Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Flamboyance galore 
On a recent trip to Bangkok, I dined at Mezzaluna at the Lebua Hotel. The daily tasting menu that features modern innovative cuisine from world renowned twin master chefs Mathias and Thomas Suhring is to die for. The twin chefs came together at Mezzaluna combining the best of their Michelin star experience to create a unique dining experience, where they have never stopped innovating and delighting diners with their culinary creations. If that’s not enough, as part of the refined dining experience on board all Lufthansa First and Business class flights, the twin chefs have been selected to craft a discerning menu up in the sky. 
Red Mullet....absolutely decadent!!

“We are united in our passion for food, and we both bring something different to the table. We bounce ideas off each other during the afternoons and we experiment together before formally introducing a new dish to the gastronomic menu”, Say Thomas and Mathias in Unison.
Foodie that I am had to know, how on earth do they dish out each dish perfectly, on time in such a busy restaurant? It must be taking hours to do the misc.-en-place I asked. Thomas & Mathias took me to the back of the house and guess what they showed me?? A KitchenAid stand mixer!! ‘That’s our best friend in the kitchen’, shared the twins and ‘our work time really gets reduced at the press of a button…literally!!’…they further added.
The twin chefs standing proud with their KitchenAid stand mixer
At this restaurant, flamboyance is not just limited to display, the chefs have worked magic with ingredients sourced from around the world to create a lavish menu and they attribute their success also to good ingredients and equipment. After Vue-De-Monde and now this I am kind of getting convinced that the KitchenAid stand mixer is probably quite helpful for a chef to better his product and save oodles of time!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Knowing the right place to go to eat out is everything. You go for the taste, the sounds, the smells, and freshness and in most cases ambience as well. Here’s my list of the TOP 10 Tables in Melbourne in random order which will certainly not disappoint….Bon Appetit!!

CULINARY ESSENCE- Celebrates Australia’s regional produce and the menu changes seasonally. The menu offers a multi-faceted paddock to plate experience.
AMBIENCE- Though overall very contemporary the Art collection and a commissioned art installation of a crafted wooden hood exudes a bucolic feel. All in all, the ambience salutes seasonal fare offering a delightful harmony between traditional and modern appeal.
USP- At its core, the restaurant is dedicated to mindful consumption, a self-coined approach to cooking that honours ingredients and preparing food with integrity, rather than focusing exclusively on a specific style of cuisine. John Olsen champions the emerging dining scene globally by supporting local farms and markets, ensuring clients are receiving the best quality.
LIP SMACKING- Pancakes, Eggs Benedict, John Olsen’s famous ‘Paella’, Mini Burger with a filling of Wagyu beef mince, aged cheddar cornichons, onion relish & mustard mayo, Freshly picked ‘Zucchini flowers’ with a filling of goat cheese, honey and mint lemon guacamole, Seafood of the day, Hot lemon fritters with honeycomb ice-cream and finest and freshest selection of cheese. 
The Olsen Hotel, 637-641 Chapel Street, South Yarra 3141, Melbourne
Landline Number: +61 (3) 9040 1333
Timings: Open from 6:30 Am until 12:30 Am

CULINARY ESSENCE- A gorgeous blend with nature at its best, Chef Gary offers a sumptuous and sensual cuisine enhanced by excellent quality products and stylish presentation.
AMBIENCE- It happens to be quite the draw for those wishing to find natural landscape backdrop to proceedings as it sits charmingly overlooking the magnificent Yarra River. With floor-to-ceiling windows framing the local area, river and the wildlife, this dining venue is of a smart casual environment without being presumptuous or over decorative.
USP- Brainchild of renowned Chef and owner Gary Mehigan (read Master Chef Australia).
LIP SMACKING- Marinated ‘mount zero’ olives with dukkah (spice), Autumn mushroom ‘pancake’ with fiore di burrata, green harissa & sesame yoghurt,  Roasted chicken flavoured with lemon sage & garlic served with confit baby carrots & toasted wheat, Braised ricotta gnocchi, gorgonzola, peas & parmesan crumbs,  Mango & caramelized macadamia ‘Bombe Alaska’.
680 Victoria Street, Richmond, Melbourne VIC 3121.
Landline Number: +61 (3) 9427 8500
Timings: Open for Breakfast, lunch and Dinner

CULINARY ESSENCE- pays homage to classical fine dining in a sophisticated modern context. With such great lengths taken to present the best of modern innovative cuisine, guests can expect nothing but the best cuisine out here. One can either opt from an a la carte menu or go the whole hog with a ten course degustation menu.
AMBIENCE- It is obvious that nothing is compromised here, from carefully engineered dishes, to impeccable service, the ambience is extremely Modern, and it definitely is a cut above the rest. Needless to add that being here is reason enough; soaking in the matchless city views while enjoying a selection of viands below reproach. And yes…the wine cellar is excellent!
USP- Flamboyance is not just limited to the display kitchen; Shannon Bennett has created magic with ingredients. The contrasts between luxurious and rustic, raw and cooked products, hot and cold, sophisticated and simple create an ecstasy for the senses.

LIP SMACKING- Melbourne onion soup, ‘Barramundi’ with nettle, young garlic prawn and lettuce, ‘Flinders Island lamb’ with olive, Australian anchovies and mustard,  ‘Blackmore Wagyu’ with beetroot, salt bush, BBq sauce and truffle and the decadent ‘chocolate soufflé’ with chocolate mousse and crème Anglaise which the chef says he simply whipped up with the help of his ‘KitchenAid’ machine.
Level 55 Rialto, 55 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Landline Number: +61 (3) 9691 3888
Timings: Open for lunch and Dinner.

CULINARY ESSENCE- In keeping with the spirit of Italian cooking, everything is fresh and the flavours are kept simple so they balance each other.
AMBIENCE- The decor, the ambience and the service all reflect the warmth and care that one would expect when dining in a warm and friendly Italian home. It is the epicentre of Melbourne’s café society.
USP- Sometimes, simplicity can be the hardest thing. Celebrity Chef Guy Grossi takes on an emotional approach to cooking. He almost takes it as a responsibility and enjoys watching people eat and enjoy their wine and coffee. 
LIP SMACKING- To whet appetites, a platter of ‘Antipasto misto’ which includes a variety of Italian aged hams, salami and other cured meats with Italian vegetables and nuts, cheese and honey sets the right mood. The selection of risotto and soup is a must try. Pasta is made fresh every day to guarantee the best quality. All in all I would say Italian Fare that would surely impress even Mama Guy Grossi!

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Landline Number: +61 (3) 9662-1811
Timings: Open from 7-30 Am until late, Monday to Saturday. Closed on 10th June owing to the Queen’s Birthday!

CULINARY ESSENCE- George Columbaris of Master Chef Fame has transformed the main part of Press club into a low key Greek street food eatery and he does it damn well.
AMBIENCE- Situated in a beautiful heritage building, this Greek grill room with hanging clay pots is the talk of the town since it opened its doors very recently; a highlight is also the open kitchen.

USP- For epicureans, this is a restaurant not to be missed and for those new to Greek street food, there is no better introduction.
LIP SMACKING- Try the superlative ten dish feed me menu, it’s gorgeous. The Mezze, mini souvlakis, lamb ribs with trimmings are to die for! Steel yourself for that powerhouse Ouzo and save a little room for the baklavas- filo pastry with walnut filling dripping with Greek Honey.
2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Landline Number: +61 (3) 9207 74444
Timings: Open for lunch and dinner

CULINARY ESSENCE- Modern Thai Diner, main focus being Thai with some Vietnamese tendencies creeping into some dishes on the menu.
AMBIENCE- Quite chic and trendy eatery, the long bar takes up one entire side of the restaurant and has smart hanging lights, and its top fabricated with Corian, serving the finest beverages. Usually very full so one can have a drink at the ground level before gorging in on the food served upstairs.
USP- Expect a menu that brings a refinement and delicacy to South East Asian dining.
LIP SMACKING- You can either opt for the ‘Feed me ‘ option where you’d be served a selection of Chin Chin’s favourite dishes or can go the a la carte route. Recommendations go all out for the homemade crab & pork cakes, wok fried salt & pepper squid, Tom yum, Morning glory wok tossed with Siamese water cress with yellow bean & chilli, the Thai take on the butter chicken and palm sugar ice-cream sundae.

125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
Landline Number: +61 (3) 8663 2000
Timings: Open for lunch and dinner

CULINARY ESSENCE- The restaurant scores tops on its Chinese cuisine and is a joy to discover for jaded taste buds
AMBIENCE- upscale, incorporating a warm sophisticated atmosphere highlighted by a transition from minimalistic to plush as one walk downs the long waiting alley. By day it is fresh and washed with subtle sunlight and a spectacular view of the bustling quay. At night it is romantic, quaint and dotted with lights and infused with the subtle aroma from lemon grass. 
USP- This Neil Perry menu is seasoned with an unmistakable Chinese flavour and the unique and truly special dishes are driven by his long fostered passion for Asian Cuisine. 
LIP SMACKING- Spinach and sesame salad, Handmade yellow noodles with wagyu braised brisket, chilli & Sichuan pepper, Hot and numbing crispy duck,  Hot pot of wild Chinese mushrooms and chilli made Yunnan style, Kung Pao Chicken, Twice cooked pork belly with leeks and Sichuan black bean, Three milk cake with pomegranate and pistachio and Black sesame Panacotta.
Crown Complex, Southbank Melbourne VIC 3006
Landline Number: +61 (3) 8679 1888
Timings: Open for lunch and dinner

CULINARY ESSENCE- Focus is on creatively presented cuisine, inspired by the freshest local produce and seasonal ingredients and the Park Hyatt flair
AMBIENCE- Set over five levels, the décor is cosy and opulent; the buzz from the bar and kitchen naturally spreads to the restaurant creating the perfect setting to relax, indulging in anything from a hearty breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, a favourite cocktail or a romantic dinner.
USP- Executive Chef Dane Clouston proposes regional products or rare dishes exuding pure flavours reminding us that talent can go hand in hand with simplicity.
LIP SMACKING- Roma tomato tartare with house smoked goats curd and organic quinoa salad, Twice cooked ocean trout with potato soufflé, courgette, vanilla salsa and crème fraiche, Kangaroo tenderloin with quince puree, beetroot cream, Brussels sprouts and sauterne jus, Market fish of the day cooked to your style and Pistachio crème Brulee with compressed apples and quince salad, pistachio kernels.
The Park Hyatt, 1 Parliament square, Melbourne VIC 3006
Landline Number: +61 (3) 39224 1234
Timings: Open for lunch and dinner. Mondays closed.

NO 35
CULINARY ESSENCE- The impression this cuisine brings is one of regularity, creativity and meticulousness which combines tradition, quality and innovation. Fresh and Organic is the chef’s mantra.
AMBIENCE- This elegant restaurant sits on the 35th Floor of the Sofitel and comes alive for a matchless view of the bustling city through door to ceiling glass.
USP- the chef’s original and scientific approaches to cooking breaks down each dish to best experience the flavours and textures of the individual ingredients in their freshest form and redefine the context of the dining experience following his unique vision.
LIP SMACKING- Salad of beetroot, root vegetables, local goats curd & roasted hazelnuts, Slow cooked pork belly with caramelised skate wing, onion puree & puffed rice, Cured Salmon Risotto with horseradish, nettles and crème fraiche, Lamb shoulder with eggplant and aged balsamic, Wild Barramundi with parsnip, Brussels sprouts & pig trotter, Risotto with white onions & thyme, honey sherry vinegar & king brown mushrooms, Chocolate hazelnut pear.
Level 35, Sofitel on Collins, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Landline Number: +61 (3) 9653 7744
Timings: Open for lunch and dinner.

CULINARY ESSENCE- Traditional, authentic Hunan and Sichuan dishes are presented with remarkable refinement and undoubtedly the best dumplings in Melbourne.
AMBIENCE- Has a unique combination of glamour and elegance, modern yet ethnic decor, a typical ambience which relates to the characteristic boisterous and nosy chatter as at many Chinese restaurants. It is advisable to make reservations for any meal!
USP- Dim sums here are a good representation of the quality that the open kitchen keeps. The strength of this restaurant lies in the consistency of the Chef’s genius.
LIP SMACKING- The shredded turnip pastry is a true delight to any pastry lover. It has the lightest and airiest of puff pastry sweetened with toasted sesame seeds, Wantons with hot chilli sauce, Pan fried dumplings, Hot and Sour soup, Dry chicken in Hot chilli, Spring onion pancake, Duck meat dumplings, Salted braised pork in New style, Stir fried Barramundi, Noodles with shredded pork and shanghai pickles in soup, Steamed Egg custard, and chestnut pudding.
14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
Landline Number: +61 (3) 9650 8128
Timings: Open for lunch and dinner.

Published in Tlf

Monday, July 8, 2013


Foodie that I am , I enjoy cooking and learning new recipes and more so now with my latest prized possession aka the KitchenAid stand mixer and its various attachments I asked my friend Sharad Dewan to teach me a recipe with some molecular gastronomy twist in it. Sharad happens to be the Area Director – Food Production at The Park Kolkata and the famed ‘Flurys’ falls under his cooking umbrella…hence he made for the perfect choice to teach me this yummy recipe.
Chef Sharad Dewan
Before we come to the recipe let me tell you that Molecular gastronomy is scientific discipline involving the study of physical and chemical processes that occur in cooking. But it is also used to describe a new style of cooking that emerged in the late 1990s. Chefs explore new possibilities in the kitchen by embracing science, research, technological advances in equipment and experimenting with various natural gums and hydrocolloids produced by the commercial food processing industry. Equipment is as interesting as “centrifuges” to create a sphere out of juice or “cryovac machine” for vacuum sealing food in plastic. The science behind “liquid nitrogen” chills your ice-cream very quickly and so on. This allows a chef to create food which can evoke all senses of a customer which leaves him in awe and amazement…anyways don’t worry the recipe Sharad shared with me is not so complicated as it sounds; as a matter of fact he made it rather easy for me explaining how I could just churn this out easily with my various KitchenAid accessories….

Here goes the recipe….

Egg yolk: 10 no ; Sugar :100 Gms ; Butter :100 Gms; Lemon Juice : 2 tea spoon; Lemon jest : 1 pinch
Flour:  100gms; Butter: 2 table spoon; Sugar:  20 Gms; Eggs: 1 no; Salt: 1 small pinch
Dry ice (food grade): 1kg crushed fine; Cream: 100 ml; Egg yolk:  2 no; Assorted nuts chopped:  50 Gms; Chocó chips: 10 Gms; Sugar: 20 Gms
To prepare the ice cream, Cook the cream, the egg yolk and sugar on a double boiler, till the cream is thick and has a coating consistency, (Check that it coats the back of a spoon)
Remove it off the flame and let it cool.  Add the nuts and the Chocó chips.
Put the mixture in the Kitchen Aid and start putting the crushed dry ice powder. Use the whisk attachment. (The dry ice block can be crushed using Kitchen Aid Blender, and then strained through a strainer) to make a powder.
Churn the mixture; in Kitchen Aid as the dry ice evaporates the ice cream is set instantly.
Save the ice cream in a vacuum container and store in freezer.
To prepare the Lemon curd:
Whisk in the Butter, sugar, and in a kitchen aid bowl keep it on a double boiler under the kitchen aid bowl. Slowly add the beaten egg yolks and continuously whisk, till the egg yolks are cooked.
Or  cook in a double boiler on a flame and then transfer the mixture in Kitchen Aid stand mixer and keep mixing with the whisk attachment in slow speed, Continuous whisking cools the mixture and the mixture slowly transforms to a creamy mixture , Save the mixture in refrigerator.
To Pre pare the Tart:
Mix in the flour, and the butter till flaky, in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer(Use the dough mixture attachment) add in the sugar , salt and the whole eggs and keep on mixing till a dough is formed.
Rest the dough for at least 1 hr. in refrigerator.
Take it out of the refrigerator, and let it rest at room temperature for another 15 min, roll the dough to a thin sheet and Bake it in a baking pan (Temperature of the oven to be 180 degree Celsius for 10 min)
Take it off the oven and let it cool.
Break the tart shell into crumbles, and put it in a Brandy Balloon, spoon the lemon curd with a Table spoon and place it inside the Brandy Balloon.
Scoop out the ice cream and serve it on the side.

Monday, July 1, 2013

GO GREEN @KAMA- Radisson Blu, Ghaziabad

Creative vegetarian dishes using only the freshest ingredients while retaining their natural flavour

While being a vegetarian isn’t for everyone (including me), I meet lots of people every day who tell me they are vegetarians or would like to become one! But when I got an invite from my friend Simarjeet, General Manager at the Radisson Blu, Ghaziabad for the Hotel’s vegetarian restaurant ‘Kama’ I made many excuses not to go as driving all the way to sample vegetarian fare was simply not me! Simarjeet then mailed me the menu and sure enough I got tempted to try and foodie that I am went all the way from Gurgaon for a ‘dekho’!
The grandeur of the restaurant caught my attention the moment I entered and I found ‘Kama’ to be a delicious mix of contemporary ambience echoed in the rich interiors replete with peacock murals and plush wood. On offer are also two private dining areas at the side of the restaurant, for those who mean business.
Banish the thought of boring fare, for Vegetarian cuisine is brought to a new high here. To start with you can order from an I-pad menu and the best part is with a picture display you actually know what is in store for you to taste. As for my daughter and me, we spent some time just ogling at the dishes before we finally ordered. Regional Indian cuisine, which carries the delicate whiff of Gujarat and the earthy, spicy, ‘fiery’ feel of the Marwari province and many more unique flavours define the space. On offer is also a chef tasting menu (can be paired with wine) that offers excellent value and an opportunity to sample a wide variety of dishes, which offer a gamut of traditional, ethnic Indian vegetarian cuisine. While one waits for the culinary journey to begin an amuse bouche (a free one bite food sampler) is served at the start of a meal as an appetite tickler, which changes every day. We got to sample a pineapple panna with a sweet and sour corn mix, which was presented so well that I didn’t have the heart to disturb it but my greed took over and I bit into the heavenly morsel. I would surely recommend starting your meal with the Kandhari shorba a chickpea soup spiked with homemade lemon butter served with a mini kulcha. 
Kandhari Shorba
From the starters don’t miss the Kama kebab made with Kerela yam and gherkins served on an ulte tawe ka parantha. Another good bet is the spinach roomali chaat roll tangy, healthy and wholesome with a stuffing of tandoori fruits, Greek Olives and spiced yogurt. The mains are more tempting than the starters and the star items being kerela stew ensemble with appams , Mewar paneer masala with Mirchi parantha,
Annam’s adai which is a spiced lentil pancake served with avail, jaggery, onion vathakozambu and tomato pappu.
Appams with stew

Mewar paneer with Mirchi Parantha

Ferrari ki sawari
The Ferrari ki sawari is a very interesting creation and I simply loved the idea of the Italian potato Gnocchi with spinach, a sheer delight and absolutely delicious. 
And yes worth trying is also
kadhi muthia, bharwan bhindi, green peas poori, masala poori and fruit raita from the Devilal Maharaj ka khazana section

Gujrati Thaal
The Jackfruit Biryani  that we tried was nice and flavorful though I would have 
Jackfruit Biryani
personally liked the jackfruit to be cooked with the rice in the same way as we make chicken biryani; here it was jackfruit pakoras instead. By the end of all this I was too full to try any dessert, but had a Thandai shot which made for a nice sweet refreshing end. 
Apple Triology
Truly, the restaurant offers the choicest vegetarian fare, simmered to perfection in the most exotic spices. The food is unpretentious and clearly freshly made and more importantly is delicious to boot! The menu also offers a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to compliment the food. Those who are vegetarians by choice or for religious reasons have nothing to worry while with us, and for those who enjoy only non-vegetarian food it is probably a worthwhile experience to have a glimpse of the variation that is possible in the vegetarian cuisines, definitely worth a visit!

Kama @Radisson Blu Hotel, H-3, Kaushambi, Sector 14, Ghaziabad
For Reservations: 8744050670/0120 473620
Meal for two: INR 2,000 plus taxes without alcohol.
Timings: Open for dinner only.