Review: IZAYA

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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

Izaya 1
At IZAYA with Globe trotting foodies: Gilli Nissim, Viveka Purandare, Romanch Dalal,Rishabh Sheth, Neil Ramchandani and Dhruv Uday Singh.  


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Happy surprise! Chef Aloo Aloysius Dsilva heads up the kitchen here.  I’d dined at and enjoyed his cooking at many of his earlier restaurants including the last Villa Vandre.

Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times!

Lady Baga
Film and food: At LADY BAGA Ashim Ahluwalia flanked by Trisha Bhattacharya, Nehal Vyas and Anu Rangachar. 

Review: KEIBA

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I took a deep breath. And let out a slow, soft whistle. Of admiration! That was my reaction on seeing Mumbai’s latest new Asian beauty that has galloped into Mahalaxmi race course.

Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times!

Beautiful Asian beauty gallops into Mahalaxmi Race course: Keiba.


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For sure, Mumbai needs more regional cuisine restaurants. We welcome the enterprising  Shayna Shetty and her cousin Prakash Rai’s Mangalorean eatery which serves up  moderately priced Mangalorean fare.

Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times!

Ferry Wharf
Mangalorean delights (sampler wooden platter et al) at Shayna Shetty’s Ferry Wharf.


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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.


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”
Dharshan Munidasa, Savithri Rodrigo and Timothy Wright discuss Modern Srilankan cuisine.



Tuna Ambul Thial Recipe


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


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.

Tuna Ambul Thial


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.


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!


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At Thangabli with Akanksha Agarwal, CK Sabeesh, Dr Nasreen and Dr Anil Tibrewala( in white shirt)


South Indian

Sorry! Bad news! Okay so  we love the name “Thangaballi” (villain of “Chennai Express’?) but why did they make the food from South India so villainous too? However, despite the disappointing  food and service we had a superfun afternoon.Read more on –



From Paradise Island

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Found. Paradise island. Its so exclusive and remote that the only way to get here is by a private chartered plane.

Its one of the few islands in the world that is located on a shimmering coral reef. It has it’s very own 24 powdery white beaches and only 40 luxury suites. So not only do I picnic on a secluded, sun-drenched beach but do so on world class gourmet food. I revel in a seven course tasting menu under the stars on the beach. And just as much as the world class cuisine hits stratospheric heights, the breathtakingly beautiful depths of the ocean’s silent and magnificent treasures reveal themselves to me as I learn to snorkel and dive from the experienced instructors here. Named Lizard island by explorer James Cook over two centuries ago, this sensationally beautiful island shimmers in the sun in the turquoise blue seas on the Northern most tip of Australias  awesome Queensland.


Please take a look at the photograph I shot on one of their secluded most beautiful beaches. Chef Mark Jenson has cooked up the most delicious fish, which is not only found in the waters around here but is also the most prized and most in demand Coral Trout ( Recipe follows). Joining us right after his deep sea scuba dive is Emilio Fortini the sporting and sunbronzed Chief of the island resort. The dynamic and charming Italian ensures that there is perfection in every detail of the  understated luxury here. A wine afficianado and gourmet himself he epitomizes the spirit of the island. As does Chef Mark who having traveled the world and taken a year’s sabbatical only to eat around in Asia infuses his cooking with  many a vibrant Asia flavor. He changes  the menu daily and his dishes are influenced by the unique environment in which the island is located.

I love the culinary offering here which  reflects the tropical climate here and draws influence from South East Asia and the Mediterranean.  Not limiting  to these Chef Mark  also  interprets modern Australia and portray through food the many cultures that embody this magnificent country. Over 90% of the produce that he uses is  locally sourced from Far North Queenslands fertile soil and the Great Barrier Reef. I trip out on his premium produce coral trout, red emperor, tropical lobster, red claw yabbies and fantastic rare tropical fruits and vegetables. Succulent meats from the Atherton Tablelands where their volcanic soils and high rainfall allow the animal to graze on prime pastures.

Its not just about the superb food here. Ive yet to come across a  resort which has it’s own Research centre. A mindblowing trip to the internationally acknowledged research centre reveals all the path breaking studies done here on marine life and the coral reef.

It’s a heady feeling to be connected to nature in every way and yet to be coddled in luxury, from the spa to the beachfront villas. To be massaged under the sky on a beach with the local macademia nut oils and the premium French beauty products. If this is not paradise, what is?

P.S. while it’s blissful most of the time, the only “downside” to this paradise is the lack of phone connectivity. There is only satellite wifi and Im crossing my fingers that this mail goes through now.

Crisp Coral Trout

On my request Chef Mark Jenson shares his superb and easy to make recipe. You can substitute the coral trout with any other fish.

First step is to make the sahn rhot paste.  The next step is to make the sauce from the paste.  The third step is to cook the fish and plate up.

Sahn Rhot Paste

30 gr              red chilli

10 gr              garlic cloves

10 gr              coriander root

Rough chop and blitz in blender.

Tamarind Sauce

40 gr              sahn rhot paste

60 gr              light palm sugar

30 ml             fish sauce

80 ml             tamarind concentrate

As needed                      Oil

Gently fry paste in oil.  Add sugar and lightly caramelise.  Add fish sauce, tamarind water, bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes.

Coral trout (or any pan size fish, gilled, gutted and scaled)

Score fish 2 cm deep to resemble diamond shapes on both sides.  Use a small skewer to separate the fish wings.  Dust the fish with cornflour to absorb the excess skin moisture.  Fry in vegetable oil at 170C for 8 minutes till fish is cooked translucent at the bone in the thickest section of the fish.

Pour the tamarind sauce on the plate.  Remove the skewer and stand the fish up resting on the fish wings.  Garnish with coriander leaves and chilli julienne. Enjoy!

Srilanka Surprises

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Maestro Dharshan Munidasa at his Ministry of Crab.

What you see in the photograph is the two kilo “crabzilla” at maestro chef   Dharshan Munidasa’s  world renowned “Ministry of crab” Its on the prestigious “Asias 50 best restaurants” list as is his Japanese “Nihon Bashi”.  He has  single handedly putting Srilanka, the beautiful, tiny island on the world gourmet map.

His modern Srilankan “Kaema Sutra” delights. And it’s his commitment to the  finest, freshest ingredients and  “No freezer restaurants” that is admirable.

Review: Bastian

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No two ways about it. We’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for this two month old seafood “Bastian”.

Read my detailed review on