Monday, September 29, 2014
Tian Asian Cuisine Studio, Delhi, the latest hotspot at ITC Maurya, is well worth a visit, offering ambitious Asian cuisine, made using top quality ingredients. The truly unusual, elegant decor provides the perfect foil to the slightly exotic food. The charming front of the house team completes the picture with its professional and attentive service.
A JOURNEY INTO A NEW DIMENSION OF TASTES
In a wonderful setting at the rooftop, overlooking the terrace garden, the new Asian studio at the ITC Maurya gives free rein to gourmet reverie; and the contemporary and sophisticated décor exudes a peaceful atmosphere.
Chef Vikramjit Roy who helms the restaurant offers a sumptuous and sensual Asian cuisine enhanced by excellent quality produce and stylish presentation. His creations flatter the taste buds and this journey into a new dimension of tastes, is present now, looks at the future but cares about the past.Tian overwhelmed me with dishes of amazing taste, texture, and presentation. The menu on offer is the way to go, offering a gastronomic road trip through the best of Asian cuisine.
Don’t come expecting comfort food: the flavours here may be Asian, but their preparation and presentation are brazenly modern, yet all the flavours have been preserved and enhanced to the utmost. First came one of the most ethereal food experiences I have ever had. This dish was there one minute and gone the next but the flavours lingered and the sheer perfection of the dish will stay with me for a long time. …this was the Amuse Bouche - the ‘Domestic duck liver with truffle candy floss with Cointreau compressed watermelon’! The flavours in the ‘Californian apple salad with betel leaves roasted pine nuts and puffed rice on Chinkiang vinegar reduction’ were amazing. The whole dish was a study in lightness and flavour - it captured exactly what we crave in food; restraint, technical excellence, flavour, lightness and above all deliciousness. Technical wizardry is for nought if the end result doesn’t taste wonderful - this did! Next came the Mushroom soup served as a broth accompanied by a variety of mushrooms and truffle powder. On Chef’s advice I mixed it together and got one of the most amazing renditions of the dish I have ever experienced. The signature Red Duck curry is rich and deeply satisfying, comes with Californian grapes and thread-like slivers of kaffir lime appear alongside as garnishes. Prepare for a standout dessert, which the chef actually creates o your table just like an artist and finish off with aromatic jasmine tea….Aah Bliss!! I would like to add that Tian is reflective of the strong focus ITC Hotels lays on its cuisine Research & Development...a clear enough reason for success of most of its restaurants ( Bukhara & Dumpukht being my favorites).
My job really spoils me and I eat far more amazing food than my waistline can handle, but for me Tian easily gets a top ten spot in my favourite Delhi restaurants list. I will be talking about the food for weeks to come and taking my favourite people here when they visit.
Soft shell crab infused with peanut glaze
Sichuan style prawns on a bed of guacamole, spiced pineapple, olive miso and smoky Sichuan sauce
Chilean pork spare ribs two ways – barbecued and kochujang glazed
Tian Asian Cuisine Studio
Rooftop, ITC Maurya, Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi
Timings- 7pm until 11: 30 pm
For Reservations: 011 26112233
Thursday, September 18, 2014
La Cocina da Tita Moning,
315 San Rafael St., San Miguel, Manila, Luzon, Philippines.
Cuisine: Home style Filipino in a fine dining setting.
Cost: A meal for two would cost approx. 6,000 INR excluding alcohol.
Reservations: Strongly advised.
Not a restaurant you are easily going to stumble across, it was fortunate that a local recommended it to me. We virtually drove into someone’s driveway and parked our car in their back garden as this incredibly unique eatery is set up in the heritage house of a Filipino Doctor and his wife.Their granddaughter Suzette Montinola runs the place now. I fell in love with the format, a sit-down welcome alongside a refreshing lemongrass tea to have the menu explained, followed by a tour of the ancestral house built in 1936, with well-preserved original structures, furniture and fixtures and even the lifestyle and hobbies of the doctor during the American and Spanish era. It was interesting to see old cameras, a quaint library, an old clinic replete with a human skeleton and an old X-ray machine. The radio room was used by the owner to communicate with his relatives abroad was my favourite.
Coming to the food, the table setting is regal and elegant. Being an exclusive place, it’s popular for private business meetings and family gatherings. The background music is very relaxing, playing the oldies…a total package of the Bygone era. And no surprise, the place offers sumptuous Neo-Filipino, Spanish dishes. The warm and creamy potato-leek soup is incredible. Followed by their traditional Filipino dishes of chicken relleno, braised lamb shank, lengua cooked in white wine and whole baked lapu-lapu.The paella is to die for. The polvorones with fresh mango and ice cream is a decadent concoction of two beloved Filipino dessert favourites while their quezo de bola cheesecake is one of the best I have ever eaten. The servers wear the traditional Filipina patadyong and kimono. Dining here is truly an experience not to be missed.
published in India Today Travel Plus
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Though the traditional bridal registry has been around for years, the needs of modern brides have evolved beyond just the standard formal, fine china….the iconic KitchenAid stand mixer that comes with attachments for every imaginable task including pasta making, cheese shredding, sausage stuffing etc. it is the ultimate kitchen tool available in eight exciting colours in India and is the hottest new wedding gift as one wants to fill one’s home with pieces that are an expression of their own style, just like building one’s own wardrobe…..
A NOSTALGIC CONNECT
Brides to be lust after and look forward to get past the wedding so they can spend more time with the love of their life: a shiny, colour of their choice KitchenAid stand mixer. Like many brides of generations past and present, most brides put the iconic mixer atop their gift registry abroad.
For girls who grew up watching their grandmothers or mothers make homemade meringue and bread, the KitchenAid mixer is just as much a symbol of nostalgia as it is a kitchen tool to be passed down through the generations. These brides say the best thing about getting married; besides falling in love is finally being able to satisfy their thirst for nostalgia and adorn their countertops with this wedding present. Sample this, the mixer enthusiast’s devotion runs so much so from naming the appliance and working it into divorce agreements, to getting a tattoo and taking it with her to the grave. Today, many to be married couples are mixing different styles; incorporating both casual and formal elements to create an environment that they love to come home to and Wedding registry gifts a timeless trend is catching up in India as well as what could be a better way for your loved ones to honour a milestone in their life. Simply put, this is the greatest indispensable appliance of all time and it will last forever like a good marriage one hopes for!
WHAT MAKES IT TICK?
The mixer has had a long time following and continues to be a coveted wedding gift, according to wedding industry experts. Owing to the fact that not only is it a very useful tool to have, but it comes in fun colours. Even people who don’t cook all that much want the KitchenAid to stand proudly on their counter and accessorize their kitchen. In India KitchenAid offers the mixer in colours such as Tangerine, Raspberry Ice, Candy Apple, Onyx Black etc. The most popular colour for newly married couples, however, is the Empire Red. One of the newest improvements to the KitchenAid stand mixer is their sturdiest wire whip yet. Unlike the dough hook and paddle attachments, the whip have several different parts affixed together, making it the part that takes the most abuse literally. When the couple already has the mixer, the pasta roller attachment is phenomenal for making fresh pasta a regular event rather than a special chore. Other attachments include the ice cream maker, a meat grinder, and a citrus juicer. Known as the workhorse and the ‘John Deere of the kitchen’, the appliance is valued by most users because it makes cooking easy and fun. It saves the hands so much time to continue prepping other ingredients as one need not stand and watch as things mix together. Basically this decadently versatile stand mixer is a smaller version of commercial-size models; and is designed with enough power and capacity to prepare large batches of cake batter or cookie dough without compromising one the kitchen counter space. ‘Food should be fun’ as Thomas Keller once said and the KitchenAid Stand mixer just does that…. as the KitchenAid mixer can turn any novice to a bonafide chef. Happy Cooking on that note!
Monday, September 8, 2014
Adapted for stage from a story by Roald Dahl the magical musical set in a mad wonderland is completely bewitching for little children ..
This magical musical fantasy ‘Wizwits’ is the third and latest production from the House of Kingdom of Dreams and marked their 4th anniversary last Tuesday. Scripted and directed by well-known theatre personality Lushin Dubey and Bubbles Sabharwal an ample dose of song and dance in this musical drama comes with the social message –‘victory of good over evil’.
ROUGH AN EDGE OF THE SEAT ROLLER COASTER RIDE
Staged at their newly opened venue, ‘ShowShaa’, a 250-space auditorium, the audience transports into a wonderland as fantasy is recreated. So replete with LED backdrop walls, side wings, LED framed walls that transform the entire ambience into different settings the show begins. At the Poo Poo Hotel, a strange place where each object springs to life at just one touch is where the story begins. Characters are as interesting as the ‘piano man’ who plays by itself, the 'lady vase’ whose arms are always in motion and affable receptionists ‘Mr. Kake and his wife Sunita’. Under the very same roof, the scary Wizards and Witches (the Wizwits) are holding their annual convention. And it is the same time when a mother arrives at the hotel with a group of children. These bat winged creatures hatch a bizarre plan to destroy children all over the world by feeding them poisoned chocolates and turning them into mice! But a few children with the help of the hotel owners overpower these witches and kill them. And they also change the mice into children again by pouring a magic potion they had snatched from the witches into a drum, along with the mice. In the end Good wins over Evil! What I loved most about the show is the juxtaposed western elements with everyday Indian sentiments, for example the peppy number ‘Who Let the Dog's Out’ for the witches on one hand and the mother of the children in the play dons the garb of a Delhi woman - loud and stylish on the other and all through fun & frolic, song and dance, keeps the little children glued to their seats!
Wizwits will be played at ‘ShowShaa Theatre’ at the Kingdom of Dreams from Tuesday to Friday at 6:00pm and Saturday and Sunday at 12:30pm and 6:00pm each on weekends.
If you are an adult you may prefer the ‘Zangoora’ or ‘Jhumroo’ but if you are a parent of a 5 to 6 year old child, you would enjoy the show too as it would bring out the child in you when you see yours totally involved.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
The Bengali’s love for food is legendary and at Amaranta, the new address for quintessential Bengali cuisine from the 5th Until the 21st September is all set to offer the ‘true taste of Bengal’, right here in the Capital
A beautiful panoramic view of a serene water body is bound to making dining here an experience of a lifetime. Amaranta means ‘Unfading’ or ‘a flower that never fades’ in Greek, and truly lives up to its name by following its culinary philosophy of everlasting freshness. On offer is a celebration of India’s varied coastal cuisine. For epicureans this is a restaurant not to be missed and for those new to Coastal cuisine, there is no better introduction with superb service and ambience to match. Staying true to its coastal roots this time round Amaranta is showcasing a special menu of authentic delicacies inspired by the subtle flavours from the courts of the Nawabs of Bengal to its riotous counterparts found on Park Street. The menu has been curated by Chef Gopal, the Bengali Master Chef at Amaranta & Chef Sirajul, a specialist in Bengali Muslim food with a cooking experience of over 19 years from Kolkata.
An enticing invitation to indulgence where one is spoilt for choice with the aroma of nostalgia wafting through the menu. The various Bengali dishes on the menu, synonymous with the varied and rich food-culture are an attempt to diversify typical, mouth-watering Bengali delicacies. Tickle your taste buds with the delicious appetizer, ‘Chingri Kabiraji’ jumbo prawn cutlets with an egg drop batter, or the delicious ‘Fish cutlet’ an age-old Bengali delicacy of fish pauppietes stuffed with shrimps and fried. Start your meal with ‘Kolkata street box’, a mixed bong bento box of street food delicacies like ghugni, phucka and more.Try the prawns especially the eternal favourite ‘Dab Chingri’ prawns tempered with mustard and cooked inside a tender coconut. Contrary to popular belief Bengali cuisine also has much to offer to vegetarians, and especially so at this promotion. There are ambrosial dishes out of the often times rejected peels, stalks and leaves of vegetables! The ‘Mochar Ghonto’ stir fry of banana flower, coconut and new potato, and ‘Jhinga aloo posto’ Ridge gourd in a khus khus gravy are a must try. The Bengali Mishthi has carved a valuable niche among the sweet-lovers across the globe…so a piece on Bengali, food and eating wouldn’t be complete without a mention of a couple of the fabulous Bengali sweets on offer here like the ‘Sandesh Platter’, ‘ Rosogulla’, ‘Cham cham’ to name a few… I would say share your desserts as all are gratifying!
Amaranta is at The Oberoi, Gurgaon
Timings: It serves lunch from 1230 hours to 1500 hours and dinner from 1930 hours to 0000 hours. The restaurant serves an A La carte menu for both lunch & dinner.
For Reservations: 0124 2451234
Restaurant of Joy festival is on from the 5th to 21st September 2014.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
ORANGE ALMOND CAKE
Recipe by Chef Lokesh Swami, Pastry Chef Double Tree By Hilton, Gurgaon
Fresh orange: 800gms; Butter: 400gms; Flour: 300gms; Almond powder: 200gms; Corn flour: 80gms; Heavy cream: 150ml; Baking powder: 10gms; Baking soda: 5gm; Eggs: 5nos; Grain sugar: 500gms; Castor sugar: 200gms; Brown sugar: 100 gms; Honey: 80ml; Whole almonds for garnish on top
Boil English oranges with skin in 1 liter of water for 10min. Drain the oranges and again boil them for 30min on slow flame with 500gms grain sugar and 1 liter of water. Drain out the water and roughly chop oranges with skin and remove all the seeds.
Using the KitchenAid cordless hand blender make a smooth paste of the cooked orange confit.
In the KitchenAid stand mixer cream butter and castor sugar using the paddle attachment till it’s light and fluffy. Add the above orange confit and cream again.
Whip eggs with brown sugar and add to the above mixture followed by warm honey and heavy cream. Fold in all the remaining dry ingredients and pour the mix in a cake mould.
Garnish it with chop or sliced almonds and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180® for 45 – 60 min. Poke the cake from center with a knife and if it comes out clean means the cake is done. Demould and let it cool for an hour then glaze it with little warm honey.
The prime vision behind Tuscana tucked away in the popular Khader Nawaz Khan is a very homely, informal setting like someone’s kitchen or dining area where family & friends share a sumptuous meal, good beverages & each other’s company. Food for Italians represents their focal lives & their traditions – family togetherness being one of the important ones. Keeping this in mind the décor has been done in a very soft manner, as home is not only about a personal bond but warmth, familiarity and comfort. The interiors are designed with an old rustic theme, wooden chairs & simple lighting. As director of food and beverages at The Park Hotel in Chennai, Chef Willi Wilson was known for his pizzas and it did not take him too long to take the plunge and start Tuscana, where he is currently the COO. His mantra is simple: ‘you offer good quality products and people will come back for more.’
Coming to the food, the vibe is homey, comfort Italian chow like ‘Minestrone’ and ‘frito misto’ and offers an exquisite range of antipasti to charge up your appetite with the likes of Baguette all’ Aglio, Castellena Di peperoni and more. The health aficionados can dig into a variety of salads to satiate their craving. Italian tradition calls for your pasta cooked ‘al dente’ and Chef Willi strongly believes in retaining the authenticity and flavour of your pasta. Some delicious pasta dishes served at the restaurant include Polpette di pollo translating into my favourite comprising of a rich combination of savoury chicken balls in a tangy marinara sauce, Spaghetti with a mix of prawns, mussels, fish and calamari for seafood lovers and much more. The towering wood –fire oven churns out rather amazing pizzas with a thin crust base and you could choose from Classic refined wheat, Whole wheat, Multigrain and Gluten free, presented in rustic wooden platter which adds originality to a flavourful experience. Try the ‘Pizza al pomodoro fresco’, Tomato puree, mozzarella cheese, slices of fresh tomatoes, basil, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and red chilly (if you like!). The ‘tiramisu’ is the Pride and joy of the restaurant so I recommend a must try. Chef Willi saw great potential in Chennai and dreamt to share his love for flavours & spread the essence of an Italian relationship . . . so, here it is!
Address: 19, Wallace Garden 3rd Street, Thousand Lights West, Thousand Lights, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600006
For Reservations: 044 4503 8008
Timings: 12:00–11:30 pm