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
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.