Review: NARA THAI

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Thai

Bangkok,  Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong,  Sri Lanka and now  the Nara Thai chain comes to Mumbai. For some inexplicable reason there’s been a famine of Thai restaurants in Mumbai. So when the dapper, high-profile New age Bollywood producer  Atul Kasbekar, gourmand amongst gourmets, recommended Nara Thai (after his great meal there) we made a date, And wow! What a date

Read my entire review of NARA THAI on – https://whatshot.in/mumbai/nara-thai-impresses-with-this-luscious-thai-tea-crepe-cake-r-9860

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Recipe: MAIDEN SHANGHAI DIM SUM

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THIS MAIDEN TOUCHES THE HEART

I had no idea that “dimsum” translates to “touch the heart”. All I knew is that over the years Ive loved the little steamed, parcels of Chinese delight. And on my recent visit to China I completely tripped out on dimsum. Of all kinds. On returning from China I was hankering for authentic Chinese food.  Here’s the delicious ironiy: It happened again and again. My heart was touched. And that too in Dubai. It wasn’t just the superb dimsum and authentic Chinese food that did it but even  the stunning views and the  evolutionary designs that represent Chinese culture over the generations. Making waves in Dubai, this sexily glamorous, three floored Maiden Shanghai is strategically located in the  cutting edge, Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai. And  here I am on a perpetual feast, from the moment I enter the sparkling glass-clad jewel soaring directly over the Arabian Gulf, and walk into the  pioneering design and trailblazing, amphitheatre inspired architectural masterpiece .

Within the timeless interiors a

recurring honeycomb

hexagonal pattern runs throughout, complemented by a carefully chosen mix of contemporary

furniture. And Im thrilling to it all as I find my way to Maiden Shanghai.

 

CHINA CHARMS FIVE TIMES OVER

And then wham! the sheer seductive energy of the  three floored Maiden Shanghai takes over. It is an exploration of authentic Chinese cooking   there is  a fresh and imaginative vibe. it invigorates traditional recipes for a modern audience.

It  is set in the heart of the Five Palm Jumeirah  and it lets in dramatic views across the marina from everywhere, its outdoor terraces, indoor bar, private dining rooms and an opulent rooftop bar. I love the décor  which playfully fuses the traditional with the boldly modern, creating spaces that feel open yet connected.

 

It is here that the brilliant Executive Chef Luo Bing revitalises Chinese culinary tradition. Drawing from Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing influences, he marries  age-old techniques and flavours with imagination and refinement. Flavourful masterpieces result. Luo Bing honed his skills in Barcelona and Hong Kong, and as Executive Chef at Time Out’s 100 Best Restaurants In London.

He offers plenty of Signature dishes including traditional, hand-prepared Peking Duck and  his take on the Sichuan Kung Pao dish.  But what  delightful dimsum…his dim sum bar selection offers exciting flavour combinations beautifully prepared in delicate parcels.  From tiger prawn dumplings with luxurious black truffle to pan fried Wagyu beef buns.

It is here that the dynamic and dapper Aloki Batra who helms this hot happening landmark  tells me all about the uniqueness of this haute hot Five. From the cutting edge design, artistic work here by Joe  Ngai to the amazing Chinese food.

In the cool of the November night, while nibbling on dimsum on one of the stunning terraces I learn all about Aloki Batra’s over 16 years’ experience in equity financial markets. Formidable business and financial skills as well a flair for masterminding the hospitality industry shine through.

 

 

DIM SUM AND THEN SOME

This delightful  dimsun is not unique to Cantonese cuisine. Shanghai has xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings), and there is chao shou (Sichuan wontons) in Sichuan.  However What sets Cantonese dim sums apart, other than the extraordinary variety of dishes is that it takes years to learn the

finer points of making dim sum take years to learn, which is why it is important to have a demanding “sifu” [“master”). Chef Luo Bing has obviously mastered the art and on my request shares his chicken dimsum recipe

MAIDEN SHANGHAI DIMSUM

Ingredients:

(dough)

– Flour 200g

– 1 egg

– Water 30g

– Salt 1g

 

Method:

-Mix all the ingredients together until smooth.

– Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into 1mm thin pastry.

– Use diameter 3/5 cutter to cut into individual pastries.

 

Filling:

– Minced chicken thigh or breast 150g

– 1 egg

–  finely chopped fresh ginger 20g

– finely chopped onion 30g

– salt to season

– soya sauce 15g

– Sesame oil 3g

– cooking oil 2g

 

Method: Mix all ingredients together and put in chiller until filing.

– put a tablespoon of each filling into the pastry and pinch close

– boil for five minutes

 

Review: House of Mandarin

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Predictable Chinese fare. And for sure, predictable doesn’t have to mean disappointing. It can be comforting and reassuring provided it is cooked right.Read my review of House of Mandarin on https://whatshot.in/mumbai/critics-review-will-house-of-mandarin-become-your-new-go-to-for-chinese-r-9857

 

Review: THANGABALLI

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At Thangabli with Akanksha Agarwal, CK Sabeesh, Dr Nasreen and Dr Anil Tibrewala( in white shirt)

 

South Indian

Sorry! Bad news! Okay so  we love the name “Thangaballi” (villain of “Chennai Express’?) but why did they make the food from South India so villainous too? However, despite the disappointing  food and service we had a superfun afternoon.Read more on – https://www.whatshot.in/mumbai

 

 

ROYAL FLAVORS

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in the shimmering palace: gourmet date: Ned Capeleris and Chef Miguel Piniero

Today, I send you the most delicious, queen of a traditional recipe which is versatile and reigns supreme. I also send you the recipe for good cheer by the global cocktail king.   I taste the very traditional Spanish Salsa verde and watch the cocktail king stir the original Martini in the most iconic Maria Cristina in the stunningly beautiful san Sebastian by the sea. The luxurious iconic century old San Sebastian  landmark is named after Queen Maria Cristina. It  is the superstar hotel of superstars. Not only was it a beloved of Liz Taylor, Bette Davis and others but even today the charming and dapper Ned Capeleris ensures that it magnetises the best. Chef  Miguel Piniero distils delicious Spain on our plates. And somewhere through my gourmet  meal here,  I get to know that Shah Rukh Khan stayed and loved it  here too. History and luxury waltz in the elegant, high ceilinged marbled interiors. Since 1912 it has been magnetising the whos who of the world. And with good reason. Not only does it boast of amazing gourmet fare, superlative  service, glamorously elegant surroundings but also has  the world famous Dry bar and a cooking school (Mimo food, where I attend a cooking lesson) in it’s premises.

 

GREEN GOURMET QUEEN

Over the years and through my travels, I have been tasting this green-sauce in different countries.  Ive been told that the basic recipe is probably 2,000 years old and has an Italian origin. But there is no documentary evidence. Sure! In Piemonte, I dipped the boiled meats (bolito misto) in it and I loved the cold Italian salsa verde. Rich with coarsely chopped  parsleyvinegarcapersgarliconionanchoviesolive oil, and  mustard.  In France the

verte au pain  is more of a thick mayonnaise flavoured with tarragon, and parsley and sage.  In Frankfurt the

Grüne Sosse  of seven fresh herbs, parsleychiveschervilboragesorrelgarden cress, and salad burnettogether with sour cream, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and added hard boiled egg is  delicious.

So I was pleasantly bowled over when the Spanish version turned out to be the most memorable.

Also the most sparkling. In every way. We dined,  under the shimmering chandeliers of the  stunningly beautiful restaurant with it’s mirrored tables. The talented young chef’s masterpieces were served up one after the other. The pintxos (Basque tapas) delighted with their varied textures and flavors. The well traveled and well informed Ned Capeleris’s knowledge of the local and global cuisines had me riveted. Beans from.Tolosa, Hake and asparagus and the most amazing cloud of sweet bliss…Basque curd with honey followed by petitfours. Everhelpful Bryan Owen paired the finest wines, the local txakoli  and champagnes

SPANISH SALSA VERDE

Ned Capeleris and Chef Miguel share the easy to make recipe

  • 2 gloves of very finely chopped garlic
  • Extra Virgen olive oil to wet the pan
  • A pinch of Salt to taste  add
  • 100 ml of White wine or
  • 200 ml of fish stock  (optional) and then the parsley.
  • Parsley very finely chopped in abundance  stir in the
  • 10g (soup spoon) of flour to give the salsa more body. Keep stirring till it has a pouring consistency.

Use it as a dip, a sauce or even spread. Yum!

 


COCKTAIL KING

Here im privileged to watch the maestro himself stir the most perfect dry martini. The World famous entrepreneur author charming cocktail maestro  Javier de las Meulas founder of the  iconic dry martini concept world over and a fab one in Maria Cristina also shares the perfect recipe.

The cocktail KING Javier de las Meulas

 

From James Bond’s “shaken not stirred” martini to Ernest Hemingway’s  quote “I’ve never tasted anything so cool and clean…They make me feel civilized,” this gin-based beverage  is an iconic one. And fittingly enough, it finds its home in the iconic hotel  in the “Dry bar”

 

FROM THE MARTINI MAESTRO

Ingredients

2-3 dashes of dry vermouth

l glass at Bombay

Sapphire gin

Optional: a twist of lemon

Garnish: a green olive

 

Type of glass

Martini glass

 

Preparation

l Pour the vermouth and the gin into the mixing glass togethr

with plenty of ice

2 Stir tor l5 s

3 Serve in a cocktail glass

4 Garnish with a green olive

5 Optionally add a twist of lemon

Cheers!

Review : THE BOHRI KITCHEN

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Superstar gourmet Rishi Kapoor in The Bohri Kitchen!

Bohri Thaal

I’m stumped. Call it “thaali” call it “thaal” but how do I define this fingerlicking (literally too) shortcut to : bliss? guiltfree non stop eating ? Taste of culture? Yes all this and more. Over the years I’ve been on  a thaali- high be it at the South Indian (A RamaNayak Udipi or Mani Bhawan) or the Gujarati (Shri Thacker Bhojanalaya). Till now it is been only about vegetarian thaali’s (except for a fly by night wannabe non veg Bohri thaal restaurant in Grant road). And then along comes the gourmet of all gourmets, the high octane award winning charismatic actor who has four generations of film and gourmet genes. Rishi Kapoor s passion and gourmet gusto is infectious. Inspite of his hectic schedule he drove all the way to taste Gordon Ramsay’s cooking (when I was shooting with Gordon for channel 4). Over the years the charmer has guided me to his favourite foodie haunts. Once again this knight on a white charger (er SUV) fetches me and drives me to his tried tested and tasted Bohri thaal restaurant (!). He does not reveal the name or wherabouts. ” Its all part of the experience and mystique. And I have already booked” he insists.

 

Read My complete Review on :https://www.whatshot.in/mumbai/critics-review-slow-cooked-raan-and-mutton-samosas-at-a-secret-location-that-shouldnt-be-missed-r-9853

STAR STRUCK IN SPAIN

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for the box

I’m star-struck in Spain! From the sparkling with flavour and texture pintxos and other dishes to the superstar chefs I meet and dine with. From the legendary Juan Marie Arzak, the father of Modern Spanish cuisine to our very own Chef Vineet Bhatia who has just received a Michelin star. Even  the luxurious iconic century old San Sebastian  Hotel, named after Queen Maria Cristina is the superstar hotel of superstars. Not only was it a beloved of Liz Taylor, Bette Davis and others but even today  Ned Capeleris ensures that it magnetizes the best. Chef  Miguel Piniero distils delicious Spain on our plates. And somewhere through my gourmet  meal here,  I get to know that Shah Rukh Khan stayed and loved it  here too. Starry, starry Spain!

INDIAN SUPERSTARS WOW THE WORLD

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Stop press. I report from gastronomy’s seventh heaven…what else can a city be called when it has the second largest number of Michelin stars in the world?  And not only is this stunningly beautiful seaside city of San Sebastian  the nurturing ground for these awesomely brilliant chefs but (aptly enough) hosts the world famous food conference  Gastronomika.

IMG_20171009_211733

GASTRONOMY-KA FEAST

High-octane discussions and talks by leading chefs, real time tastings while the cooking is taking place,  cooking classes, pintxo tours and more. The chefs from the third and fourth best restaurants in the world (Joan Roca and Mauro Colagreco)  share their secrets. At the glittering launch event,  Juan Marie Arzak the father of modern Basque cuisine graced the occasion, Michel Bras was felicitated by the dynamic director Roser Torres (who sportingly wore an Indian salwar kameez).Also sharing their knowledge and experiences  were many an awesome international chef. And to top it all, our very own Indian chefs were the guests of honour.

Together, they served up a delicious overview which was mind-blowingly comprehensive and at the same time personalized. India’s thousand-year-old tradition and the latest avant-garde innovations glittered with equal intensity.

 IMG_4790

FIRST TIME EVER…

First time ever. An Awesome star cast of  award winning Indian chefs from around the world got together. Ive attended many an international conference, but never has there been such a constellation of superstar Indian chefs.

Each one a maestro in his own right gave the world a taste of incredible India. Literally too.  Happily ive not only dined at each ones superb restaurants in London  Bangkok Delhi Chennai Mumbai and Sanfrancisco but also given them  our very own Times Food Awards and applauded them as chairperson of the Indian  subcontinent of  Asias50best  and Worlds50best  Restaurant academies. Each one dazzled through their presentations and cooking demonstrations held in the huge auditorium of the  sprawling and well-equipped Kursaal .

Crowned Asias best chef  three years in a row and  the worlds7th best, Gaggan Anand enthralled the audience as he shared his secrets and cooked up his Indian progressive magic. Presenting  the philosophy and diversity of our cuisine was Manjit Singh Gill.

,the treasure house of knowledge Ayurveda and cooking. From San Francisco, Michelin starred Quilon’s Srijith Gopinathan kept us fascinated with his presentation of “India de luxe” As did our other Michelin starred  chef Sriram Aylur of London’s Quilon on “Extreme spices of the South”. Yet another Michelin starred chef  Vineet Bhatia  of Indego ‘s fascinating presentation  on “harmony and complexity” was followed by the deliciously riveting one  of the only Indian restaurant (from India) on Asias 50 best list, Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent’s talk and demo on  “Indian emotional avant-garde”.

The secrets of the North: “Dum” cooking were wonderfully revealed by Dum Pukht’s  Gulam Quereshi.

Exotic flavors of the South were brilliantly presented by Praveen Anand of Daksin as was “Tandoor explosion” by  Bukhara’s J.P. Singh Bombay Canteen s  gifted Thomas Zacharias  presentation on  “Wild India”  was eye-opening. “European language, Indian feelings” was the fascinating subject of Masala Library s bright young chef Saurabh Udinia’s talk.Team incredible India received thunderous applause. Well deserved. Kudos.

 SINCERELY VEGETARIAN

Timoori Alu (1)
Through it all, we were delighted at how each and every chef cooked and served up atleast one dazzling vegetarian dish. From Manish Mehrotra’s chat patta chaat with a twist to Royal Vega’s Varun Mohan’s “Timoori aloo”  . The highlight  is that not only Varun  himself vegetarian but Royal Vega our only purely vegetarian pan Indian fine dine restaurant.  He shares with us the recipe he demonstrated in the Gastronomika.

RECIPE.. TIMOORI ALOO

 Serve: 4

½ kg              Baby Potato

2 cup              Greek yoghurt plain

Salt         To taste

½ tea spoon    Fresh lemon juice

1tea spoon      Green chilies paste

1 tea spoon     Ginger paste

½ tea spoon    Timoor freshly pounded (Himalayan Pepper)

½ tea spoon    Red Chili flakes

1 tea spoon     Cardamom powder

¼ tea spoon        Nutmeg powder

¼ tea spoon    Mace powder

1 cup              Cream

2 Table spoon Ghee

2 pieces   TejPatta

¼ tea spoon    Cumin seeds

½ cup    Onions, finely chopped

¼ tea spoon    Saffron, dissolve in a tea spoon of warm water

Preparation:

Wash, pat dry, prick cut potatoes into halves

Boil  with salt until  tender.

Drain and cool.

In a bowl add yogurt, lemon juice, ginger paste, green chili paste pounded timoor, red chili flakes, cardamom, nutmeg, mace powder, salt and cream, mix well.

 Marinate potatoes in this mixture. for 35 – 40 minutes.

On medium heat, in a heavy bottom pan, put ghee tejpatta, cumin, stir 30 seconds, saute onion.

Add marinated potatoes. Bring to boil, stir. Cover. reduce heat. cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle saffron. Serve.

 

 Arzak Family

P.S. Aptly enough, I was taken to lunch to KM.0 (hold your breath)   a pure vegetarian restaurant  by  Gemma Moliner and dream team. It served up delicious and amazing creations. And ofcourse I feasted on Michelin starred restaurants…what a line up…Arzak (Juan Marie Arzak and his daughter Elena Arzak thrill) Mugaritz, Akellare, Mirador de Ullia…Was dazzled by them. As by the Gastronomika and our very own team Incredible India.

GASTRONOMY-KA HEAVEN

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Starry night with Indian culinary superstars, Manjit Singh Gill flanked by Gaggan, Sriram Aylur, Srijith Gopinathan and Ms Roser Torres, Manish mehrotra, Vineet Bhatia, Thomas Zachiaras.

India is shining. And how!  I’ve never seen such a full-on star cast of Indian chefs together. I write from the stunning seaside city of San Sebastian (which has the largest number of Michelin starred restaurants in the world). Fittingly enough the gigantic gourmet Gastronomika is taking place here. Eye-opening sessions, cooking demos with tastings, tours and more. And amid all this high-end gastronomy, India is the guest of honor. The dynamic director Roser Torres dons  a red salwar kameez especially to welcome  dream-team India. Our very own, worlds 7thb est, Asia’s best Gaggan Anand has flown in from Bangkok. What a cluster of Michelin stars:  Vineet Bhatia  (London), Sriram Aylur (London), Srijith Gopinathan (SanFrancisco). Saurabh Udinia  and Manish Mehrotra (New Delhi) and covering both North and South India  are Manjit Singh Gill and his dreamteam, And from Mumbai our very own chef Thomas Zachariah are making India proud. Jai hind!