It’s a starry superstarry night in magical Macau. Here, at the prestigious Asian Oscars of gastronomy Indians and Indian cuisine is shining as our very own Gaggan Anand’s restaurant is crowned Asias best in fourth consecutive year. Asias 50 best restaurant awards are flagged off under the star spangled sky as culinary superstars mingle amid a feast for the senses by the poolside of the super luxurious Wynn Palace.
The Minister of Tourism, Celebrated chefs, restaurateurs and industry VIPs are in attendance. Asia’s 50 best restaurants in it’s sixth edition this year continues to grow in influence and magnetizes the best. Japan has the highest number of restaurants on the list (11), followed by Hong Kong and Thailand (9 each.)
ON YOUR REQUEST…SUPERSTAR’S RECIPES
Over the years, I’ve been receiving many a reader request for recipes from these superstars. Each one generously shares his. I serve them to you with a delicious scoop of news on each restaurant.
ASIAS BEST RESTAURANT..GAGGAN
“Lick it up” is genius Gaggan’s latest innovation which has already become an icon. The dish is designed to be ‘licked up’ directly from the plate. Constant creative evolution, soulfulness of Indian street food delivered through hyper-modern cooking techniques in a delicious way marks all his 25-courses.
10 g curry leaves 1 gm hing or asafetida 20 gm sesame seeds (black or white) 20 gm urad dal
20 g Channa dal 20 g rice 50 g red chilly of ur choice
Roast all ingredients and rough grind them.
Fish with Curry Infusion
100 g x 4 pcs fish any choice 50 g red onions, finely chopped
25 g ginger, sliced 25 g curry leaves 15 g green chili 15 g turmeric powder 50 g coconut oil, salt to taste .
- Portion filleted fish into 100 g each.
- Heat up the coconut oil, add curry leaves, red onions, ginger until fragrant.
- Roast for 2 minutes, add turmeric powder and chili
- Season with black salt and sugar.
- Blend mixture in blender and chill on an ice bath.
- Marinate the fillets with the curry infusion .
- Steam the fish with marinate
Take 50% cooked rice and 50% coconut milk blend. Place like a small coin in centre.Place fish in centre.
INDIAS BEST RESTAURANT
New Delhi, New York and now London… “Indian Accent” outposts continue to magnetise loyal fan followings. Leading the way, Manish Mehrotra has put modern Indian food on the gastronomic map. Contemporary food with an ‘Indian accent be it galautis stuffed with foie gras. Or pulled pork phulka tacos dazzle with their flavour and texture.
Tandoori Pineapple, summer shahtoot,Jaggery Glaze
I Pineapple / 2 tsp Demerara sugar/ 2 tsp butter/ I tbsp. jiggery/ 1 tsp fennel seeds/
2 Star anise/ 2tsp roasted sliced almonds
- Clean and slice pineapple. Into ½ inch slices.
- Brush with butter and dust with demerara sugar
- Put on the skewers and cook in tandoor or oven till edges are charred.
- MeanwhileHeat Jaggery, Fennel Seeds, &star anise in a pan with 4tbsp of water & cook to a thick syrup. Strain. Cool.
- Add fresh shahtoot (mulberry) to syrup. Toss gently.
- Arrange charred pineapple on a plate and drizzle sugar coated shahtoot on top
- Garnish with sliced almonds.
SRI LANKA’S BEST RESTAURANT
Chef Dharshan Munidasa has single handedly put Srilanka on the world gourmet map. And he is the only chef who has two restaurants featuring on the 50 best list. Set in a preserved 400-year-old Dutch hospital in Colombo “Ministry of Crab” is a Crab lovers paradise. His Japanese “NihonBashi” continues to be on the list.
Garlic Chili Crab
Ingredients – 500g meaty crab
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil/1/2 cup chopped onion/1/4 cup chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chilli flakes /1 tablespoon soy sauce /1 cup chicken stock
In a skillet throw in oil, onion, garlic and clean crab. Add chicken stock. Cook for 8 minutes. Add chilli flakes, cook for 2 minutes. Splash soy sauce and plate up.
Competing with the Japanese restaurants of Japan and still holding it’s own is a matter of pride for us. I refer to Wasabi by Morimoto. What
sets this fine dine Japanese restaurant apart from the others is the amazingly creative and fabulous vegetarian menu. Ofcourse, the gifted chef Sachin Poojary and executive chef Amit Chowdhary ensure that the exquisite non vegetarian dishes are as impeccable as ever. This Japanese salad dressing has My favorite past 14 years…
Soy onion salad dressing:
1- Onion – 8nos/ Soy – 400ml/ Mirin- 76ml/ Rice Vinegar- 200 ml/ Grape seed oil -200ml/ Sesame Oil- 100ml/ Mustard Paste – 16gm / Sugar 26gm/ Black Pepper – 1/4 TSP
Fine chop onion/ In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients except the grapeseed oil. / Mix ingredients well and slowly whisk in the grapeseed oil.store in fridge. Toss into salad when ready to serve.
DYNAMIC DREAM TEAM
Driving these awards and making them into high-octane international influential forces ( in gastronomy and tourism) is the London based dynamic dream team. Helming and driving the awards Charles Reed, Helene Pietrini, Tim Brooke Webb, William Drew Tiago Restani, Laura Price, Rikki Muddie Emer Schlosser Giulia Sgarbi, Rula Danias and Kate Cheverton. and I shoot their photo post awards..under the stars of course!
Indian cuisine and our very own Indian Gaggan Anand are blazing global headlines. Again. Here in magical Macao, at the prestigious Oscars of gastronomy, Asia’s 50 best, the air is crackling with excitement and every square inch is bristling with culinary star power. For the fourth year in a row Gaggan’s Bangkok based restaurant is crowned “Asia’s best” and “Thailand’s best’. “India’s best restaurant continues to be Chef Manish Mehtrotra’s Delhi based “Indian Accent” which shot up to no.19. Chef Sachin Poojary received the award for. Mumbai’s Wasabi. Srilanka’s best restaurant continues to be Multi-talented Chef Dharshan Munidasa’s “Ministry of crab” and he single handedly has put Sri Lanka on the world gourmet map, as his Nihon Bashi is in the list too. Japan has the highest number of restaurants on the list (11), followed by Hong Kong and Thailand (9 each.)
For the past six years, Asia’s 50 best been a mega force and credible guide to global gastronomy and to gastro-tourism. It is helmed by the dynamic Charles Reed and powered by the dream team of TimBrooke Webb, Helene Pietrini and William Drew.
Im feasting on the intense three day celebrations, awards, talks and dinners and great restaurants too. Obviously, this over the top Macau is not just for high-rolling gambling but also high gastronomy.
Happy news! There’s a new Keralite in Khar. Sandeep Sreedharan engineer and MBA turned chef restaurateur, fuelled by passion has set up Curry Tales and has plans to set up many more.
Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times.
Food and health…I’ve been researching that exciting connection for several decades. Here in Hong Kong, I’m 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.
Kashmiri houseboats floating in a tiny artificial “lake”? An air conditioned one too. Picturesque and detailed, these are open only for dinner and come alive with fairy lights et al. In the afternoon, you get the same menu in the gleaming, small, handsome, marbled first floor restaurant.
Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times!
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.
This is the ultimate. It doesn’t get any better than this. Dining with nature, in nature, around nature gets redefined here. It’s a nature lovers gourmet paradise… and Im in seventh heaven. Sea, trees, forest, cave, stars…the worlds most unique dining experiences here. This Paradise is actually located on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood – just one hour by private cessna plane flight south-east of Bangkok. Lers begin with the stars…
ASTRONOMY WEDS GASTRONOMY
Im tasting stars! Here in this remote and sensationally beautiful Thai island, many a magnificent dinner based on cosmic cycles and Biodynamic viticulture is redefining gastronomy. Do you see the huge telescope in the photograph? visiting astronomer and well-known scientist, Dr. Massimo Tarenghi used it to explain the relationship between the Cosmic/Lunar cycles and the pattern of water, earth, air and fire on our planet. Brilliant chef Kengo Tomita’ creates food to match these rhythmic cycles and the knowledgable beverage maestro Melroy Fernandes pairs it with unique biodyanamic and organic wines. As we dine on the lunar deck, time stands still in this magnificent back to nature Soneva Kiri surrounded by the shimmering Andaman sea. Love their philosophy of S.L.O.W.( Sustainable Local Organic and Wellness) life. And blazing global trails are the golden earted super achieverts Sonu and Eva Shivdasani. Their concept of intelligent luxury dazzles. It recognises the ability for luxury holiday making and care for the environment to co-exist with perfect ease. And here, its not just about serving up delicious experiences but also educating about the philosophy of Bio-dynamism and Sustainability. From identifying a marriage of food and constitution, counting the moons of Jupiter and peering at the graceful halo of Saturn’s translucent ring and dining accordingly… And my learning continues!
This unique Treepod Dining experience takes fine dining to new heights. Comfortably seated in a bamboo pod, we are gently hoisted high up into the tropical foliage of Koh Kood’s ancient rainforest. Along with the forever helpful Manjit Ghosh and creative chef Kengo, we gaze out across the boulder covered shoreline dancing with gentle waves, and we savour gourmet delights. And guess how these are delivered to us? Via the zip-line acrobatics of our personal waiter.
Ooh I love Picnics. And on a speedboat in the sparkling blue Waters of the Andaman sea it takes on a whole new flavour. Organic picnic lunch and refreshing juices et al. Can also rise and shine to a luxurious boat ride around the cove to view the spectacular sunrise breakfast of fresh breads, fruits, meats, cheeses and freshly brewed coffee too.
MUSHROOM CAVE LUNCH
Mushroom lovers (count me in ) this is your paradise. Unique private dining experience for specially designed around the resort-grown mushrooms. Dining in that beautifull silent mysterious cave while chef Kengo served up his masterpieces is an unrivalled treat..
The main dish is prepared in front of me and health and wellness benefits of mushrooms also explained.
P.S. Other than these unique dining experiences in nature…two other passions of mine are served up. Yoga and the finest chocolates.
My other favorite four letter word is yoga. This is my first flyingyoga session whuch I learn from dr Dinesh Singh after he does a clinical bioimpedence test and advises puriti. Juices. Liquids and an energising meditation work. And no! its not about denial If this isn’t paradise what is? Would you believe this? A chocobloc with premium chocolate room eat as much as you can AND totally free too. There is a “wall of ice cream” in a custom built glass freezer with over 60 flavors from the indulgent classics to the more adventurous. And the finest wines, rare spirits too… I do an educational and fun tasting with maestro Melroy Fernandes …but that’s another story.
It’s a mystery. Why does Mumbai have such few Thai restaurants? And this inspite of the fact that we (most of us atleast) get high on Thai (food ofcourse and massages too). So at the end of last year when Nariman Point started bristling with the sweet heat of Thailand and Izaya opened it was time to rejoice.
Read my full review on whatshot.in
Im on a revisit here. After a fortnight of shooting my TV show (several years ago, for ET Now) in France it was only this stunningly beautiful historic chateau in Epernay that magnetised me back again.
And since I’d already shot at the Michelin starred restaurant here, this time I dine at the resolutely modern setting of the brasserie Le Jardin which dazzles. It is a true emotional break for two Michelin starred Philippe Mille, here he plays the childhood memories card to our delight, casseroles, fancy combinations and the taste of superb local produce accompanied ofcourse by fine champagnes. Along with the charming knowledgable locals Edwige, Romain and Camille we raise a toast in the region of Champagne with champagne to the dynamic owner and many generations of Laurent Gardinier’s family who ensure that Domaine LesCrayeres continues to ooze French charm and character.