Friday, January 24, 2014


When I woke up on the 21st morning after a comfortable sleep on Le Meridien Jaipur's cozy bed, I drew the curtains and saw that it was raining cats and dogs and all the arrangements that the Hotel had made the previous day ( in terms of decoration) for hosting the writer's ball ( for those who don't know this year the venue was moved to the sprawling Le Meridien close to the Amber fort) in the lawns ...alas had been ruined and even if it meant Sun the rest of the day, the lawns couldn't have completely cleared of the muck. I kept wondering as to what the Hotel would do now as most of their area was totally blocked owing to the 'Emami' wedding. I saw Anjali Mehra (Area Director Marketing & Communications South Asia at Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts) and Vikas Malik ( Regional Director Food & Beverage, South Asia at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc) working on Plan B for the evening with their team.
As for us ( the invitees), we went over to the festival, had a delicious lunch at Laxmi Mishtaan Bhandar, did some shopping , got dressed and came down for the party...
And what a party... the team had transformed the 24 hours restaurant 'Latest Recipe' on the lobby level and the area connecting on the first floor adjoining a terrace into a party zone in a couple of hours. Kudos for that I must say! 

Big names like William Dalrymple, Sanjoy Roy, Namita Gokhale, Parveen Dusanj, Tripti Pandey and Kabir Bedi were all seen having a great time. Writers were dancing with full gusto to the tunes of a Rajasthani band led by famous artiste Chugge Khan, who sang songs like Duma Dum Mast Kalandar and Rajasthani folk songs like Kalyo Kood Padya and Mhari Odhni. 

The icing on the cake was the Big Indian Emami Wedding fireworks which could be seen from the terrace. 

As for me I had great company and couldn't help dancing to the music myself. 
It was also a pleasure to catch 
up with my friend Prashant Gupta ( General Manager at The Trident Jaipur). All in all being Starwood's designated brand for art and culture Le Meridien proved to be the perfect venue to host this ball, even the rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of the team and they rocked !! 


Food being marinated in fruit juices with a secret blend of Caribbean spices makes ‘Pollo Tropical’ a winner 

Looking for authentic Caribbean food? Looking for nourishing and healthy food? Looking for friendly and quick service? Looking for good prices? Pollo Tropical (pronounced poyyo tropicaaal) is the way to go. This little chain of heaven was started in Miami; it was interesting for me to find out later on their website that they have been around since 1988 and is located variously across America and in countries all over the world (including India now, Trinidad, and Honduras!).The food is delicious, has large quantities, and the price is reasonable.
You have a lot of options on the menu and can tailor your choices to your level of spiciness. They have wonderful specialty drinks on offer as well. You can enjoy healthy grilled chicken on an open flame before your eyes soon after you place your order. Really great chicken, pretty good sides and yummy cilantro garlic sauce is what I would highly recommend. It’s kind of Cuban, but also kind of Puerto Rican too.  I guess Latin Caribbean would be a good way to describe the succulent, tender, savoury, fall off the bone grilled chicken they serve up here. Consistency, value, consistency! The prices are just unbelievably reasonable and you get great quality food I also tried a ‘Tropichop’,
though after a lot of rethinking, because on principal I never order anything with a silly name because it seems like a ploy to get people to say something silly for an irrelevant purpose. Why this is called a Tropichop? I wondered, because the food is supposedly tropical and the meat is ‘chopped’? Whatever!! Anyways I got mine with chicken, white rice, black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and onions. It was decadent to the core, completely wholesome and married well with the Spicy poyo poyo sauce. To end on a sweet note, do not leave without trying the ‘tres leches’ a freshly baked pound cake drenched in a light cream, covered with fluffy icing with a cherry on top….yummy!
Definitely Pollo Tropical has a repeat customer in me. For fast food, it sure tastes much better than any other fast food I have had. Some stuff even tastes more like a home cooked meal. Fast, cheap and the staff is actually lovely! All in all thumbs up! Did I mention consistency?

Pollo Tropical, MA-01, DLF Place Restaurant Block, Saket, New Delhi
Meal for Two: INR 750

For Reservations: 011-41099909/9999554488

published in Statesman on 23/01/2014