Top Chef Gary Mehigan at The Roseate

It was an on-the-spur decision to substitute my name with Bono’s that stretch his characteristic smile into a wide grin. “Bono. Nice! Like the singer? Or, who knows? He will be even more famous!” Said Gary Mehigan as he signed his autograph for my seven-year-old who doesn’t miss any episode of the British-Australian celebrity chef’s latest show Masters of Taste on Fox Life.
What I noticed throughout the afternoon was how the restaurateur and TV host used that cheerful demeanour, disarming smile and unaffected candour to break the ice while interacting with complete strangers who had come to savour the meal thoughtfully curated by him at the lunch powered by HDFC Bank and Visa. An invite-only event at Chi Ni at The Roseate, it was a buzzing four hours high on taste and culinary marvels peppered by Gary’s constant repartee. Even as he explained the food put in front of the gourmands, he shared anecdotes from his Masterchef Australia stint and his previous visits to India, the country h…

Robust meals and rich flavours abound at Tenali-The Andhra Kitchen

Mashi, who looks after Bono at home in my absence is from a village in Howrah. When she first came into our house six years ago, I noticed she liked her food spicy. Owning a palette that couldn’t take much heat, I kept asking her how she was digesting the red chillies with such ease. “Habit!” she reasoned, adding, “Without the red chillies I feel the food isn’t tasty.” Despite she imploring us to try her cooking, we were wary. Because somehow, I felt that the heat of chillies would mar the delicacy of the other spices. But yesterday, I realised that it takes a deft hand to balance things out. As I tucked into the expansive vegetarian thali (Rs 350) at Tenali – The Andhra Kitchen yesterday afternoon, I will admit that my nose resembled a little spring from the mountains but my tongue was happy with the strong flavours and spices. And of course, I had the curd and the Sabudana Payasam to temper things down.
Tenali Kitchen is not your fancy fine diner. It offers a humble ambience, with …

Plum Food in a Posh Ambiance

When I stepped out of home yesterday for a lunch date at Plum by Bentchair, Lutyen’s Delhi’s new posh dining destination, I was anticipating a quiet experience amidst the colourful interiors with a spread of what the restaurant has termed fusion Asian. I was wrong.

I hadn’t expected it to buzz that way on an afternoon when the city was preparing for Janmashtami Puja in the evening. A steady stream of guests walked in throughout the two hours I was there. I actually was pleasantly surprised by how well foodies have responded to this concept retail restaurant. After a chat with the manager, I realised it was a good decision to choose yesterday. “The tables are completely sold out on weekends,” he said with enormous pride.
Coming to the definition of a retail restaurant, it is where you can purchase as you eat. Not just the victuals. Tables, chairs, consoles, paintings, accessories, home décor collectibles… just about anything that you lay eyes or your behinds on… if you fancy them tha…

Walking into Wok in the Clouds in Connaught Place


Greenr gets a new spin!

I wonder at the resolve of those who turn vegetarian by choice. Even more if they do so after tasting the best meats, fishes, oysters, clams and prawns of the world. Then, what exactly prompts them to give all the goodies up? Is it really easy to stick to a tofu roll when you can smack your lips after wolfing down a juicy tuna burger? Or feel sated with a beetroot and caperberry salad when somewhere beside is working a fork through a grilled corn-fed chicken breast? Won’t you miss the rustic beef bolognaise as you slurp down a vegetarian khao suey? Will the succulent scallop or the lobster sushi roll not beckon you while you deal with an asparagus tempura? Yesterday, a very good vegetarian meal at Greenr Café in Dhanmill Compound quelled the doubts. If the green options are as innovative and diverse, with a thought towards health as well, then who wouldn’t mind choosing that over animal protein (the source of which is perennially under the scanner these days).
Last May while the sun …

Incredible India, served fresh at Fire, The Park this season...

While we almost wilted in the gruelling June heat of Calcutta this time, one morning our house-help of 20 years, shoved a mug of liquid in my hands with a stern, “Drink up. This will cool you down.” The translucent brown liquid had things floating in it. While I apprehensively took a gulp, she affectionately added, “This is kothela.” Surprisingly, the Jigarthanda served at The Park’s Fire yesterday, had kothela too. Almond gum for the uninitiated. And, gond in local parlance. The milky sherbet that was topped with a dollop of caramel ice cream is a popular Madurai drink concocted with almond gum, nannari syrup and milk. On tasting it, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “This is kothela, right! The coolant!” The appreciative nods at the table meant I had been able to connect the dots. How amazing is regional food! Eaten in different kinds of preparations in different states but for similar effects. This is how cultural differences are bridged, I believe. Over unique food that take different…