Over the years, I’ve been sipping and tasting my way through many a high-teas across UK and Europe. From London’s grand historic hotels, The Ritz, The Dorchester, The Lanesbrough to The Ritz in Madrid and The Ritz in Paris. And strangely enough, the very finest of this very British tradition is the best in the cacophonic, exuberant but exasperating, 200-year-old, over-populated, traffic-choked Bangkok.
Right here in this tumultuous city, there is a space which is not just stunningly beautiful and gracious but also a cocoon of comfort. Since over 140 years, this gorgeous Mandarin Oriental hotel has retained it’s essentially, stylishly Oriental soul and still manages to preserve its British colonial spirit.
SIPPING LITERARY HISTORY
It breathes timelessness. It is here in it’s elegant and historic “Authors Lounge” that I sip (literally too) over a century of legendary literary history. Two of my passions come together in a sacred union…High tea and English literature. I enjoy the classic British High tea, served in the Author’s Lounge.
I have been going back regularly past three decades. Each time fall even more in love with it. Helmed by the dynamic Amanda Hyndman, the Mandarin Oriental continues to breathe colonial charm and high end luxury. The brilliant and charming dynamo Amanda takes me through the colourful and amazing history of the Authors lounge through all the photographs, paintings, books and many an interesting anecdote. The Oriental has welcomed world renowned authors, celebrities and heads of state over 140 years and has long been famous for its service, style and elegance. The whopping USD18 million restoration last year has recreated the magic of the past
The la grande dame has been immortalised by globally renowned authors who lived and wrote here. “The Oriental is the worlds most glamorous hotel in the world” said the prolific British Romantic novelist Barbara Cartland, who lived here regularly and her suite bears her name.
In 1923 Somerset Maugham contracted malaria and almost got evicted from The Oriental. But he loved it so much that he came back and wrote “The gentleman in the Parlour” here.
Through it all we nibble on superlative finger sandwiches (cucumber,chicken, ham). Outstanding pastries, tarts, madelienes and a meltingly, rich, chocolate cake. And the most delightful scones with clotted cream and rose petal and pomelo jams.
The well known Noel Coward wrote “Lord Jim” and “The heart of darkness” here. Amanda explains that it was originally an open roofed garden featuring a pond signposted ‘please don’t feed the tortoise’, the Authors’ Lounge has since 1976, featured a glass roof and is the place to enjoy afternoon tea. In keeping with the great literary heritage of the hotel, it has been recently restored and the ‘Heritage Authors, are now immortalised in four new private lounges.
HIGH TEA CEREMONIES
I salute Duchess Anna of Bedford for having sent out the invite for “tea and a walk in the fields” over a hundred and fifty years ago. The lovely lady set in motion High tea, the most dainty of all culinary traditions. Now, Tea Council Inspectors check standards and coveted annual awards are given for the Top London Afternoon Tea. Which Tea ceremony do I get most high one? The Chinese tea ceremony “Yumcha” server fills the cup just over half way, because the Chinese believe the rest of the cup is filled with friendship. The Japanese tea ceremonies of the Chanoyu, the Sencha are performed sitting on the floor around a low table. But it’s the fabulous historical elegance and daintyness, the graciousness of Amanda Hyndman and the charm of the Authors Lounge that sets part this high tea in Bangkok as the worlds best, It sure is my cup of tea.
The brilliant French maestro, Executive chef Aurelien Poirot infuses French gourmet excellence into food here. He keeps to the traditional British Scone recipe and very generously shares it with us.
500 g Butter /1,900 g Flour /500 g Icing sugar /100 g Baking powder /800 ml Milk /200 g Raisins
Mix dry ingredient together/ Add butter little by little until it become crumbly / Add milk and beat until dough combined / Take the dough out & knead by hand until the surface is smooth / Roll out & cut /Turn each scones upside down onto tray / Brush with egg wash / Bake at 180ºc for about 15 mins (Rotate tray after 7 mins)
It may sound very rudimentary and basic but most of us have no idea of how to and when to eat for our optimum health and (yes! its true) enjoyment. Here, in Germany, coddled by forests, meadows, mountains Im being re-educated. It’s Dr Benedetto Reisch the brilliant and knowledgabble medical director of Lanserhof, Europe’s well-known and award winning oasis of preventive medicine who shows me the way forward, while the dynamic Eva Maria Hansnauer ensures perfection in every detail of the stay. What we eat, how we eat and what time we eat is a very crucial part of the LANS Med Concept which consists of four stages of therapy developed by Dr. F. X. Mayr: Due to space constraint Im unable to fit in the principles of eating right. Should you need them please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mixed marriages on our plates… an increasing trend in many a Mumbai restaurant. Be it tandoori Tikka in erotic union with taco (Social’s “tikka taco”) Gulabjamun cross fertilised with doughnut (Bombay Canteen’s gulabnut) etc. And “Glocal Junction” proudly announces its “global local” mixed breed pedigree in it’s name.
Read my detailed review on https://whatshot.in/mumbai/critic-review-worlis-glocal-junction-meander-the-globe-with-its-food-r-9730
Excuse me but I’m getting high on this high tea and exquisite patisserie. Over eight decades of Hollywood history is distilling itself in this “Pretty woman” hotel in Los Angeles. Superstars such as Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty, Priyanka Chopra, Anil Kapoor have all lived in Beverly Wilshire (where Pretty woman was shot) Each one of my companions are interlinked to it too. This is the very first hotel that Our very own Bollywood and Hollywood star Kabir Bedi made Beverly Wilshire his “Home away from home” in 1977 ( when he moved to Hollywood and shot for james Bond et al) He is In LA as part of his whirlwind nine city concert tour (he plays sutradhar). Along with him is his talented son Adam Bedi who is an expert on special effects for Hollywood films and his lovely wife Melissa, an expert on makeup for Hollywood. We feast on patisseur extraordinaire Chris Ford’s sweet creations which dazzle and delight.The charming and dynamic Ben Trodd, helms nine luxury hotels, spearheads this Hollywood landmark. Also with us is the highly efficient and forever helpful “pretty woman” Lauren Dutton-Breen.
Kabir is the first Indian on the Oscar Academy jury. Loves desserts (like I do). He is crystal clear about the fact that Calories “must be worth having” I couldn’t agree with him more. Chef Fords desserts are “Oscar worthy”
I admit. I don’t have a sweet tooth. I have sweet teeth. And I travel the world looking for the best of the best. For me, desserts represent divinity and patisseurs are my passion. Here, in the land of eternal summer, in Hollywood I taste sweet magic. For many fabulous reasons. First of all, the most creative of desserts are being conjured and served up here in this iconic “Pretty woman” hotel which has distilled decades of Hollywood glamour! Beverly Wilshire is not only a legendary landmark but also officially on the National Register of Historic Places of the United States. Superstars such as Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty and Steve McQueen have all lived in this luxurious landmark.. And then of course the Hotel shot into global fame when 25 years ago it was the movie Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere was shot here. And located on the glamour and fashion drenched Rodeo drive this Pretty woman continues to charm.
And it is here overlooking the Rodeo drive in it’s award winning The BLVD that their patisseur Chris Ford’s creations dazzle and delight. Over decades the Beverly Wilshire’s iconic restaurant The BLVD has been the hot spot for the crème de la crème of Los Angeles. And has recently reopened with a brand new Art Deco makeover, dramatic lighting, bold blacks and whites and contemporary gloss.
Chef Chris Ford continues to reinvent himself and each of his magical creations seduce with their beauty, taste and textures. The charming and dynamic Ben Trodd, has led many a hotel to win awards. He helms nine luxury hotels, spearheads this Hollywood landmark and is has transformed it into it’s cutting edge modern avatar, while still retaining it’s historic splendour. The highly efficient and forever helpful “pretty woman” Lauren Dutton-Breen, just moved in from NYC is already making waves in LA. And over high tea we taste Chef Ford’s sweet magic.
Looking every bit like a glamorous chef in Hollywood shoutd, Chef Ford is a powerhouse of talent and hardwork. You can watch him demonstrating his recipes (including this one) on butterloveandhardwork.com under vimeo. He shares his Peanut butter mousse recipe with us.
PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE
|Ingredients: 200 gms milk/200gms cream/ 120 gms egg yolks/ 80 gms sugar/ 200 gms peanut butter. 5 gelatin sheets/ 300 gms cream|
|Prepare gelatin (as directed on the pack) Whip 2nd amount of cream to medium peaks Make anglaise Whisk in peanut butter. Whisk in gelatin . Cool over ice bath to body temp Incorporate whipped cream Pipe into medium sized dome molds Enjoy|
BOLLYWOOD TO HOLLYWOOD HIGH TEA
It is serendipity at work. We are luxuriating over high-tea and patisserie in this iconic Hollywood landmark. Not only is over eight decades of Hollywood history distilling itself in this “Prettywoman” hotel but each one of my companions are interlinked to it. This is the very first hotel that Our very own Bollywood and Hollywood star Kabir Bedi made Beverly Wilshire his “Home away from home”. He stayed here when he moved to Hollywood in 1977. He not only won over audiences as Sandokan in his Italian TV series but also wowed Hollywood by his roles in James Bond’s Octopussy, The Bold and the Beautiful and shot many more films in Hollywood. He is In LA as part of his whirlwind nine city concert tour (he plays sutradhar). Along with him is his talented son Adam Bedi who is an expert on special effects for Hollywood films and his lovely wife Melissa, an expert on makeup for Hollywood. As though all these Hollywood connections are not enough, Kabir is also the very first Indian on the Oscar Academy jury and he applies his discerning taste this evening too. Like me he has many a sweet teeth. But what about calories? I ask him. “Oh! Calories must be worth having and Chef Ford’s are more than worth having. They are Oscar worthy” he concludes. I couldn’t agree with him more.
The glamorous Oscars just made headline news.And I’m here in this very same historic hotel (just opposite the Dolby theatre where the ceremony was held) where the Oscar celebratory party was held. In fact it was here in The Hollywood Roosevelt that the very first Oscars were held in 1927. Helming this hotel is our very own young and dapper Akshay Bahl who has honed his skills in many a leading hotel world over. It was wonderful to get to know more about the luxurious menu that the talented Chef Thomas Adam Mali created for the Oscars, while the everhelpful, abstract artist extraordinaire Bre Smith explained all the details. Please take a look at the photograph. Ive shot it by the pool where the legendary actress, Marilyn Monroe lived for over five years. It was here by this very pool that Marilyn Monroe shot her very first ad. It was for a sun tan oil Tropicana and now this bar and pool itself is calledTropicana. We raise a toast…with the Marilyn punch, ofcourse. Should you need the recipe please email@example.com
Arabian Nights comes to Andheri? Yes it does. I just love the bustling energy in the suburbs and this Arabian Nights reincarnation aka OPA is yet another testimonial to that. It has been doing booming business ever since it opened over a year ago, magnetising party birds, diners, sheesha lovers, alike. nd.
Read my detailed review on https://whatshot.in/mumbai
Its finally here. The most awaited night of the year. Tonight in a high-octane and glittering award ceremony, we honour Mumbai’s best restaurants and bars. The most credible, over a decade old and the longest running “Times Food and Nightlife Awards 2017” is here. These most prestigious and coveted awards magnetise the whos who not only of the food and restaurant industry but also the superglam crème de la crème. Tonight we also salute “The restaurant of the year”, “The restaurateur of the year” and “The chef of the year”. Stay tuned to know more about the latest to the greatest. Only at “The Times Food and Nightlife awards 2017”.
Note: Follow the live update and exciting results on twitter @timesfnn and watch for them in “The Bombay Times” too. Bon Apetit.