Since I moved to Mumbai in 2009 there has been a list of restaurants which opened in Delhi that I have been wanting to visit. So now that I am in Delhi for a while I have started reviewing these places. The first being FIO where honing his creative expertise in the business of hospitality, restaurateur, Vineet Wadhwa,rekindles the magic of five senses.
Situated at ‘Garden of Five Senses’, FIO pays an ode to the countryside-kitchens of Italy & India. Serene and calm FIO takes you away from the noise and fast life of the city into a quiet retreat. Lush landscape with subtle lighting, this charming place boasts of an eclectic outdoor area and chic indoor restaurant and bar. As I have always said I love outdoor eating spaces, I think it was mainly because I missed those in Mumbai but more than anything because of the country charm and romance associated with them. Hence, these places are perfect for a nice lazy brunch or even a romantic meal for two in the evening. In both aspects FIO does not disappoint.
FIO looks like a farm-house or someones holiday home which has been converted into the restaurant. Though I am sure that is not the case the look and feel is that of a country house. The outdoor has variety of seating areas including a covered porch. The furniture here is eclectic, the seating has a mix of wrought iron and cane furniture as well as wooden benches. These with bright coloured cushions and green plants really remind one of a nice garden by a country house by a lush country side. The porch has more upholstered seating like sofas and chairs. There is a bar outdoor as well which is perfect for when someone wants to host a brunch or dinner at the venue.
The indoor has a more contemporary look, with bright red sofas and straight like chairs and tables. It has large bay windows over looking the garden outdoor. The gardens that besides adding to the beauty is also where the herbs for food are grown. Yup! FIO grows its own potted herbs which is used in the food that we eat, organic cooking at its best!
Personifying its name, FIO blends the finest from the Italian & Indian kitchen. The Italian selection features Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chops, Grilled Lobsters brushed with Japanese Mustard, pan seared Bassa, Norwegian salmon all meats sourced from different parts of the world. For the ones loving Thin crust Pizzas from the woodfired oven – Layered with Gorgonzola, Mozzarella Fontina, Parma and the in-house smoked chicken with a mound of Rucola.The Indian kitchen is boastful of its kebabs – Tandoor Tigers, Munnar Chettinad Murg, Raan, Bhatti Murg and Khasta Paneer all chargrilled to perfection, served extra hot on thin metal chaude dishes and a house salad!
FIO has a well stocked bar with wines from over 10 different countries. The cocktails were quite refreshing and delicious the highlight was a sugar-free Mojito for one of my dinner companions who is Diabetic. While we were waiting for our appetizers to arrive we were presented with a bread basket of delicious home-made bread and sauces to go along. We ate the whole basket which was a mistake but the bread was delicious and I have a soft corner for bread. From here we moved on to the ANTIPASTI (APPETIZERS) where we had the POLLO PADELLA DI MOSTARDE which is Grilled chicken diced, peppers and mustard chilli, CROSTINI DI FUNGI which is toasted garlic bread, mushrooms, mozzarella, SALMONE AFFUMICATO DI CASA which is home cured Salmon with cranberry drizzle. The unanimous decision regarding the best appetizer was POLLO PADELLA DI MOSTARDE, the chicken was succulent and well cooked while the sauce was rich. Though I am a huge Salmon fan and it was delicious I feel it paled in comparison to the other dishes as the sauces of those were just really rich. So I would recommend the Salmon but with a salad or another cold dish. For mains we had PENNE CON POLLO E’FUNGHI which is a penne with chicken, mushrooms, white wine and cream but I requested a pink sauce as I prefer that,though this is a simple dish I always like to taste this in any restaurant I go to review. I believe true art lies in conquering simplicity. As you can guess I was quite satisfied and it was yummy! But the main highlight of the meal was BASSA CON ZENZERO E’ MELE which was our other main and was out of the world totally recommend. This is Vietnamese Bassa pan seared with honey and ginger sauce and served with mashed potatoes and sautéed greens. Even though I was stuffed I finished each morsel on my plate and plan to go back to FIO just to eat it again! The finale was the TIRAMISU MILANESE, since I am not a coffee person at all I normally avoid Tiramisu but this was delicious. I actually had more than a customary single bite!
The food and ambience were both outstanding. Like I mentioned earlier it is perfect for a lovely brunch as well as a romantic meal for two. With the given space it is also great to host a party. The place is big enough to mark off a section for you depending on the amount of guests and theme. I am definitely going back there this time to try out the Indian cuisine, who knows I might even plan my Birthday party there.
FIO –Country Kitchen & Bar,Gate no. 1, The Garden of Five Senses Said-Ul-Ajaib, Mehrauli, Delhi. Tel: 011-29536309. Price: Rs 2,000 for a meal for 2 (minus alcohol)
POLO PADDELA DI MOSTARDE
150 gm chicken leg dices
20 gm pommeri mustard
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp thyme leaf
½ tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp parsley chopped
1 tbs olive oil
½ tsp black pepper crusted
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan add chopped garlic cooked till brown add chicken cooked for 2 minute add mustard, thyme, chilli flakes, black pepper and salt to taste cooked for 5 minutes.Serve hot garnish with parsley.
BASSA CON ZINZARO
180 gm Bassa fish fillet
100 ml Balsamic vinegar
20 ml honey
20 gm ginger
2 nos lemon leaf finely chopped
50 gm mashed potato
20 gm red capsicum sliced
20 gm yellow capsicum sliced
30 gm zucchini jardinière cut
30 yellow zucchini jardinière cut
10 gm garlic finely chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp black pepper crusted
20 ml Cooking cream
Salt to taste
Marinade Bassa with salt, black pepper, parsley and olive oil set aside.
For mashed potato, heat oil in a pan add garlic cooked till golden brown add mashed potato, cooking cream, chilli flakes, salt and black pepper mix it well.
For zinzaro sauce, take a pan heat balsamic vinegar add chopped ginger and lemon leaf reduced to half add honey cook for one minute.
Take a pan heat oil add red capsicum, yellow capsicum, zucchini and yellow zucchini add salt and pepper cooked for one minute.
In a non stick pan heat oil add marinade Bassa cooked until it turns golden brown then turn the fillet again cooked it nicely so that same colour comes second side. When Bassa is cooked serve with mashed potato, sautéed vegetable and zinzero sauce.
LASAGNE CON ASPARAGI
3 nos Lasagne sheet
100 gm asparagus
20 gm onion chopped
20 gm garlic chopped
½ tsp fresh thyme leaf
½ tsp fresh parsley chopped
50 ml cooking cream
2 tbs tomato sauce
50 gm parmesan cheese (grated)
30 gm mozzarella cheese
2 tbs olive oil
20 gm black olive
20 gm green olive
15 gm cherry tomato
Preheat oven to 180 degree C
Trim asparagus. Cut stalks into 1/2-inch pieces.
Heat oil in a pan add chopped onion and garlic cooked till brown.
Add asparagus, thyme and cooking cream cook till asparagus is half-cooked. Remove from the heat and add 20 gm grated parmesan cheese and set aside.
Take a large pot of boiling salted water and cook lasagne sheet for 6 to 8 minutes or until almost tender. Drain and cool in cold water. Remove and arrange in single layer on damp tea towel.
In a baking dish spread tomato sauce and arrange lasagne sheet spread quarter of asparagus sauce and one-quarter of mozzarella cheese, repeat the process 3 times. Top with final layer of lasagne sheet and asparagus sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese black and green olive and cherry tomatoes over top and Baked in oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly, garnish with asparagus tips over top
1. Jewellery, Renuka Fine Jewellers
2. Hand Fan, 1469
3. Poufee, Colombostile
4. Charan- Festive Collection by Artist Anju Kumar
5. Copper finish Lantern, zansaar.com
6. Divine Love, Lladro
7. Kalgi (Head accessory), Nizam Collection at Ganjam
8. ‘Tema e Variazioni’- Plates, Fornasetti at Charcoal Project
9. Tourbillon Peacock, Van Cleef and Arpels
10. Fabric, Pallate
beauty, bollywood, chanel, Christian Louboutin, Cosmetics, decor, design, Designers guild, fashion, Guerlain, Hermes, India, India inspired, Karl Lagerfeld, Laduree, Louis Vuitton, Moroso, perfume, Suneet Varma, Trend
When Slumdog Millionaire released, most of my Indian friends were quite mortified by the portrayal of India in the movie. I never really got down to watching the film, besides bits and pieces when it came on television. And I am certain if I were to watch the whole movie I really would not have been offended. What I have been noticing though is the major influence India has been making in the design and fashion circuit since the movie. I mean earlier Indian inspiration came only in form of prints and a few graphic symbols like Laxmi or Ganesh on T-shirts and Bedcovers, which came in the category of street fashion or hippie fashion, or there would be a one-off India inspired piece. Whereas now, there are full collections by renowned fashion and design houses which are being inspired by India. And I don’t blame them, in terms of design India has got a whole lot of inspiration, from natural beauty to the fabrics and colours and most importantly its vast history and tradition.
It could well be said that this is because luxury markets have taken a huge hit in Europe and America, while in India it has seen a steady growth. Whatever the reason I am quite kicked by the fact that India is inspiring so many people and collections. After all, I don’t know how many more time I can answer “So do you travel be elephants?” or be known only for snake charmers. The answer to the question by the way is, no we don’t travel by elephants most of us have cars and snake charmers are just one of the market side appeals of the country, no one has pet snakes at home. Here are a few Luxury brands which have showcased Indian inspiration in the recent past.
INDIA INSPIRED FASHION
This year Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld delivered his India inspired collection at the Chanel Metiers d’Arts 2012 Pre-Fall collection titled “Paris-Bombay”. The collection features intricate embroideries, raw silk and other extravagant materials characterise an exquisite combination of delicate Indian handcrafts and Parisian fashion. Models both men and women were adorned with accessories including head-jewellery and turbans. In Lagerfeld’s words “it is the Paris version of the idea of India”. The colours were from Fuchsia, to ivory-white to gold and silver.
Louis Vuitton made headlines in the past when they came out with their collection of bags inspired by India and even changed the window display of their stores by displaying an artwork of Hindu goddess ‘Laxmi’ during Diwali festival. LVMH even launched a collection ‘L’ame du Voyage’ which is inspired by travels in India and the range consists of handbags, travel bags, jewelry and accessories.
Hermes another iconic fashion brand, had recently launched its limited edition Sarees which are an extension of the famous ‘Hermes’ scarf. A silhouette which dates back more than 1,000 years has now been accepted as a ‘must-have’ drape in the fashion world. These Sari’s begin at $6,000 and since most of Hermes clients are Indian millionaires it is considered quite a steal. They also did a whole India inspired collection of scarves with bright colours and motifs like the elephant.
INDIA INSPIRED PERFUMES
In terms of beauty product and scents India has a vast history. There are a variety of materials which originate in India and have inspired designers over the years, like Sandalwood, Jasmine, Cardamom and many more. But over the years more and more Luxury brands and indulging in bringing out India inspired collections.
One of the best and oldest perfumes of great success was Shalimar by Guerlain produced in 1925. Shalimar was inspired by the love of an Indian Emperor for his beloved wife. The love story inspired Jacques Guerlain to create this masterpiece named after the Gardens Of Shalimar where the two Indians found love. This perfume is suitably exotic, blending fragrant floral with sensual notes of patchouli and amber to create a powerful love potion. Shalimar’s recognizable scent has captivated women and their admirers for almost a century now. Jaipur by Boucheron, is another perfume that invites you to discover mystic and enchanted Orient. The bottle is shaped as a bracelet which is considered a lucky charm in Rajasthan. This rich floral bouquet with sweet fruity notes was created in 1994. Jean-Claude Ellena, Hermès’ in-house perfumer, drew inspiration from Kerala– for Un Jardin Apres La Mousson (“Garden After Monsoon”) This perfume captures the quiet yet natural beauty of Kerala with its blue-green bottle and the smell reminds you of the romance of monsoons.
INDIA INSPIRED MAKE-UP
In terms of Make-up too alot of brands have come up with India inspired collections. They have been inspired by the earthy tones, metallic sheen as well as the bright hues of India all of which goes perfectly well with the Indian skin. Chanel’s ‘Bombay Express’, designed by Creative Director Peter Philips are meant conjure up “a specific vision of India”, from “Surreal princesses from an idealised empire” to “the scent of jasmine” and “lavishness of the Maharajas”. Clarins a Paris-base cosmetic company that designed one of their fall collections based on Indian colors called Enchanted. Holi, a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus, inspires the colors in this collection. The Enchanted line consists of an eye shadow palette with a very Indian inspired packaging design. The collection features lips glosses named Pink Jaipur and Nude Delhi as well as a kajal eyeliner that Indian women have used as one of their makeup staples for centuries.Guerlain has come up with a mineral base collection called Terracotta which is supposed to be inspired by the earthy richness found it India. It has lip glosses by the name of Beige Bengali, Rogue Sultan and Pondicherry. It also has a Kajal mineral coal in Black Fakir.
INDIA INSPIRED ACCESSORIES
Christian Louboutin launched his gorgeous India inspired shoe collection earlier in 2012. This collection draws inspiration from India and Bollywood in particular. Earlier this year, he also opened up his first outlet in India. His love for India and its culture dates back to the days of 70s and 80s. He appreciates the diverse crafts and splendour associated with vibrant Indian culture. In his own words – “If India was a shoe; it would have to be a bright coloured sandal with some gold”. The collection has received a great welcome since its launch, its available in multiple colours, and have embellishments in studs and sequins reflecting the grandeur of Indian craftsmanship.
Judith Leiber has a definite affinity towards India. Besides the India inspired collection of Ganesh, Elephant and Camel they also has Indian fashion designer Suneet Varma design bags for them. Though I am not certain how I feel about carrying a Ganesh in my hand,as pretty as it looks I am certain I will offend some religious person (besides the fact that I doubt I can own the $6,000 piece)
INDIA INSPIRED FURNITURE
Furniture has its own place in India, so where we usually associate Indian furniture with heavy oriental or classic pieces, in the recent past designers have infused Indian traditional pieces with European styles and created a fusion collection. For instance Eames did a limited edition Indian inspired chair. In fact even Indian furniture designers like Alex Davis have come to their own whereby they have been taking inspiration from India and creating furniture collections.
After their presentation of the Charpoy collection Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien continue their partnership with Moroso in the shape of two new products, My Beautiful Backside and Princess. Like Charpoy, these display a fusion of two worlds, India and Europe.My Beautiful Backside has a lacquered wood base frame with large cushions fixed to it to form the backrest. The cushions are covered with Indian textiles and decorated with very large, extremely beautiful buttons. Fabrics include silk and cotton and a Kvadrat wool cloth designed by Giulio Ridolfo which is woven like an Indian silk, the warp and weft are of two different colours.The Princess version, so-called for the Princess and the Pea fairytale, has five mattresses one of top of the other with variously coloured edges
INDIA INSPIRED FABRICS AND WALLPAPER
Indian prints have been great inspiration for fabrics all over the world. This has been going on for years in forms of fabrics and wallpapers. For instance Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s Jaisamand wallpaper for Graham and Brown. He named his line in honor of one of India’s most spectacular natural landscapes and used Rajasthani-inspired colorways. Or Morris & Co. which has had its own Indian design section for a long time. But there are also designers like British design Tricia Guild whose main inspiration for design has been India. She has lived in India and wandered all over taking inspiration and creating designs inspired by India and for India. Her latest collection Amarapali for instance is a beautiful collection with bright flowers.
INDIA INSPIRED FOOD
The French who are undoubtedly the best pastry chefs also took inspiration from India to create the Laduree Bollywood collection. The collection does not extend to flavour as much as the colour and shape. Sold in a box of four, the collection kind of looks like a box of sweets from India: Indian pink being grenadine strawberry, citrus green is mint chocolate, canary yellow is citrus lemon and ivory-white are coconut raspberry balls. The collection is also a slight departure from the usual macaroon recipe. Each ball consists of a biscuit garnished with cream and coated in a very light meringue.
Keeping with Indian Inspired theme this month, here are a few products inspired by the colours of India.
1. Meditating Buddha Clip, Van Cleef and Arpels
2. Bed Spreads, Silk Road and Beyond
3. Glass, Good Earth
4. Umbrella, Peacock Life
5. Cushion, House of Ishatvam
6. Indian Night Jasmine perfume, The Body Shop
7. Pouffee, Colombostile
8. Vase, Casa Paradox
When either of my parents visits Mumbai they usually stay at The Leela. I love it! It is like my mini vacation from my daily life. And I insist on eating Chinese Cuisine over there as I love the food. So its not a surprise Robb Report’s 24th annual “Best of the Best” Hotels 2012, hand-picked one of the Leela properties, The Leela Palace New Delhi for offering the finest in luxury, placing the hotel amongst the most elite in the world. And keeping with the Spirit of India theme here are a few pictures of the same.
The Leela Palace New Delhi perfectly exemplifies the magnificent architecture, grace and elegance of Lutyens’ Delhi. Located at the heart of the prestigious Diplomatic Enclave area, the hotel is in proximity to the Presidential Palace, the Prime Minister’s office, a number of embassies, the central business district and a host of historical monuments. At the hotel, you can experience the luxury of 260 wide-spaced guestrooms and suites each spanning over 550 square feet and a Presidential Suite sprawling over 4,300 square feet. An opulent Indian dining experience is offered at Jamavar, modern global dining at The Qube, an exclusive Japanese culinary experience at Megu, a gastronomically entertaining evening at Le Cirque and a sophisticated retreat at The Library for wines and liqueurs. For pure, blissful indulgence an exclusive spa by ESPA is presented for the first time in the capital. The Leela Palace New Delhi combines state-of-the-art functionality with traditional warmth to ensure guests the highest levels of Indian hospitality at a global standard.
Arrive in style at the grand Porte Cochere of The Leela Palace New Delhi. Statues of two white elephants greets you at the Porte Cochere. There is a 11 foot high Devi sulpture done by the renowned sulptor and painter Satish gupta dispalyed in the garden at The Leela Palace New Delhi.
The Leela palace New Delhi redefines luxury and excellence. The magnificent high ceilings, hung with handmade chandeliers, soar over a space which provides a breathtaking yet elegant setting for exclusive original art works from India’s foremost artists, including Satish Gupta and Satish Gujral.
Authentic Japanese Cuisine at Megu, one of the finest to be found in New Delhi
An Italian fine dining rooftop restaurant featuring a display kitchen and Oenotheque.The ultra- exclusive restaurant is the first in Asia and the eighth in the world.Le Cirque literally meaning ‘the circus’ in French.The menu imbues a mix of classic Italian, contemporary French and even bares traces of Indian flavours, making the food just as exciting to the palate as it is a feast to the eyes.
The intimate Library Bar extends outdoors and has a soothing ambience to savour a tranquil drink.
Savor the rich and varied flavours of the Royal kitchens of Jamavar, an exclusive restaurant that brings alive the rusticflavours of Indian cuisine in a perfect blend of fine dining and Indian hospitality.The diversity of the country’s culture is reflected in the variety of Jamavar’s menu.
Located on the lobby level, The Qube is an all-day dining restaurant at The Leela Palace New Delhi. One can explore the nuances of the finest Indian and international cuisines serving your traditional and contemporary favorites. The Qube has an open kitchen that allows our chefs to interact with the diners.
The 6500 square feet spa is built on two levels along with a café, a fitness studio with Technogym equipment, separate relaxation areas for both, male and female guests, and sauna and steam rooms on the first level. The second level comprises seven treatment rooms, a spa suite for couples, a relaxation room for women and the ‘finishing studio’
Royal Club Lounge. You get your own personal lounge if you have a room on this floor.
Maharaja Suite-A palace within a palace, this six-bay suite comes with state–of–the-art facilities like a complimentary Rolls Royce Phantom, 24-hour butler services, spa rooms, Jacuzzi, walk-in wardrobe,and a private gymnasium. Keeping in mind our distinguished guests and their need for privacy and enhanced security, the suite is equipped with bullet-proof glass and a dedicated elevator.
Built to offer comfort with luxury, these suites are designed with elaborate walk-in closets, spacious bathrooms and a large bedroom-cum-living room. The magnificent view overlooking the capital city of New Delhi adds a distinct charm to the grandeur of these 65 square metre (700 square foot) suites
Tariff begins at Approx $240 per room. These are subject to change as per the Hotels decision.
I know this is a new thing, but the other day someone asked me if I do Book Reviews on Style City and I said no they were like but books and Movies are equally part of Lifestyle as your Decor and Beauty. To which I had to agree, so the first book up for Review is by an Indian and happens within India sticking to my Indian Influence pledge this month. Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you Toke, by Jugal Mody. The book came out sometime end last month and is available at most book stores also available online.
What will happen if one day when you are stoned out of your head God comes to you and tells you that you have 72 hours or a little more to save the world from destruction. You assume you are dreaming or you are on some kind of a long Acid trip right? Well that is the basis of this book. It is written through the eyes of a regular Indian guy next door, software engineer no less, with over-bearing parents (he can’t have a crush on a girl without imagining his mothers horror if he gets them to meet) having a regular job with a supervisor who is always taking his case,a crush on a pretty girl in the office who is unaware of his existence, annoying colleague and no social life. He is definitely no hero with muscles or a brilliant scientist he is your regular guy who most of us would pass by on the streets or office and not really notice. But this is what made the book such a pleasant read. The Hero of the book is also the underdog.
It is obvious from the description of Vishnu (the God or creator as Hindu mythology believes) who comes to smoke up with Nikhil and his two friends while casually mentioning the end of the world that our main Protagonist has grown up in the 80’s in India. His description of what the characters look like and wear takes you back to the Mythological serials which were so popular, with their good looks, height and even the clothes they are wearing. But these Gods are not your usual miracle creating, fighting wars kind of Gods. They clearly look at the world as entertainment and don’t mind destroying it to create a new one. As Vishnu says casually over a joint, ‘If Shiva (Lord of destruction) gets a whiff of this he will take no time to end the world.’ With that information and one small Panic button he leaves the people to clear up the mess and save the world. The 3 guys are joined by Nikhils crush, two Japanese girls, an office colleague, a crow and an eagle on the mission to save the world.
This book is meant to be just entertainment, which in my opinion it succeeds in all accounts. It is a very easy read with simple language and a simple plot. You don’t need to go back pages just to recall which character came from where and the story is not confusing. It is a simple tale of a guy who is stuck in an adventure which is inspired from all the Fantasy books and TV shows he has seen in his life. It is not meant to be nor does it expect to be taken seriously. You enjoy it for what it is over two hours, have a good laugh and move on. So I would not go over the top at call it a masterpiece, I will definitely recommend it to all genres of people as a fun quick read, perfect for your next plane ride, train ride or bus ride. Do join the author for a book reading in Mumbai at Landmark, Infiniti Mall, andheri on 17th August and in Delhi at Turquoise Cottage on 30th August.
This year India celebrates its 65th Independence day and I have decided to dedicate the rest of the month’s post to India. Starting with this story I had styled for Casaviva in October 2011. It takes inspiration from all the bright colours this country is so well known for:-
Photographs- Kartikey Shiva
Styled by- Aparna Kaistha
Marigold Orange and Rani Pink
Ochre Yellow and Sindoor Red
Royal Blue and Chilli Green