Come feast with me. Feast on a banquet of culinary experiences. Of refreshingly unusual and unique experiences. From one served under the skies and trees to another in the depths of the boiler room. All these in Sri Lanka’s “little England” in the misty beautiful mountain town of Nuwaraelya’s Grand Hotel. Interestingly, long before Nuwara Eliya became the famed Hill station of Sri Lanka, folklore has it that many epic events of the Ramayana happened right here. The early 19th century British planters transformed it into “little England” and Sir Edward Barnes, Governor, built the beautiful bungalow which eventually expanded and became the Grand Hotel. And today this over a century old iconic landmark continues to magnetise the international traveller with it’s sprawling dining facilities, spa, pool, leisure activities et al. But fascinatingly enough continues to reinvent and reimagine many a feasting option.
GOURMET IN THE BOILER ROOM
Tracking global gastronomy is a fun job, but this one experience (in a 127 year old boiler room in the Sri Lankan mountains) takes the cake. It was here in this boiler room of the iconic Grand hotel Nuwaraeliya that the distinguished looking Boilerman provided an unending supply of hot water throughout the day to enable the aristocratic British guests to bathe. After almost nine decades of burning tree logs to keep the water hot, a diesel-fired boiler was introduced. It still keeps the water hot, but there is no dust or soot. It is here, that the celebrated Chef Priyantha serves up a unique dining experience: delicate carpaccio to luxuriously creamy cake. Within the depths of the kitchen they set up a Japanese Teppanyaki table. A violinist plays while the chef conjures light and delicious dishes. On my request the chef shares the recipe of the tasty and unusual Doriyaki pancake.
Gems of delicious wizardry parade with panache. “Unique dining experience” gets redefined.
100 grs Wheat Flour
01 tablespoon Sugar
02 tablespoon Bees honey
01 tablespoon Mirin Vinegar
70 ml Milk.
Pan fry this batter into a pancake.
200 grs Whipped Cream, Chocolate Sauce with Ice Cream.
Optional…10 grs Green Tea Powder / Sweet red bean
BRIT-SRI LANKAN HIGH TEA
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. 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.
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.
An amazing tradition which evolved with time…of tea service, side plates, bread and butter plates, cake stands, and every conceivable accompaniment, Tea gardens, tea dances , a whole code of etiquette followed. And here in Srilanka at the Grand hotel, they not only serve up an amazing grand tea under the sky, amid it’s beautiful manicured gardens but what excites me is that my most favorite Srilankan wattalpam gets a makeover into a dainty snack. Here it is
01 litre thick Coconut milk, 400grs. Jaggery
14 nos whole eggs,
Pinch of Nutmeg powder, 01 piece Cinnamon stick, 04 nos Cardomons, 150 grs Cashewnuts.
- Boil the jaggery with spices, 2. Cool to room temperature . 3.lightly beat the Egg and add to the Coconut milk. 4.Then mix all ingredients together and strain well. 5. Put in a baking dish and bake with steam for 40 to 50 minutes at 160° C.
WHATSHOT TASTING SESSION
Piggy bread…Look what I tasted in the Chennai’s most interesting and unusual whatshot tasting sessions of home talent. The very talented and lovely Deepasri Kar ‘s creative and innovative breads are in great demand. For the past seven years, her Hamaree rasoi’s Piggy shaped bread (stuffed with robustly spiced kheema ofcourse), chicken Stuffed Braided Bread have been the hotsellers. As have the vegetarian Pumpkin buns. Her large repertoire includes cookies spiked with cumin, which are a musty try too.
THE MAHARAJA OF GERMANY
Q: What do the Maharaja of Patiala, Einstein, Berlin currywurst (curry sausage), Michelin starred meals and singing bowl healing, have in common? Ans: Berlin’s magnificent, over a century old legendary landmark Adlon. The world distils itself on my plate here amid outstanding culinary talent, luxury, old world graciousness and modern high-tech. Renowned as one of Germany’s finest hotels, since 1907, it truly has been the Maharaja of Germany. Under the same roof, I get a taste of the local Berlin signature Currywurst, an uber gourmet two Michelinstarred meal and also flavorpacked Pan Asian dishes. I not only taste but also request recipes of these. And how do I taste the Indian connection? By requesting Vijay Kumar Vyas to do a healing singing bowl meditation for me. Not only did the Maharaja of Patiala stay here regularly, ( as did and still do global royalty, heads of state, Hollywood and Bollywood superstars) but he also gifted Adlon a priceless elephant fountain (please see photograph) which occupies pride of place in the throbbing heart of the hotel. In front of this elephant fountain I catch up with the charming, knowledgable Sabina Held and the celebrated chef Hendrik Otto of the two Michelin starred restaurant, Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer and request their Vijay Kumar Vyas to do my favourite tree pose.
This is when I get to know of about Albert Einstein, Angelina Jolie, Charlie Chaplin to Barack Obama who stayed here.
BERLIN’S CURRY SAUSAGE
I remember shooting (several years ago) for my TV show in Berlin and tasting the Berlin currywurst. The history of this sausage dish dates back to 1949. Herta Heuwer prepared the very first currywurst in her snack stand in Berlin-Charlottenburg when mixing a sauce consisting of tomato paste, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce. Though this was not a favorite of mine, the Adlon version of currywurst delighted. I ate mit in their Restaurant Quarre while sitting outside on the terrace, within airkissing distance of the landmark Brandenburg gate, I tasted the “Adlon-Currywurst”. Here, the talented Chef Michéle Müller offers local specialties and
international classics with a modern twist.
Recipe „currywurst“ sauce
2 pieces onion
3 stems lemongrass
10 pieces lime leaves
4 pieces thumb-sized ginger
½ piece garlic
5 pieces star anise
2 grams cumin
10 pieces cloves
3 tbsp. curcuma
2 tbsp. curry powder
1 litre mango puree
1 litre Coca Cola
10 litre ketchup
Cut the onions into cubes and sauté together with the flavors and spices.
Douse with mango puree and Coca Cola and reduce them.
Fill it up with ketchup and bring to a simmer. Cover the sausages with it. Serve.
Delicious surprise! Tasting awesome Asia’s culinary diversity in Berlin. Right here in The Adlon’s restaurant “Sra bua by Tim Raue”. Here, the brilliant head chef Kai Weigand, serves up modern Pan-Asian cuisine executed with seasonal produce. I taste his creations, simple, light and intensely flavorsome, precise with a perfect balance between sweetness, acidity and spiciness. On my request, Chef Kai shares the recipe of the amazing Wasabi prawns, should you need it please email me firstname.lastname@example.org as it is too lengthy to reproduce here.
HIGH END GASTRONOMY
Dazzling mastery of the culinary arts “tradition eats modern”. Any wonder that Adlons restaurant Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer has been showered with two prestigious Michelin stars and a huge number of other awards? The European-inspired, imaginative and contemporary creations, it’s classic menu is reminiscent of the hotel’s illustrious past delights. ‘Adlon-style fillet of sole’ the famous ‘Canard a la presse’ are Chef Hendrik Otto s masterpeices.
Here, I have an amazing meal of vegetarian masterpieces too. This, since Im researching vegetarian dining in Berlin. Masterpieces of flavour and texture dazzle.
CHENNAI S CULINARY HOME-TALENT
Delicious talent! Ever since last fortnight when I wrote about our Whatshot Tasting session, Ive been flooded with reader- queries about details of the home-bakers and caterers who attended it. I flag off the series with the youngest, the talented and committed 18 year old Ranjani and Akhil’s superb HerbiStore. Absolutely loved their creations and was even more thrilled to know that theyre all vegan, sans white sugar too. Guiltfree feasting on intense chocolatey“Peanut butter cups”. Needless to add the protein rich peanut butter is homemade. Couldn’t stop eating the Fudge Brownie in a jar and the Cookie dough.You can order on
DMs and retailing
Please take a look at the accompanying photograph! What you can see are Chennai’s super-talented home-bakers and caterers. The youngest twosome are eighteen years old. What you cant see are their tasty and innovative creations which they brought along to our “Whats Hot Tasting Session” held a few days ago.
A SNEAK PEAK
So here it is, just a quick peak at our newly discovered foodie talent. Due to space constraint I can only give a one line intro to each. To get complete details you’ll have to wait for my friday column every fortnight. Are you particular about home-cooked fare? Looking for gluten-free? Healthful? Vegan? Pickles? Luxuriously sinful? Your search ends here. From home made probiotics to home made strawberry and gin icecream, from vegan peanut chocolate cups to prawn pickle. Each one brought their samples to taste and set them up in the hall, on the display tables graciously provided by the multi-talented chef Ajit Bangera in the ITC Grand Chola. We sipped tea and tasted each one’s creations, shot photos on the grand staircase and moved onto the lush green gardens outside, Thanks Anjali Sharma, Chef Sai Chand, Chef Ajit Bangera, Sanjukhtaa Roy, Sayani Sinha Roy for making this Whats hot tasting session possible. A memorably delicious evening.
BAGS OF GOODNESS
We just have to buy these cloth bags… bags made by women whose husband’s were farmers and who committed suicide because of drought. The sale of bags is their only source of income.
Sara koshy And Smitha Kuttaya brought these to our “Whatshottastingsession” These cloth bags are perfect to hold cake boxes, for vegetable shopping, etc (Smitha is holding one in the photograph)
Would you believe that the most delicious peanut chocolate cups, also fudge brownie in a jar, are sans white sugar and actually vegan too? We have two 18 year olds Ranjani and Akhil of Herbistore to thank for these. Baking Organic vegan chocolate cake is Smitha Kuttayya ‘s specialty. No maida, or preservative. And only Sulpher free sugar. Global theeni is her brand name and Pork chicken prawn pickle are her other specials.
HEALTHFUL …from sprouts to probiotics
You name it…alfa alfa, moong ,moth, black horsegram, brown horsegram, methi, peanuts, masoor, wheat, ragi ,jowar… Shobha Golecha sprouts it all. From organic grains and only on order basis. She also teaches and advises on various ways to enrich dishes as well as new recipes.
I’m a great believer in the benefits of probiotics. I’m excited. This is the first time that I taste home-made probiotics. Abha Appaswamy makes the most delicious and much needed Kombucha, Milk Kefir, Beet Kvass, Ginger Ale. She also makes Sauerkraut, Korean Kimchi, Hummus. All products contain live beneficial bacteria.
Snacky mood? Hungry? nothing better than munching on Seed crackers
Prathima Manikandan uses only natural sugars with low glycemic index, finest of seeds, nuts and dryfruits to make these.
WE ALL SCREAM FOR…
Get high on icecream! Literally too! Roasted strawberry in gin,
Bailey’s ice cream cake are Bhavana Arya’s signatures. Feeling particularly celebratory?
She makes Motichoor ladoo ice cream too.
Named “Intox” (short for intoxication) she adds alcohol to some but ensures that no colour or essence or sugar is used.
Jumana huzefa bakes tarts from millet and tops them deliciously with zucchini and cheese. Delightful
Amaranth cookies, Granola with almond, blueberry and gluten free oats.
Hummus fans, 24 year old Anoli Mavani not only makes ten different hummus flavors but makes the tahini at home too. Ask for her eggless whole wheat Walnut cake too.
Sweet finale? Baking is a passion with 23 year old Samyuktha Vale. The result? Most delicious
Earl grey short bread.
Baked mango cheese cake and the crazily addictive flourless chocolate cake. She also bakes Vegan desserts to Wedding cakes. Go ahead pig out…Ever had a kheema stuffed, pig shaped bread? Deepasri Kar Specialize in bread.Chicken Stuffed Braided Bread Pumpkin buns and more.
Home sick Gujaratis ask for Paruls’ classic Chundo and Methiya Keri. Many a seasonal vegetable pickle too.
Juhina Sabrina Samuel’s Andhra Chicken malabar fish konkani prawn pickles are her forte.And her wine (black currant jaggery cinnamon) is in great demand too. Home made! Ofcourse!
BE PART OF OUR NEXT WHATS HOT TASTING SESSION
Should you want to be be part of this “whats hot tastingsession” please email your details (background, specialities, pricing, home delivery, contact details) email@example.com or twitter @rashmiudaysingh email firstname.lastname@example.org Call 9884065010
I’m on top of the world. In more ways than one. Not just because Im close to heaven in this sunny cool 360 degree terrace bar. It’s the only one of it’s kind in Munich, the city of sophisticated charm and traditional Bavarian elegance. And right here just a few floors below, I’ve also stumbled upon my all time favorite Japanese maestro’s restaurant. The one hero who took Japanese food out of it’s obscure space and put it squarely on the world gourmet map. I refer of course to Nobu… Matsuhisa Nobuyuki. He infused vibrant Peruvian flavors into the pristine minimalistic Japanese cuisine and voila…conquered the world.
NOBU IN GERMANY
Exciting! When Nobu the Japanese maestro sets up his first outpost in Germany he pays homage to it by creating a very special dish using the local Kohlrabi. And not only is that a treat in itself but the brilliant chef very generously shares the recipe too. I’ve been a Matsuhisa Nobu fan past three decades. He came from Tokyo via Lima Peru and put his vibrantly delicious interpretation of Japanese cuisine on the world map. I’ve been following him around… learning cooking (in Paris) to meeting him in LA (at chef Wolfgang Pucks amazing charity dinner) to dining at many of Restaurants across the globe from Los Angeles to Dubai.No doubt my last visit to Munich was exciting, (for my TV show for ET Now in the October Fest (wearing the traditional dirndl of course) but this visit is amazing. Right here amidst the old city, the Altstadt, I find Nobu in the timelessly elegant Mandarin Oriental which combines modern design, contemporary luxury with it’s amazingly subtle oriental accents.
In the beautiful brown and gold restaurant, enrobed in natural materials including stone, leather and wood I taste bliss. Here, in Munich, his signature miso black cod is as lusciously addictive as ever and the specially created local dish of kohlrabi salad delights. The brilliant executive chef Vasili Papatheodorou and head sushi chef Shigeru Fujita continue the Nobu magic.
NOBU’ S RECIPE KOHLRABI Salad (can substitute with baby spinach).
“We use baby greens a lot at my restaurants. Leaf vegetables turn harsh
and bitter with age, younger ones just naturally taste fresher” says Nobu “Add
some Dry Miso and fried leeks, and you have a salad bowl full of umami.”
SERVES 2 TO 4
3 oz. (90g) Kohlrabi OR baby spinach
DRY MISO AND YUZU
4 tsp. (10 g) Dry Miso
- (30 g) fried leek (recipe follows)
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (grated)
4 tsp. (10 g)
1 tsp. yuzu citrus juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Diced red bell pepper, for topping
Soak the baby spinach in ice water to crisp and drain.
Combine the baby spinach, Dry Miso, fried leek, Parmigiano-Reg-
giano, yuzu juice, truffle oil and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and toss.
Arrange on a plate and top with bell pepper.
Makes 1 oz. (30 g)
3 in. (about 8 cm) white part of leek
Oil for deep-frying
Slash the leek lengthwise to open, and discard the inner core. Wash off the sand
between the layers under running cold water. Cut into thin shreds. Deep-fry in
low-temperature oil, about 300°F (150°C), until just before it begins to brown. Drain
on a wire rack in warm spot in the kitchen for 1 to 2 hours.
The just-fried leek looks soggy at first, but don’t worry Keeping the fried leek on a
wire rack in a warm part of the kitchen drains out the oil and turns the leek crispy.
It’s as close to heaven as I can get in Munich. Crowning the stunningly beautiful Neo Renaissance building ( 1880) is the Terrace.
Open during the summer months, The Terrace is one of Munich’s best-kept secrets. Not only do I dine sip cocktails , take a dip in the heated pool but also learn more about Munich from the gorgeous Rabea Keller and Isabelle Winter amid oriental statues and large potted plants. Love the chic Asian touches with a Mediterranean feel.
Feasting on the Asian, Mediterranean and Arabic dishes and the stunning view is a treat enough but then it gets chilli-hot…as the bartender shakes up a cocktail with a chilli. Here’s the recipe…
Virgin Tom ka Mhak
Shake together…Lime juice, pineapple juice, coconut syrup, lemon grass
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE…WHATSHOT TASTING SESSION
Do you cook? Bake? Provide foodie services out of home? Would you like your work and yourself to be featured in this column? I will be in Chennai on the 12 TH JULY and holding a “Whats hot Tasting session” from 3pm to 6pm At Rajendra hall, ITC Grand Chola, Mount Road. To be part of it please email email@example.com and also firstname.lastname@example.org, instagram, tweet@rashmiudaysingh hashtag #whatshottastingchennai phone 9884065010. Waitingly yours. Excited to meet you and taste your work.
DELICIOUS & NUTRITIOUS
A request: Please take look at both the dish photographs. Both are equally unique, delicious and amazing. One is a power pancake: gluten free and healthful. The other is a banana tart tatin, silken, velvety and sinful. Interestingly, I taste both at the same venue. One which is making waves in Dubai ever since it opened recently.
PENROSE LOUNGE: POWER PANCAKE
She’s the gorgeous Layla Kardan and Dubai’s most famed singer. Making global waves is product and interior designer Ambika Hinduja and both of them are big fans of Chef Nicholas Trosien’s “power pancake”. As am I. We cant stop feasting on it in the stylish, upscale Penrose lounge with magnificent views of Dubai’s DIFC. It’s a refined feminine beautiful space with a menu of small salads, caviar, shellfish platters and the like. It is here that Chef Trosien weaves his magic. Having graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Miami, Chef Trosien honed his skills under many a globally renowned chef. His passion for exploring different cultures and cuisine brought him to the Middle-East. On our request, he shares the recipe of his must-try Power pancake.
3g chia seeds
10g oats (Gluten Free)
15g red quinoa (Cooked)
1 ea banana ( ½ caramelized with brown sugar , other ½ cut 1cm cube and add to the mix)
1 cup milk
2 tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Take the gluten free flour and baking powder and add 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 2 eggs and 1 cup of milk. Mix well with a wire whisk.
Add the remaining ingredients except the caramelized banana and fold to ensure it is equally incorporated.
Add desired amount of pancake mix to a non-stick pan with some butter and cook until golden brown on one side.
Flip the pancake and continue to cook.
Place the pancake on a plate and garnish with powdered sugar and caramelized banana.
Superhero seed… I love the way these versatile quinoa seeds when cooked retain a slight crunch. Love the delicate and subtly nutty quinoa flavour too.Happily this power pancake is made of the miracle Quinoa. Packed with nutrients, would you believe it has twice the protein content of rice or barley? quinoa is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese.
As Chef Trosien and Ambika Hinduja point out, Quinoa is among the least allergenic of all the ‘grains’, making it a fantastic gluten free choice. Quinoa is high in monounsaturated fat.
Amazing that a seed can be such a complete protein; quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids – including the elusive lysine and isoleucine acids, which most other grains lack. Its also naturally high in dietary fibre.
For sure, it is an amazing cocktail; anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids too. Cheers!
MAGNIFICENT MINA’s TART TATIN
Several years ago, Id dined at the globally renowned Michael Mina’s Aqua restaurant in San Francisco and become a fan. And was surprised and thrilled to find that bis
brand new “Mina Brasserie” has not only opened in Dubai but is the talk of the town here. Every square inch of this sexily glamorous restaurant bristles with starpower of the who’s who. Including our very own Mumbaikers. Ambika Hinduja, the brilliant product And interiors designer and Raman Macker the don of hospitality, poised to make global waves with his new international projects. Dining with them and the dapper hotel chief Lorenzo Maraviglia, Shiv Kumar and Ivo Krmpotic is a treat. As are Michael Mina’s Signature dishes, be it tuna tartare, dover sole or the banana tarte tatin. Ive always had the classic Apple tart tatin and was thrilled to trip out on Mina’s banana version. And even more to discover that our very own Sanchit Datta , patisseur had made it. He has shared the recipe. Should you neeD it please mail email@example.com
MY FLAVORITE KING & QUEEN
I write from the homes of my favorite and flavorite King and Queen. It is in these two exquisite Royal destinations that I get my first ever taste of two most delicious flavors. That King Alfonso XIII was Queen Maria Cristina’s son, that both set up almost a century old hotels named after themselves is fabulous enough. That both these palaces retain that gracious, royal touch and food to match is what makes the magic happen. They serve only the best of the best.
Its the best of the best. I’m excited to do a hands-on cooking session at the award winning globally acclaimed Mimo cooking school.
Today, I serve you the finest, most rare, little gems of green peas. They’re tiny, seriously tiny and explode with sweetness in my mouth. Rightfully called “green caviar” these peas are also called “tear peas” “guisante lágrima”. Highly prized that, once it is shelled, its value reaches around 200 euros a kilogram. Covered with a thin and fibrous delicate skin, which creates the sensation of an “explosion” in the mouth when I bite into the pea, it’s skin bursts and the sap and sugars are released. It grows in Spain only for a couple of months a year and I’m blessed to be here just at that right time.It’s delicious even raw, but gains flavor when it is slightly steamed or grilled.
I learn how to cook it in the Mimo cooking school is located in the gourmet capital city of Spain San Sebastian. Attached to over a century old iconic palace Maria Cristina beloved of the Royalty Hollywood superstars et al. Here, Chef Jesus Cabellaro and chef Daniel Luque cook up amazing versions of the same “tear peas”
This super glamorous palace hotel combines luxury and high-tech and this outstanding cooking school too. At the handsome, gleaming, well-equipped cooking school, Chef Patricio Fuentes helps me wear my chefs coat and voila it’s time for a hands on cooking session. Sportingly, joining us is the dapper dynamo Ned Capeleris who helms Maria Cristina. From the freshest of tear peas we conjure up many an amazing dish. I devour invaluable information about ingredients and cooking techniques from both.
The award winning Mimo, set up by Jon Warren is truly unique, It’s a food travel company whose culinary tours pintxo tours wine tastings are legendary. And now it has added on a private jet tour to explore the deliciousness of Spain and to take cooking classes too. Talk of taking gourmet to new heights!!
FIRST TIME EVER…
What do flamenco, the cold vegetable soups, gazpacho and salmorejo have in common? I am in the birthplace region of all three, Please take a look at the accompanying photograph. I invited the graceful flamenco dancer to be part of the photograph because we are in the beautiful, historic city of Seville. The birthplace of the flamenco.
We re in the historic landmark of Seville built by the Uber stylish king Alfonso XIII this stunning palace was built as a hotel owned by the City of Seville has a beautiful museum meticulously put together by the dynamic Carlo Suffredini. I love the Moorish Renaissance Baroque styles of architecture. The list of regulars is endless… OmarShariff, TomCruise, Sophia Loren.Im as excited to learn the recipe of Salmorejo, to do the Mimo tapas tasting tour with the knowledgable Aldaras as I am to take my first lesson in flamenco (in a flamenco dress from Lina, Spain’s finest flamenco dress designer ). I had no idea that it originated in the 7th to the 9th centuries here in Spain or that UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Or that the beautiful
Gothic Seville Cathedral is the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb.
King Alfonso XIII ‘s recipe for “salmorejo” :
Ingredients for 6 persons:
1 kilo ripe tomatoes
200 grms rustic white bread
100 ml extra virgin olive oil.
1 clove garlic.
Salt to taste.
Grated hard boiled egg.
Finley diced a corn fed Iberian cured ham.
Extra virgin olive oil.
Method: Wash well the tomatoes, it is important that the tomatoes are at room temperature before you blitz them.
Blitz the tomatoes in a kitchen blender.
In a bowl break up the bread to walnut sized pieces.
Cover with the blitzed tomato, and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
Add the clove of garlic and blitz again.
Lastly we add the olive oil, it is important that the olive oil is good quality as this will help to achieve a proper emulsion.And the end result will be a creamy and thick.
Spoon the salmorejo into previously chilled bowls and garnish with grated hard boiled egg, diced acorn fed Iberian cured ham, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
SUPERFOODS & SUPERSTARS
It’s a dream come true. Contradictions are getting reconciled,What invaluable combinations!!! Gourmet food with health. Luxury with medical facilities. I’ve been there, done that, but very rarely found these amazing pairings. But, here they are: in the throbbing heart of Europe’s fashion capital of Dusseldorf ( rivalling Paris & Milan ). And that too in it’s iconic two century old landmark , Breidenbacherhof . No! it’s not a medical spa, but one of Europe’s oldest most beautiful heritage landmark hotels, beloved of royalty and superstars from Prince Albert to George Clooney and it has it’s very own state of the art medical “Preventicum” and Pearl of the Aesthetic too
CHEF AND DOCTOR
No! it’s not a health restaurant.. It’s a landmark gourmet destination. My discovery begins with The “Superfoods” menu and a chat with the dapper dynamo Cyrus Heydarian (who helms Breidenbacherhof, ever since it reopened ten years ago.) I learn at a rapid pace as I eat slowly, relishing every morsel. The committed Chef Philipp Ferber who apprenticed in the Black Forest area (known for it’s gourmet cuisine) works in tandem for many of his dishes with the brilliant Dr Baumgart of the medical Preventicum (also housed in the stately Breidenbacherhof). He creates dishes which are good forthe heart, for etox, for diabetes et al and general well-being too.. And in the gourmet restaurant he offers 20 dishes made out of superfoods.
Ofcourse, we all know what superfoods are: well-tried natural products with a high content of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which have a positive health effect due to their nutrient density. But, did you know that? Pomegranate good for detox, can also keep blood sugar levels stable?
Or that watercress in combination with jogging or physical exercise causes the sweet hunger to diminish? Chia seeds Goji berries Honey Mulberries and many other superfoods are used in many of the dishes here.
Please take a look at the photo of the accompanying dish. It is a miracle package for detox (pomegranate) , for the kidney (beetroot) , and heart (watercress) and the chickpea has excellent protein. And ofcourse the starcast of vegetables has invaluable vitamins and nutrients. Not only do all these work together but taste good too. I request Chef Ferber for the recipe here it is…
Recipe for 4 people
- 250g chickpeas • 80g sesame paste (Tahini) • 60ml lemon juice • 60ml olive oil • 2 garlic cloves, pressed • 2 liters of water • 1⁄2EL salt • 3EL beetroot granules
- 8 baby carrots • 8 small white turnips • 2 pcs. beetroot boiled and diced • 50g pistachio kernels • 25g dried pomegranate seeds • 1 bunch of watercress • sea salt • smoked oil
Soak chickpeas, in water. Overnight. Then simmer chickpeas in a pot of fresh water for an hour. When soft, put into food processor with the sesame paste, lemon juice, olive oil, water, beetroot granules, salt and the two pressed garlic cloves. Until a smooth puree is produced. Rest puree in fridge. For the topping baby carrots and turnips (cleaned and boiled in salt water) and tossed in smoked oil. Arrange as shown in photo.
STATE OF THE ART AND HEART
Not only are the dishes state of the art, the service state of the heart, but their medical Preventicum, is both and is presided over by the highly respected and internationally recognized cardiologist Dr Dietrich Baumgart. Cyrus Heydarian not only hails from a doctors family but was brought up on the finest gourmet food. And to top it all, he also worked for more than a decade with the owner of the largest most prestigious chain of medical clinics.. and once again my learning continues.
At Preventicum you can have cardio check-ups, medical examinations, Performance Diagnostics to measure the overall endurance and performance, energy metabolism during physical stress et al.
And the highly experienced Dr Baumgart advises that while nutrition is very individual, as one grows older, one should not snack thru the day, but should drink lots of water, reduce animal protein, eat more vegetables and look after the mind and soul too. .
Not only has Dr Baumgart been to an Ayurvedic retreat in Kerala but recommends it along with all his high tech state of the art metabolic balance and blood and body composition analysis. Cyrus Heydarian makes time to do his regular checks at Preventicum in the midst of his high-profile job and travel. He not only always insists on biological ingredients being used in his hotel and home but also seasonal ones. Skiing, swimming jogging and most importantly eating right help keep this superstar hotelier and doctor stay ahead of the curve. Superfoods make superstars.
Mysterious magic in a bottle! Beloved of all, including royalty, movie moghuls, superstars from all walks of life whove stayed here. Please see the accompanying photograph I shot of this world renowned rose-petal jam and it’s creator the Swiss Patisseur extraordinaire Yves Matthey. It is in his jewellery store like cake shop that this gifted genius ‘s home-made delicacies that include the signature 1963 Mandarin Cheese Cake, pastries, chocolates and breads, that I first tasted this renowned homemade Rose Petal Jam. Originally from a small town in the Alps in Switzerland, the land of chocolates, Chef Yves passion for patisserie is all thanks to his mother, who enjoyed baking and making jam at home. Along with the helpful Jenny An I taste the world here.
THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS
It is fitting that this iconic rose petal jam is created in Hong Kong’s most iconic and oldest Mandarin Oriental. The epitome of contemporary luxury combined with Oriental heritage. Most exciting it not only has a collection of 10 outstanding restaurants and bars but three have Michelin stars too. And here with it’s emphasis on gastronomic dining there is equal importance to food and health too.
It is here that I get a taste of the world, all under one roof…Michelin starred Chinese on the rooftop, French by the Michelin starred Pierre Gagnaire. From Classic British to an Indian dish too.
It’s been reigning supreme as Hong Kong’s favorite dining room for decades.Any wonder that it has retained it’s Michelin star for nine consecutive years? It is here that the brilliant 38 year old Executive Chef Robin Zavou and his dream team serve up classics and many a time with a contemporary spin too. High-quality ingredients and seasonally inspired dishes.
A crustacean bar runs the length of the restaurant and I love the natural daylight and spacious seating, and legend has it that some of Hong Kong’s boldest business deals have been concluded in this very space.Princess Diana, Princess Anne,Prince Andrew,
Helen Mirrin and many others have dined under the moulded scallop-inspired ceiling and the handsome Mandarin Grill’s signature white lily floral displays. Chef Robin Zavou generously shares his classic Sole recipe. Should you want it please mail firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIAN AT CHINNERY
Delicious surprise! Here in Hong Kong’s iconic Chinnery (which was a gentleman’s club till 1990) I not only taste Indian food but on requesting, meet the Indian chef Satpal Sharma. All four brothers of his are chefs and Satpal has been working here past 19 years. The days of the Raj live on here, traditional British dishes, such as Roast of the Day and Fish & Chips, alongside a selection of Indian curries are served. The Chinnery offers the most extensive collection of whiskies in the region.
Food and health…Ive been researching that exciting connection for several decades. Here in Hongkong, Im over the moon. Reasons? Firstly It’s the cradle of Traditional Chinese medicine which believes in the intimate food-health connection. And even more so when I find that Hong Kong’s most iconic, the oldest heritage hotel has always had a Doctor of Traditional Chinese medicine in the spa. I book an appointment with Dr Clare Peartson and also take a long lesson from her on Traditional Chinese medicine’s view of Food. Please take a look at the accompanying photograph. It is not only the iconic harbour view of Hong Kong but has been shot from Hong Kong’s most iconic Mandarin Oriental. The dapper Pierre Barthes from France who helms this icon also very strongly believes in Traditional Chinese medicine and it’s belief in the connection between food and health. That this hotel gives equal importance to it’s constellation of ten fabulous restaurants ( three with Michelin stars) and a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor speaks volumes for this global renowned icon.
Is it possible? In one day, under one roof can I get a taste of the diversity, complexity and magic of Hong Kong? Yes it is when Hong Kong’s acknowledged best chef (and one of Asia’s top chefs) Richard Ekkebus wields his magic. In Hong Kong East meets West, classic weds contemporary, it’s gleaming glass and steel shopping malls jostle for space with fresh meat and produce markets along cobbled streets. It’s restaurant’s cape bustles with incessant energy and innovation. Fine dining and comfort food, dimsum and then some. Rising high in the throbbing heart of Hong kong, a slim, stylish skyscraper houses the Mandarin Oriental Landmark, two Michelin starred Richard Ekkebus is it’s culinary director. Here he wields his culinary magical wand with ease, panache and versatility. Please take a look at the two dish photographs. While one is the Asparagus dish from the pure vegetarian menu of Amber, the iconic best restaurant of Hong Kong, the other “Honkiedog” is Chef Ekkebus’s creation of a Hong Kong hot dog for the “Please Don’t Tell” bar on the ground floor of the same MO Landmark
Please take a look at the accompanying photograph of Amber, what you see in the background is actually a bronze chandelier that infuses the room with a golden, amber tone. Globetrotting gourmet who actively encourages Chef Ekkebus’s work, the dynamic and dapper Archie Keswick who helms this landmark is also a yoga aficionado. Here, in this golden Amber toned magical Amber I taste two Michelin starred Dutch genius Richard Ekkebus’s magic. The only Restaurant from Hongkong on the prestigious Worlds 50 best list and 3rd on Asias50best.
In this iconic golden-toned temple classical European culinary tradition tangoes with Hong Kong’s East-meets-West ingredient-sourcing possibilities, resulting in a deliciously sublime seasonal menu in Ekkebus personal style.
Of course I taste all is non-vegetarian signature dishes, but focus on his dedicated vegetarian menu. Vegetarian amuse bouche for all flag off the dinner Gems Of wizardry are served up as the four flavors Salty..(celery black bean caper soya sauce), Sour.. (lemon meringue at puree), Bitter (.and ice with campari and orange jelly), Sweet..(.jerusalem artichoke Tonka bean powder) kickstart my appetite
Beautifully presented Asparagus from Jerome hall’s in orchestra with peas and a medley of herbs is followed by the amazing parsnip which is chargrilled and every part of it is used in the dish and solidified extra virgin olive oil yuzu gel amaranth pearls add to.
The transition pre dessert of Buffalo burrata l strawberries cherry tomatoes refreshes as does the citrus dessert and prepares for the unforgettable. Cacao sorbet caramelized almonds salted caramel acidity of kalamansi which dazzles. Of course I did revel in his stunning non vegetarian dishes the signature Hokkaido Sea Urchin dish and also the Wagyu beef.
Love the sublime light contemporary notes that Chef Ekkebus orchestrates.
NO WASTE VEGETABLE COOKING
Kudos chef Ekkebus for using all parts of the vegetable. Like in the delicious dish of Parsnips, a masterpiece of textural contrast too. I request Chef Ekkebus for tips on using all parts of the vegetable at home. He advises making sure the vegetables are cleaned well and are preferably organic. Drying and frying the skin makes for a crunchy starter, be it carrots, potatoes, turnips. The skin of Tomatoes used in a broth adds a lot of color. Can make a dashi or infusion with vegetable trimmings.
PLEASE DON’T TELL
When the cult-status, speakeasy PDT from NYC opens in Hong Kong, what does the brilliant chef Ekkebus do? Creates Honkiedog for it. The hot dog which oozes with the taste of Hong Kong, the umami of it’s XO sauce of chilli, soybeans, seafood, and crunch of scallions and cabbage. And he does so with as much passion and gusto as he does when creating the parade of refined dishes in Amber. The talented and creative Adam Schmidt creates many a delicious cocktail and mocktail (including the cucumber based tuffnut tonic). Gladis young points out how this cozy bar with recollective design elements such as a copper bar top, herringbone-patterned wood ceiling and taxidermy adorning the walls is renowned for mixology, And making waves in Hong Kong is the edgy “Entertainment suite” party space with everything from a DJ booth to it’s liquid metal, spaceship-glow cabinets house popcorn, wine dispensers and other grown-up treats. And ofcourse, there is the spa with it’s yoga, pilates “The year of the earth dog” treatment, for sure the fusion of East and West has always been Hong Kong’s calling card, but here in the most expensive real estate of Hong Kong is an oasis of energised calm. A true Hong Kong Landmark.