REVIEW: UNO MAS

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Charming and unpretentious. Relaxed yet rocking. Open through the day.

 Hats off to the dynamo women behind Uno Mas: Cordon Bleu trained chef Pallavi Jayswal and Priyanka Sharma,  patisseur Anurita Ghosh and  interior designer Tejal Mathur. We love the robust, exuberant fare. Read my detailed review on whatshot.in.

Flamenco friday: In UNO MAS, rocking yet relaxed with Meher and Pia Davis.
(dancer Anant Joshi, Guitarist Deepak Verma)
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REVIEW: TYGR

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I wish you miracles, joy, love: a fabulous 2019 flambéed with sparkling energy and gusto. Lets kickstart this new year with Tygr, an appropriately exciting brand new restaurant. Does its name stand for my most favourite big cat? Or maybe it’s  simply a short form for the cuisines it serves… Thai (Ty) Gr (Grill).

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in

TYGR…with globetrotting foodies: Rishabh Sheth, Romanch Dalal, Umang Bhatia, Rohitn Dhote, Rahil Kacheria, Neil Ramchandani, Viveka Purandare Bhatia, Dhruv Uday Singh.

RECIPE: LA BELLE CREOLE MARY

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TASTING TROPICAL PARADISE

I’m getting high. On  tropical flavours, but even more on knowledge of the rare and the exotic. And the waltz of local Mauritian flavours with French gastronomique techniques orchestrated brilliantly by the young local Mauritian Chef Didier Jacob. But first, let me tell you all about how  I lost my heart to the rare “heart of coconut palm” masterpiece.

OF HEARTS & RUBIES

I lost my heart to the rare coconut heart  & to the brilliant young chef Didier Jacob who created a masterpiece  from it. Then it is the ruby red jewel of slow cooked beetroot puree that dazzles. It is masterfully sparkled with orange spices the char grill beetroot kissed with star anise. Sonnets & symphonies of the finest of local Mauritianvegetables with classical frenchgastronomic finesse parade.

CHEF DIDIER JACOB WITH HIS BEETROOT MASTERPIECE

But first please take a look at the accompanying photograph with the  long 60 kilo cylinder from a 15 year old coconut palm tree that the chefs are holding. It  is then peeled open in front of us. It is delicious to taste raw and then  Chef Didier seduces with the lightest crunchy Coconut Palm Heart tartare sparkled with turmeric and its Carpaccio with  lime dressing.

HEART OF PALM CYLINDER

Coconut palms are known typically for their coconuts.
You can eat and drink the nuts in various stages of development and they are all delicious.
However, did you know that you could harvest the heart from a coconut palm and eat it?
The heart of palm is located where the green leaves start to bud from the trunk.
Under the woody palm, leaf stem is a soft, white center.
Removing the heart from a coconut palm kills the tree.
Thankfully, after each purchase of a coconut heart they plant ten more trees.

DISH OF DISCS OF HEART OF COCONUT PALM
CHEF DIDIER’S PUMPKIN CREATION

After that heart of coconut palm course, we move on to the Pumpkin,  a masterpiece of smoked nine moths aged Pumpkin, Confit Butter nuts, pumpkin puree with almondcrowned with crispy Spring onions roots The Green Asparagus Variation tantalises with with green apple, and it smoked Asparagus puree
The sweet finale painted on to the table of compressed fruit mascarponecream and more is fingerlicking good.
chef Didier’s years of globetrotting and working alongside starred. geniuses shines.through as he has evolved his unique expression of Mauritian cuisine with classical French influences.


LA BELLE CREOLE MARY

LA BELLE CREOLE MARY

Inspired by the warm currents of the Indian Ocean, La Belle Creole Mary is an interpretation of the traditions of the tropical paradise. Signature touches such as aloe vera juice, coconut, evoke inspired memories of  Mauritius. Derived from the Bloody Mary and Virgin Mary this cocktail and mocktail has a fascinating history. And Ive tasted it in all three of it’s  birthplaces, Mauritius, New York and Paris (notes on those follow). Here’s how to shake the   perfect
Mauritian, St Regis La Belle Creole Mary… INGREDIENTS
3 1/3 OZ / 100 ML fresh tomato juice
2 3/4 OZ/80 ML aloe vera juice
4 TSP/ 20 ML of Worcestershire sauce
4 drops of Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 OZ / 45 ML premium traditional  rum (optional if you want a mocktail)
1 pinch celery salt
4 mint leaves
1 coconut curl
8-10 coconut flakes, for garnish
1 slice of lime, for garnish
1 sprig of mint. for garnish
DIRECTIONS
Put the  tomato and aloe vera juices and rum (if you choose to). Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, celery salt and mint leaves into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir with a mixing spoon for I0 seconds. Strain into a stemless red wine glass and add crushed ice. Place the coconut curl on top. Garnish with the coconut flakes, slice of lime and sprig of mint.

In New York, I zoom in on the timeless yet contemporary, over a century old  King Cole bar at St Regis.
Originally founded by John Jacob Astor over a century ago, it is this
magnificent landmark where hotel history was made. The center of Manhattan social life.
not only did St Regis make history with all  newsworthy and
path-breaking conveniences (telephone, central heating) but is even credited with the
invention of one of the worlds most famous cocktails the “Bloody Mary”.
It was way back in 1934, Fernand Petiot, bartender at the famous King
Cole Bar, perfected the Bloody Mary-
the iconic vodka and tomato juice cocktail so beloved today. The famed
cocktail was created when Serge Obolensky, a well known man about town
whose penchant for vodka was in keeping with his
aristocratic Russian background, asked Petiot to make the vodka
cocktail he had in Paris. The formula was spiced up with salt, pepper,
lemon and Worcestershire Sauce, Interestingly,  the name Bloody Mary
was deemed inappropriate for the elegant clientele of The St. Regis,
it was rechristened the Red Snapper.

Review: Rue Du Liban

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Hallelujah! A star is born. It has  risen in Kala Ghoda. It sparkles with flavour, authenticity and nostalgia and recreates the Levant. What is the Levant?  A place? a flavour? a region which serves up tastes of all cultures in the southeast corner of the Mediterranean? All this and more. And the three month old Rue du Liban not only serves up these authentic flavours but does so in a refined, gracious fine dine ambiance. Read my detailed review on whatshot.in.

Superb experience at RUE DU LIBAN with Dina and Dr Shahrukh Golwalla

 

Review: House of Daaruwala

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I admit. I have a big fat soft spot for  Irani cafes. And I mourn their dwindling numbers as also the lack of  good Parsi food restaurants in our city. So when I hear about Andheri’s brand new Irani café lookalike “House of Daaruwala” I dash across the city with big hopes through equally big traffic jams.

Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times.

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House of Daaruwala : with  gorgeous actor producer foodie Neetu Chandra.

Recipe: Kimchi

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MAGICAL KIMCHI

This  ain’t a bowl of mere fermented vegetables. It’s Kimchi. It’s magical. It’s origin is centuries old. But it was sent to space on board Soyuz with South-Korean astronaut Yi So yeon.

It was declared ” vitally important to the morale of Korean troops” (President Park Chung Hee).It’s been cited by Health Magazine as one of the world’s five “healthiest foods” and it dates back to the period of the  Three Kingdoms (37 BC‒7 AD.

Till today, it’s a very central part of the Korean meal. It is served as “Banchan” a collective name for small side dishes served along with cooked rice.

On my very first trip to Korea, I’m fortunate to not only taste kimchi in the finest three Michelin starred Korean cuisine restaurant but also blessed to get a taste of “vegan” kimchi in  a monastic meal ritual cooked by a monk in the mountains. And finally actually got to make the kimchi myself, in the finest kimchi making class of Korea…with Master Lee and two other brilliant chefs.

IN KOREAS BEST RESTAURANT

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At the best of the best La yeon withChef Sung il Kim and Yaeeji Kim. 

I’m on top of the world. In every sense of the term. I’m dining in three Michelin starred Layeon perched on the rooftop of  Shilla Seoul, the luxury powerhouse.

The gracious and stately Shilla stands behind Seoul’s  medieval city walls but continues to  reign supreme. La Yeon interprets Korean cuisine with great care and sophistication. Balanced flavors and textures explode …from mellow flavors of  Pinenut porridge to the perfect Bulgogi and bibimbap with  banchan and the most addictive umami rich kimchi.

I’m  not just feasting on the brilliant Chef Sung il Kim’s refined and sublime Korean food but also learning about the basics and evolution of Korean food. Translating for me is the everhelpful Yaeeji Kim.Highest quality ingredients, authentic flavors and creativity infuse the dishes… from mellow and soothing to royal-cuisine Hot Pot here.

BLISSED TEMPLE MEAL

 I m in  heaven and didn’t even have to die to get here… Just drove four hours in snow to reach the beautiful Naejang mountains. Can spiritual vegetarian meditative monk s food  be so seductively gourmet and varied? It sure is  I’m Tasting blessings… literally too.  All this at  the fabulous formal multicourse  monastic meal ceremony (barugongyang) The  lovable loving and friendly monk.

At Cheongjinam Temple.  We  sit on the floor with empty bowls baru in front of us. And as if by magic the silent servers glide in and fill them up. Making food and partaking in it is part of the meditative process in the temple and here, they eat only what they farm and make on site. Amazingly gentle and vibrant flavors and textures seduce . We wash the dishes after the meal with the water in each bowl and walk out in a single file.

We move in to the dining area and our eyes and taste buds are luxuriously  memorably  pampered. After that  lunch, monk Jung Kwan takes us on a fascinating walk to see her storage facilities where her “jangs”, sauces and kimchi are being fermented. Since garlic, onions are not used it is these fermented pastes that add a zing to her  vegetarian masterpieces.

lovable inspirational monk for delicious blessings which we tasted too. If this isn’t heaven what is?

Note:  A unique and blissed out treat. And to be lunching with Koreas finest gourmet chefs, Mingoo Kang ( chef Michelinstarred Mingles)

 Hyunseok Choi (chef of ever popular Choi)

Jinpyo Kim, CEO Plating Company

All this made possible thanks to the lovely  Editor in chief of Tasty Cookbook,Eunsil Jang.

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Jinpyo Kim 
Hyunseok Choi 
Monk Jeongkwan 
Mingoo Kang 
Eunsil Jang 

KIMCHI MAKING CLASS

Its  a dream come true. Not only to learn   kimchi making from Master Soyoung lee,but to do so with my own hands and then to have the privilege of a home-cooked lunch by  her. Kimchi making is done in winter (when the ingredients are available) and its all about bonding and a wonderful family feeling as we chop the vegetables and massage the spices into them. All this with Chef Choi who’s doing pathbreaking research in fermenting and Chef Heesuk Cho a  professor in Korean cuisine. Not only have most of the great Korean chefs trained under her but her restaurant (I had an amazing meal here) continues to inspire many others.

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Learning from the maestros Master Lee, JungYoon Choi (centre)  and chef Heesuk Cho.

It’s all thanks to the super helpful and amazing JungYoon Choi, a chef with 20 years of experience working in Spain, Australia and Korea. Trained at Alicia Foundation and El Bulli and is now executive chef of the Sempio Korean Fermentation Culinary Research Center in Korea. with top chefs and gastronomy-related professionals to research on Korea’s fermentation food culture. She very generously shares the authentic recipe for the kimchi.

 Kimchi

Kimchi
 Magical kimchi.

Main ingredients

     -Cabbage 5ea

     – Coarse Salt 7cups

Side ingredients

– Chives 200g (Cut 4cm)

     – Leeks 200g(Cut diagonally)

     – Red Brassica juncea 100g (Cut 3cm)

– Chopped raw shrimps 100g

– Chopped Sea staghorn 100g

– Radish 2kg (Cut 5cm)

Spices

– Crushed Chili pepper 6cups

– Chopped Garlic 1 1/2 cups

– Chopped Ginger 1/2 cups

– Salted shrimps 1cups

– Anchovy liqueur 1cups

– Sugar 1/2cups

– Coarse Salt 1/2 cups

Recipe

  1. Mixed all the spices and ingredients. (Let this ripen for 30 minutes.)
  2. Rinse pickled cabbage in cold water to remove moisture.
  3. Ready to the seasonings between the prepared cabbage.
  4. Store prepared Kimchi in a container.

The best tasting kimchi is stored in room temperature for an average of six months to reach its full flavor.

After that delicious home style lunch, we all get the fabulous kimchi to take home. As Choi says “my mother will be thrilled with this kimchi, for her and all of us, it is more valuable to receive this than an Italian designer handbag” That’s how magical kimchi is!!!

KOREA’S BEST

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Here in Seoul’s three Michelin starred  Layeon I’m not just feasting on the brilliant Chef Sung il Kim’s refined and sublime Korean food but also learning about the basics and evolution of Korean food. Translating for me is the ever helpful 

Yaeeji Kim. Balanced flavors and textures explode …from mellow flavors of  Pinenut porridge to the perfect Bulgogi and bibimbap with  banchan,. I do  it all… beef tasting restaurant “ Born and bred” , fried chicken and beer (Chimac) eatery, Korean palace cuisine Hansikgonggan , Modern Korean “Mingles” European influenced Korean “Toc Toc”. Pure vegetarian temple cuisine in the mountains, a foodie blind date in “Balwoo Gongyang” but that is another story.

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At three Michelin starred Layeon with Chef Sung il Kim and  
Yaeeji Kim.

Recipe: SUN & MOON

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Sometimes a restaurant experience extends to  more than just the food.  It’s drawbacks become it’s charms… its tiny home-style space, its one man service,  generous portions of the Korean owner-chef Sun’s (not sure if I’ve got her name right) blazing lustily spiced food.

Read my review in today’s Bombay Times.

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Checking out SUN AND MOON with Ashmit Patel, Nina and Prakash Vasa.

SEOUL FOOD

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Lights. Camera.Eat. So what if its    minus two degrees in the Korean capital of Seoul. Here, on the TV set, under the bright lights, its sizzling hot. And what better way to learn about Korean food than  from the maestro,  70 year young, legendary actress and chef Soomi Kim? And to be invited to cook and shoot on the sets of her hugely popular TV show. Superstar chef Hyun Seok Choi  teaches me more fundamentals as does Jin Pyo Kim the mover and shaker of Seoul’s restaurant scene. All thanks to Jung Yum Choi Im  learning how to make “kimchi” the traditional way. And tomorrow driving four hours to the mountains to the celebrated Buddhist monks monastery. To get her blessings and to eat her vegetarian food. Cant wait to learn from her how to make vegetarian kimchi. Need recipes? Please email rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com

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Filming and tasting: Korean superstarchefs, Soomi Kim,  Chef Hyun Seok Choi  and Jin Pyo Kim.