Restaurant Review

Review: British Brewing Company

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I went to this sprawling Phoenix Mills “British Brewing company” expecting a raucous pub (which it is) a dimly lit bar (which it has) but here’s the surprise “it’s a family restaurant”. And children are not only allowed in “British Brewing company” but welcomed.

Read my detailed review on timescity.com

South Indians Sparkle

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Stop press. Our very own Keralaites are making international headlines. They are being applauded and awarded. Celebrated and feted. I must confess that though I’m a North Indian, I’ve always had a big fat soft corner for South Indians and South India. It was during my tenure in the Indian Revenue Service (I resigned as commissioner of tax after working for 15 years) that I got to know South Indians closely. And since then have been a fan. So it is with great delight and pride that I write about the  three superstars…

2 MICHELIN STARS IN SAN FRANCISCO

He’s the only Indian chef in the world to receive two Michelin stars. Soft spoken, brilliant Keralite Chef Srijith Gopinathan grew up being influenced by his grandmothers cooking and the exotic spices in his Kerala home’s  backyard. From the perfumed kitchen of his family to culinary school and then working with  Raymond Blanc, the genius of cuisine in London gave Srijith a huge headstart.  For six years in a row, Chef Srijith earned a\Michelin star and it was just recently that he got the highly coveted two stars.

I had his most mindblowingoriginal Californian-Indian masterpieces in San Francisco’smost prominent century old, award-winning landmark hotel restaurant located in Campton Place, the throbbing heart of this beautiful city. Helmed by the dynamic and charming AshrafiMatcheswala who never ceases to amaze me with her prowess in hospitality but also as an award winning marathoner. It was with the two of them that I not only tripped out on an amazing dinner but also learnt more about the  Dungness crabs, famous over here. Infact Chef Srijith has shared his fabulous recipes of “Crab and peaches” but space constraint prevents me from including it here. Should you need it please mail, tweet or instagam @rashmiudaysingh

COOKING UP HISTORY IN NEW YORK

Making waves in New york city and getting rave reviews for his brand new Perineis  executive chef AshferBiju. This brilliant and friendly Keralite chef heads up NYC’s  85 year old iconic landmark which keeps reinventing itself.  Escoffier, the King of French chefs (and codifier of French cuisine,) did all the initial menus  at this magnificent  stately Pierre. Today,  AshferBiju is making history again. To bring back the era of celebration of food and dinind, he researched menus and recipes from 1930s 40s and 50s (when Pierre had opened its doors to public.  He found dishes / recipes that are classic which fell into three categories – New York Classic, French Classic & Pierre Classic – with several overlaps. While some classics are retained with its original recipe,  other dishes are made relevant using local produce from Upstate New York and Long Island.Interestingly there is a spice thread which runs through the menu and pays tribute to “The Pierre Grill” one of the first (or the first) fine dining Indian restaurant that existed at the hotel in 1950s. I not only taste history here but have many an amazing meal withJoint-degree holder from  the finest in America and France, the great wit and dynamo Francois Olivier Luigi. He helms this exquisite icon  andnot only ensures that it  retains it’s historic grandeur (handpainted murals et al) but also rocks ahead youthfully. Chef AshferBiju and Michael Mignano  share many a superb recipe with us, should you need it please mail, instagram or tweet @rashmiudaysingh

GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK AWARD WINNER

“Best Indian cookbook in the world” is her most recent award given by the numero uno Edourard Cointreau of the highly prestigious and coveted Gourmand World cookbook awards. These awards are the worlds most respected and sought after, global culinary awards. Nimi Sunil Kumar, Our very own Conoor resident, was given this honor in China recently.  She is a  highly accomplished author/culinary teacher/freelance writer / food photographer and a part time food blogger/ dietitian.  It is for her third cookbook “4 o’clock temptations of kerala” that she won the title “Best Indian cookbook in the world ” (209 countries competed for it)

She has written three books on authentic Kerala cooking. “Lip smacking dishes of Kerala”.The book bagged the third place for the “Best Local Cuisine Book in the world” in Beijing in 2014. She started “Nimi’s Lip Smacking Classes” in Jan 2012 for foreigners and for these is listed on international websites and books and has received many a certificate of excellence.

Congratulations to all three. You do not just South India but also India proud! Jai ho.

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GLOBAL AWARD WINNERS: Chef Srijith Gopinathan and Ashrafi Matcheswala ( Sanfrancisco, by the sea ). 2) chef Ashfer Biju and Francois Olivier Luigi ( NYC) 3) Edouard Cointreau awarding Nimi Sunil Kumar in Beijing.

A taste of history

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Making sweet history…Chris Ford and Audrey Slade.

I am tasting  a historic sweet union …France’s favorite cookie (the macaron) is being married to America’s favorite Oreo. The result? A sublime Oreo macaron.And presiding over the nuptials is the brilliant patisseur chef Chris Ford.  Pretty-in-pink  is yet another masterpiece of his. He is creating sweet history in  the magnificent  Pretty  woman hotel, which is the glamorous repository of  Hollywood history.  Beverly Wilshire opened in 1928 on the site  of the deserted Beverly Auto Speedway ( and now it faces Rodeo Drive, the glamor drenched shopping boulevard to the world). As Audrey Slade, who combines beauty and brains, explains, the pool is modeled after Sophia Loren’s private villa in Italy, Elvis Presley, Warren Beatte lived here for long periods. And even now this is where not just Hollywood but even Bollywood (Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra et al)  lives and dines. Glamorous history keeps repeating itself!

Review: The American Joint

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Caution: do not get misled by the name. This brand new American Joint ain’t got no steaks or burgers et al. It is in fact, (hold your breath) pure vegetarian and focuses on Jain food.

Read my detailed review on timescity.com

Review: Havana Cafe & Bar

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Are you excited by food? By travel? Does the very name “Havana café” propel you to come rushing to it in Colaba, in the hope of being transported to Cuba? It had that effect on us, we rushed here but alas! The food was anything but Cuban. But boy! Was I transported? Not to Cuba but to the most undiscovered gems in India.

Read my detailed review on timescity.com

New. Newer. Newest.

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NYC news: Chef Ashfer Biju, Geoffrey Drummond and Francois Luigi.

I write from Paradise. Why else would it be called “The Big Apple”? Here, in this adrenalin-fueled New York city,  keeping tabs on all that is new is like jogging on quicksand. But here’s some brand new news from  New york city’s 85 year old iconic landmark which keeps reinventing itself.  Escoffier, the King of French chefs (and codifier of French cuisine,) did all the initial menus  at this magnificent  stately Pierre. Today,  the brilliant young Keralite chef Ashfer Biju is making history again. He is reimagining classics with a fresh modern seasonal perspective.  Can the American classic of Crab Imperial be immensely pleasurable on Naan?  We re convinced it is as we do a preview lunch in The Perrine with America’s most brilliant award-winning Food TV producer Geoffrey Drummond ( renowned for his shows with Julia Child to Eric Ripert,). Joint-degree holder from finest in America and France, the dynamic Francois Olivier Luigi who helms this exquisite icon not only ensures that it  retains it’s historic grandeur (hand painted murals et al) but also rocks ahead youthfully.

Review: 1441 Pizzeria

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I write my review (about South Mumbai’s newest pizzeria) from New York, the city of  some great pizzas.

Read my detailed review on timescity.com

France’s best kept secret

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Michelin starred Maestro Chef Arnaud Faye, Cyril Akimowicz and Lucie Rousseau.
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World famous Chantilly cream

I’m excited. I’m learning at a very fast pace. I’m also luxuriating in all the deliciousness of the experience. I’m in France, my most favorite country and that too in Picardy (where France was born), right next to Paris. I have so much to share and a space constraint, so am going to serve you, small DID U KNOW bites.

DID YOU KNOW…FRANCE WAS BORN IN PICARDY? And this in 486 when Clovis made Soissons the first capital of the Franks, in 486, and later Hugues Capet, was elected king of France at Senlis and crowned at Noyon in 987.

So you see how  this past makes Picardy the original French region?

DID U KNOW…  WORLD-FAMOUS CREAM CHANTILLY WAS INVENTED IN THE 17TH CENTURY ?  The bowl of cream you see in the photograph is no ordinary cream, it’s the stuff dreams are made of. It’s velvety, it’s silky, its Chantilly. It takes it’s name from the domaine of Chantilly  which is part of the regionof Picardy. I not only get a delicious taste of the crème Chantilly in it’s birthplace but also watch it being whipped into the magical snow that it is. It was first created herein the royal banquets centuries ago by the famous ood maestro Vatel. Its in  the picturesque cottage-like Restaurant du Hameau (in the grounds of the castle) that I taste the authentic version.  Along with Olivier and Lucie not only do we eat up the creme Chantilly (with strawberries) but I also go back In a horse carriage (this is the equestrian capital of France) and in the luxurious yet cozy  Auberge du jeu de Paume hotel’s spa, actually have a chantilly cream massage. This is what I call, “having my cream and eating it too” . it sure is the world’s  crème de la crème!

DID YOU KNOW… THIS FAIRY TALE LAND IS NEXT TO THE PARIS AIRPORT?

Not only is Picardy a fabulous fairy tale region but (hold your breath)  it is located twenty minutes away from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. It’s also within one of the largest most beautiful forests of the Paris region. Im just about getting over these pleasant surprises,  when like in a fairy tale, the Chantilly castle  seems to rise out of the tranquil lake. I zip through it’s finest French collection of ancient masterpieces, (second only to the Louvre) Picardy has carefully preserved the elements of true French lifestyle – medieval châteaux, typical French villages, spectacular seaside resorts, gourmet food, stunning cathedrals, cultural treasures, champagne routes, romantic gardens, and not to forget a certain French art de vivre…

From taking a boat ride on the Floating Gardens, to riding  Europe’s most sensational roller coasters at Park Asterix, I do it all

DID YOU KNOW … DESI FOOD PAIRS WITH FRENCH CHAMPAGNE ?

More suprises…not only does French champagne pair brilliantly with Indian food, but I do an actual tasting of both together. And that too in the historic, medieval cellar of Champagne Pannier. Even though Ive done a lot of TV shoots for my show in the Champagne region I had no idea that the Champagne Tourist Route runs through the Picardy region. A walk through with the champagne expert in the Pannier medieval underground cellar is an amazing trip into history. The guided tasting of the exquisite champagnes is equally amazing. But what blows my mind  is how the French not only pair their precious champagne with Indian kababs and curries but also make an effort to do so for us Indian visitors.  And this premium champagne is served in the l’Elysée Palace (French President’s house) and Air France Business Class too.

MICHELIN MASTERPIECES

Over centuries, Art in every form  has been nurtured in Picardy by kings and queens and llustrious families. Creative geniuses have from Vatel, organiser of extravagant banquets for Louis XIV, to Le Nôtre, creator of magnificent French-style gardens have been celebrated here. Continuing this noble tradition the elegant luxury hotel,  Auberge du Jeu de Paume,  keeps the flame of this tradition burning with its gourmet restaurant, Michelin starred La Table du Connétable.

Arnaud Faye honed his skills under the superstars of gasronomy fromMichel Roth at the Ritz, Thierry Marx at the Mandarin Oriental and is now a superstar himself. He serves up a mix of innovative ideas and revamped classics, celebrating terroir ingredients and traditional know-how.  From Adour salmon façon Bearnaise to crispy ravioli stuffed with green peas.Each dish is a masterpiece. Picardy pampers in every way.

Review: Craft Bistro, Deli, Bar

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Mumbai’s SOBO European-gastro-cool comes to the Eastern suburbs. I ate at here twice. Quite recently, when I went back  Craft had mastered it’s craft.

Read my detailed review on timescity.com