Monday, September 14, 2015


Iam at The Park Hotel’s ‘Fire’ to  Check out Contemporary Burmese cuisine with Celebrity chef Bawmra Jap and Executive Chef Abhishek Basu…..
The heroes- Chris Downer, Chef Bawmra, Chef Basu
Soothing lemonade and charming smiles welcomes us. ‘Would you like still or sparkling water?’, ‘don’t worry Chris will explain the menu to you.’, ‘Anything I can do to assist?’ All of this in five minutes of arrival! Iam enthralled with the service. It’s spot on. A special mention to Bomra Goa’s Chris Downer who is hands down one of the best Managers …with his knowledge, courteousness and philosophy of service …there’s no way you won’t get a great meal experience.
The  lightly seared beef with basil, mint, coriander and sprouts ambrosial!
Coming to the food, the menu features fresh, vibrant flavours from the region, with influences from the many cultures of modern and ancient Burma.
Seasonal vegetable tempura with shantofu ..tamarind doy dip
For starters deep Fried seasonal vegetables and shantofu with a tamarind soy dip had me oohing over the batter and texture soaking up the tart sauce with it. Tangy and moist this dish is a must order. Even though we polished off the Tempura I would like to ask to take the sauce home! I wonder if they jar it..?
Pickled tea leaf salad
The word ‘Thoke’ interprets as ‘Salad’ in Burmese and you will find a few of them on the Fire Menu in this promotion. The favourite salad for us is the (Laphet Thoke) a fairly iconic dish in Burma with pickled green tea leaf and a fascinating mix of a handful of ingredients such as peanuts, garlic, chili, dried shrimp, ginger, fish sauce and lime, creating a brilliant texture and zest!. The mains certainly don’t disappoint, ‘slow roasted pork with pumpkin wasabi mash and kokum jus’ … thrills the palate. The ‘Steamed snapper with lemon grass and galangal’ as the name suggests, is a culinary masterpiece where the all the flavours are steeped in the fish beautifully while steaming …the result is ambrosial.
steamed snapper with lemongrass and galangal
The ‘Tasting platter of chilli chocolate mousse with crushed white chocolate, crème brulee with lemongrass and ginger and coconut Panacotta with passion fruit coulis’ is a dessert worth waiting for and is a fitting and soothing ending to this luscious meal.
I must add that the food is not overly sweet, salty or spicy and focuses on each of the diverse produce that comes together to give the flavour, texture and uniqueness to each of the dishes…absolutely well balanced and each dish showcases a unification of flavours - all so acquainted yet so different. It is certainly a great introduction to Burmese cuisine. Bawmra presents a contemporary take on the best of Burma, doing fairness to the rich and speckled tapestry that makes up this interesting and delicious cuisine and Basu’s love for local ingredients takes one on a journey into a new dimension of tastes.
Chicken with shitake mushrooms cooked in a banana leaf..oustanding!
The park, 15-Parliament Street, New Delhi
Landline Number: +91-011-23743737
The pop up is on till the 20th of September for dinner only…My advice do not miss it!!

The Manadate pic - Akanksha Dean, Chef Bakshish Dean , Chris Downer, Chef Bawmra, Chef Basu

Saturday, September 12, 2015


It was an invigorating afternoon, where I was attending the Chor Bizarre ‘pop up’  lunch at Drift at the Epicentre, Gurgaon…yes you got it right….the famed Chor Bizarre food in amchi Gurgaon!
Mother and I decided to sip on kahwa, a refreshing sweet tea, fragrant with saffron, spiced with cardamom and afloat with crisp almond slivers, from a samovar, which bubbled ceaselessly through the lunch. As the whiff of kebabs, spice laden curries and hot ghee began to weave its way across the restaurant I sat down for my ‘Chor Bizarre’ experience. The starters were delicious and impressed I was impatiently gearing up for the ‘Tarami’ aka an elaborate plate including an overwhelmingly generous meal integral to the Kashmiris. Traditionally people sit in fours to eat this meal, which is considered auspicious.
Soon came the much waited plate (Tarami), piled high with rice was topped with a dash of cooked ‘Hak’, ‘Tabak Maaz’ flat rib cuts cooked in spiced milk and then fried in pure ghee till they are dark and crackling, and Gushtaba, soft mutton meatballs cooked in a gravy of fresh curd, Rajma, Rogan josh, fiery with red Kashmiri chilies and lots more. From the vegetarian Tarami (I took a bite from mother’s plate as well), my vote goes all out to the delicious ‘Tamataar Chaman’, delectably spongy paneer in a rich tomato sauce. Phirni was served at the end of the meal, a yummy dessert of semolina thickened in milk set in earthenware cups with nuts.The chefs have strived to stay true to the authentic source of each dish, reliably re-forming flavours that one would normally associate only with home cooked food.  Not surprisingly I couldn’t move an inch after I was done, yet I couldn’t say no to some more kahwa!

As Chor Bizarre celebrates 25 years of being in Delhi this year, it brings to you a selection of the signature dishes at the Chor Bizarre Pop-Up at Drift at Epicentre Gurgaon.
WHERE? Apparel House, Sector 44, Near Huda City Center, Metro Station, Gurgaon, Haryana 122003
FOR RESERVATIONS? 0124 271 5100
All in all I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one; it’s delicious and absolute value for money!
Tabak Maaz- flat rib cuts cooked in spiced milk and then fried in pure ghee till they are dark and crackling

Dum Oluv -potatoes cooked in yogurt gravy.
Hak- a local variety of greens.
Rista -meatballs in fiery red gravy.
Rogan Josh -tender lamb cooked with Kashmiri spices.
Tabak Maaz -ribs of lamb simmered in yogurt till tender, and then fried till they crackle.
Daniwal Korma -a mutton curry with lots of coriander.
Marchwangan Korma -an extremely hot lamb preparation.
Kebab -minced meat roasted on skewers over hot coals.
Gushtaba -a velvety textured meatball in white yogurt gravy.
Yakhni -delicately spiced yogurt curry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Akanksha Dean  bonding with Michelin star Chef Anita Mu Jiuan lo over dinner.
‘Rohit Bal requests the pleasure of your company to a private dinner at Veda, Connaught Place, with some of the top women Michelin Star Chefs from around the world on the 8th of September 2015, 8.30 pm’
So if a foodie family gets an invitation like this, what do you do? You confirm immediately and that’s exactly what I did too!!
Celebrity Michelin starred female chefs are in India this September to partake in a new initiative '40 Girls to 40 Chefs' that goal to support and provide prospects to underprivileged young women into a livelihood in the food industry. This is part of Creative Services Support Group's (CSSG) second edge of 2015 fixated on women empowerment - the Hospitality Training Project (HTP) - to provide them the chance for a significant vocation in the Hospitality sector. As part of this program, the young women have been enrolled in a set of culinary courses at a school in Delhi and will be subsequently employed in the industry through their partners. And what better way than to have eight of the finest women Michelin starred chefs from across the globe to come together and not just curate the most gorgeous and interesting food but, take on the responsibility to personally supervise, narrate and communicate applied training to the young girls as they board upon a new expedition in their lives. CSSG has also received support from the renowned Rohit Bal and Emmanuel Balayer who are designing the high profile charity dinners ( the likes of which have never been seen before – a first even on a global scale ) which will be hosted at the Four Seasons in Mumbai and The Leela Palace in Delhi. The renowned Opera Group – Divine – who performed at the Nobel Prize Banquet in Stockholm along with Damien Whitely, have entire heartedly reinforced the initiative and will be performing at the Dinner together with a Jazz performance. All in all, a great cause to educate the girls into becoming the handpicked of chefs at par with some of the best in the world. 
Perfect host Rohit Bal with Akanksha Dean
The talented Rohit Bal had worked his magic again to make Veda look special for the evening replete with ornate Indian flowers and planned soft lighting….and why not it isn’t every day that you get to host Eight Female Michelin Chefs all under one roof! - Ana Ros from Slovenia, Angela Hartnett, Frances Atkins & Lisa Allen from the UK, Anita Mu-Jiuan Lo and Carrie Helen Nahabedian from the USA, Lauren Eldridge from Australia and Sonja Fruhsammer from Germany…Kudos to Anand & Aditi Kapoor of CSSG.
The chefs loved the Indian Food at Veda

Anand and Aditi Kapoor
It was a fun evening over conversation, good classical India food and wine, bonding with the Michelin Star chefs, Rohit Bal, Alok Aggarwal and his lovely wife played the perfect host. Also at the event were Ms Priya Paul and Sethu Vaidyanathan, 
Magandeep Singh 

Magandeep Singh, Eminent food writer Reshmi Ray Dasgupta, Chef Bakshish Dean and the lovely daughter….culinary arts student Akanksha Dean, Kunal Addvant to name a few. The Opera Group ‪#‎Divine who performed at the ‪#‎NobelPeaceBanquet and Damien Whitely broke into an impromptu performance to thank‪ #RohitBal and his team for a fabulous evening at #Veda…absolutely Divine performance and a divine ending to the gorgeous evening!
Opera Singer from the Divine group and Chef Bakshish Dean
Anand bonding with the Michelin star chefs 
Alok Aggarwal and his lovely wife...perfect hosts!
I am looking forward to the Formal sit down Charity dinner on the 11th at The Leela Palace Hotel…an 8-course meal will be specially prepared by Angela Hartnett from United Kingdom, Carrie Helen Nahabedian from United States and Sonja Fruhsammer from Germany

Saturday, September 5, 2015


I strongly believe that chefs and the Hospitality industry are some of the most zealous and compassionate people in the world, so they must be celebrated, it is great to celebrate the chefs that serve so many. Top Chef Awards was created to honour extraordinary culinary talent. The three musketeers aka Sourish Bhattacharya, Rocky Mohan and Atul Sikand yoke the communal power of the ‘Chef’ community to recognize local brilliance and celebrate with an incredible gala. This event exemplifies the spirit of food and the chef community in a way that has never been done.
The Jury L-R, Atul Sikand, Sid Mathur, Manjit Gill, Yangdup Lama, Manish Mehrotra, Manisha Bhasin, Ritu Dalmia, Ravitej Nath, Osama Jalali, Girish Krishnan, Neeraj Tyagi, Rajesh Namby, Sourish Bhattacharyya and Roc ky Mohan
Winners of 18 people’s choice awards and six jury awards ( eminent jury included the likes of Chef Manjit Gill, Chef Ravitej Nath, Chef Manish Mehrotra, Chef Manisha Bhasin to name a few)honoured by industry leaders at this glittering ceremony hosted The Top Chef Awards Season 2 at the Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi-NCR
Chef Saurabh Udinia receiving the award from Chef Bakshish Dean 
‘A lot of tough work goes into being a chef, and it’s so nice to get acknowledgment for it – it’s quite overwhelming in fact. It’s also fantastic to get encouraging feedback for something one has always done and believed in, and I’m just ecstatic to win this award’, shares Chef Saurabh Udinia of Farzi Café as he bags the Top Chef Season 2 award for Excellence in Modern Indian Cuisine.
Chef Vikramjit Ray of Tian (ITC) not only won the Top Chef Season 2 award for the Best Asian cuisine in a 5 star hotel category but also bagged the ‘Jiggs Kalra Award for the Young Chef of the Year’. Well, this was no surprise and a well-deserved award at that; At Tian, Vikramjit Roy’s dishes are perceived with acumen and intuition, refinement and artistic spirit, one gets to bouquet the vital delights of a fine unification of Asian culinary elements; both advanced as well as embedded in tradition.
Just last month I had gone to review the new menu at Megu (The Leela Palace) and had a chance to interact with Atul Tiwari, Restaurant Manager and I was thoroughly impressed by his passion and knowledge, in fact we even had an interesting session on identifying various smells of wines. It was nice to see him get the award for the Restaurant Manager of The Year. And I must add the Maître d’ of the Year which went to Jitender Kapoor (West View, ITC Maurya) is the first of its kind in any major food awards. Rahul Dua (Culinary Arts pass out of IHM Aurangabad) & my friend Kainaz Contractor won the Best in Regional cuisine for Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu which also happens to be one of my favourite restaurants.
Delhi Gourmet Club Founder Members’ Award for Culinary Excellence - Vikram Khatri of Guppy by Ai
The Delhi Gourmet Club Founder Members’ Award for Culinary Excellence which went to Chef Vikram Khatri (Guppy by Ai) was another well-deserved award. 
Chef Pablo Morales

The best Pastry / Bakery Chef for me has always been Chef Pablo of The Leela Ambience Gurgaon so I was a wee bit disappointed when he didn’t get the award, but then sometimes you don’t really need awards to prove that you are the best.
In the interest of fairness, Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi-NCR, opted out of the awards process, but definitely Chef Tanveer Kwatra and his team of chefs were the top chefs of the evening with their outstanding food spread. Commenting on Le Meridien Gurgaon’s association with the much-anticipated event, the hotel’s General Manager, David Hopcroft, said, ‘We are delighted to once again partner with the Delhi Gourmet Club’s Top Chef Awards Delhi-NCR 2015 Season 2, which is arguably Delhi-NCR’s finest platform to recognise talent in the culinary world. Some of the finest minds have come together for the event and we have put together a food experience befitting for our honourable guests.’
Chef Manjit Gill and Michel Koopman, GM, Leela Gurgaon awarded Chef Arvind Saraswat, The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Lifetime Achievement Award
Chef Arvind Saraswat, formerly of the Taj Group, honoured with The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Lifetime Achievement Award at Delhi Gourmet Club’s Top Chef Awards Delhi-NCR 2015
With the Culinary Maestro Chef Arvind Saraswat
Riyaaz Amlani, Founder-CEO and Managing Director, gets the jury award for Restaurateur of the Year for his benchmark-setting café concept, Social
The Top Chef Awards Delhi-NCR 2015 Season 2 was co-presented by the Delhi Gourmet Club, a Facebook group of 7,500-plus discerning food connoisseurs living in Delhi-NCR, and Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi-NCR, in association with Lite Bite Foods, Massive Restaurants, The Leela Ambience Gurgaon and Nestle Professional, and beverage support from Pernod Ricard, Sula Vineyards and Kingfisher.
Winners in 18 categories voted for by the more than 3,000 members of the Delhi Gourmet Club, Sikandalous Cuisine and Indian Restaurant Spy Facebook communities who participated in the election, and the eminent recipients of the six jury awards, were honoured by their industry peers. The jury had shortlisted three to five nominees for each of the 18 award categories open for voting. In the interest of fairness, Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi-NCR, opted out of the awards process.
With the RockStar Chefs  - Culinary arts student IHM Aurangabad Akanksha Dean, Myself :), Chef Manish Mehrotra & Chef Vikramjit Roy
(1) Excellence in North Indian Cuisine (Five Star):  Ghulam Qureshi, Dum Pukht, ITC Maurya
(2) Excellence in North Indian Cuisine (Standalone): Chiquita Gulati, Gulati’s Spice Market
(3) Nestle Professional Top Chef Season 2 Award for Excellence in South Indian Cuisine: Pavan Jambagi, Carnatic Café
(4) Best Regional Cuisine: Kainaz Contractor & Rahul Dua, Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu
(5) Excellence in Modern Indian Cuisine: Saurabh Udinia, Farzi Café
Chef  Manish Sharma
(6) Lite Bite Foods Top Chef Season 2 Award for Best International Café Cuisine (Five Star): Manish Sharma, THREESIXTYONEo, The Oberoi Gurgaon
(7) Lite Bite Foods Top Chef Season 2 Award for International Café Cuisine (Standalone): Shamsul Wahid, Social, Hauz Khas Village
(8)Excellence in Italian/Modern European Cuisine (Five Star): Diego Martinelli, Le Cirque, The Leela Palace New Delhi
(9)Excellence in Italian/Modern European Cuisine (Standalone): Romina Lugaresi, Artusi (Award will be collected by Oscar Balcon)
(10) Best Chinese Cuisine: Zhang Hongshen, China Kitchen, Hyatt Regency New Delhi
(11) Best Asian Cuisine (Five Star): Vikramjit Roy, Tian, ITC Maurya
(12) Best Asian Cuisine (Standalone): Janti Dugal, Mamagoto
(13) Best Japanese Cuisine: Corey E. Asato, Akira Back, JW Marriott, New Delhi Aerocity
(14) Pastry/Bakery Chef of the Year: Sahil Mehta, The Artful Baker
(15) Mixologist of the Year (Five Star): Joel Scholtens, Blue Bar, Taj Palace
(16) Mixologist of the Year (Standalone): Vijay Prakash, Social
(17) Restaurant Manager of the Year (Five Star): Atul Tiwari, Megu, The Leela Palace
(18) Restaurant Manager of the Year (Standalone): Palki Singh, Indian Accent
Party Fun.!!! Akanksha Dean,Richa sharma, Chef Sujan Sarkar, Me, Anahita Dhody, Chef Bakshish Dean & Ankur Chawla
Chef Saby, Akanksha Dean, Dildeep Kalra, Kavneet Sahni
IHM Aurangabad rocks! Chef Anahita Dhondy & Akanksha Dean

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


So Leaping Caravan contacted me to try out their food. Really? Free food? Bring it on! The hook was they wanted me to fairly blog about it. I am fine about being honest. And I thought too bad for them, because this sounded like another one of those home delivery options. Why not? It sounded too extravagant. Well it was fancy, and to my surprise and absolutely amazing value. What was it? 

Well if you crave hearty comfort food, like the ones served authentic; made exactly the way the families used to make it decades ago, meant to give customers a throwback to the Grand Trunk Road. Leaping caravan has you covered with items like Railway Chicken curry and Sukha Mutton. The food is prepared and delivered hot to your home; all you need to do is just have to serve. Megha Tuli’s (Founder & Co-Owner of Leaping Caravan) mission is to make eating healthy everyday ridiculously simple, producing hand me down ancestral recipes, made with love in their kitchen for homes with the freshest ingredients and prepared with chemical free vegetables. The menu is inspired by the concept of redefining the ‘Indian Dhaba’ around the corner with their focus on home delivery.

The best part is that you can order this food and pretend it’s made at home and that’s what I did (I can be a bit naughty at times). Barring my mother, no one on the table knew what was served for dinner was not made at home and all were absolutely impressed by the dinner menu. The star for me was the ‘Sukha Mutton’, the husband took a bite and said, ‘This has been made really well, the dry gravy is just like how Dad used to make’.  The paneer Bhurji was another hot favourite on the table.
The ‘Ghee Shakkar Roti’ and the ‘Cheeni Parantha’ for dessert got me applaud. Naughty I am but not dishonest, so I owned up as soon as the meal was over that it wasn’t me but the Leaping Caravan folks that made the food! And the husband smiled and said, ‘Everything seemed so home-style but the Biryani and the kheer kind of gave you away’!
So all in all I would definitely recommend Leaping Caravan for a good home delivery option as some of the family recipes will surely get you nostalgic as thankfully the recipes are not conquered by cream, butter and garam masala owing to the purity and sanctity of ingredients and is simply good food.
To place an order call – 9015141688 or log onto
Timings: 12:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Outlets: Gurgaon & Saket, Delhi NCR
Leaping Caravan also has something called the Comfort Corner consisting of options that most of us have loved and have grown up on but are usually not available in most restaurants – including Rajma Chawal, Kadhi Chawal, Anda Parantha and Paneer Bhurji.