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REVIEW: PLENTY

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Comforting, quirky, cheerful. Nudged into cacophonic Fort, this two-levelled café is an oasis of calm.

Read my detailed review on whatshot.in

Plenty 2
At the heartwarming PLENTY with my foodie blind dates Namrata and Sapna Bajaj.
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SUPERSTARS’ YUMMY SUPERHIT

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Breaking foodie news. I am getting the very first taste of  the recipe for a  culinary Superhit! I just happened to be in Colombo and wow! am thrilling to brand new contemporary Srilankan flavors. In more ways than one. Srilankan beauty Bollywood superstar Jackie Fernandez and Srilankan culinary superstar Dharshan Munidasa  have just opened  “Kaema Sutra” in the swanky shimmering Shangrila.

Sure the name harks back to “kama Sutra’ our very own bible of all things sensory  and for ofcourse this restaurant experience pampers all the senses too. But, to put it in perspective,  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 definitive of Chef Dharshan’s own philosophy. He has fully understood the intricacies of Sri Lankan cuisine with its many regional and colonial influences, the abundant use of the island’s natural spices and ingredients and age-old cooking techniques. And then  he blends with his own masterful modern style to create authentic Sri Lankan cuisine with novel variations.

SRILANKA ON THE WORLD GOURMET MAP

Amazing! Srilanka, the tiny little jewel of an island  is on the world gourmet map all because of the brilliant, self taught  chef Dharshan Munidasa.  Two of his restaurants ( Nihon Bashi and Ministry of Crab) have been on Asia’s 50 best list and that’s an amazing feat. As regional jury chairperson of the Worlds 50 best and Asias 50 best restaurant academy Ive been thrilled to applaud him receiving these awards.

And now in Kaema Sutra, this genius “father of modern Srilankan cuisine” is all set to blaze trails. I love Srilanka as multi-ethnic and multi-religious as it is. And all this is religiously reflected in the cuisine. Whoa! What a magical mix… Sinhalese (predominantly Buddhist) and Tamils (primarily Hindu) Muslims  Malays and Chinese too. The Portugese and British colonisation further added several dimensions and layers to the cuisine here.

Dharshan has refined it  and put Sri Lankan fine dining on the international map firstly with his two star ingredients – tuna and crab. Nihonbashi and Ministry of Crab feature on every traveller’s to-do list.

And heres’ the amazing bit…he was drawn to cooking only when he was studying computer engineering and international relations at Johns Hopkins University. Since the food was atrocious, the half Japanese and half Srilankan started cooking himself.

And with his passion and genius he is now evolving Srilankan food. So at the stunningly beautiful  Kaema Sutra (with its alfresco seaview, located in the super luxurious Shangrila)  he creates refined versions of traditional Sri Lankan dishes.   From Porksicle, (pork spare rib wrapped in roti and Manioc Floss)  the  beloved lamprais  to “what the hopper” a decadent dessert of crunchy honey hopper.

The most traditional Ambul Thiyal, tuna curry which was cooked for hours is cooked on the table and just for seven minutes, using sashimi-grade tuna. Soft and juicy.I couldn’t resist requesting him to share the recipe…here it is

Chef Dharshan and Jacqueline
Superstars Jacqueline Fernandez and chef Dharshan Munidasa at “Kaema Sutra”
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Dharshan Munidasa, Savithri Rodrigo and Timothy Wright discuss Modern Srilankan cuisine.

 

 

Tuna Ambul Thial Recipe

Ingredients

150g of skinless tuna (no bones or blood lines) Cubed

5ml Sunflower Oil 

10g Garcinia Paste

10g Chopped Onion

5g Chopped Garlic

5g  Ginger Slivers

1 Sprig  Curry Leaves

1 inch  Cinnamon Stick

3 Pandan Leaves 

2 Cardamoms

2 Cloves

5g Salt

100ml water

 Method 

To a clay pot apply Sunflower oil and line with Pandan Leaves.

Place tuna in the pot. 

Mix Garcinia Paste, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Curry Leaves, Cinnamon Sticks, Cardamoms, Cloves and Salt with Water. 

Pour mixture onto the tuna. 

Close lid and cook on low flame for 10mins.

FOR THE BOX (2)
Tuna Ambul Thial

GOURMET SUPERSTAR

Would you believe this svelte and shapely beauty is as busy doing food tastings as she is shooting for multiple big banner films?  An equally passionate and dedicated foodie, the gorgeous Bollywood superstar,  Srilankan beauty and brilliant actress Jacqueline Fernandez takes time off to focus on food and restaurants. She makes time from  shoots and brand ambassador commitments  for high profile international brands to be partner in kaema Sutra.  She is also mall set to open her very own Thai restaurant with her best friend Mishali in Mumbai.

She loves cooking. She loves Srilankan hoppers and “milk rice” as well as muffins. She s learnt these from Kim, her gorgeous mother. And here’s the surprise… she loves muffins and bakes them regularly.

 JACKIE’S FAVORITE MUFFINS

1 cup spelt flour (gluten free ofcourse) 1 cup olive oil, 2 bananas, 1 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup Honey or raisins, 2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 cup husk (to bind instead of eggs). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Yum and healthy too!

A TASTE OF LITTLE ENGLAND

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It’s the cherry on the nostalgia cake. Literally too.  Im getting high on the Cherries Jubilee  dessert (in the foreground of the photo) invented  by the famed Auguste Escoffier for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations, in 1897. Tasting it here in the 137 year old spectacular Grand hotel, declared a ‘National Heritage Property’ of Srilanka is a treat. Old world Colonial charm infuses the magnificent Tudor building,  Victorian fire places, teak wood furniture, shimmering chandeliers  and many a traditional recipe is preserved here. High tech comforts and old world luxury fuses together. Tyrone David ensures I get a fascinating taste of the past. From the Scottish cock a leekie soup to the Cherries Jubilee. From taking a cooking class from Executive chef Priyantha Weersinghe to golfing in the 125 year neighbouring beautiful  golf course it’s a trip back in time. After all I’m in the cold and sunny “Little England” . That it is perched in Nuwaraeliya, in the mountains of Srilanka is another story.

FOR THE BOX (1)
Sweet history with Chef Priyantha and Tyrone David

REVIEW: THE BANDRA PROJECT by PIZZA EXPRESS

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This aint no chain “Pizza Express” . It’s bahut hyperlocal and thoda whimsical. Its “Bandra project by Pizza Express” and we enjoy it.

Read my full review on: https://www.whatshot.in/mumbai/critics-review-the-bandra-project-is-familiar-modern-nostalgic-and-musical-r-9874Bandra project 1

 

 

 

 

Review: Bake House Cafe

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Quirky, cheery décor (please see photo) in this Kala Ghoda Cafe meets Hollywood. Art work of famous Hollywood stars on the walls and chairs et al.  Wooden steps lead to a small mezzanine section.

Read my full review: https://whatshot.in/mumbai/critics-review-relish-burgers-sandwiches-and-more-comfort-food-at-this-kala-ghoda-cafe-r-9869

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At the brand new Bake House café: Trailblazer Sonu Shivdasani and Ranvir Bhandari (in the waistcoat).

Review: House of Mandarin

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Predictable Chinese fare. And for sure, predictable doesn’t have to mean disappointing. It can be comforting and reassuring provided it is cooked right.Read my review of House of Mandarin on https://whatshot.in/mumbai/critics-review-will-house-of-mandarin-become-your-new-go-to-for-chinese-r-9857

 

STAR STRUCK IN SPAIN

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for the box

I’m star-struck in Spain! From the sparkling with flavour and texture pintxos and other dishes to the superstar chefs I meet and dine with. From the legendary Juan Marie Arzak, the father of Modern Spanish cuisine to our very own Chef Vineet Bhatia who has just received a Michelin star. Even  the luxurious iconic century old San Sebastian  Hotel, named after Queen Maria Cristina is the superstar hotel of superstars. Not only was it a beloved of Liz Taylor, Bette Davis and others but even today  Ned Capeleris ensures that it magnetizes the best. Chef  Miguel Piniero distils delicious Spain on our plates. And somewhere through my gourmet  meal here,  I get to know that Shah Rukh Khan stayed and loved it  here too. Starry, starry Spain!

INDIAN SUPERSTARS WOW THE WORLD

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Stop press. I report from gastronomy’s seventh heaven…what else can a city be called when it has the second largest number of Michelin stars in the world?  And not only is this stunningly beautiful seaside city of San Sebastian  the nurturing ground for these awesomely brilliant chefs but (aptly enough) hosts the world famous food conference  Gastronomika.

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GASTRONOMY-KA FEAST

High-octane discussions and talks by leading chefs, real time tastings while the cooking is taking place,  cooking classes, pintxo tours and more. The chefs from the third and fourth best restaurants in the world (Joan Roca and Mauro Colagreco)  share their secrets. At the glittering launch event,  Juan Marie Arzak the father of modern Basque cuisine graced the occasion, Michel Bras was felicitated by the dynamic director Roser Torres (who sportingly wore an Indian salwar kameez).Also sharing their knowledge and experiences  were many an awesome international chef. And to top it all, our very own Indian chefs were the guests of honour.

Together, they served up a delicious overview which was mind-blowingly comprehensive and at the same time personalized. India’s thousand-year-old tradition and the latest avant-garde innovations glittered with equal intensity.

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FIRST TIME EVER…

First time ever. An Awesome star cast of  award winning Indian chefs from around the world got together. Ive attended many an international conference, but never has there been such a constellation of superstar Indian chefs.

Each one a maestro in his own right gave the world a taste of incredible India. Literally too.  Happily ive not only dined at each ones superb restaurants in London  Bangkok Delhi Chennai Mumbai and Sanfrancisco but also given them  our very own Times Food Awards and applauded them as chairperson of the Indian  subcontinent of  Asias50best  and Worlds50best  Restaurant academies. Each one dazzled through their presentations and cooking demonstrations held in the huge auditorium of the  sprawling and well-equipped Kursaal .

Crowned Asias best chef  three years in a row and  the worlds7th best, Gaggan Anand enthralled the audience as he shared his secrets and cooked up his Indian progressive magic. Presenting  the philosophy and diversity of our cuisine was Manjit Singh Gill.

,the treasure house of knowledge Ayurveda and cooking. From San Francisco, Michelin starred Quilon’s Srijith Gopinathan kept us fascinated with his presentation of “India de luxe” As did our other Michelin starred  chef Sriram Aylur of London’s Quilon on “Extreme spices of the South”. Yet another Michelin starred chef  Vineet Bhatia  of Indego ‘s fascinating presentation  on “harmony and complexity” was followed by the deliciously riveting one  of the only Indian restaurant (from India) on Asias 50 best list, Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent’s talk and demo on  “Indian emotional avant-garde”.

The secrets of the North: “Dum” cooking were wonderfully revealed by Dum Pukht’s  Gulam Quereshi.

Exotic flavors of the South were brilliantly presented by Praveen Anand of Daksin as was “Tandoor explosion” by  Bukhara’s J.P. Singh Bombay Canteen s  gifted Thomas Zacharias  presentation on  “Wild India”  was eye-opening. “European language, Indian feelings” was the fascinating subject of Masala Library s bright young chef Saurabh Udinia’s talk.Team incredible India received thunderous applause. Well deserved. Kudos.

 SINCERELY VEGETARIAN

Timoori Alu (1)
Through it all, we were delighted at how each and every chef cooked and served up atleast one dazzling vegetarian dish. From Manish Mehrotra’s chat patta chaat with a twist to Royal Vega’s Varun Mohan’s “Timoori aloo”  . The highlight  is that not only Varun  himself vegetarian but Royal Vega our only purely vegetarian pan Indian fine dine restaurant.  He shares with us the recipe he demonstrated in the Gastronomika.

RECIPE.. TIMOORI ALOO

 Serve: 4

½ kg              Baby Potato

2 cup              Greek yoghurt plain

Salt         To taste

½ tea spoon    Fresh lemon juice

1tea spoon      Green chilies paste

1 tea spoon     Ginger paste

½ tea spoon    Timoor freshly pounded (Himalayan Pepper)

½ tea spoon    Red Chili flakes

1 tea spoon     Cardamom powder

¼ tea spoon        Nutmeg powder

¼ tea spoon    Mace powder

1 cup              Cream

2 Table spoon Ghee

2 pieces   TejPatta

¼ tea spoon    Cumin seeds

½ cup    Onions, finely chopped

¼ tea spoon    Saffron, dissolve in a tea spoon of warm water

Preparation:

Wash, pat dry, prick cut potatoes into halves

Boil  with salt until  tender.

Drain and cool.

In a bowl add yogurt, lemon juice, ginger paste, green chili paste pounded timoor, red chili flakes, cardamom, nutmeg, mace powder, salt and cream, mix well.

 Marinate potatoes in this mixture. for 35 – 40 minutes.

On medium heat, in a heavy bottom pan, put ghee tejpatta, cumin, stir 30 seconds, saute onion.

Add marinated potatoes. Bring to boil, stir. Cover. reduce heat. cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle saffron. Serve.

 

 Arzak Family

P.S. Aptly enough, I was taken to lunch to KM.0 (hold your breath)   a pure vegetarian restaurant  by  Gemma Moliner and dream team. It served up delicious and amazing creations. And ofcourse I feasted on Michelin starred restaurants…what a line up…Arzak (Juan Marie Arzak and his daughter Elena Arzak thrill) Mugaritz, Akellare, Mirador de Ullia…Was dazzled by them. As by the Gastronomika and our very own team Incredible India.

Homebakers & Home-Caterers of 2017

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#Homebakers & #HomeCaterers, I am thrilled with the response! Here’s where you can taste the creations of some talented Home Bakers and Caterers. Do share your experience in the comments below and I will try your favourites and recommendations soon. Should you want to be listed here, write to me on rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com along with your menu, contact details, pictures & social media handles.

1. Kavita’s Delicasies

Company Name: Kavita’s Delicasies

Contact No: +91 8010878000

Website: http://www.kavitasdelicacies.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kavitas-Delicacies-510359442414381/

 

2. Chocasm

Company Name: Chocasm

Contact: +91 9820744934

Instagram: @Chocasm

 

3. Sugar Trail

Company Name: Sugar Trail

Contact No. : 9167068950

Website: http://www.sugartrail.in

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SugarTrailMumbai

 

4. My Yummy Spatula

Company Name: My Yummy Spatula

Contact: rajeshwari.kanodia2004@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/myyummyspatula