Friday, October 31, 2014


I know I took a while to visit Amreli, mostly because I kept hearing mixed reviews, some really like it, some not but as they say ‘ Taste of the pudding is in the Eating’! If you live in South Delhi or Gurgaon and are looking for delicious food in a cute place not too far away, I would recommend Amreli at The Diplomat Hotel. No matter what you order, this is comfort food at its finest.

As you wait to be joined by company or simply wait for your meal to arrive for one, take in the memorabilia scattered around the restaurant and bar modelled on that of an upmarket London diner replete with a beautiful chessboard floor, mirrors and artworks aplenty. Or simply saunter along the alfresco area, in the Bistro’s quiet courtyard and take a peek at the lush green and perky seating!

The kitchen turns out an all-time favourites inspired menu which reflects famed Chef Saby’s (Sabyasachi Goral) collective experiences and has influences of his culinary curiosity which is translated through sourcing fresh local ingredients and ensuring each dish is distinctively unique in flavour and texture. A chef in the true sense Saby looks to nature’s bounty to act as his beacon, guiding him to create clean and harmonious dishes.
We opted for the Eggs Benedict with Keema and were extremely impressed with how delicious the twist was. We easily could have ordered seconds but of course there was more to sample.
It was pretty difficult to choose between the Chettinad Chicken & Sole Meen Moilee but the latter was highly recommended by a customer sitting on the next table so I knew it would be a hit. This dish had very complimentary flavours and tasted brilliant with steamed rice though I ordered some Hot Appams too which were delicious. It settled us into a comfortable state allowing for conversations to flow. We each took turns trying the others dishes because they all looked and tasted so delightful. The Quinoa Salad however was a tad disappointing as it was all hidden under the hugely cut is very important for the prime ingredient to be visible because that's what the mind imagines while ordering a dish.Amreli also creates imaginative, refreshing and tasty beverages like the ‘Lemon cheese cake cooler’ my daughter ordered. It has a fine selection of wines by the glass and bottle and also offers beer and soft drinks. The ambiance is perfect for conversation, and the service is friendly, unpretentious and efficient. The attention to detail is apparent in every bite. You will savour flavours that linger far longer in your mind than the kaleidoscope of taste sensations hang around on the palate, and that’s a great thing so, trust me, you will want to keep going back.

WHERE? 9, Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic enclave
RESERVATIONS: 011 46050200
TIMINGS: 12PM to 12AM Open all 7 days
SEATING: 48 (inside), 12 (bar) and 50 (outside)
DAMAGE: Average Meal for two approx.: Rs. 1400-1600 (without alcohol)
MENU: All day breakfast, Coastal Indian, Sandwiches, Salads, Indian bites
PROMOTED BY: Sidhant Lamba


 Exploring Brunel’s ‘SS Great Britain’ museum ship and former passenger steamship, set in Bristol’s historic dockside allows visitors to step into the shoes of a Victorian sailor and climb the huge mainmast (while strapped into a harness) in the attraction. Go Aloft! 

We got a warm welcome from the ferry crews who took us from Temple Meads Quay to the SS Great Britain through Bristol’s historic harbour…sheer delight! The location is very charming with full visitor reception and well laid out site aka the massive ship in the original dry dock in which she was built and is now resting and its conservation are impressive in their own right, but the presentation and interpretation make it accessible and fascinating. The separate museum is alongside and full of diagrams, models and working exhibits. The themes of technological innovation and social history run through the exhibits and made for a great experience for me and I would say it’s worth a trip to Bristol on its own. The flow of the visit – ‘underwater’ view, museum and then the ship itself, is amazingly effective, the audio guides work well, and we also loved the opportunity to climb the rigging and go out a yard in the end (at a height of something like 100 feet over the deck - but with a safety harness!).

It is truly a fascinating ship with lots to see and do. Imagining the long crossing to Australia cooped up in cattle class is an eye opener, the more senior members of the crew did not exactly have a luxurious crossing. My favourite bit was going below the ‘water line’ to see the hull and visit the really cleverly restored decks within the ship with everything in place that gave the flavour of a voyage in the first large ship to cruise the oceans in total luxury with a moving massive steam engine amid ships. This really was an unexpected treat , though I had been told by numerous people how good it was but as always one wonders how much hype is involved, and now even I Highly this wonderful attraction as you can actually walk in the footsteps of the early mariners and passengers. You are not looking at the ship from behind a glass screen, but actually walking, sitting and standing on and below the decks. As I mentioned above, for the more adventurous, there is an opportunity to climb the rigging. Absolutely realistic and interesting! First class travel these days, is nothing like the era people sailing on the SS Great Britain experienced. The working model of the turbine engine is terrific and so interesting, along with all the artefacts that were found on the ship…so if you are in London to make a trip to Bristol just for this! Go Aloft people!

WHERE? Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol BS1 6TY, United Kingdom
LAUNCHED: July 19, 1843
WEIGHT: 3,679 tons

published in statesman

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Can you tell the vintage of a wine by tasting it?Paolo Basso – Wine Ambassador Kempinski Hotels answers this and more at the World Gourmet Summit at its flagship Hotel in India

Are you confident picking wine at a restaurant? Do you know what grapes makes Moet et Chandon Brut Rose? Can you tell the vintage of a wine by tasting it? Can you tell the country it belongs to and the grape variety by just tasting it? How about French wine? Do you know your claret from your Beaujolais?

Can you tell Shiraz when you taste it? If not, then you are not alone, for this is how the Master Class by Paola Basso started at Kempinski Hotels flagship Indian property, Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi at it’s World Gourmet Summit focused on worldwide trends and their implications on regional culinary arts, as well as food and beverage innovations ; saw more than 140 food and beverage executives plus corporate executives from Kempinski properties across the globe

Anyways coming back to the class apart from guessing the Champagne related questions ( This is owing to visiting Champagne I better know the basics), I am sure I flunked in answering most of the questions. Paolo Basso – Wine Ambassador Kempinski Hotels is arguably one of the greatest wine professionals and is the Sommelier‘s Sommelier; is also winner of the ‘Best Sommelier of the World’ title in 2013, is world renowned for his extraordinary palate and experience in the field of fine and rare wines.
It was an enrichening class and both my daughter Akanksha Dean ( First Year Culinary Arts Student at IHM Aurangabad by Taj) and me were extremely thrilled to learn the nuances of wine tasting and also that it is not tough to achieve anything if you are focused, dedicated and honest with your profession. Post the class we tasted an exceptionally amazing dinner cooked in Various courses by the speciality chefs across Kempinski Hotels and we had the pleasure of delightful company on our table including my friend Puneet , General Manager of the hosting Hotel... A proud moment for a Hotel in India to be hosting this event. 

Basso is one of only five sommeliers in the world to have won both the European and global titles for ‘Best Sommelier’ and among the rare few sommeliers to have reached the final level of an international competition eight times. He won the title of best Sommelier of Switzerland in 1997, of best Sommelier of Europe in 2010, and of world champion in 2013. In 2014, the Grand Cru Committee of Italy, the most prestigious wine producers association in the country, crowned him ‘Sommelier of the Year’.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Although Chandigarh  has more than its fair share of eateries proffering Asian cuisine, the dishes at Kylin are more than good enough to warrant it sharing a piece of the pie (… or should that be star anise ice -cream?!). All the dishes we tried successfully managed to blend distinctively Oriental flavours with some just a bit Punjabish, resulting in not so authentic but delicious creations that weren’t just the same old standards found elsewhere. You can expect to find Thai, Japanese and Chinese influences on the Kylin menu; we skipped the Live Sushi bar section and instead kicked off proceedings with a deliciously addictive assorted Dimsum basket. Served with a spicy sauce, you’ll find that these gorgeous little morsels disappear from your table very quickly given the chance!
The wok tossed sole with bullet chillies was also impressive; the fish was cooked perfectly and had a beautiful clean taste that anchored the riot of Asian flavours on top. However, the standout dish was the sliced pork in angel pepper sauce; the meat was melt-in-mouth tender, the sauce gloriously rich, dark and sticky, and a final kick of pepper kept us coming back for more. And yes the Kung Pao chicken was spicy, savory and delicious with steamed rice.

Most dishes are priced very reasonably and given the generous serving sizes, are ideal for sharing – prices which seem neatly on par with the surrounding restaurants in the area. Combined with a quietly cool atmosphere and warm and inviting staff, Kylin is a member of the family we definitely want to see more of!
Where? - Kylin Experience 312 A, 3rd Floor, Elante Mall Industrial Area Phase 1 Chandigarh
Reservations- +91 9501654007
Timings - 11.30 AM to 12 Midnight

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Eat Stay Chill with Rupali & Sailesh (India's first show on YouTube for travel/food/leisure video reviews) ...

Rupali Dean Started this Channel with friend Sailesh Ghelani (Editor of renowned web magazine Minority Review )
Video Review of Marriott Executive Apartments & Renaissance Hotel Powai. 

Eat Stay Chill with Rupali & Sailesh (India's first show on YouTube for travel/food/leisure video reviews) will continue to bring you our unique reviews of hotels, restaurants, leisure spots and interviews with celebrity chefs and more on our journeys of ESCape.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Treat yourself to international flavours and free flowing spirits in style and globe trot across the cuisine map with Cantonese, Tuscan and North Indian kitchens to relish the various specialties at K3 ‘s Winter Sunday Brunch

Those of you who have seen ‘Sex and The City’ would remember the four iconic New Yorker girls got together over brunch to talk about each other’s love lives and whatnots! To me it feels as if the idea of a Sunday brunch has become the metropolitan ritual to hang out over sumptuous food before heading back to work on Monday !The Winter Brunch at JW Marriott's K 3 is one of the most popular brunches in Delhi. And yes, it’s not only for the metropolitan girls, but also for families to have a delightful meal together.
I have friends, who religiously book a brunch deal every Sunday, and I am talking the free-flowing champagne variety, some have their favourites. Others pick a different hotel or restaurant every week. …Last Sunday I visited K 3 and was not let down!
MY BUFFET STRATEGY: I first tour around the space and make a mental note of each station’s highlights so I don’t end up in an ordeal with no space to enjoy the plethora of offerings that far too many never make it to.
THE K 3 BRUNCH EXPERIENCE: This period-perfect all day dining food theatre on the lobby level of JW Marriott Aerocity looks like it could have been here forever ( read because it is buzzing with people) , though it only opened last spring. Executive chef Girish Krishnan’s locally sourced and seasonally adjusted carte which explores a whole gamut of gastronomical delights from all over the world is equally timeless. He’s even more creative at brunch, where the sea food bar featuring Kerala Prawns, Pomfret and other sea food made to order with an array of marinades, is a real treat for fresh catch from the backwaters. His ‘Eat street’ is  fashioned like a bustling street serving authentic street food like Moong Dal Vada, Scrambled Carrot Cakes, and Fritto Misto stays true to the spirit of Delhi.
Specials like steamed Chinese Bao get amply stuffed with more of that gently pulled pork, an over-easy egg and a splash of sweet hoisin. But Krishnan’s knockout punch comes with the courtyard section featuring the back yard barbeque, adopting age-old rustic cooking methods from the far west to conjure up delectable roasts with a choice of meats and vegetables, traditional sauces and accompaniments. And be sure to save room for the dessert station which takes centre stage with an decadent variety of home-made ice creams (my favourite  ...Masala Tea), warm Belgian waffles, brioche pudding, chocolate delicacies and lip smacking freshly baked tarts, cupcakes and Chef Narendra’s ( bakery chef) signature creations……YOU will thank me!

The term brunch was first coined in Great Britain in 1895 by writer Guy Beringer who described it as, ‘Instead of England’s early Sunday dinner, a post-church ordeal of heavy meats and savoury pies, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare? By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.’

DAMAGE: The wholesome Sunday Brunch includes three different price options:
Food, unlimited soft beverages& fresh juices (Price- INR 2250++)
Food, soft beverages, unlimited premium spirits and sparkling wine (Price- INR 2750++)
Food + Champagne+ Premium Spirits, soft beverages (Price – INR 3950 ++)

The K3 Sunday Brunch can be enjoyed from: 12.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.
For reservations call: 91 11 4521 2121 Extn: 2120

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Professor Avin Thaliath (Christ University, Bengaluru) teaches us a special recipe this Diwali which is from the Tellichery region using his favorite KitchenAid stand mixer…read on and Happy Baking!


Coconut and Cardamom Crumble
Butter-100 grams
Coconut grated-100 grams
Cardamom Powder- a pinch
Flour-30 grams
Castor sugar-40 grams
Weigh all the ingredients. Pre-heat the oven.  Using KitchenAid paddle
Mix Butter, sugar and coconut in a low speed till it combines itself into a crumble mass. Add in the cardamom powder. Spread it on a baking tray and Bake it in a slow oven. If not in an oven it can be lightly cooked on a nonstick pan. When slightly brown it resembles a crumble. Take it out and cool it on a wire rack. Once cooled powder the crumble and keep it aside.
Saffron Milk
Milk-200 ml
Sugar-30 grams
Saffron –few strands.
Boil the milk with sugar. Once boiled take the pan off from the flame and add in the saffron strands and refrigerate.
Tellichery Crepe
This is called as tellichery crepe, as it is from the tellichery region of Kerala. It has an egg version also. But we are doing an eggless version. Flour used is refined flour which can be substituted using millet or whole wheat flour.
Flour (refined/whole/millet) - 300 Grams
Milk-300 ml
Sugar- 45 Gm
Roasted and powdered Pistachio-to roll the crepe
Rose petal to Garnish

Combine Flour, sugar and milk. To see if the  batter is thick lift the batter using a spoon and back side of the spoon if it coats and can write the name using your small finger the batter is good enough to be cooked on a nonstick pan. Using a ladle pour in the batter and cook in on both the sides. Little melted ghee can be spread on individual liking. This recipe will fetch 15 crepes
Take the crepes, apply the powdered crumble, and stack one more crepe on the crumble. Roll the crepe tight and place it inside the fridge. Rest it for half an hour. Take the crepe and trim the sides. Roll it in pistachio powder. Pour the saffron milk, place the tellichery crepe and garnish with rose petal.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Making Asian food eating fun… a true International concept in India 

Chew is a delicious mix of funky ambience echoed in the exciting walls adorned with the eye-catching black and white Aztec-patterned tiles which have been carefully contrasted with Dholpur stone and cosy seating and interesting Asian elements like pop-colored posters with wooden furniture that includes tables with swings and turquoise blue chairs. 
Coming to the food, the Hot and Sour soup is a must have. I began my culinary sojourn with the Crystal Dimsums, which were absolutely succulent; make a beeline for the Salt & pepper corn water chestnuts, and the pork belly with Teriyaki sauce. Delightfully delicate artistry seen in the handiwork of the chef on the Sushi whets your appetite for more. There are a number of dishes that allow you to sample widely. The mind boggling varieties include delicious wok fried delicacies as meal in a bowl, with your choice of noodles, sticky or steamed rice, and hand tossed Asian Salads. Sea-food has been the downfall of many oriental restaurants in this not so coastal city. Thankfully ‘Chew’ has steered clear of that pitfall. The ‘Steamed fish’ with a choice of sauce is gleaming fresh, and a pleasure to eat, just lightly steamed with a tasty sauce. Tantalizing desserts range from Chocolate Lava cake with ice-cream to the proverbial Tiramisu. Service is exceptional, as is value in these price conscious times. All in all Thumbs Up!

Chew Pan Asian Café , First floor, M 16, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, Delhi
Tel: 011 33036614
Meal for two: Approx. INR 1500

Timings: 12:30 pm till 11:30 Pm

published in Statesman

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


We all wait for our Diwali holidays don’t we? I guess it also seems to be the most widely celebrated festival in India. It is a festival of fun, frolic and fizz with family, friends and feast. And when it comes to Diwali Mithai, obviously all the spirit has to be there in abundance. Why not? And serving home cooked Mithai when people come over to wish you is a great idea. This can be a whole lot of fun and extremely easy with KitchenAid appliances! Here is an easy yet out of the box recipe for a Diwali Mithai Enjoy!           


Ananas and coconut, chocolate and cashew nut
Cooking time: 5 mins                                     
Preparation time: 90 mins               
Serves: 8 people
For the dough:
Refined flour: 500 gms; Semolina: 125 gms; Ghee: 1 tbsp; Water: 200 ml; Salt: ¼ tsp
For the filling:
Ananas and Coconut
Fresh pineapple finely chopped: ½ cup; freshly grated coconut: 1/2 cup; Khoya: 100 gms; Cardamom powder of 2 pods; Fine grain Sugar: 1/4 cup
Chocolate and cashewnut:
Chocolate (dark):100 gms; Condensed milk: 100 gms; Cake crumbs: 40 gms; Cashewnut (roasted and broken):30 gms
For frying: Refined oil
For garnish: Gold/silver leaf, chocolate ganache

1. Take a KitchenAid stand mixer bowl; bring in together the Flour, salt, semolina. Put the bowl on KitchenAid mixer with the dough paddle/dough hook attachment.
2. Start the mixer @medium speed and add water slowly to form dough.
3.  In the mean while the dough is formed, heat the ghee and add into the dough mixture.
4. The dough should not be too soft, so use water in discreet quantities.
5.  Once the dough is formed, take it out of the KitchenAid mixer bowl, plastic wrap and rest for half an hour.
6. After resting, using the pasta roller attachment on the KitchenAid stand mixer, roll it out into a sheet, about 1 cm in thickness.
7.  Using a round cutter (8-10 cm Dia), cut through the sheet to get discs.
8.    Plastic wraps and keep aside in a cool place.

Method for the filling: Ananas and coconut
1.Warm a pan, add the chopped pineapple (I used a KitchenAid food chopper), khoya, coconut and sugar, sauté on a low flame, till the mixture caramelizes. Add the cardamom powder and mix well.
2.  Cool and portion into 20-30 Gms dumplings.

Method for the filling: Chocolate and cashew nut
1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
2. In a bowl, mix the condensed milk, cake crumbs and nuts.Pour the melted chocolate and mix well.
3. Cool the mixture and it would set into fudge, portion in 20-30 Gms dumplings and keep.

Bringing it together
1.  Bring out the earlier cut discs, place the ananas mix/chocolate mix in the centre and fold over to form a crescent shape, dip your fingers in water and line the edges moving the fingers around, make the two edges meet and press to seal, alternately you can also use a fork dipped in flour to press, so as to forma a pattern and seal the edges at the same time.
2. Repeat the same to get 10- 15 karanji’s.
3. Heat oil to a moderate temperature and fry the karanji’s to a golden hue.
4. Drain on a kitchen towel.

5. Garnish with gold leaf, chocolate sauce and serve hot or at room temperature.