Restaurant Review

AWESOME ASAYA

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Please take a look at the photograph: the knowledgable holistic wellness expert Steve Harvey  is flanked by two chefs in Phuket’s most amazing  Takhai, Thai restaurant by the shimmering waters of Emerald bay. The husband wife chef team are making pomelo salad. And there’s a reason why they’re specially making this delicious sweet, spicy salad for me. This is the first time that I learn what food helps me  when I travel a lot. “Sweet and spicy food will keep you grounded” explains Steve Harvey. This is just the beginning of my self-discovery journey. It truly is very exciting. And eye-opening. I ve been writing about food and wellness for over three decades (including a weekly health column for 15 years) but the “Asaya” experience here, a  hands on specially curated unique concept is truly unique. It is  rooted in self-discovery. I’m not only experiencing alternative therapies, (singing bowls ritual) learning “Darnaveda” meditation but doing so in magnificently natural spaces. And feasting on Rosewood’s  “Sense of Place” philosophy  and delicious food too.

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Holistc wellness expert Steve Harvey flanked by chef coupleNoon and Yai.
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Review: TALAIVA

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It’s not just about the Talaibagh (read Talaiva) palace food here. It’s about drinking…..dining,,,,,and dancing!  Disco lights, DJ music and entertainment in the nights (I went back a second night only to check this and Talaiva was packed). Plenty of innovative cocktails too.

Read my full review on whatshot.in

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Talaiva’s Rajasthani and continental fare.

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BREAKING FOODIE NEWS

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Foodies please note, a few weeks ago, the prestigious Michelin guide has made its entry into Bangkok. And while Im here Im determined to eat my way through the Michelin starred restaurants. Starting at the very top two-starred Michelin and right up to the street food Jay Fei who has been conferred a Michelin star.

 

FRENCH FINESSE

Dish after dish has visual and gustatory starbursts. And wow! there is vegetarian caviar too, sublime in taste and texture: a vegetarian’s dream come true. Here  the brilliant chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier dazzles.  

My sparkling starry meals in Bangkok begin  at the legendary epitome of French fine dining, the best  in Thailand (since 1958) Le Normandie. It is truly a connoisseur’s fantasy of splendid cuisine, impeccable service and elegant ambiance.

The tiny gem like amuse bouches implode with flavour and texture. I love the fact that the distinction of many dishes is a judicious intricacy, the strength of others is their focus: how intensely they taste of their central ingredient, like the seabass. And the airy and light Grand Marnier mousse is easily the best in Thailand. It elevates my Michelin starred meal even higher. From the starred French fine dine I go to my other favorites, the British High tea and the Thai Restaurant in the 141 year old historic Mandarin Oriental, But before I do that I request the chef for the recipe of the  vegetarian caviar.He sets it in an empty caviar tin. If you cant find one, then any small tin will do. You need cauliflower, spring onion, veg gelatin and a little mayonnaise. No quantities are being given as it depends on the size of the tins you use to set it.Peel the extremity of the cauliflower then chopped finely. Blanched for 1min then refresh in ice bath.

Mix with the chopped truffle ( if not available, use mushrooms), sliced spring onion. Let mixture macerate for 4hrs.

Make the jelly with

cauliflower

and veget gelatin

Roast the cauliflwer until brown color then add water to cover it. Cooked for 2 hrs.

Pass the liquid through a cloth then put the gelatin

Put the cauliflwer couscous inside the box then cover with the jelly.Let it set and finish with some mayonnaise

BRITISH HIGH TEA

It is here in it’s  elegant and historic “Authors Lounge” that I sip (literally too) over a century of legendary literary history.   I enjoy the classic British High tea. It is here, in Le Grand Dame  that the world renowned authors (Somerset Maughm, Noel Coward ) have lived and immortalised it. Dapper dynamic Australian Gregg Lidell who continues to helm this landmark orchestrates everything to perfection, everhelpful  Karn Puntohong epitomises best of Thai hospitality. It is here, that the very gifted Patisseur  Christophe Sapy constructs (the only suitable word for his amazing work) cakes. Each one a work of art. And his pastries seduce, 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.

And oh! That amazing sourdough bread, freshlybaked and crusty on the exterior and soft and warm inside has me asking for more. The gifted young Danierl Texter not only takes me to the amazing treasure trove of freshly baked bread, cakes and pastries but also shares the recipe of an easy to make bread at home. Should you need it, please email me rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com

HIGH ON THAI

It is here too, that Bangkok’s finest Thai restaurant beckons. Time is standing still as I gently glide down the gleaming “River of Kings”. We do so in a beautiful wooden-carved long tail boat. At the other end of the bank  Sala Rim Nam, an exquisite restaurant serving authentic Thai food awaits me. But that is yet another story. A delicious one too!

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At Michelin starred Le Normandie Chef Arnaud and karn Puntohong and the vegetarian caviar.

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Give us this day our daily bread: Chef Daniel Texter.
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The art and craft of cake making: chef Christophe Sapy.

MEMORABLE MICHELIN MAGIC

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My sparkling starry meals in Bangkok begin at the top. Michelin guide’s inaugural foray into Bangkok has conferred two stars, fittingly enough on the legendary epitome of French fine dining, the best  in Thailand (since 1958) Le Normandie.  Perched in the 141 year old historic Mandarin Oriental, it is a connoisseur’s fantasy of splendid cuisine, impeccable service and elegant ambiance. Here  the brilliant chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier dazzles. Dapper dynamic Australian Gregg Lidell who helms this landmark orchestrates everything to perfection, everhelpful  Karn Puntohong epitomises best of Thai hospitality. . Musical, gastronomic metaphors morph seamlessly into delicious melodies here. From French fine dine, I now go to the streetfood vendor Jay Fay  who has been awarded a Michelin star. Starry starry night!

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Feasting on masterpieces with Arnaud Dunand Sauthier  Gregg Lidell and Karn Puntohong.

Review: O PEDRO

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How do you distil the spirit of Goa (in the midst of BKC’s  steel and glass buildings), without resorting to tired, overcute clichés? O Pedro rocks seamlessly from  being relaxed at lunches and brunches and buzzing at night.

Read my full review on whatshot.in

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Super fun at O Pedro with Dr Jamuna Pai and Suchi Kalia.

Review: FLYP@MTVcafe

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Gorge. Gulp. Groove. That’s the theme tune of this concept cafe which has come to Mumbai via Delhi and Chennai. Go to soak in the madness of MTV.

Read my entire article on: whatshot.in

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Rocking at FLYP@MTVcafe with  Saahil and Rouble Nagi.

ONCE IN A LIFETIME RECIPE

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It happens only once  in a lifetime.  All my senses are getting pampered.  And how! Im seeing the most delicious dish being cooked by the lovable legend  84 year young Asha Bhosle AND  Im hearing her sing at the same time. And as though this wasn’t bliss enough, I get to touch and then taste the  “Chingdi chaap  “  Its made to the famed  RD Burman’s recipe and it gets even more exciting when Asha ji shares that recipe with me.  Her mellifluous honeyed voice sparkles the kitchen in her iconic Dubai restaurant.   Almost fifteen years ago, I’d watched her cook in her Mumbai home kitchen when  she’d shared her invaluable recipes for my cookbook. I was blown away by her gusto and passion and consummate cooking prowess. How does she stay forever young and exuberant? I got the answer when I tasted the new menu. She tunes in with the times, evolving herself and remaining contemporary and flexible. So while I tasted the classical biryani and chingdi chaap ( RD Burman ‘s recipe) I also tripped out on her brand new barrah lamb chops paired with carrot coconut cream, fried fish with avocado cream and baby chicken with bok choy and makhani sauce, all deliciously made by the brilliant young chef Bobby Retnakumar Geetha. With us is Asha ji s amazing and talented family and also one of the chiefs of Mashreq bank Richa Madan who not only sings well but also cooks equally well. And needless to add is a big fan of Asha ji.

 All this was in her elegant flagship Dubai restaurant. The gorgeous singing legend’s award-winning culinary destinations  transcend cultures and cross continents and  are now in 13 locations in The UK and in the Gulf. Asha ji  personally oversees the work of the restaurants’ spice master to ensure the essence of her culinary philosophy is imprinted in every kitchen, and in the experience of every diner.

But, of course, what she is best known for is her singing. She has sung more than 20,000 songs in eighteen languages, and has been showered with national and international awards.

BIRTH OF A GOURMET CHEF

‘I started cooking when I was ten years old,’ Asha explains in her soft, melodious voice. ‘My mother never used to cook, but I really learnt a lot when I had to cook for my father’s shradh . . . puranpoli, kheer, bhajiyas.’ Asha’s father, Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar, taught her singing and coincidentally, Asha sang her first song ‘Bolte chala chal nava bala’ at the same age as she learnt to cook. Born in  Sangli,  when they moved to Bombay, Asha led a rigorous and hard life, leaving home at six in the morning and recording till the wee hours. All this seems to have only made her stronger.‘Mera vishwas hai that you must have will power,’ she asserts. ‘I used to love playing gulli danda on the streets and could play all day.’ She also used to borrow a lot of books from a library near the Dadar station, stay awake reading in lamp light and return them the next day.  Till today she has retained her curiosity and wonder of the world around her. Her interest in cooking has much to do with this.

So fabulous is her cooking that Randhir Kapoor had once joked to her “aapke gaane se aapka khaana accha hai”. Her enterprising and dynamic  son,  the driving force of her restaurants, Anand sums it up in one sentence: ‘The world has lost a chef to a singer.’ To which I wanted to tell him, ‘But you have both, you lucky guys!’

 

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ASHA & R D BURMAN CHINGDI CHAAP.

THE LEGENDARY RECIPE

CHINGDI CHAAP

Ingredients
200 grams Prawns (tails on headless)

100grams Panko bread crumbs

1 grams sakura cress ( optional for garnishing)

2 grams coriander chopped

2 grams chili powder Kashmiri

10 ml lemon juice (bottle)

10 grams salt iodized

10 grams heirloom tomatoes (for garnishing)

25 grams ginger

25 grams garlic

30 grams kohlrabi salad (for garnishing)

30 grams red onion

1 raw egg

 

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Method:

Ø     Remove the shell of the prawns keeping the tail on and clean in chilled water.

Ø     Marinate the prawns for at least 3-4 hours before use.

Ø     Using a blender, make a paste of onion, garlic, ginger, lemon juice. Add chili powder, salt and coriander chopped.

Ø     In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg and add it with the onion & garlic mixture.

Ø     Crumb the prawns, deep fryer it for at least 5-7 minutes with a temperature of 350 degree.

Ø     Remove from the fryer; drain the excess oil using a paper towel tap slowly.

Ø     Garnish with Kohlrabi salad, Heirloom tomatoes & sakuracress

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ASHA BHOSLE DAZZLES.
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ASHAJI FLANKED BY ANAND BHOSLE, CHEF BOBBY GEETHA AND SUSAN POTTER.
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ASHA BHOSLE FEEDING RICHA MADAN.

GARMAGARAM NEWS

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Hot news. Last week,  I was lucky enough to get a taste of the delicious new offering by  the father of modern Sri Lankan cuisine, Dharshan Munidasa  and the stunningly beautiful Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez.Sure it’s name “Kaema Sutra” harks back to “kama Sutra’ our very own bible of all things sensory  and for sure this restaurant experience pampers all the senses too. However,  Kaema  is the Sinhala word  for food and “Sutra” the Sanskrit word for the study of an art or ideology. And happily (for us) this is Chef Dharshan’s own philosophy. It seduces… be it the porksicle or “what the hopper”

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Jacqueline Fernandez and Dharshan Munidasa at sizzle at Kaema Sutra.

Review: CHERON CAFÉ

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I love the fact that Cheron Cafe, a small, cheery, open through the day café is the result of four decades of a family’s passion.

Read my Full Review on whatshot.in

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At Cheron café: Eating and instagramming with Namrata Jaykrishna and Prarthana Desai .