Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Taste of Megu

Crispy Asparagus at Megu in New DelhiThe Leela Palace in New Delhi is among the fanciest hotels built by the group.  While not the largest, this hotel has clearly tried to position itself as one of the most luxurious.  With this in mind, the hotel opened with high-end restaurants that are destinations in themselves.  Le Cirque occupies top spot here, but since I have experienced this well-known French restaurant at their Las Vegas location, I decided to try Megu instead.


Saturday, November 02, 2013

Royal Rajasthani Cuisine

Royal Rajasthani Thali at Rambagh Palace JaipurWhile there was much to absorb and luxuriate in during our few days in Rajasthan, the elaborate Rajashani royal cuisine was clearly one of the highlights.  Typical local fare here tends to be made with creativity from the few ingredients that grow locally.  However, elaborate versions of this same cuisine mastered by generations of royal cooks can clearly impress even the palate of the most jaded foodie.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pink City

We have been doing smaller ‘discover India’ vacations during winters to give our daughter a first-hand experience of the history, art and culture of the country she was born into.  My childhood memories of vacations were of long train journeys (those days it took three days to get to Kolkata from Mysore!), meeting lots of relatives and elaborate dinners. We rarely spent vacation time at beaches or hilltop resorts then.


Saturday, September 14, 2013


Arteastiq Tea Bone China in SingaporeA lunch meeting with a fellow colleague who is also a foodie can come with unexpected pleasures!  That is what happened during a short business lunch in Singapore.  Arteastiq, like its carefully spelt name suggests, tries to meld art and tea drinking into a seamless experience for those who have a taste for both.

Arteastiq first tasted success when they introduced the unique concept of an Art Jamming studio tea cafe in their Orchard Street location.  The restaurant we visited is their newer one, which combines the art studio and tea concept with a more traditional Chinese menu in Mellenia Walk.


Saturday, September 07, 2013

The House

Soft Shell Crab at The House in San FranciscoOn the hunt for something new I had expanded my search to include the neighbouring areas of Union Square.  I was rewarded with this interesting find which showed up with 4.5 stars on Yelp! from 2700 reviews.  Users raved online about their 'top' Asian fusion fare and about their top-notch seafood specialities.  I clearly had to try The House right away!


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wayfare Tavern

Wayfare TavernAnother restaurant. Another celebrity chef.  Chef/owner Tyler Florence is well-known to viewers of the Food Channel and has several cookbooks in his name as well.  Wayfare Tavern is his culinary outpost where he brings to life traditional American food in very interesting surroundings.  The animal heads on the walls, the gold eagles on their plates, the pewter plates and curved Windsor chairs all add up to a lot of atmosphere.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Irish Stew and Oyster Stout

Like neighbouring England, some of the best food in Ireland is of the simplest kind.  Then what better place than one of the old-world pubs to try some local food with the drinks?  TimeOut had recommended the Porterhouse in the Temple Bar area, so after a walk through Dublin Castle and Trinity College here I was.  The Porterhouse is a large pub with three levels, an excess of wood and lots of old-world charm.  It is also Dublin's oldest microbrewery pub that only sells its own beer labels.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

In Ireland!

Temple Bar DublinI am always excited when visiting a new country and this time was no different!  I peered out eagerly from my window as the aircraft banked smoothly through the clouds over Dublin airport on a bright, clear morning. Immigration was a breeze and soon I was off on my way chatting with my talkative and friendly driver as he drove me down to my hotel.  It didn't take me much time to realise that being friendly is pretty much the norm; I find the Irish the friendliest and most welcoming people in the West.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Taste of Kashmir

The unique cuisine of Kashmir is said to date back to the early 16th century when Timur invaded India, but its food underwent considerable change as immigrants from Samarkand (in modern day Afganistan) arrived.  Mutton and rice are staples that are cooked together and separately in a variety of forms.  Fish and a variety of interesting local vegetables such as the lotus stem from local lakes make up other parts of their extravagant cuisine.


Saturday, August 03, 2013

Trois Kitchen & Wine Bar

Trois Kitchen & Wine Bar, PuneNew restaurants now keep showing up in all corners of Pune with predictable regularity - a sign of the rapid growth underway in this lovely city.  It was only a week or two ago that we noticed Trois Kitchen & Wine Bar which recently opened its door in my neighbourhood.  The restaurant is housed in a glass-fronted bungalow that provides both indoor as well as open-air terrace seating for a romantic dining experience. Well, truly romantic only if you can ignore the incessant honking of Indian traffic on busy Central Avenue in Kalyani Nagar!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

White Rabbit

Salad Printemps at The White Rabbit SingaporeFor a fine dining experience like no other, you have to try the White Rabbit in Singapore.  Completely whimsical, this church turned restaurant affords an interesting dining experience while also offering a lesson in colonial history if you dig deeper.  The entire area of Dempsey Hill was once home to the British Army, and the garrison has slowly been repurposed into fancy restaurants, bars and spas.  Finally, it was the turn of the long abandoned garrison church, and therein lies the story of White Rabbit.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

No Signboard Restaurant

White pepper crab at No SignboardAs most Asians will attest, Singapore remains a haven for foodies with its high density and variety of eating places. That is especially true if you love Asian street staples or seafood. For seafood lovers, No Signboard often is one of the top choices here.  This strangely named restaurant now has branches all over Singapore; I had a chance to sample some of their innovative creations during a recent weekend.


Saturday, July 06, 2013

Back to the Bistro

Cheesecake at Bistro, PuneWe recently decided to take a weekend off from our routine chores.  Oakwood Premier, which is located close by, turned out to a perfect place for this.  With its stylishly appointed 'homes within a hotel', this place can be great to get some time out for families within the city or those looking to escape Mumbai for a few days.

Located in Koregan Park, this hotel has everything you need.  We stayed in a one-bedroom 'apartment' within the hotel premises.  The place was done up very nicely indeed with an eye for detail.  The furniture and fittings were top class too.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tadich Grill

My hunt for a traditional, authentic San Francisco restaurant ended at the Tadich Grill.  Recently made famous by Anthony Bourdain when he toured this city, Tadich Grill set up shop during the California Gold Rush. This area, now full of gleaming towers of glass and steel, was back then swamp land; this eating place a tent with a sign that said Coffee Stand.  However, its Croatian owners soon reinvented the increasingly popular place into a seafood restaurant.  And that it has remained during the last 160 years.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Parcel 104. Again.

Parcel 104: Peach and Lettuce SaladHere I was again, at one of my favourite restaurants of Silicon Valley.  I am glad to report that Parcel 104 at the Marriott Santa Clara continues to delight.  From my two visits recently, I can see they have other fans too, especially from the large tech community who gather in this Silicon Valley hotspot for  conferences and meetings.

Bradley Ogden's restaurant boasts of fresh ingredients always.  In fact, they say they do not have an in-house freezer!  So, everything here tends to be seasonal, from local farmers' markets.  In short, a very Californian experience.


Saturday, June 08, 2013

More M.Y.China & Hakkasan

Hakkasan, San FranciscoWhile M.Y.China by no means tries to be authentic, I like their cocktails, dim sums and hand-made noodles.  Given the always chilly and windy San Francisco weather, I pop in here fairly frequently during my monthly business trips to this lovely city.

It was here, under the great bronze bell they carted all the way from a monastery in China, that I tasted my spiciest cocktail.  Called Fire in the Wok, this one is tequila spiced up and garnished with a red pepper!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Special Birthday

Waking up on my birthday at an idyllic beachside resort in Mauritius was cool.  Having it come in the middle of a perfect week with the family, with nary a thought of the busy life we had left behind, was priceless!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Restaurants of the St. Regis

Restaurants of the St. Regis MauritiusThe St. Regis boasts of five restaurants on its property, or rather six, if you also count the chef's table with its bespoke menu making it a special experience at this resort. These restaurants cover a lot of ground, from the local French-inspired cuisine to Indian, Japanese, a sea-side Grill and Pan-Asian food.  This particularly useful, considering there are no other places close by the St. Regis.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dolphins And Schools of Fish

Catamaran Cruise in MauritiusIf you look up Mauritius on a world map, you will notice it is tiny and in the middle of the Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar.  Being far away from the mainlands of Africa and Asia keeps the waters surrounding this beautiful island country unspoilt and beautiful.  Given the perfectly warm and sunny days with pleasantly cool winds, it was inevitable we would spend a good amount of time in (and on) the waters.

We kept alternating between lazing in the beach and swimming with our face in the water, watching schools of colored fish frolicking below on the coral reef.  There were large numbers of white and black striped fish, flat ones with deep yellow marks on their faces, others with red lines, and those that merged into the background almost completely.  The still waters of the lagoon afforded us a view we hadn't experienced ever before.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

Arriving in Mauritius

St. Regis MauritiusI love planning vacations.  Everyone loves a good vacation, but I also enjoy the process of planning them: figuring out where to go, what to do and how to make this one different from anything we have done before. So, it was only after poring over a lot of options that I narrowed down Le Morne in Mauritius as the destination of choice for our summer vacation.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Michael Mina Once Again

Squid Ink pasta at Michael Mina SFI have visited and written about Michael Mina's eponymous restaurants in San Francisco and Las Vegas before.  Earlier, his signature restaurant in San Francisco was housed within the St. Francis hotel.  Two years ago, he recently moved this restaurant to the current location, where Aqua once existed and where he began his culinary career.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tantalizing & Tamilian

Chennai has seen a sudden influx of hotels and restaurants, giving us foodies several options of sampling delicacies from the Tamilian heartland without having to brave the humid, hot outdoors. All you need to do is locate the best new choices within the many burgeoning five-star hotels with their many restaurants that are falling over each other to get your attention and business!


Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Best Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops for the Gods at EvviaOne of the meat dishes I really, really enjoy is lamb chops.  During my travels around the world, I have had a chance to sample this dish in its varying forms in several different places. While pork chops are a close second, nothing in my mind, beats a well crafted dish of lamb chops.  Incidentally, the idea of a chop apparently originated from British 17th century chophouses who began cooking individual portions of meat on the bone.  The Indian 'chaap', a lovely rendition of lamb chops in Indian spices slow-cooked on a tandoor grill, may owe its name to the British too.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Asian Fusion Food

Ame in SFAsian inspired cuisine is now pretty much mainstream in the Bay Area.  While it takes some hunting to locate the authentic tastes and flavors are the Far East, every other restaurant now has dishes crafted with Asian ingredients while others have melded staples from Japan, Korea, and Thailand with a Californian ethos.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Farallon in Union Square

Farallon restaurant in San FranciscoI have reviewed Farallon before.  Located in the tourist hotspot of the Union Square in San Francisco, this restaurant seems to be one that would be comfortably at home in Las Vegas or Atlantic City with its elaborate and whimsical ocean motifs and cavernous interiors.  The food is pretty good too, even if not mind-blowing, and that is what I went back for during a recent weekend.


Saturday, March 02, 2013

Incognito in Pune

Sole fish with salsa at Incognito PuneIncognito, like its name suggests, is difficult to locate in bustling Phoenix City Market, the new shopping destination in Pune. The unusual name is coupled with a warm atmosphere surrounded by eclectic bric bracs from another time that also includes a selection of hardcover books in one corner.  This restaurant has become my family's most visited eating place in the last few months!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Taste of the Caribbean

Coconuts Caribbean RestaurantCaribbean cuisine evolved from native crops, spices and culinary techniques married with imports that came in with the Spanish and Africans.  The Spaniards brought with them goats, citrus fruits, ginger, and bananas. Africans came to these islands as slaves and brought with them okra, peanuts and a variety of beans and peas, all of which are considered staples in today's Caribbean cuisine.


Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Best Kababs

Punjab Grill - Bhatti Da MurghNow that I have had the chance to visit both Paasha and Punjab Grill multiple times, my considered view is they are both a tie for the best kabab place in town.  Of course, this isn't really an apples to apples comparison.  Paasha is a fancy upscale lounge and restaurant located at the newly re-branded JW Marriott hotel, while Punjab Grill is located within the Phoenix Market City shopping mall.  Though Punjab Grill is by no means down-market, Paasha is clearly the more fancier and the more expensive one.


Saturday, February 02, 2013

Eating Through San Fran - II

I was back at Ame after a while.  It was a Saturday evening but I was able to get a table without too much trouble even without a reservation.  I stayed with the basics and was rewarded by the same satisfaction I got when I dined here last.  The sake menu and the service continues to remain top-notch too.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Eating Through San Fran - I

Downtown San Francisco is an ideal place for the travelling foodie. I have been returning here every month during the past two years, but have yet to run out of interesting new places to try.  This time was no different.

Town Hall in San Francisco


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Best French Toast

French Toast at La BoulangeLa Boulange has been a favourite of mine for a while. I guess I am not alone; its rising popularity in the Bay Area recently led Starbucks to buy this boutique bakery that has outlets all over Silicon Valley and San Francisco.  While its French pastries, breads and sandwiches are excellent, it is their French Toast I find truly outstanding.


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Ancient Indian Art

Marble Inlay Work in AgraWhile I haven't been a serious art collector, I am fascinated by the variety of ancient art forms that have been passed through generations of skilled artists and craftsmen and kept alive in our towns and villages.  During our recent trip to Chennai, we re-discovered several examples of traditional artisanship  that have been native to the Coromandel region and fine-tuned overs the years.