Sunday, May 31, 2015


This is a restaurant that dazzles-from chic Japanese interior design, to the superb cuisine and service

From the moment you set foot on the pathway leading to the restaurant, which meanders through a charming courtyard, you begin to forget you are in Delhi. Guppy by ai’s quirky interior is reminiscent of a Japanese style fairyland, with and a bar which also manages to ooze some coziness!
I had planned my visit to try the summer menu which seemed inviting enough but obviously I did not restrict myself as the main menu is far more varied, with its wide scope of choices, as well as interesting combinations, it drew my interest so I settled for a combination from both.
Chef Vikram Khatri will ask if there is anything you don’t eat and then start masterfully. Try not to linger—this is sushi you would want to eat right away, at optimal fish and rice temperatures. Recommendations go all out for the included exquisitely fattychu-toro (tuna), super fresh ‘Shake maki’. Each piece was a work of art, though quickly consumed! A wood smoked Pumpkin soup followed. I am not a huge fan of pumpkin soup but I found this one to be particularly delectable. It was light and had the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.  

The ‘Seaweed and Mesclun Salad’ deserves an applause owing to the right amount of crunch drizzled with the refreshing piquant plum vinaigrette and trust me full of antioxidants, it’s practically health food! The ‘Tofu and Water Chestnut Motoyaki’ made me sit up, mainly because of the buttery sauce-the chef’s secret. Another highlight includes the delicious tempura, despite the deep-frying; it is rather light and remarkably greaseless. The summer menu also offers Cold soba or udon meant to be simple, easy, and quick, and also cool you down from the hot weather but I was craving some hot main course so we opted for an Udon Noodle soup with a delicious pork broth, decadent to the core! 
Parchment fish
And yes do not miss the ‘Parchment Fish’, it is light and refreshing and just what the summer ordered. I loved the way Chef Vikram has used fresh and seasonal ingredients like Cherry Blossom flowers, Tokasa Seaweed, Kobocha, Yellowtail and Water chestnuts to make the dishes just right to beat the heat!
And there is nothing quite like The ‘Gooseberry Fizz with gin’, ‘Sendai with vodka, kiwi, lime and melon’ and ‘Okinava with sake, vodka and cherry blossom flowers’ on a hot Delhi day!! If it suits your preference the restaurant also offers kaiseki (Japanese set meals) for lunch that harmonise with the seasons. I skipped the dessert as I was too full but my daughter Akanksha who is a budding chef said the Red Velvet cake was ‘kickass’ with delicious cream cheese frosting and Chef Vikram was kind enough to give her a peek into his kitchen. I loved the whole Guppy by ai experience. Over the years, I have been familiarized to some wonderful Japanese chefs, all of whose restaurants are worth a visit in their own right. ..But Guppy by ai is very different from the ones in Delhi as Chef Vikram’s food rewards gentle perseverance and a willingness to try anything.

Chef Vikram Khatri giving Akanksha Dean a sneak peek as he makes the Sushi
Address: 28, Main Market, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi
Timings: 12 to 3.30pm and 7pm to 1am
Lunch for two without alcohol: 1300 ++
Dinner for two without alcohol: 1800 ++
For Reservation: 01124690005 / 6, +919650185005
Facebook: guppy by ai

Friday, May 29, 2015


A French city that vitrines both the modern world and simpler times long past, all in one charming little package says 'me'
Distinct from most other places that I have stayed in France and bears an arresting likeness to Germany; a meagre four kilometres away from the German border, today Strasbourg residues a hybrid with traces of German and French; fragment medieval village, slice modern European. It is also the first French city whose inscription concerns not a single monument, but an entire historic urban centre as in 1988 ‘Strasbourg – Grand Ile’ was inscribed on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage list. That said is a place where you can appreciate the simple preferences of small village life- browsing shops along cobbled streets, indulging in a treat from the many patisseries, and observing swans gracefully drift by as you walk along the banks of the river. Away from the historical centre of town, the city is fresh and lively, as its home to one of France’s top-rated universities. Lustrous and modern, glass buildings house the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, and the part-time home base of the European Parliament. A boat cruise is a great way to see both the old and the new of Strasbourg. It takes one on the entire way around the main island, including a detour to the European Institutions. Alongside the river we got to see churches and small palaces attractively lit up, which was quite romantic.
We walked up the narrow Rue des Orfèvres, a pretty street lined with busy shops as we approached the end of the street; we were awe struck by what we saw. The Strasbourg Cathedral, in the heart of the Old Town, Rising up to the heavens is a single steeple, so tall you cannot see the top without tilting your heads as far back as you can. Even then, it was tough! It was the tallest construction in the world for over 200 years (1647-1874). At 142 metres, it remains the tallest 15th century edifice in the world. As impressive as the steeple is, the church is worth a visit inside. The key magnetism is the astronomical clock, an intricate 16th century creation which tells the time, calculates religious occasions, and gives astronomical indications. FRANCE
Formerly the fisherman’s millers and tanners district is today a peaceful tourist district in the heart of the town. It is unbelievably charming; picture perfect and unharmed by time, its meandering streets offer a wealth of 16th and 17th century half –timbered homes with huge interior courtyards and large sloping roofs. I loved all the woodwork and flower boxes that ornamented the houses.
Best Place to stay: We stayed at the Hotel Beaucour; we chose this hotel because of its proximity to the Cathedral and Petite France. Our room was large, clean and modern and decorated in Alsatian-style.
Best way to Reach: Strasbourg is a 2 hour 20 minute high speed train ride from Paris. From the train station, you can take a tram or bus into the city. You can book your tickets online from
For More Information: Log on to
The tourist information office is situated at 17 Place de la Cathedral as well as in the train station.

Published in Statesman 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Johnny Rockets, Gurgaon


Hyatt Regency CDG, Paris caters to your every need whether business or leisure and redefines business hospitality with its trademark charm and signature style. 
Modern and contemporary it spells luxury and exclusivity in various facilities running through the hotel. Its 388 guest rooms & suites (including 101 twin rooms) and meeting spaces are augmented by the latest technology and interesting dining and recreation options.
To start with a premium transfer service available from the hotel aka the ‘Green Driver’ – new eco-friendly private airport pick up with electronic car (charge 10 Euros) breaks away from the tradition and revolutionizes the experience. This enhances the guest experience and becomes a benchmark in hospitality technology innovations.
The Food and Beverage options are aplenty; ‘Apollo Restaurant’ is where you can have your breakfast and all meals. If you want to just chill and hang out in the evenings with friends then a sophisticated and graceful ‘lobby lounge’ it is! 

And if you are feeling romantic and the weather is good, just book a table at The Terrace.The ‘Café Mirage’ is a devoted area for groups with a maximum capacity of 250 seated persons or up to 300 persons for a cocktail. This natural daylight area has an open kitchen and a private terrace. The Hotel makes fitness extremely rewarding for its guests with its state of the art fitness centre and refreshing view of the indoor heated swimming pool. And if you are an outdoor person go hop on to the tennis and basket courts anytime you like. Quietly recharge, live it up, or get down to business. Whatever your agenda is, enjoy the Hyatt difference.
Interestingly it offers something called ‘Le Campus’ which is an imaginative and tailored answer for today’s needs of business tourism. ‘Le Campus’ is an open and customer-centric space for any guest, who wants to enjoy a fun and ground-breaking environment, a more elastic and linked solution designed by Viserius Studio, based in Paris and New-York, for a younger audience, An experience to make your own replete with facilities like a personalised 800 m2 space, 7 private interactive labs, picnic area, a shared multifunctional space with full access at all times, Fresh, delicious and organic finger food, available through the day, with eco-friendly packaging, Optimum connectivity and multi-user broadband connection, HD/LED screens and Airplay technology.
The Club lounge is an added facility for guests who book a Regency Club room and upward category rooms
Hyatt Regency Paris - Charles de Gaulle is ideally located near Charles de Gaulle international airport (6 Km), the Villepinte exhibition Center (3, 6Km) and Bourget airport (10Km). The hotel has free shuttle buses to Terminal 2 / TGV station & Terminal 3 / Roissypôle
Address: 351 Avenue du Bois de la Pie, 95912 Roissy-en-France, France
For Reservations: +33 1 48 17 12 34
Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


The restaurant is designed to offer the most genuine Italian dining experience outside of Italy!

Cosy and intimate, Prego takes you away from the hustle and bustle of city life; as the glass doors of this Italian Adventure open, one is overwhelmed with the state-of-the-art elements with authentic artwork, an open kitchen, visual light earthen colour scheme; glass blocks in different colours, a rich wine cellar (as in the wine is excellent!) and the exotic fragrance of Italian food. 
And once we got comfortable we experienced the best of Italian cooking by Chef Emiliano Di Stefano who focuses on the root of the food. In the grand tradition of Italian cuisine Emiliano serves innovative flavours and textures that only an Italian chef will put to a dramatic effect.
To whet appetites, the ‘Caesar salad classico’ sets the right mood, nice and crisp lettuce, though the dressing is extra cheesy (no complaints!). I enjoyed their ‘black mussels and clams’ done to a tasty perfection with plenty of garlic and flavoured with parsley and white wine. 

Pasta is made fresh here every day to guarantee the best quality. The ‘Aglio olio pepperoncino’ is absolutely delicious with their special diavola of garlic and chilli oil. The ‘tortellacci ai funghi’ handcrafted mushroom tortelli, spinach and cheese fondue, truffle sauce took me straight to Alba…I could actually get the pleasing earthy smell…mama mia! The ‘wild mushroom risotto’ was to die for and the thin crispy ‘pizzas’ especially the flavourful gorgonzola are wonderful. Some main dishes like the ‘braised lamb shank’ with saffron risotto and ‘salt crusted sea-bass’ are truly outstanding. Save a little room for the heavenly ‘Traditional Tiramisu’ and trust me, Prego is ready to spread its magic in amchi Dilli! And yes, constant action and mischievous gimmicks are integral to the truly engaging, lively and interactive spirit of the dining experience out here…I got totally fooled, though it brought laughter on her table. All in all, if anyone has succeeded in bringing the ambience of a lively Italian piazza indoors, it would be Prego. Visit here for a relaxing meal with friends.
The WestIn Gurgaon, New Delhi, No 1 MG Road, Gurgaon-122002
For Reservations: 0124 4977777. Extension 7841
Meal for two: INR 3,500 plus taxes without alcohol.

Don’t miss Prego’s ‪#‎Pastificio (Handcrafted Pastas) Food Festival where they introduce your palette to delicious flavours at‪#‎PREGO.
INSALATA CRUDAIOLA… Hand crafted three colour farfalle, cherry tomato, black olives, buffalo mozzarella, rucola and seared sesame tuna fillet
RAVIOLID’ANATRA …. Hand crafted duck ravioli with tomato confit, orange sauce and jus
MEZZELUNE ALLA CAPRESE handcrafted tomato and buffalo mozzarella ravioli with basil sauce and tapenade
PASTA AL FORNOgolden gratin of rigatoni pasta, chicken meatballs, eggplant, hardboiled eggs, melted cheese and tomato sauce
BUGIE RIPIENE …hand crafted custard, chocolate and berries, jam ravioli, vanilla sauce, strawberries

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Kitchen District brings interactive elements of a new age multicuisine market place to the first floor of Hyatt Regency Gurgaon.  With a stylish yet relaxed atmosphere, this ‘out of city’ location gives the space an edge over the others so as to embark on a crusade to taste simple plates of food. On offer is breakfast, lunch and dinner with a la carte as well as buffet choices along with a colossal Sunday Brunch and a delightful dessert buffet. Coming to the food, I would suggest you to set your palate free to engage in an exploration of the senses. The five show kitchens offering myriad choices including Mediterranean, Asian, Indian, and Japanese dishes, take the place of the hot chafing dishes found on the usual buffet line and instead, prepare food in individual portions in order to give maximum freshness and guest interaction, coexisting in perfect harmony to offer a singular culinary district.
To complement the experience the tastefully designed Long bar (read 60 feet long) is trendy and the bar menu enticing and indulgent. It is the perfect setting to savour first-rate cocktails or even a glass of wine in the early evening through to midnight. Simplicity and balance are the buzzwords of this wonderful space, enriched by honest to goodness flavours and fresh picked produce.
WHERE? Hyatt Regency Gurgaon, NH8, Sector 83, Gurgaon.
Breakfast: 06:00 am – 11:00 am (all days including public holidays)
Lunch: 2:00 noon – 15:30 pm
Dinner: 07:00 pm – 11:30 pm (all days of the week)
Open 7 days a week (Monday to Sunday)
Timings: 12 pm – 12 am.

published in Statesman