india

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

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At the heartwarming PLENTY with my foodie blind dates Namrata and Sapna Bajaj.
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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

 

 

 

 

“To India with love”

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“To India with love” …Lara and Massimo Bottura

 

BREAKING NEWS

In Mumbai. On a whirlwind three day trip. Internationally celebrated as the worlds finest,  highly awarded, three Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura is in town. Not only is he the global leader of gastronomy but along with his vibrant wife is spearheading  social change, with their NGO “food for soul” (where, in London, I was privileged to volunteer as a waitress). Forever etched in my taste bud memory is my  five-hour, 15 course mind-blowing meal at Massimo’s Osteria Francescana in Italy where the genius’s thoughts became deliciously edible.

And now, it’s an exhilarating joy to give the lovable power couple a taste of Indian flavours and most of all to observe their responses and reactions. The sheer bliss on his face when the delicate fragrance of biryani at the finest Indian K and K seduced. Kerman Lalkaka, Chef Sunil Gadihoke had fittingly laid out a feast for an emperor.  Lara tripped out on the sweet tangy spicy pani puri in Pinky Dixit’s Soam. Hay strewn cacophonic Crawford market to the serene, stylish Ensemble

to the iconic Taj where chef Amit Chaudhari served up regional flavors. Prateek Sadhu and Aditi Duggar’s cutting edge Masque, Floyd Cardoz and Chef Zachariah’s Bombay Canteen delighted them.

“Indian food is an encyclopedia of overlapping landscapes, cultures, religions and people” says Massimo. “our small sampling has opened our eyes to a world of flavors… strong and delicate, powerful and submissive, fun and serious… Eating is the best way to learn!”

P.S. And even as you read this we will have lunched in Shree Thakker Bhojnalay and they will have landed back home in Italy.

Review: NARA THAI

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Thai

Bangkok,  Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong,  Sri Lanka and now  the Nara Thai chain comes to Mumbai. For some inexplicable reason there’s been a famine of Thai restaurants in Mumbai. So when the dapper, high-profile New age Bollywood producer  Atul Kasbekar, gourmand amongst gourmets, recommended Nara Thai (after his great meal there) we made a date, And wow! What a date

Read my entire review of NARA THAI on – https://whatshot.in/mumbai/nara-thai-impresses-with-this-luscious-thai-tea-crepe-cake-r-9860

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

 

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.

GASTRONOMY-KA HEAVEN

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Starry night with Indian culinary superstars, Manjit Singh Gill flanked by Gaggan, Sriram Aylur, Srijith Gopinathan and Ms Roser Torres, Manish mehrotra, Vineet Bhatia, Thomas Zachiaras.

India is shining. And how!  I’ve never seen such a full-on star cast of Indian chefs together. I write from the stunning seaside city of San Sebastian (which has the largest number of Michelin starred restaurants in the world). Fittingly enough the gigantic gourmet Gastronomika is taking place here. Eye-opening sessions, cooking demos with tastings, tours and more. And amid all this high-end gastronomy, India is the guest of honor. The dynamic director Roser Torres dons  a red salwar kameez especially to welcome  dream-team India. Our very own, worlds 7thb est, Asia’s best Gaggan Anand has flown in from Bangkok. What a cluster of Michelin stars:  Vineet Bhatia  (London), Sriram Aylur (London), Srijith Gopinathan (SanFrancisco). Saurabh Udinia  and Manish Mehrotra (New Delhi) and covering both North and South India  are Manjit Singh Gill and his dreamteam, And from Mumbai our very own chef Thomas Zachariah are making India proud. Jai hind!

Review: Kode

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Gutsy. Inspired. Innovative. Kaleidoscopic. Cutting edge. Quirky with quality… those are some of the ways to try and decode super achiever Zorawar Kalra’s “Kode”.

Read my complete review on: https://www.whatshot.in/mumbai/critics-review-zorawar-kalras-kode-gives-as-much-importance-to-the-bar-as-to-the-kitchen-r-9846

India Shining Globally

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GLOBAL POWER COUPLE. Mukesh and Vandana Luthra at COYA

The world is distilling itself on my plate. I write from Dubai, where Im dining at brand new Caribbean, Peruvian, Modern Indian and more. But it’s the India-shining factor which is dazzling me here.I dine (again)  at the finest Peruvian restaurant  in London and Dubai, Coya. Vibrant authentic Peruvian cuisine seduces. Here are the surprises,  not only is it owned by the Indian brothers Gulu and Arjun Waney, even  their executive  chef is Sanjay Dwivedi. Creating international waves too are my charming dining companions.  Global power couple, Mukesh and Vandana Luthra, pioneers of the wellness and beauty  industry. The globetrotting gourmets jetset between South Asia, Middle East, Africa, India and  Uk tending to their everexpanding company. No wonder Padmashree Vandana Luthra has been on the Forbes and Fortune list of the 50 most powerful women in business. Powering this global business, the dynamic Chairman Mukesh  shared the most amazing insights about global food too.

From ceviches sparkled with Peruvian chillies to raw fish hamachi with Kolkatta’s jhalmudi and that at the brand new, stunningly beautiful Jaan. Perched in the penthouse of a swish downtown hotel,  maestro Farokh Khambatta’s Jaan, is Dubai’s hottest opening. It dazzles with it’s tantalising  repertoire of progressive Indian creations. Yet another Indian is making global waves. Jai hind!