Review: Ruka

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Ruka is the first Indian outpost of a Japanese restaurant chain from Bahrain.

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Review: Desi Klub

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It seems as though“Aaao twist karein” is the theme tune of this pure vegetarian, Nariman Point restaurant.

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Deepak’s delicious perspectives

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Food for thought from Deepak Chopra the iconic fountain of youth and well-being.

It’s a treat to beat all treats: to be here with Deepak Chopra, the iconic fountain of youth and well-being, the repository of ancient wisdom and modern medical scientific knowledge. Over the years,  I’ve interviewed him for my TV show on health and many a column. Each time I’ve come away with many a nugget of wisdom, but this time I get the most eye-opening  perspectives of food.

Through my 36 books on food and countless columns, I’ve been on the constant quest to find out more about food, but  it’s Deepak Chopra interpretations of food, on the physical, gourmet, medical, spiritual and even genetic aspects  that are mind-blowing.

FOOD AND GENETICS

Here’s the mind-blowing great news: food  can actually alter our genetic makeup. Spearheading this research on Epigenetics, Deepak explains the complex scientific mechanisms of mind, brain, genome and microbiome.  Together with prof Rudy Tanzi, authority on genetics ( who discovered the Alzheimer gene)   their groundbreaking research, on the Super gene (and the role of the plant-based diet)  has been making global waves. For me its this cutting edge finding of how food interacts with our  genes that is thrilling.I talk to Prof Rudy. he is Vegetarian (loves indian food, paneer korma, in particular). Deepak is vegan. Both explain how we need not be at the mercy of our genetic inheritance.  Super genes. Super news indeed!

FOOD AND GOURMET 

It can’t get better than this. Would you have credited the thousands of years old Ayurveda with gourmet sensibilities? Deepak Chopra  points out… “If the meal isnt delicious it isn’t nourishing you. Enjoy your meal. If you are struggling with a diet that you think is good for you but you do not find it appetizing, it will ultimately not be nourishing and you will not be able to stay with it for long”.
According to Ayurveda. everything can be classified according to one or more of six basic tastes; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. If you sample foods that correspond to these tastes your food will provide an assortment of health promoting nutrients. In fact Sweet:- Sweet is the taste of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. (Breads, grains, nuts, fruits, starchy vegetables, fruits, dairy, oils and animal products are considered sweet.) Sour:_ Any food that is mildly acidic is experienced as sour. Favor oranges, berries, tomatoes while reducing your intake of pickles alcohol and vinegar.

Salty:- Salt is the flavor of ion producing minerals on the tongue. In the right dose salt adds flavor and promotes digestion. Too much salt can aggravate high blood pressure and cause fluid retention.

Pungent;- Most pungent foods contain natural antioxidants and infection fighting chemicals Due in part to their anti-spoiling properties pungent spices have been valued for millenia. These include chilli peppers, black pepper, fresh and dry ginger, cloves, mustard, garlic cardamom. Adding spices and herbs will serve your palate and
your health.

Bitter;- Bitter is the taste of most green and yellow vegetables. Bitterness is due to natural plant chemicals known as phytochemicals which have detoxifying, disease preventing and healing properties.

Astringent;The last of the six tastes is more of an effect than an actual flavor.Astringent foods have a drying, compacting and puckering influence on your body. Beans, legumes, peas, pomegranates are all considered astringent.

FOOD AND EMOTIONS

Ofcourse, we are all aware of the connection between food and emotions, about how mothers express their love through food, romance blossoms over that candlelight dinner or families bond over the table. But I learn even more when I spend time in California’s sprawling and picturesque headquarters of The Chopra center, four hundred acres of lush, sun-dappled, palm-tree-lined beauty. Here I meditate,  attend talks and enjoy some superbly delicious vegetarian food. I explore the connection between our environment, physiology, food and emotions. Much as I wish to, I cannot compress all that in one column, Suffice it to say that the mind controls the body and even what we eat is metabolized depending on the state of mind we eat it in. I learn to eat mind fully and  in a calm state of mind.

FOOD AND BEAUTY

“Radical Beauty “   ………. is  what happens when two powerful, influential founts of knowledge and experience come together.  Deepak Chopra  and Kimberly Snyder serve up trailblazing solutions on “how to transform yourself from inside out”.  Kimberly is a nutritionist for the mind, body & soul, a yogini and the New York Times best-selling author of The Beauty Detox Solution and many other books and  nutritionist for many of the top celebrities.

Deepak brings his unique medical, spiritual perspective and together they share secrets everyone can use to experience extraordinary health, vitality and a radiant glow. How to transform yourself from inside out. And Deepak is an inspirational example of this!

 

Review: Rivea

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Is it possible? Can the magic of the Mediteranean Riveira be reproduced here?  So I did a surprise check out of the brand new Rivea, (right next to the domestic airport).

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Review: Lighthouse Café

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For me, there’s nothing more exciting than youthful energy. And of late this has been infusing many a brand new Mumbai restaurant, the 2 month old Lighthouse Café in Worli.

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A Golden treat to beat all treats

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A request. Please take a look at the lead photograph in the collage above. Till date, it’s the most “speaking” photograph I’ve shot. Not just because I shot it from a helicopter (while sitting next to the pilot) but because this one photo distils the spirit of Australia’s gorgeous Gold coast. Ofcourse the focus is food…Australia’s iconic dessert, the coconut dusted Lamington (more about it later) which I put into Gold coast’s style icon, an expensive Versace bowl from the Palazzo Versace here (more about it later too) and ofcourse the golden beaches lazing in the sun are visible in the photo too.  What follows is my attempt to encapsulate the delicious beauty of this part of the world, ( Gold coast in Queensland) in a few paras.

ICONIC DESSERT…LAMINGTON

How I love this comfortingly delicious  Australian dessert.  The fluffy square of sponge cake coated  with chocolate sauce and rolled in desiccated coconut, the Lamington is a my must-have dessert here. Ofcourse there are variations like cream or strawberry jam added on too.  I also love the many varied stories of it’s origins from  the one that says it was named after

Lord Lamington, ( Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901,) whose chef was called upon at short notice to feed unexpected guests and so he used left-over vanilla sponge cake baked the day before, dipped the slices in chocolate and set them in coconut. The lamington you see in the photograph is the one I picked up at Gold Coast’s buzzing “Nighquarter”. An amazing weekend collection of food stalls, local fashion and more. It was packed and here, not only was my palate regaled with many a different cuisine and local favourite but I also bought a dress made of bamboo (you read that right) and ofcourse brought back the Lamington to take it on the helicopter for my photoshoot.

THE STYLE ICON…

Located in this stunning sun drenched, famous-for-fun Gold Coast  is  the worlds first ever fashion-branded hotel, PalazzoVersace. That is sprawls luxuriously and every detail is impeccably perfect, is to be expected. From the custom made Rolls Royces (Versace cushions et al ) to the Medusa head every where. But whoa! what surprises… it’s dynamic General Manager  is our very own Subash Basrur ( former chef of the Taj)  who delivers experiences beyond expectations. And the other amazing surprise is the many a vegetarian masterpiece,  Jain too. French chefs create magic with vegetables here. Even in, Vanitas the fine dining restaurant, I am regaled by many a vegetarian masterpiece.  The third surprise is the sprawling pristine swimming pool and it is here that I request the chef to serve up the local seafood delights as I sit chatting with the dynamic Subash Basrur and the gorgeous Jasmine Webb.

GOURMET & ACTION PACKED

Endless beauty of beaches, nature in all her magnificence is a feast in itself but to find restaurants that  serve world class fare is a treat to beat all treats. In Brisbane it is the superstar Matt Moran’s Aria (located on the river, overlooking the Story Bridge) that serves up amazing fare (pl see the pumpkin dish in my collage). From the Greek Hellenika to the buzzing modern Australian “Soical eating House” , Max Brenner’s chocolate  cafe to Bazar in the uber-cool QT hotel, there is something for everyone.   Gourmet meals seduce:   even at  “Three Little pigs” in the Mountains, Amazing Asian infused “Rick Shores” too. Australia surprises with it’s  gourmet vegetarian meals (be it  a Jain meal at the Australian Outback dinner theatre   while watching horses on stage or  the bustling nightquarter.

I feast on it all…From floating gently in a balloon at sunrise. hovering in a helicopter  to walking on treetops in the rain forest which covers Mount Tamborine (an hours drive from Gold coast) to soaking in the beaches…. I’ve said it before, I ll say it again… I’m feeling like a queen in Queensland!

Review: Le 15 Café

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When passion and brand come together then magic happens. Like it does, here, in Pooja Dhingra’s Le 15 café.

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Recipe: Chicken tagine with Dates and Honey

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Chef: Dev Malik

Cuisine: Moroccan

Category: Main Course

Serves: 4-6

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

Prepn/Marin: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 kg. Chicken, boneless

2 tbsp. Olive oil

2 Onions, finely sliced

4 Garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp. Cumin seeds

1 tsp. Ground ginger

1 tsp. Ground turmeric

1 tsp. Ground cinnamon

½ tsp. Chilly powder

¼ tsp. Nutmeg

375 ml Chicken stock

250 ml Water

85gms. Seedless dates, halved

60 ml Honey

80 gms. Blanched almonds, toasted.

1 tbsp. Chopped fresh coriander leaves.

As required Salt

Method:

Cut the chicken into strips. Heat 1 tbsp. of the oil in a pan, add chicken in batches, and cook stirring until brown. Drain on absorbent paper.

Heat remaining oil in the same pan, add onions, garlic, cumin seeds and the other spices. Cook stirring until onions are soft.

Return chicken to pan with stock and water. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove lid. Simmer about 10 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly and chicken is tender. Adjust seasoning.

Stir in dates, almonds honey and nuts. Sprinkle with fresh coriander.

Review: TIQRI

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World class!  These two words define this brand new 24-hour-dining restaurant, Tiqri of the Taj Santacruz.

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