’s favorite) too. I not only catch up with Alain Ducasse (have shot my TV show in his Monte Carlo restaurant) but also get a peek into the about-to-open, high-profile super hush -hush Plaza Athenee restaurant. And then comes the surprise I love the choux puffs at Ducasse and Michalak’s street side  choux puff counter.

Paris sizzles with high-octane newness and youth… For the first time ever I dine at a restaurant where perfume and food overlap. International perfumer Guerlain’s restaurant by Michelin starred Guy Martin conjures up their signature  perfume inspired dishes. I ’m thrilled  to dine with the dashing young Michelin starred Chefs,  Akrame  (of the 7 month old, Michelin starred Akrame) and the charming Executive chef of the Peninsula John Edern . The brand new less than a month old Peninsula dazzles  and right next to it, the fourth generation family owned Raphael continues to hold it’s own and weave timeless charm as I meet the lovely owner Veronique Valcke,   Coffee with Helene Avril at the Goerge V,  shopping at Maison de Truffe ,Hediard, calling on the Indian ambassador, Elodie Berta’s drive through Paris in the teensy weensy Twizzy electric car (which anyone can hire)  and lighting a candle of thanks at the Madeleine church …all this in two magical days.

P.S. Need Paris info? pl mail rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, twitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh

Review: Boveda

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Restobar

Global multi-cuisine

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Whoa! What energy! Aamchi Mumbai is rocking with youth and energetic bars and nightplaces…from Colaba (Colaba Social) through Parel (PDT) to Andheri (Boveda). Before leaving for Los Angeles, I visited each of these new arrivals. Thumbs up to the infusion of youthful energy.

Boveda in Andheri is not only for the young nightbirds but is also set up by two 24 year olds and has an equally young chef.

DÉCOR

The sprawling 2,500 sq feet space with it’s suspended retro bulbs, wooden crates for lamp shades exposed brick walls give it an industrial look.  A long dramatically lit-up bar  and an outdoor patio complete the décor.

FOOD DRINKS AND GIGS

43 starters and  6 mains. Dinner is obviously not what you go there for. Plenty of drinks and gigs is what you do go for…there is no entry or cover charge. DJ s (Arjun Wagle  Ma Faiza, Ankytrixx, Sanjay Dutta)   artists ( Whirling Kalapas, Nikhil D’zouza etc) rock the place..

Ask for the robustly spiced, tossed spiced mushroom jalapeno, the deepfried tasty veg croquette plump with paneer and spinach. Enjoy the dominant paprika flavor of the spiced  chicken.  I particularly liked the smoked haloumi cheese on the American pizza. Desserts were woefully lacking, the chocolate ganache tart was good but not the greatest.The must try signature Bóveda cocktails –  BVD, Spiked Old Fashion, Melon Ball and The Green Beast.

MINUS POINTS

More maincourses are definitely needed. And some of the dishes on the menu, like the chorizo prawn stew with pao, the Madras curry chicken with rice lack the zing and don’t pass muster. Ditto for the halumi potato mushroom butter garlic starter. More desserts please!

 

MY POINT

Open only in the evening, this fairly new Andheri arrival is already rocking. Boveda (“vault” in Spanish) doesn’t mean you go looking for Spanish food (there are a few dishes). Don’t go for looking for dinner either, do go for a great night out (plenty of action) cocktails, well-plated starters (please see photo)  and a lusty, young vibe. Rock on!

BOVEDA G04, Morya Landmark One, Plot B-25, Off New Link Road, Oshiwara Village, Andheri (West). 67080858/59
Rs 1800 for two without alcohol
Open  6.30pm to 1am

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5


A TASTE OF HOLLYWOOD

HOLLYWOOD MAGIC ...CHEF HUGO BOLANOS
HOLLYWOOD MAGIC …CHEF HUGO BOLANOS

Hot, hotter and haute. Newest to the iconic legendary Los Angeles restaurants…  I am eating non-stop (guided by my friend, the LA Times food critic, Irene Verbila). Here reality is more exciting than fantasy. See the accompanying photo and you’ll know what I mean. Long necked swans glide gently past
Wolfgang Puck’s (America’s uncrowned King of chefs)  restaurant as his multi-talented executive chef Hugo Bolanos conjures up the most exciting Californian produce driven dishes. Here in Belair, amid the serene,  the worlds most  romantic  12 acres of lush green paradise,  Hollywood legends like Grace Kelly , Marilyn Monroe have lived and dined for over 5 decades. Even today this romantic haven is full of stars lounging in the Californian cool sunshine.

Here’s the hottest new three month old restaurant “Flores and ladies gunboat society” (Southern American fare to kill for). Mario Batalli’s “Pizzeria Mozza” the century old, open 24 hours “Pacific dining car”remain favorites . Quite the opposite is Jose Andres cutting edge “Bazar” as good as ever.  Ive just received the most precious courier (from Napa valley) the  of the most luscious peaches and pluots  from the worlds most legendary fruit grower “Frog Hollow farm”. All thanks to our very own globetrotting gourmet and finance whiz  Arjun Divecha. Meanwhile the swans are gliding gently as I savor Wolfgang Puck’s signature steak over sundaybrunch and hey! Lionel Richie is on my neighboring table.  I have stars in my eyes…and hey waiter is that a star in my soup?

PS Should you need more info on LA eateries please mailrashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com FB, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh

Review: The Irish House

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American, European

 

AMRITA AND RICHARD KOSZAREK CHEER THE IRISH HOUSE
AMRITA AND RICHARD KOSZAREK CHEER THE IRISH HOUSE

“Ireland se aaya mere dost, dost ko salaam karo”.  A couple of months ago, our very own rocking Irish House (the largest one yet) set up in Andheri. More than a year ago, the first of these Irish triplets was born in  Phoenix Mills, followed by Kala Ghoda. Ive eaten and  “happy houred” at all, also given a thumbs up verdict  as we did in our latest Andheri checkout.  Richard Koszarek is famous for  his steaks, pork chops and beans, while Amrita’s  mutton pickle is legendary.

The well-traveled foodie couple Amrita and Richard Koszarek not only spend a lot of time in London but Richard particularly enjoys the pubs there. They say Yes!  to The  Irish House.

DÉCOR

Everything in this predictably themed, wooden-decored space is larger than life; from the expansive,  high-ceilinged hall to the TV screens. Brick walls with trademark Irish house posters (take time to read them Beer Ladder, the Whisky Wall, Beer Kegsand thePost Box, Community tables…you name it.

FOOD & DRINK

Large (that word again) portions of deep fried fare (be it the blistering chilli poppers oozing cheese, or the fleshy mushrooms crunchy with pine nuts) is tasty. On recommendations from (@mihirsagar @dina_bshah @harpr iya_kohli

@abbas_974@thebombayfoodie) I try the  Chicken tacosBeer Can Chicken cordon bleu and Grande nachos, pail of Popcorn et al . Chicken tenders are better in Kala Ghoda but otherwise all the rest of the fare satisfies.Well-stocked bar, with 42 types of beer from across the globe (draught beer is served in Kegs & Towers) Richard recommends the Erdinger wheat beer and Stella Artois. Try the  innovative cocktails (Irish Trash Can, Irish Car Bomb)

MINUS POINTS

The oven was not working the night we were there so Richard couldn’t get his Steak ‘n Kidney Pie. Too many deepfried, overdone starters. The large wedge of oversweet  Irish Chocolate Torte and the Kahlua Mousse were avoidable.

 

 

MY POINT

Packed, bustling and vibrant…Ive checked out all three Irish Houses at different times of day and night.Each time, I found that  when the high-ceilinged space is  sufficiently crowded, it has a lived-in, age-softened feel.

And when most of the generously portioned dishes appealingly complement the atmosphere, it hits the sweet spot. No gourmet flashes, it’s mostly a mix of pub stalwarts comfort foods at comforting prices. Happy hours ( 5 to 8pm   ) add to the happiness. Want a cheery, beery, noisy time ? (age no bar) this way please !
The Irish House, 1st floor,  Fun Republic, Opp. new link Road, Andheri (West) 61046161

Open,  12 noon – 1am

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 4

Meal for 2: Rs 2000


ROCKING HOLLYWOOD...TONY NUNCIO AND TANYA
ROCKING HOLLYWOOD…TONY NUNCIO AND TANYA

A TASTE OF EMMYCITEMENT

I’m eating and drinking Emmycitement…er excitement. Here, in Hollywood,  this glamorous land of eternal sunshine,  the air is so thick with  excitement over the high-voltage Emmy awards  that I could slice it and pop it into my cocktail glass (which I do too). And its evident through all my eatingsbout (from the Voltaggio brother’s “Ink” Nobu’s first ever restaurant “Matsuhisa” to the king of chefs Wolfgang Puck’s “Spago). But it’s in the iconic rockstar “Sunset Marquis” where for over 50 years not only have Emmy, Grammy, Oscar winners, legends (including our very own Bachchan family) stayed but their bar manager and actor Tony Nuncio  has been making waves in Hollywood with his latest creation of the cognac based cocktail “Breaking Dad”. Not only does it  celebrate the Emmy winner of 2013 of the same name but also George Rosenthal’s love for cars and his son. Bacon and seasalt popcorn compliment the drink and Im excited to be in Los Angeles  on the night of the Emmy awards!

P.S. Ive been overwhelmed  and overjoyed by your  response via instagram posts to my request to #dinewithrashmi. Im so sorry that Ive been away so long and unable to keep my promise. Will surely do so as soon as Im back.

ROCKSTAR FOOD at Sunset Marquis

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ROCKING FARE: ROD GRUENDYKE AND CHEF ROGER EGGLESTON
ROCKING FARE: ROD GRUENDYKE AND CHEF ROGER EGGLESTON

ROCKSTAR FOOD

It is here in this sundrenched glamorous city that I get my first taste of Rockstar food (literally too).

For the past 50 years, Sunset Marquis has been the secret hideaway for actors, writers, artists, filmmakers,  supermodels, restaurateurs, billionaire entrepreneurs and rock stars.

Interestingly, the stories of the Sunset Marquis and the history of rock ’n’ roll are inextricably intertwined. Several bands debuted in the bar here,  The Doors to Led Zeppelin. Neil Diamond ( used to perform by the pool to pay his tab) to  Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston and many other regulars here.

BOLLYWOOD TO HOLLYWOOD

Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan have stayed here and enjoyed not only the place but also the food. Moreover, it is the worlds only hotel which has a state of the art recording studio where many Grammy-winning songs have been recorded. Madonna has recorded here so has Elton John (to name a few). It is here that the winners of “American Idol” stay for months and even as I eat the most unique “cauliflower steak” Michael Bolton strolls past in the  3.5 acres of Mediterranean oasis tucked away on  a hill just off The Sunset Strip.

Guarding these superstar’s  “peace and privacy” for over 23 years is the dapper and dynamic Rod Gruendyke who is so passionate about his work that he started working as a manager of travel lodge, when he was 15 years old. Since then he has not only launched several prestigious hotels but continues to redefine hospitality. He recounts how actor  Kevin Costner bumped into the Bachchans and concluded a deal without having to go to India. Interestingly Rod is also a believer in Amma, the hugging saint and has a long-standing affinity for India.

TASTY AND HEALTHY

Taking care of the beautiful people’s  tastebuds and balancing it with their health and fitness needs is

the brilliant Chef Roger Eggleston. He believes in appreciating what the earth gives us, to never stop learning and using the braising technique, of searing and then cooking in a liquid. The trick is to keep the temperature

“low and slow” he points out. To intensify the flavor, he uses vegetable stock but adds apple to it. He shares his recipe…

Cauliflower Steak

  • 4 Cauliflower steaks cut 1 inch thick.  Make sure to leave some as the stem to hold it together
  • Vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic

Season the cauliflower with salt.  Heat a heavy pan with some vegetable oil just until smoking.  Add the steaks and sear them until a nice color forms.  Flip them over; add just enough vegetable stock just to come up ½ way on the steaks.  Add the garlic and thyme and bring up to a simmer.  Place the pan in the oven and lightly braise just until tender:  about 15 minutes.  When done, remove from the liquid.

Garnish·     Corn grilled on the cobb and then cut off·     Cleaned morel mushrooms, lightly braised just as the cauliflower steaks·     1 tsp butter·     Sliced chives·     Baby fennel shave thin and placed in ice water·     Raw purple cauliflower·     Garlic blossoms

Heat the morel mushrooms up with some of their braising liquid, add the charred corn and finish with a little butter to glaze the vegetables.  Season with salt and finish with the sliced chives

You can make a Truffled Yogurt by

Whisking 4 egg yolks into yoghurt.  mustard, wine, canola oil,

squeezed lemon juice

To Plate

  • Spoon about 2 tbsp of the truffle yogurt onto the center of each plate· Place one cauliflower steak on top of the yogurt
  • Spoon the vegetable mix over the cauliflower steaks· Using a micro plane, grate the purple cauliflower all over the plate·     Garnish with the shaved fennel and garlic blossoms

Enjoy! keep rocking!

Review: Francesco’s Pizzeria

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Pizza and pasta

 

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Happy surprises: I am sure you love them too. I serve up one today. It’s a Value for money, cheery new pizzeria which shot into fame after it started drone delivery services. But that’s hardly why I commend Francesco, especially since I write this from the pizza capital of the world, NYC.

DÉCOR

It’s tucked into the ever evolving urban theme park of Phoenix mills. This seriously small, wooden-floored, white-walled, brightly lit eatery with oval mirrors on the  walls (which  make the café look bigger) has simple, functional  white wooden tables.

FOOD

Fifteen varieries of pizza (we love the  thin and crisp yet fold-able when you crack it,  crust.). You can choose the size of pizza…

7inch (Rs 220) 10inch (Rs 13inch) and 13inch (Rs 475) and your toppings too. For me, pizza has to be in erotic union with pepperoni (thumbs up to Francesco s). The passionate young Mikhael Rajani ensures   plenty of vegetarian options .

The truffle pizza delights but could do with more of my musky favorite.

Try the robustly spiced Peri Peri Pizza, ( paneer and chicken options).

Tasty  ravioli stuffed with beet ( Rs 325)  but too expensive for the small the portion. Aldente  Spaghetti aglio olio. Broffle (brownie waffle),   the tiny, tenderfirm  Cheesecake and the plain looking bambolino buns stuffed with chocolate  come out tops.

MINUS POINTS

Francesco  has stabs of ill-advised innovation, like the

the dryish Bianca Salmone with too little salmon, the ggplanty parmigiano pizza and the red velvet waffle which is just a waffle gone red. Noisy when packed (which it is most of the time). No beer (a must with a pizza) or wine.

 

MY POINT

I welcome this open through the day, cheery, small, well-priced  pizzeria. It is clearly driven by the  mission of feeding you well, as opposed to giving you food for thought or gourmet fare. Of playing to your tummy instead of your imagination. And with it’s  comforting pizzas and pasta it executes that mission more dependably than many other pizzerias with similarly modest but noble ambitions.  Mama Mia (please note my Indian accent when I say that)

Shop 9-11, Next to L’vista Furnitures, Skyzone, High Street Phoenix, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Open 11 am to 11.30 pm

64

ph 67437000

Meal for two: Rs.1000|

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3


 

GOD IN NYC

Pardon the blasphemy! I’m convinced that God lives in this adrenalin-fuelled dagger-shaped New York City. How else do I explain the  most divine of palate-pleasures on the street to my transcendental experiences in the greatest cathedrals of cuisine? I’ve been in NYC less than 30 hours and am already getting blown away by

dish after dish’s   visual and gustatory starbursts. I write on my laptop from this sublime heaven of haute cuisine (also a shimmering

Parthenon of pleasure ) – Daniel Boulud’s  Daniel, which has been crowned with 3 Michelin stars for the past 21 years and continues to reign supreme.

The ever smiling spectacularly brilliant Daniel’s   creative French 15 course menu dazzles, and pairing these with wines is NYC’s best sommelier, our very own Raj Vaidya (originally from Mumbai). My dinner companion Rahul Nair, NYC based foodie and screenwriter  obviously has food and films in his genes as his father Sameer Nair now heads up a leading mumbai film and TV production company.Last night’s Jean George’s champagne shrimp salad seduced at The Mark, and I had an exciting Lebanese lunch at Ilili thanks to the king of hospitality design Adam Tihany and his lovely wife Marnie.

Within the next five days I will have sniffed out NYCs  cheap and cheerful and worshipped at  many a haute temple. Please email Rashmiudaysingh@gmail.comtwitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh and I will share the good word with you. Amen!

DUBAI’S CULINARY MECCA

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Found. Atlast. Is it tangy? Is it sweet? Is it a salad? Is it a complete meal? Is it squishy? Is it crunchy? Here it is, the authentic recipe of my most favorite refreshing sweet, tangy, juicy, crispy, healthy, refreshing “Rojak”. I taste it in the most unique of circumstance and venues. I marvel at how the world is shrinking into an amazing and delicious small space. So,I bring for you, this recipe of the Indonesian/Malaysian/Singaporean “Rojak”. It is made by a brilliant German chef. And it is on one of my trips to Dubai that I come across this refreshing delight. To make the global gourmetization even more exciting, I taste this dish in a legendary Thai hotel in Dubai, which turns out to be a culinary mecca.

1

CULINARY JOYRIDES AROUND THE WORLD 


“Culinary joyrides around the world” those are the brilliant Chef Joachim Textor’s words. This is the joyride that he takes me through his amazing cooking. He has travelled and lived in  the remote corners of the world. From along the Great Wall of China to Irkutsk (the Paris of the East in the 19th century) to the Omul salmon recipe from the largest fresh water lake in the world: From the southernmost tip of South America, steamed Alaskan crab to Traditional Tasmanian recipes…………he has them all. 
Chef  Textor having completed his culinary education and masters in Germany has worked in 11countries and has to his credit the opening of four hotels and dozens of restaurants. His passions are cooking and travel and exploring new culinary horizons. In pursuit of this he has been to 486 cities and 90 countries from the North to South  pole,
As we sit and chat, in the stunning and picturesque Anantara, I am more and more delighted. Set amidst lush landscaping, with the private beach just behind us, beachfront lagoon pools around us, it is difficult to believe I am in Dubai.

I don’t have the time to dine in all six of the restaurants and bars of Anantara, the culinary mecca, but the  specialty Asian, Mediterranean flavors and the Middle Eastern cuisine, the Thai cuisine seduce my tastebuds and my eyes.

Named after the Arabic word for ‘water’, the Mai Bar (which I love) has a terrace shaded by palm trees and a swim-up bar in the pool. There are  Australian-inspired flame grilled delights too but I don’t have the time to try these.

It is in the terrace of the Beachhouse with it’s fabulous views of the Dubai shoreline that I enjoy the Mediterranean cuisine, including pizzas, tapas and seafood. It is here that I taste the Rojak along with the charming and well informed Hayley Burgess.

 

ROJAK REIGNS

I first tasted the Rojak on the street side in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. It was a delightful mix of bean curd, boiled potatoes, prawn fritters, hard boiled eggs, bean sprouts, cuttlefish and cucumber mixed with a sweet thick, spicy peanut sauce. Then in Singapore I tasted their version of Rojak with a sweet and spicy chili sauce. I was told that in Penang, where it is a local favourite, it is always called pasembor, but in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore it is called Rojak.

Ofcourse, there are all different kinds of fruits and fritters which are added and mixed into this. From raw mango to green apple to pineapple, benkoang (jicama), bean sprouts, Chinese-style fritters). And many more.  But here is Chef Textor’s amazing recipe, which is a must try…

ROJAK RECIPE

Ingredients

Serves: 6

  1 medium cucumber

  2 small young green mangoes, peeled

  1/2 medium pineapple, skinned

  50 g Papaya

  20 gr carrot julienne

  45 gr pear

  40 g bean sprouts

  35 fried tofu

  1 large yam bean (sengkuang/jicama), peeled

  1 tsp lime juice

  ½ tsp lemon juice

  20 gr dried shrimps

  30g roasted peanuts, chopped coarsely

  35 g fried Chinese bread stick, thin sliced

  ½ tsp sesame oil

  1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  For the rojak sauce

  15 dried chillies, soaked and deseeded

  2.5 cl Tamarind sauce

  1/2 cup (125 ml) tamarind juice

  20 g caster sugar

  1 teaspoon (5 ml) dark soya sauce

Directions

1.        Pound the chillies in mortar and pestle until it becomes a fine paste. Put that paste and tamarind juice in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and dark soya sauce and cook until the sugar dissolves and sauce is thick. Set aside and let cool.

2.        Cut the vegetables and fruits into small wedges and put into a large mixing bowl. Add the rojak sauce and mix well.

3.        To serve, garnish the top of the rojak with dried shrimps, chopped peanuts,and all remaining ingredients and sesame seeds.

 

Chef Textor explains that “Rojak” actually translates to mixing and mingling and denotes  multi-ethnicity. Through this conversation, I urge the brilliant, well traveled chef to compile all these recipes into a book.

I request him to distil all the excitement of discovery and travel in his first of its kind cookbook. It will be so exciting, so
useful and usable and divided cuisine wise as well as through ingredients and courses… and should he have the time and the inclination to put together this global cookbook what would he like to call it?  “Culinary joyride around the world with Joachim Textor” ofcourse!