Come feast with me! Get high on the “Bohemian” the “historic” the “artsy” Paris. Here, on the “Rive Gauche” the left bank, centuries of history still breathe in the old brasseries and Literary cafés where the legendary artists and poets dined.
“A bite of history” takes on a whole new meaning in Paris. Here, on the left bank, I eat at the cafes where Jean Paul Sartre, Hemingway to Lenin and Trotsky were regulars.(played chess). These world famous literary cafes are immortalised in paintings by Picasso, and are the setting of many a novel Hollywood movie too.
It is here, on the left bank, too, that Hotel Lutetia, the first grand hotel of the Parisian Rive gauche opened in 1910. I had no idea that “Lutetia” is the Romans’ name for Paris. Did you know that the motto for Paris was – “fluctuat nec mergitur”, or “she is tossed by the waves but doesn’t sink” – like a ship proudly moored on the riverbank is reborn. The heartbeat was restored to the most Rive gauche of grand hotels.And the historic grand Lutetia with it’s magnificent maritime themed exterior and interiors is proud symbol of Paris herself.
The idea here is to evoke the atmosphere aboard grand yachts of old with the varnished wood along all the the columns throughout the space.
Here, there is a choice of the finest of gastronomy in the restaurants. From the classic and reinterpreted dishes to the triple Michelin starred chef Passadet’s Brasserie Lutetia.
OF EDIBLE MONSIEURS, MADAMS AND MADEMOSEILLES
It is the charming view of historic Paris that is visible from Lutetia’s rooftop (please see photograph) and the brilliant chef Benjamin Brial interprets the spirit of Paris, the classic and beloved simplest of dishes, be it “Croque Monsieur” or “ Croque Madame.
It’s a double feast … of the heartstoppingly beautiful city view and of the brilliant chef Benjamin Brial s reinterpretation of Classic Parisian dishes served way back in 1910 in Parisian bistros and cafes. And even mentioned in many a literary masterpiece. Evocatively named Croque Monsieur (French for Mister Crunch) and Croque Madam (Madam Crunch). While, the Croque Monsieur is made of bread, cheese, ham and sometimes sauce, the Madam has an egg topped on it too.
Having eaten my way through Paris researching the worlds first vegetarian guide to Paris (published by The Times of India), I sniffed out the vegetarian version of Croque Madame…and aptly enough its called Croque Mademoiselle
It’s a lighter delightful version: made of the same bread, but with melting cheese.Begin with thick, slices of white sandwich bread. Stuff it with slices of zucchini. Grill slices of Zuchini, add herbs and cheese. You can drizzle some mustard, add more cheese. Bake it. Add a dash of nutmeg. Your delicate Croque Mademoiselle is ready to eat..
The spirit of the literary and artistic quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is in the air once again at the famed, historic Brasserie Lutetia!The brilliant third generation, triple Michelin starred chef Gérald Passedat is re-establishing Brasserie Lutetia’s old-world charm. The most unique, maritime-inspired Mediterranean dishes dazzle. I get high on the three Michelin starred Mediterranean dishes.
Under the spacious double height ceiling in a relaxed space done up Art Nouveau and Art Deco, the most delicious, hearty, vibrant authentic brasserie fare is served up.
The signature Provençal seafood dishes are capture the briny sea’s rapture. I cant stop eating the unique lusciously marinated jaffa avocado in erotic union with mango, citrus and caviar.
Chef Pasadet’s traditional bouillabaisse, spiked with saffron, is afloat with the freshest of seafood. There is drama on our table as the whole stuffed sea bream is flambéed with pastis at our table. Plenty of the freshest of hand picked oysters, Pistou soup, redrice. The sweet finale of the traditional mille-feuilles and traditional cakes is an experience that comforts and dazzles too!
The good Lord be praised! A reincarnation is in progress! A rebirth of regional Indian dishes in a modern avatar. And its happening silently in a gleaming new Andheri W restaurant. Sadly, its open only for dinner, so we have to brave the two hour long trafficked drive from South Mumbai to get here..My dinner companions (sportingly drive all the way) discerning foodies are also rejuvenating healers. Firoza Moos and Meher Davis both work wonders with their non invasive, drug free natural solution to eliminate allergies. The dapper Jeff Davis, Indian food aficionado, is just back after several years in Egyptwith an American oil company.
Was our harrowing, traffic choked drive worth it?
Read the full Article on https://www.bombaytimes.com/ to find out.
At White Charcoal: with Meher, Jeff Davis and Firoza Moos.
“Kuch kuch hota hai” tinkles the piano. Am I hearing right? Im here in this magnificent shimmering, world famous 113 year old, London’s legendary Ritz. Glamour and luxury waltz in the original Louis XVI style, frescoed, carpeted halls. Here the legendary afternoon tea session (booked up months ahead) is in progress as our very own Ian Gomez from Mumbai is on the piano. Hes a legend in his own right (he has played with Frank Sinatra too). The sweet and savoury multi-course elaborate Afternoon tea in the high-ceilinged Palm court has been introduced here ever since the hotel opened. And it has made history and raised the bar since then. Michelin starred maestro John Williams helms the dining, ensuring every single cake, pastry, scone, sandwich is made to perfection for the Afternoon tea. Just like it has been since the hotel opened in 1907. The knowledgable tea master Giando Scann not only picks the finest loose leaf teas but also makes his own bespoke blends.
I m as dazzled by the meticulously selected finest of 20 varieties of tea, today the national drink of Britain as Im by the Tea master’s recounting of the impact of tea on social, economical and political levels. He points out that in the Victorian era even the “tea gown” a loose informal one (as opposed to the tight corseted gowns) was invented to facilitate their tea making abilities to pour and serve. Sipping tea takes on a whole different meaning after this.
THE ENGLISH CREAM (CRÈME ANGLAIS)
No better source to get the recipe of THE English dessert sauce then from UK s iconic Michelin starred The Ritz’s chef. Chef John Williams. The brilliant and meticulous chef shares the recipe of this versatile sauce with us: Pour it over cakes or fruits. Enjoy it also be had as a dessert on its own in my favorite Ile Flotante (Floating island dessert)
Makes 300 ml sauce
125ml (4fl oz) milk, 125ml (4fl oz) double cream, 25g (loz) caster sugar, 50ml (2fl oz) egg yolks.
Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Pour half the hot milk mixture over the egg mixture, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk. Return it to the pan and cook over a low heat, whisking continuously, until the temperature reaches 82°C (180°F). Remove the pan from the heat and sit it in a bowl of iced water. Stir for 2 minutes, to reduce the temperature and prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once slightly chilled, pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until required, up to 3 days.
THE ULTIMATE JEWEL OF A DISH
This is it. The ultimate jewel of a dish! That it is being presented now for Easter it is also THE ultimate Easter egg and is making history. In keeping with the globally renowned jeweller Fabergé’s history for surprise and ingenuity, John Williams has created this luxurious Eggs Fabergé dish which closely mirrors the multi-coloured Fabergé Treillage egg pendant. He created this amazingly intricate edible work of art using the very highest level of technical expertise. He used the inside of an egg shell as a mould. A soft boiled quail’s egg is encased in a velvety lobster mousseline, decorated with a circular pattern of vegetable gems (including aubergine, courgette and heritage carrot) and represent the colours many a precious gemstone.
The edible Eggs Fabergé is served on a bed of the finest caviar and silken sauce of langoustine. And this exquisite editble jewel is part of the three-course Fabergé menu in the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant during Easter Week.
Interestingly, the Mosaic Egg was one of the most technically sophisticated and extraordinary of all the Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, and took over a year to craft. It all began in 1914. The Imperial Mosaic Easter Egg was commissioned (to the jeweller) by Tsar Nicholas II and presented to his wife, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna for Easter. It was studded with precious gemstones and intricately and ornately crafted in gold with many a detail.
This Faberge egg was confiscated during the Russian Revolution and ended up being purchased by King George V as a gift for Queen Mary’s birthday The Mosaic Egg remains a part of the British Royal Collection. And now chef Williams of The Ritz has made history by adding it to the edible jewel collection!
High on tea: Michelin starred chef Chef John Williams flanked by Alfie Perez, Giovanni Galianni
Ian Gomez (pianist originally from Mumbai) flanked by Tea master Giando Scann and chef John Williams,
I ve got it. Happy to share it. From the best of the best, Its the recipe of the classic and perfect luscious Baba au rhum (please see photo). Ive been tasting it again and again and fortunate to dine at Alain Ducasses’ haute cuisine restaurants in Paris, Provence, Tokyo, NYC (before it closed down) and Monte Carlo (where I shot my TV show). Celebrated for his innovation, attention to detail and dedication to both quality and technique, Ducasse reigns internationally supreme with the largest number of Michelin stars in the world. Along with vivacious author, philanthropist, investor Kamini Banga we celebrate excellence at the three starred shimmering temple to French gastronomy in London’s Iconic Dorchester. The dashing and brilliant Executive Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet ‘s French contemporary haute-cuisine dazzles. And the sweet finale of the Baba au Rhum seduces!
Please mail email@example.com you want the recipe.
And spearheading this amazing global Rosewood group and powering it with it’s unique magnetism is our very own dapper dynamic Radha Arora. Jai ho!
Hot and Sour Soup
10g Bean Curd – cut into Julienne
5g Wood Ear Mushroom – cut into Julienne
20g Dried Mushroom – Soaked with Water and cut into Julienne
10g Bamboo Shoot – cut into Julienne
50g Lobster Meat(optional)
10g Fishcake (optional)
Paste Chili Bean 2 – 3g Vinegar 8g (Season to Taste)
Dark Soy Sauce 2g
Chili Bean Paste 2g
Corn Starch 5g
Salt Season to Taste
Chicken Powder 3g
Sesame Oil 1g
Blanch all the condiments ingredients, keep aside.
Boil up all the ingredients of the soup base, add all the condiment ingredients and adjust the thickness with Corn Starch.
Finally add the Egg into the soup..
ITALY & FRANCE IN LONDON
From freezing cold London, I send you a taste of sunny Italy and gourmet France. And to revel in both these, I don’t need to go out into the windy, rainy outside at all. Both are housed in the iconic, almost a century old, stately landmark the magnificent Dorchester. It overlooks Hyde Park and it fuses contemporary comfort with the timeless glamour and heritage of the property. What also excites me is it’s range of gourmet cuisines.
He’s a legend in his own right. The genial Giuliano Morandinhas been the heartbeat of the fashionable buzzing see and be seen opulent Bar. Ofcourse as a bar manager he has played host to the whos who, his famous champagne shimmer cocktail (with gold flakes and complimentary lip gloss for the ladies) continues to make waves in London. But now Giuliano, the bar manager is making history by serving robust Italian flavors from his hometown. Freshest of handrolled pasta, flavorful pesto, tiramisu…all made to his grandmother’s recipes. Giuliano and his award-winning team of experimental alchemists shake and stir many a magical cocktail. He serves up the champagne shimmer to Helene Pietrini the lovely, dynamic director of the prestigious Worlds 50 best Restaurant Academy. We take a bite of the al dente pasta, go back for a full Italian dinner the next night and get happy high on the shimmering cocktail. All this in the luxurious lacquered mahogany, mirrored glass, velvet and dramatic red bar!
FRENCH FINESSE IN LONDON
It doesn’t get any better than this. At the three starred shimmering temple to French gastronomy we dine in a shimmering cloud… fibre optic curtain at the superglam Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.
I had dined here 11 years ago when it had just opened. It is better than ever. The dashing and brilliant Executive Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet ‘s French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavors executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
——French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavours executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
Restaurant Director Enrico Baronetto takes fabulous care of us. We end with the heady chocolate light airy souffle and the traditional baba Rhum.
Ive been fortunate to dine at Alain Ducasses’ haute cuisine restaurants in Paris, Provence, Tokyo, NYC (before it closed down) and Monte Carlo (where I even shot my TV show). Celebrated for his innovation,
attention to detail and dedication to both quality and technique, Ducasse reigns internationally supreme with the largest number of Michelin stars in the world. In all his restaurants Ive had these light, airy spheres of delight…French cheese puffs. Each meal begins with these. On my request Jean Phillipe Blondit shares the r4ecipe with us.
(makes 2 baking trays)
A dedicated part of our guests’ dining experience, these delicate cheese puffs
are served warm and seasoned with paprika, black pepper, and Emmental
300 ml water
8 gr salt
240 gr flour (T55)
110 gr grated Emmental cheese
100 ml dry white wine
180 gr unsalted butter
380 gr whole eggs
1.5 gr ground black pepper
sweet paprika powder/ground black pepper (optional)
In a pot, make a choux pastry by combining water, white wine, salt and
butter and bring this to a boil.
Add the sieved flour to the liquid and continue to cook until a ball of dough
Transfer the warm dough into a mixing bowl and with a paddle attachment at
low speed, blend in the eggs little by little until fully incorporated and the dough is smooth.
Add the grated Emmental cheese and the ground black pepper and mix until
Fill the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 10mm plain round tip and pipe little mounds (4cm apart), onto a tray lined with baking paper.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.
In a convection oven preheated to 180°C, bake the gougères for 18 min-
utes or until golden brown and puffed.
Once baked, the gougères can be topped with additional ground black
pepper or sweet paprika powder and transferred to a cooling rack.
Gougères are best enjoyed warm.
Breaking news! Delicious news! Especially for vegetarians and vegetarian food lovers. At the iconic King of hotels and the hotel of kings, George V in Paris, their one Michelin starred Lorangerie is presenting the most fascinating and gourmet vegetarian menu Ive ever tasted. When I wrote and researched the Worlds first vegetarian guide to Paris (published by Times of India and partnered by GeorgeV) I ate my way through my beloved city for two years. But this is the first time I actually watch the creation and innovation of a series of stunningly sublime vegetarian dishes. The genius Christian Lesquer of their gastronomique restaurant and Alan Taudon coax amazing flavors out of the freshest and finest of vegetables and present them with panache. Delicate gems of wizardry dazzle. And sparkle!
Its memorable. Its incomparable. I refer to the amazing spectrum of tastes, flavours, cultures that I am feasting on. Here in France’s most magnificent over a century old landmark, Im not only tripping out on the finest French cuisine, history and culture but also the most amazing vegetarian masterpieces.
Any wonder this Parisian landmark is patronised by our very own Prime Minister ModI (confirmed vegetarian) heads of state, royalty, movie moghuls, haute couteriers and superstars from all fields.
For more than a hundred years this landmark has exemplified modernity luxury and timelessness Helmed by. Superstar Francois Delahaye over decades it has played host. to. many a superstar. And our very own Prime minister Mody too.
Haute cuisine and haute couture are being seamlessly celebrated here. And Im overjoyed that “naturalness’ cuisines’ vegetarian masterpieces are created in Michelin starred maestro Alain Ducasse’s shimmering restaurant located in the iconic couture landmark Plaza Athenee.
For some inexplicable reason vegetarianism is always associated with asceticism, the opposite of luxury and with tasteless food. But here maestro Alain Ducasse busts all those myths. It’s a starry glamorous experience in every sense of the term…Luxury drips in ten thousand Swaroski pendants which dangle instead of chandeliers. And the hushed elegance coddles and pampers like no other.
Michelinstarred maestro Alain Ducasse points out “To eat more healthily and naturally is today both an expectation and a necessity that must be translated into the field of haute cuisine”. And this is done by using only exceptional produce. “This is the cuisine I sincerely love This very personal interpretation is indeed, here, in my restaurant at the Plaza Athénée.” Concludes the maestro.
Alain Ducasse designed his cuisine at the Plaza Athénée around the vegetables-cereal-fish trilogy. Its amazing that here in this temple to high gastronomy the gardener is being given as much importance as the chefs.
It goes without saying that the brilliant chef in the restaurant Romain Meder, ensures that the technical base of French haute cuisine remains intact and delivers the most luxurious vegetarian haute cuisine too.
The food is not only healthier and more natural, more respectful of the Planet but it dazzles with flavour and taste. Therein lies its memorable magic.
I watch Chef Romain Meder in action in the gleaming kitchens and admire the way he delivers a free and nearly instinctive interpretation of Haute Cuisine, revealing the produces’ original flavour, from the noble to the humble, all exceptional.
THE WORLDS BEST FRENCH TOAST
Where did I find the worlds best French toast? In the best Parisian Michelin starred landmark, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee ofcourse. I could write a sonnet to it and still would not be able to express it’s dazzling exceptional texture so moist plump with flavour. Created by Winner of the World Pastry Cup and several other prestigious awards
Meilleur ouvrier de France Angelo Musa and Guillame Cabrol.
Ive always been a fan of The French toast, whose recipe dates back to the 4th or 5th century. Over centuries and in different countries it has had different names aliter dulcia(“another sweet dish”)
Arme Ritter(“poor knights”)But the usual French name is pain perdu interestingly translates to “lost bread”, reflecting its use of stale or otherwise “lost” bread. There are many versions and names but heres not only the worlds the best French toast but also its recipe, generously shared by Pastry world champion Chef Angelo Must.
oatmeal flour 785 g
Salt 15 g
Yeast 330 g
Eggs 480 g
Butter 490 g
Kneat flavour, salt, sugar, yeast and the eggs until the dough is soft.
Add cold butter in three times.
Knead again until the dough is soft.
Leave for 30 minutes.
Form a ball and then a sausage shape.
Put it in a form (height 15 cm large 15 cm long 40 cm)
Leave the dough for 4 hours.
Put it in the oven for 1 hour – 160 °C.
And I actually have this toast at breakfast. The most luxurious way to begin the day…he amazing array of boulangerie baked fresh. Chocolate croissants, butter croissants, brioche, sultana swirls
walnut and lemon croissants, chocolate and pistachio pastries and kugelhopf too.
The menu is in English, Japanese, Russian, Chinese,
Spanish and, of course, French ensuring that everybody can
spread the message to every corner of the globe that breakfast
at the Plaza Athénée is the best in Paris! And it’s French toast the best in the world. Which it is.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.