Review: Estella

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By a happy coincidence, I write from Australia and I’m also about to review a restaurant which is claimed to be Mumbai’s very first  Modern Australian restaurant. I’ve been feasting my way through this magnificent country and been back over ten times. So, I was really excited to try Estella.

Read  my detailed review on https://whatshot.in/mumbai

From Paradise Island

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DIVING AND DINING… EMILIO FORTINI AND CHEF MARK JENSON ON ANCHOR BAY IN LIZARD ISLAND.

Found. Paradise island. Its so exclusive and remote that the only way to get here is by a private chartered plane.

Its one of the few islands in the world that is located on a shimmering coral reef. It has it’s very own 24 powdery white beaches and only 40 luxury suites. So not only do I picnic on a secluded, sun-drenched beach but do so on world class gourmet food. I revel in a seven course tasting menu under the stars on the beach. And just as much as the world class cuisine hits stratospheric heights, the breathtakingly beautiful depths of the ocean’s silent and magnificent treasures reveal themselves to me as I learn to snorkel and dive from the experienced instructors here. Named Lizard island by explorer James Cook over two centuries ago, this sensationally beautiful island shimmers in the sun in the turquoise blue seas on the Northern most tip of Australias  awesome Queensland.

DIVING INTO GOURMET FOOD

Please take a look at the photograph I shot on one of their secluded most beautiful beaches. Chef Mark Jenson has cooked up the most delicious fish, which is not only found in the waters around here but is also the most prized and most in demand Coral Trout ( Recipe follows). Joining us right after his deep sea scuba dive is Emilio Fortini the sporting and sunbronzed Chief of the island resort. The dynamic and charming Italian ensures that there is perfection in every detail of the  understated luxury here. A wine afficianado and gourmet himself he epitomizes the spirit of the island. As does Chef Mark who having traveled the world and taken a year’s sabbatical only to eat around in Asia infuses his cooking with  many a vibrant Asia flavor. He changes  the menu daily and his dishes are influenced by the unique environment in which the island is located.

I love the culinary offering here which  reflects the tropical climate here and draws influence from South East Asia and the Mediterranean.  Not limiting  to these Chef Mark  also  interprets modern Australia and portray through food the many cultures that embody this magnificent country. Over 90% of the produce that he uses is  locally sourced from Far North Queenslands fertile soil and the Great Barrier Reef. I trip out on his premium produce coral trout, red emperor, tropical lobster, red claw yabbies and fantastic rare tropical fruits and vegetables. Succulent meats from the Atherton Tablelands where their volcanic soils and high rainfall allow the animal to graze on prime pastures.

Its not just about the superb food here. Ive yet to come across a  resort which has it’s own Research centre. A mindblowing trip to the internationally acknowledged research centre reveals all the path breaking studies done here on marine life and the coral reef.

It’s a heady feeling to be connected to nature in every way and yet to be coddled in luxury, from the spa to the beachfront villas. To be massaged under the sky on a beach with the local macademia nut oils and the premium French beauty products. If this is not paradise, what is?

P.S. while it’s blissful most of the time, the only “downside” to this paradise is the lack of phone connectivity. There is only satellite wifi and Im crossing my fingers that this mail goes through now.

Crisp Coral Trout

On my request Chef Mark Jenson shares his superb and easy to make recipe. You can substitute the coral trout with any other fish.

First step is to make the sahn rhot paste.  The next step is to make the sauce from the paste.  The third step is to cook the fish and plate up.

Sahn Rhot Paste

30 gr              red chilli

10 gr              garlic cloves

10 gr              coriander root

Rough chop and blitz in blender.

Tamarind Sauce

40 gr              sahn rhot paste

60 gr              light palm sugar

30 ml             fish sauce

80 ml             tamarind concentrate

As needed                      Oil

Gently fry paste in oil.  Add sugar and lightly caramelise.  Add fish sauce, tamarind water, bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes.

Coral trout (or any pan size fish, gilled, gutted and scaled)

Score fish 2 cm deep to resemble diamond shapes on both sides.  Use a small skewer to separate the fish wings.  Dust the fish with cornflour to absorb the excess skin moisture.  Fry in vegetable oil at 170C for 8 minutes till fish is cooked translucent at the bone in the thickest section of the fish.

Pour the tamarind sauce on the plate.  Remove the skewer and stand the fish up resting on the fish wings.  Garnish with coriander leaves and chilli julienne. Enjoy!

India Shines

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Gaggan Anand, Tim Brooke Webb, Helen Pietrini. Steven Ciobo (Minister of Tourism) and Charles Reed at the worlds 50 best, Melbourne.

Stop press. Our very own Indian Gaggan Anand is blazing global headlines. His Bangkok based restaurant is crowned “Asia’s best” and seventh best in the world.  I write from the high-octane excitement of the high-ceilinged historic Royal Exhibition hall, Melbourne. Here the worlds most prestigious, glittering Oscars of gastronomy The worlds 50 best  are in progress. The air is crackling with excitement and every square inch is bristling with culinary star power. The hon’ble minister of Tourism Steven Ciobo, several other dignitaries and the worlds most celebrated chefs have flown in. For the past fifteen years, The Worlds 50 best been a mega force and credible guide to global gastronomy  and to gastro-tourism. It is helmed by the dynamic Charles Reed and powered by the dream team of Tim Brooke Webb, Helene Pietrini and William Drew. They’ve  held the awards in Melbourne for the first time and Australia is playing magnificent host, with it’s fabulous food and wine. I am getting high not just on Australia’s spectacular produce and restaurants  but also on Gaggan being crowned the seventh best in the world. Jai Ho!

Review: Bombay Havelli

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Here it is: my latest foodie find…a brand new pure vegetarian restaurant (with social responsibility)that opened quietly in Charni Road.

Read my detailed review on https://whatshot.in/mumbai

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Advice on Melbourne Please

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Your favorite small eateries in Melbourne please. Im on my way for “The Worlds 50 best restaurant awards” (as regional jury chairperson) I will be dining in the Biggies. It’s the small, local ones that are my passion. Please do mail me on rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com waitingly yours.

Review: It Happened In New York

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I love Bandra and its foodie energy. More and more new restaurants are popping up here. And many an intriguing named one too. Like the one under review today “It happened in New York”.

Read my detailed review on https://whatshot.in/mumbai/it-happens-in-new-york-is-a-melting-pot-of-cuisines-r-9736

The Worlds Best High Tea

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MY CUP OF TEA…AMANDA HYNDMAN, CHEF AURELIEN POIROT AT THE HISTORIC AUTHOR’S LOUNGE.

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.

Scone

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

Method

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)

When and How to Eat

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Dr Benedetto Reisch and Eva Maria Hasenauer at Lanserhof showing the way.

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 rashmiudyaingh2016@gmail.com

Review: Glocal Junction

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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