Review: DIVA Spiced, New Delhi

DIVA is a chain of fine dining restaurants in India. A brainchild of Chef Ritu Dalmia, each restaurant is famous for its own unique style and menu. A new offing from the same team is Diva Spiced. Situated at Meherchand market, it has taken the space of the old Chez Nini, ‘DIVA Spiced’ is an all-day dinning café offering Modern Asian Cuisine. Reflecting Ritu’s signature style of fresh and wholesome ingredients, the café introduces a menu which is a culmination of flavours, spices and innovations from the South East Asian belt. As Staying true to her classic style, a definite splash of European technique and presentation is evident in the cuisine.

DIVA Spiced_Ground_floor

DIVA Spiced is a 70 cover café spread with a ground and first floor seating. Keeping up with the DIVA legacy, Spiced has a warm and a cozy ambiance, but unlike other Asian cuisine venues it has its own take on decor.The interiors of the cafe have been designed by Anita Dalmia with a combination of vintage and contemporary style. The wallpaper is quite quirky with images of Asian women, Asian motifs and sightings while the chairs and furniture have an industrial appeal. Keeping Asian minimalism in mind the look is overall quite subtle with a play of bright colours. The style is very cafe like while the food is Ritu Dalmia’s take on Asian cuisine.

DIVA Spiced_1stFloor

Not for the weak-hearted or for people who do not like experimenting, the menu is a culmination of a lot of innovations, ranging from steamed crystal dumplings to grilled, fried and baked dishes. Some of signature dishes include tapas dishes like Panko Crusted Arancine filled with corn & chili jam, fried Zucchini flower stuffed with Tofu and Feta, Pork belly skewers with spicy yuzu Lemon dressing. For the mains there is a large variety like Goan Prawn Curry simmered in kokum and coconut served with ginger rice, stuffed baby eggplant in a whipped fennel sauce, Miso Marinade Salmon with soba noodles etc. For a sweet ending there are the regular DIVA desserts and a few special ones for Spiced such as a Spiced Mess- Lemon Grass Meringue with mascarpone cream and berry compote and the special black pepper infused chocolate fondant served with basil ice cream!

Address: 79-80, Meharchand Market (Ground & First Floor)
Contact no: 011 49051837
Meal for 2: Rs. 2200/- (without Alcohol)

Review: Chew Pan Asian cafe, New Delhi

It is a pleasant surprise and joy to see bright and quirky interiors in an Asian restaurant, namely Chew Pan Asian cafe,  which is such a contrast from the usual sombre and zen interiors usually associated with Asian restaurants. But the decor is just the start as the food is equally delightful and unique. Launched in January 2014, Chew Pan Asian is all about experimentation with Pan Asian cuisine. The menu boasts of Chinese , Japanese , Thai and the Indonesian Cuisine and also boasts of an open kitchen as well as a live Teppanyaki grill.

Chew Pan Asian Cafe,

Spread over 2500 sq.ft. area the interiors of the restaurant are vibrant yet comforting. Walls adorned with the eye-catching black and white Aztec-patterned tiles have been carefully contrasted with Dholpur stone. Chew is a quirky, hip and vibrant restaurant. The furniture is a mix blend of booth sofa sitting, swing seats and turquoise blue chairs that make the dining experience at Chew super comfortable and fun! Asian inspirations within the space come in the form of carefully hand-picked ceramic plates and posters that adorn the walls and the elongated spice rack that features spices from Asia! My style pick was definitely the swing chairs which had been anchored to the floor, but as cool as they looked they also looked a bit uncomfortable, but then style before comfort I say!I also loved the wall with one liners, that included lines like “All you need is love, but also a little chocolate”, those pretty much made my day.

Chew Pan Asian Cafe,

Chew Pan Asian cafe,

The menu much like the decor of the place is quirky and fun. It is appealing and makes one want to actually read the menu without it seeming like an ordeal. For food, we asked the chef to get us small portions so we could try the various dishes on the menu. We started with the chew special house salad, which unlike what is expect from Asian dishes was actually not very sweet but quite fresh and light. We wanted to avoid Japanese dishes as it seems recently all we have eaten is Japanese food, so we stuck to other asian dishes. Of course the highlight was the various dumplings where they have something called crystal dumplings which i have never eaten before, but am glad I did as they were lighter than regular dumplings and we tried almost all on the menu. For mains we had Stir friend prawns and Chicken meat teriyaki with some steamed rice and some braised vegetables. We were very happy with both the service as well as the quality of our food. We ended with some Tiramisu and finger-licking chocolate molten cake. I would absolutely go back and have already recommended the venue to various people. Do try it for yourself!

Address: First Floor, M16, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi
Phone: 011 41516164
Price: Rs.2,000 for two

Piano Club on Steinway, Imperial India

Nostalgia at 1911 Brasserie- Classic European restaurant at The Imperial orchestrated the launch of Piano club on Steinway to initiate extravagant live concerts with unique artists and mega performances each time, promoting the live music heritage of the hotel. The evening commenced with an astounding experience filled with the notes of unmatched piano music, recited by the magical fingers of the undisputed Moroccan Hungarian Pianist Marouan Benabdallah in association with Hungarian Information and Cultural CentreMarouan Benabdallah, the renowned concert Hungarian –Moroccan pianist  enthralled the audience with his dynamic recitals and numerous sequences inspired the gathering, whilst he draw audiences into the very heart of the music, during his live performance for the evening.

Imperial India

Vijay Wanchoo, Sr. Executive Vice President and GM expressed his views on the proud occasion: “Progressing towards luxe and unique live concerts on Steinway, post its launch at Nostalgia in 2013, this evening embarks our sojourn towards creating a Piano club which puts into form sit-down live concerts lending an ecstatic aura and matching the repertoire as well as the legacy of the hotel.” He further went on to thank the Hungarian Information and Cultural centre which partnered with this event.

Review: Vinoteca by Sula, Mumbai

Vinoteca, literally means a wine collection. Although in Spain, an exclusive wine bar is also called Vinoteca. Having sommelier Cecila Oldne at the helm of the vino collection, Rajeev Samant of Sula, decided to open a wine bar, for which he was looking for the perfect chef to design the menu. When he met Silvia Grimaldo of Ibiza, he was originally thinking about serving sushi but the chef convinced him to go for a Spanish authentic tapas bar.That is what makes Vinoteca the perfect place to lounge on a Sunday afternoon — their great (and might one add highly affordable) collection of Indian and international wines, and the beautifully designed menu, put together carefully with traditional snacks from the Latin countries from both Europe and America. The decor while being slightly cliched “wine bar” comes with the Spanish tapas bar chalkboards with specials thrown all over the place. But the music most definitely works for the mood.


“All the tapas places serve very fancy tapas. I didn’t want to do that because I don’t like it. Spanish tapas, to be enjoyed with wine should be light, and basic. I wanted to recreate the traditional tapas bar menu that I have grown up eating,” says Silvia, who comes from a family that makes their own wine. And we must say that Silvia’s menu manages to blow your mind right from the first course. A Sula Brut with a Cheese tabla, which featured Manchego from La Mancha, the smoky Idiazabal with Kalamata olives and dill hummus. “I don’t know why Indians ask for crackers with their tabla.”


And then we had something that we will recommend you to go all the way to Vinoteca to just try — their Ceviche. A cold food, raw chopped kingfish in marinate made of sweet lime, lemon, orange, french mustard, coriander and green chillies — Peruvian tapas that evolved after the second world war when a large Japanese community had settled in Peru. Along with which, the main course had Beef Tagliata — a light beef tapas with parmesan, porcini mushrooms — the best thing to have with a Sula Dindori Shiraz. Vegetarians should not forget to try their Melanzana a la Parrzegiana, which by the looks of it might remind you of creme brulee but it blows your mind with the fresh mozarella and brinjals like you’ve never even fantasized about brinjals. And finally Berenja Rellena – halved brinjals, topped and cooked with minced lamb. Each dish had its own distinct flavour, simple yet tantalizing. Dessert lovers have nothing to worry about. Vinoteca with Amore gelato have developed a Shiraz and a Zinfandel gelato, both of which are the most refreshing flavours in cold desserts that you will see.

Overall, Vinoteca gets a two thumbs up. Get yourself down to Worli and park yourself there till your head is swirling between a wine buzz and a food coma.

* * *
Tapas-wine Pairing:

Chef Silvia Grimaldo recommends–

1. Brut with the Cheese tabla
The stronger the cheese is that is served on the tabla, the better it pairs with the refreshing and a little bubbly Brut.
2. Sauvignon with Almejas Marinera
Sauvignon is the driest of the wines, pairs well with seafood in tomato sauce, the onion and garlic in the Marinera sauce.
3. Rasa Shiraz with Entrecot a la Pimienta
Rasa Shiraz is a red wine that works perfectly with the pepper in the white sauce of the Entrecot
4. Solar de Estraunza with Jamon patanegra de guijuelo
Nothing goes as well with rich Spanish food as does a rich Spanish wine
5. Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut NV with Tuna Tartare
This Piper is an amazing dry wine with refreshing bubbles. It pairs brilliantly with the raw tuna.

The Fortress Resort and Spa, Galle, Sri Lanka

On my recent Sri Lanka trip, I had a reservation for two days at The Fortress Resort and Spa thanks to Small Luxury Hotels of the World to review the property. Small Luxury hotels of the world, have tie-ups with some of the most beautiful boutique hotels around the world, so I always have really high expectations with the properties they are linked with and “The Fortress” did not disappoint.

THE Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka.

On our way from spending the day at Galle fort, we actually missed the property and drove past it, cause as the name suggests, The Fortress is like a fort next to the beach with high walls and solid wooden doors. When we did manage to turn around a find the place I was a little intimidated by the huge size of the wall, but once you enter the property that changes, for you are greeted by lush gardens and a view of the swimming pool over-looking the vast blue ocean and served with a cool welcome drink which is a refreshing welcome for The Fortress is 160 km from the airport (and Sri Lanka is really humid)

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka.

Inspired by the Dutch Fort Design, The Fortress has 53 rooms with six distinct styles of guest’s rooms and residences, each creating sensual living spaces with a naturally modern twist. The categories are the Fortress Room, The Beach Room, The Ocean Room, Splash rooms, The Ocean Lofts and The Fortress Residences. With a well-balanced design concept at the forefront, each room has been designed with either private courtyards or balconies with a view to either the gardens, water features or the Indian Ocean. We are shown to our Ocean View room, which is on the upper level and faces the Swimming Pool and the Ocean.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka.

The Fortress Rooms feature a superior King size bed (7ft x 7ft) dressed with Egyptian cotton with an open plan bathroom with rainfall shower and bath. A state of the art entertainment system including a plasma screen TV’s, Bose DVD and sound system and a private Bar are just some of the features.The Ocean Lofts are approximately 140m and the design of these split level rooms creates a one-of-a kind experience on each of its two separate floors. The largest of them all is the Fortress Residences which are 240m and creates the ultimate living space as it is on the upper level of the Fortress and each features two bedrooms and an outdoor dining deck. Guests staying in these residences are pampered by their 24 hour personal butler to cater to their every requirement.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka.

Each evening there is a different dining program varying from Sri Lankan food special to Sea Food barbecue, which is what was on the first night we got there. Chef Kumar made it even more special for us by arranging for us to sample various dishes from the ala carte menu so we can get an idea of the wide array of culinary delights are served at Pepper, the Central dining venue at the Fortress. A combination of international Cuisine and local flavours are offered to the guests and for those who prefer destination dining , private dining within the confines of the Fortress can be arranged. They also have a large selection of wines, which makes it every wine connoisseurs dream come true. You can have this large selection along with your in-room dining as well as at the Sea Lounge, which is the bar by the pool.

Spa , The Fortress, Sri Lanka.

Spa, The Fortress, Galle, Sri lanka.

Another great offering of The Fortress Resort and Spa is its Spa Natural, which offers a simple a holistic approach to well-being with eastern and western treatments combined. From signature Ayurvedic treatments which begin with a consultation with the in-house Ayurveda Doctor, who finds out the body constitution and state of body humours, based on which a personalised treatment is formulated to western massages and body scrubs there is a whole lot of treatments you can experience. You can also have customised treatments and make a full Spa vacation of your stay. I for one had a great consultation with Dr.Pushpika, where we discussed not only the type of treatment I should have but also things I should incorporate in my diet. Details to follow soon.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka. The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka.

Finally, before I end this post earlier over here I had  spoken about The Fortress as one of the SLH properties you can choose for your Destination Wedding. Now after visiting the property I am more convinced than ever that it is a perfect property for a wedding. To begin with Sri Lanka has a warm tropical climate throughout the year, so if you avoid the monsoon season you should get clear skies (we only got rain one day through my 6 day stay at Sri Lanka). The Fortress Resort and Spa also has a variety of wedding packages for you to choose from, Moonstone, Star Ruby, Star Sapphire and Serendib Sapphire Package. Each of these packages has some basic items like wedding planners, decoration, Wedding cake, Floral decoration and a 24 colour photo wedding album. Of course, besides the above items each package are tailored to include certain other amenities. If you cannot manage your destination wedding at The Fortress, they also have great deals for Honeymoons and Anniversary’s.

The Fortress, Galle, Sri Lanka.

World Luxury Hotel award and Asia Pacific Hotel award winner The Fortress is a perfect destination if a serene place combined with luxury is your idea of an ideal vacation.
The Fortress Resort and Spa – PO Box 126 Galle. Sri Lanka. Tel:+94 777 743 750
Rate– The Rooms begin at USD 280* per night
Transport– International Airport: Colombo 140 km (transfers arranged by the resort). Local Airport: Koggala Lake (KCT) 2 km (transfers arranged by the resort) Train station: Galle 10 km. Pick up service: By resort at time of booking. Helipad: on-site & on request (please book via the resort)
Guests are met by resort staff at Koggala Airport. Seaplane comes direct from Colombo Airport. From Colombo Airport – Take main road into Colombo and then the Galle Road direct south to Koggala.

*These rates are approximate rates and could vary.Reservationsfor any Small Luxury Hotels of the World property can be made by calling 000800 650 1456 (India), online at or via the SLH iPhone app. Travel agents need only remember the GDS code LX for LuXury.  To receivespecial benefits including a complimentary breakfast, upgrade (subject to availability)and late check-out, join The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World at  Membership is offered on acomplimentary basis

Sakura, Metropolitan New Delhi

Most of you must know by now that I recently moved back to Delhi from Mumbai. Even if you were unaware of that I am certain you by now know I love trying out different cuisines, which at one point was a huge issue in Delhi thanks to the Indianization of every cuisine. Hence, I was always looking forward to the culinary experience in Mumbai way before I moved there, but all that has become a thing of the past. There seems to be a sub-culture in Delhi which has slowly become popular that is demanding authentic food and service alike. And I decided to re-visit Sakura for some authentic Japanese a few weeks back.

For those of you who have not been there, Sakura India’s first Japanese eatery at Metropolitan hotel, is an award-winning fine-dining restaurant. It offers the best of Kaiseki cuisine – the formal seven to nine course royal Japanese cuisine –prepared by Celebrated Master Chef Tetsu Akahira and his team, from the freshest food flown in fresh from Japan. Decorated simply in a contemporary Japanese manner, Sakura has clean lines and minimal furniture with the windows designed to resemble traditional Japanese tatami mats, common to most houses in Japan. The simple yet clean and efficient decor is a good example of what you can expect with the food- no extra frills, just excellent food.


For once Japanese food is not just Sushi and sashimi but a variety of other dishes. You can go in for Kushi Age Goshumori –– five different kinds of Japanese style skewers, Sakura style Tantanmen — hot egg noodles topped with spicy ground meat sauce or the ever popular Ginmutsu Saikyoyaki — cod-fish marinated with white soy bean paste, mirin, sake and grilled to perfection. The menu is vast and as authentic as possible. We tried Sakura’s famous Bento Box meals with food arranged artistically and meticulously in different slots. They are priced  vegetarian Bento Box meal costs around Rs.1,200 and Sushi Bento that I had going up to approximately Rs.2,500. You also have the option to opt for a course meal, which is a 9 course meal and offers assorted sashimi to Tempura to Sushi and soup. The main highlight of the meal for me was the dessert or their Home made ice-creams, we tried all the various flavours and the best past was these were all things used in Savoury dishes which had been converted to sweets like Red Bean, Green Tea, Black sesame and Wasabi. Basically, if you are craving authentic Japanese cuisine I suggest you visit Sakura at the earliest. But be prepared to be experimental and try various things, to really cherish the experience. Like my appetizer which was assortment of 3 dishes consisted fo Clams, Squid and Jelly fish and though I was slightly apprehensive about the Jelly Fish which I had never had before it turned out to be my favourite.

Sakura, The Metropolitan Hotel New Delhi, Bangla Sahib Road, New Delhi, Tel: 011-42500 200
Meal is approximately Rs.2,000 per head plus taxes (minus alcohol)

Grown up Gap Year with SLH

A couple of years ago, the notion of Gap Year where students take time to travel or get life experience before moving on to university or embarking on a career was almost unheard of in Asia. However it has since become increasingly popular and more fresh-faced school and university students are heading to the shores of New Zealand, Thailand, India and beyond for a grand adventure. But Gap Years needn’t be confined to the youngsters, a growing number of professionals, empty-nesters and retirees are hankering after the same kind of around the world, off the beaten track experiences, albeit in a little more style than the traditional gapper. Here, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), experts in luxury boutique travel, share their dream itineraries and experiences for a“Grown Up Gap Year”retirement, redundancy, sabbatical or just an escape from the rat race, whether you have a full year, a few months, or a couple of weeks,these are the destinations to dream about.

Solo Traveller

A journey through Costa Rica makes the trip of a lifetime. Explore this ecologically rich country with SLH – from quiet beaches to wild rivers, a Central American adventure awaits. Our dream itinerary would include a stay at Hotel Punta Islitaoverlooking a rugged bay on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, Punta Islita is a picturesque beachfront resort set on a tiered hillside. Expect a close-up view of authentic Costa Rican culture amidst forest-covered mountains with plenty of fast-paced activities such as zip lining and forest trekking, and a relaxing spa with treatments inspired by nature to fill your alone-time. For quieter moments, one of the main attractions of Punta Islita is the peace and seclusion – warm tropical breezes, forest scents and sea and sky views are best enjoyed from your hammock for a taste of delicious solitude. From there, head to Le Caméléon in Puerto Viejo. Close to some of the world’s quietest beaches in Puerto Viejo, this is a sophisticated yet relaxed beach retreat where a laid back Caribbean lifestyle becomes second nature for all guests. Laze by the pool and enjoy a massage…or visit Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, renowned for manatees, dolphins and sea turtles that nest on the beaches from February to May. Rancho Pacifico in Puntarenas  is an idyllic spot to end the journey – expect ultra-comfortable isolation in the midst of tropical jungle. Set high on a secluded hilltop, surrounded by 250 acres of rainforest, this eco-luxury resort provides 10 dramatic rooms – choose from suite, villa and treehouse accommodation. Activities abound – take the private Bosque Puro Trail 1,000 feet up to the top of the coastal mountains into the cloud forest, or journey into a remote part of the Osa Peninsula via the Sierpe River by boat. Sightings of monkeys, sloths, jaguarundis, anteaters, tree frogs, toucans and parakeets are commonplace in this area.

Finding yourself

Seeking a spiritual retreat? Why not follow in the footsteps of Julia Roberts and embark upon a journey of self-discovery as portrayed in the novel and movie Eat, Pray, Love! SLH offers a charming selection of luxury escapes in Florence, India and Bali, the three destinations the protagonist famously visited on her journey.Dine Like A King In Florence: JK Place Firenze Hotel -. Suspended in a bubble of refinement in the heart of the city, JK Place Firenze Hotel is an exceptional retreat, adored by everyone who stays behind its modest townhouse façade. Inside, it is elegance epitomised with century’s worth of artefacts and lovely homemade food served all day in a glass-covered courtyard.Find Inner Calm In India: Fragrant Nature Retreat & Resort, Kerala The natural village setting of Fragrant Nature Retreat & Resort reflects the authentic Keralean way of life. In a stunning setting overlooking a fresh water lake, the extremely comfortable rooms and villas bring you close to nature while fine dining, a pampering spa and a traditional cruise boat provides more than a touch of supreme comfort.Love Yourself In Bali: Spa Village Tembok Bali. Set amidst a dramatic volcanic landscape on Bali’s north-eastern coast, Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali is where your restorative journey begins. Dedicated to top-to-toe pampering and personalised spa treatments, this uniquely peaceful and tranquil spot is surrounded by tropical gardens and provides a beach-side restaurant, a spectacular infinity pool and stunning accommodation.

Off The Beaten Track

Hotel Terelj, Mongolia .Set on the banks of the Terelj River in a remote spot surrounded by lush tree-covered mountains in the Gorkhi-Terelji National Park, the Terelj Hotel is a polished sanctuary of relaxation just 50 kilometres from Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar. An almost untouched corner of the earth, near the birthplace of Ghenhis Khan, the pristine wilderness surrounding the property is some of the most carefully protected parkland in the country. Guests enjoy outdoor adventures from bird watching to hiking and climbing or horseback riding through meadows of edelweiss, grassy steppes and forest-covered mountains. Although sparsely populated, the park is also home to nomadic Mongolians, offering visitors the chance to meet with the authentic people of Mongolia. Admire the Khagiin Khar glacial lake, the Yestii hot springs, and spot brown bears, wild boar, wolves and over 250 bird species before retreating to the hotel’s veranda to relax in an armchair under a cashmere blanket – the grown up way to experience the wilderness!

Ski Season

Art and Relax Hotel Bergwelt, Austria. At a heady 1950m, Obergurgl in Austria boasts a long ski season for maximum snow days. The typically Tyrolean village has magnificent scenery and lively après ski to boot – stay at the Art and Relax Hotel Bergwelt, a fabulous ski-in ski-out property set high on a sunny plateau. Delightfully traditional, the lodge offers modern, stylish interiors, a panoramic restaurant, a spa with the highest pool in the Alps and a fantastic welcoming bar with blazing fire. We wouldn’t mind holing up here all winter long! Royal Park Hotel Kandersteg, Switzerland. From Austria, head across the border to Switzerland to the small alpine resort of Kandersteg. Excellent skiing, snowboarding, heli-skiing, cross-country skiing, skating, tobogganing and even ice hockey await! Stay at the Royal Park Hotel Kandersteg, which sits in a huge park, perfectly located for all the activities on offer in the area. The ski season staples of fondue and raclette served at Berner Stübli restaurant are truly legendary.

Reservations for any Small Luxury Hotels of the World property can be made by calling +65 6232 5060, online at or via the new iPhone app. Travel agents need only remember the GDS code LX for LuXury.

News:Barbeque Nation presents Sun n Sand Festival

By Ritesh Chopra

Ever since I visited BBQ nation last year, this name always gets my mouth salivated. So when I heard about their Sun n Sand festival, I decided to visit their Lokhandwala outlet with a friend to try out their dishes from various beaches of the world. As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by their friendly staff and escorted to our tables. Here I noticed that going with the mood of this festival they had a Goan singer to perform live. And from here began our culinary journey which took us all over the world from Maldives to the Bahamas to Goa and Malaysia.

We decided to order mainly non-vegetarian starters as none of us are fans of veg food. Within 5 mins the waiter came with our drinks, Lemon Iced tea for me and Jack Daniels for my friend and started the live grill on our table. We started with Malaysian Shrimp, Fihunu Mas Badhige and stuff spicy cheese(veg). He then served us Tandoori Crab, Dohra seekh Kebab and aloo Koliwada. We liked the shrimps and fish so much that we kept on asking for repeats. Then came the dish which we liked the most : Exotic Red snapper with hosin sauce. The big fish came in a moving serving cabinet and as soon as we feasted on it, the only word that came to our lips was WOW! The presentation of the fish was absolutely fantastic. At this point, we decided to have a Mexican tequila shot which was also a part of the fest.


Finally we decided to let go off these delicious starters and move onto the main course.Here again, there was a vast variety of dishes for us to choose from. We tried small portions of Mexican chicken, chicken dum biryani, Malabar fish curry and Paneer makhana(veg). The right mix of different flavours and a good variety literally left us smacking our lips and licking our fingers.Then came my favourite part of eating out– Dessert. Following the suit of the starter and main course menu, we had 9 different desserts in front of us. Obviously as we were already full, we were in a dilemma which one to go for. Finally we decided to share Baked Blueberry cheese cake, Mud sacher. Both of them were cooked to perfection. But temptation of gulab jamun was too much for me to avoid. So we had one of those as well and went home completely satiated. All in all I would suggest you definitely try out this fest if you get the chance, you wont regret.

Barbeque Nation presents SUN n SAND a journey through the exquisite beaches of the world for the first time in Mumbai from the 10 October – 21stOctober 2012, at Khar, Thane, Lokhandawala, Andheri and Nerul outlet.

For Reservations/Enquiries Call
Phone: 9323905592 / 022-65934343
Phone: 9321101114 / 022-32162444/022- 32162333
Phone: 9321201040
Phone: 9320005614, 022-60021001

Review: Oasis, Claridges Surajkund

A mere 20 minute drive from South Delhi leads us to Claridges Surajkund, a great repose from the bustling city life of Delhi. Since I had already been here for a Spa review and had a great experience I was more than excited to check out their restaurant and do a food review for which I had selected Oasis, an interactive kitchen offering Italian, Chinese and Indian cuisine. But before the food review I decided on a wine tasting at the Wine Library.

The Wine Library stocks over 900 bottles of carefully selected wines from around the world. Over the years, wine tasting has become an excellent way of entertaining guests and since the Wine Library acts as both a wine shop and wine bar it is a perfect place to start your evening. The tasting happens each day between 7-9 pm where you get to try four different types of wine. The first, Golden Mile Chardonnay which is an Australian wine with an acidic side and a fruity aroma. This costs approximately Rs.2,000 for the bottle. Then we sipped the Manawa Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand which is a dry medium bodied wine, crisp acidic with herb grass and smokes flavours along with apple and melon aromas. This is around Rs.2,500 per bottle. Then my personal favourite, Manawa Pinot Noir from New Zealand with soft Tannis and very light colour,with black cherry, berry plum and rose aromas. This was about Rs.2,500 per bottle as well. Finally Peter Lehmann, a full-bodied Australian Shiraz with tart acidity and hard tannins with black currants, red berry, chocolate tar and meaty flavour was served. This was too strong for me but my dinner companion enjoyed it. This was approximately Rs.500 per glass. The wines are accompanied by cheese, fruits and crackers, and post the tasting guests are encouraged to choose a wine to accompany their meals, my companion and I decided to skip the bottle and just have a glass each of our favoured wines.

Though I had been encouraged by most people to go in for the Dhaba which is the Indian restaurant, I had decided to go in with Oasis, the Multi-cuisine restaurant. The reason being Dhaba at Claridges Delhi has been a family favourite for years, hence almost every occasion meant a meal over there and I wanted to try something different, plus leave Dhaba for what it has been the past few years, a family memory.
Living up to the essence of its name, Oasis,not only offers a great culinary experience but also dazzles you with its ambience and decor. Offering both indoor and alfresco seating, the restaurant overlooks the beautifully landscaped central courtyard with exciting water bodies showcasing an intricate interplay of water, light & music. With its three live interactive kitchens – Italian, Chinese & Indian, bustling with the essence and flavours of joyous indulgence, the Oasis is an exotic dining experience.The Italian battery kitchen indulges guests with live wood fired pizza,  freshly tossed pasta, risotto and much more.Amongst, the signatures on offer at the Chinese counter are a variety of  exotic vegetarian & non vegetarian steamed and fried dimsums & stir fried dishes  cooked in Szechuan and Cantonese style.The Indian interactive kitchen invites guests to explore the real taste of  Indian food and curries, scrumptious galouti kebab  and dum ki nalli cooked with baby lamb shanks and Indian herbs.The a-la-carte menu offers Italian, Chinese & Indian selection through the  day. The dinner buffet on weekends has an extensive food spread, with live  counters and a large dessert selection. There is also a private dining section, which you can book out for special occasions.

My dinner companion Gayatri, who has done reviews for us in the past had already been to Claridges Surajkund before and recommended the Sushi platter, by Chef Keisuke Uno. Since both her and I are huge fans of Sushi that was not an issue at all and we called for a vegetarian platter for her and Non vegetarian for me. Before tasting the Sushi it took me a while to convince myself to destroy the art work as it was presented so beautifully. After we finished the amazing platter we decided to take a small break and sip our wine outside in the courtyard where there were already quite a few diners having their meals. Honestly as much as I had heard about the beauty of the courtyard in reality it is even more astounding and peaceful. We went inside to complete our meal which we decided on a European main dish with Crespelle e ricotta, spinaci con salsa di pomodori e pinoli for Gayatri and Black cod “Livornese” for myself. These were as delicious as the rest of our dishes as well as the bread we had earlier but we were so full it was a struggle to actually finish them. But still more out of greed than anything we had to try dessert and here to the chef recommended Tiramisu and I have to say it was out of the world. All in all I would recommend everyone to try to do a weekend at Claridges Surajkund. That way you can experience the whole thing and also try out more restaurants and definitely expereince the Spa

Address: Shooting Range Road, Suraj Kund, Faridabad,NCR. Tel:0129 419 0099
Price: Rs.2,000 for a meal for two without alcohol

Crespelle e ricotta, spinaci con salsa di pomodori e pinoli

For mixture  
Spinach- 80gms
Chop onion/ garlic-5gms each
Olive oil-10ml
Ricotta cheese-50gms
For pan cake
Basil (chopped) 1 gms
Saffron water 10 ml
For sauce
Blanch cherry-5no.
Chop garlic/onion-5gms each
Tomato juice-25ml
Olive oil-5ml
For garnish
Crushed pine nuts-1tsp
Celery leaf-1bunch
Blended pilati sauce-for drizzling 

For mixture– blanch spinach cool down in ice water then take out water chop it finely. Heat oil in a pan add chop onion and garlic broil it for few sec. then add spinach broil it for 2min over low heat add seasoning and keep a side for cool down. After cool down add cheese mix well
For pan cake – make a batter with flour egg and water.
For sauce– heat oil in a pan add onion and garlic sauté it then add cherry tomato, tomato juice and basil leaves and cook over low heat for 15min. adjust seasoning and keep a side.At order time- make pan cake with the batter stuff spinach mixture in it and make two roll of it. Add parmesan cheese on top and cook in oven for 5min. at 180’C. heat sauce place on the bottom of the plate arrange pan cake one whole and one cutting into two garnish with celery leaves, blended pilati and crushed pine-nut’s line by side.

Black cod “Livornese”

Black cod steak-180gm
Olive oil -30ml
Sea salt- to taste
Crushed pepper corn-3gm
Tomato blanch burnoise-10gm
Onion chop-3gm
Fresh thyme- 2-3 sprig
Garlic chop-3gm
Basil leaf -4no.
Black olive- 2no.
Fish stock- 50ml
White wine- 10ml
Butter- 5gm
Cream- half tea spoon
Potato wedges fried- 6no.
Onion slice- 5gm
Parsley chop- a pinch

Firstly take fish steak put three cut on skin now marinade it with salt pepper and oil. Heat oil in a non stick pan sear fish in it skin side first, after searing cook fish in oven for 5min.
For sauce-heat oil in a pan add chop onion, garlic, celery, thyme leaf sauté it for few sec. then add caper and tomato, now add white wine after reducing wine add fish stock, now bring it to the boiling, then add seared fish, black olive and basil leaves reduce the heat cover the pan with a lid, cook over slow flame for 5min. Then take out fish finish sauce with butter and cream.
For potato– heat oil in a pan add garlic, slice onion sauté it than add fried crushed potato wedges add seasoning finish with parsley.

Review: Spoons

So my dad is the kind of guy who does not understand too many cuisines. I mean he is a foodie and all, but for him and meal that is not a hearty meal is not food. Which means, Chinese is filling at that point but he gets hungry in two hours, Thai too much coconut and same problem as Chinese in terms of hunger pangs. Japanese, well once he got over the raw food angle it was ok for starters but not as a main. Hence the only options left are Indian and sometimes he enjoys an occasional steak. But that is usually as far as the experimentation goes. So last Sunday, for Family lunch I decided to take my parents with me to review Spoons.

Spoons is situated in GK 2 market, New Delhi and offers a lengthy selection of Mediterranean, European and Mexican cuisine. From 8 am till noon Spoons starts with the breakfast menu which serves everything from Omlettes to waffles and pancakes. This is a sensible decision as there are a lot of offices which are around that area so I can image alot of official meetings as well as early risers grab their cup of coffee there.
In terms of decor the place has clean straight lines inspired by European style and even the colours are quite natural and rustic. The only bit of colour is added through the ceiling which is like Art on the ceiling inspired by the Renaissance era.

We are handed Ipads as soon as we sit to browse through the menu and place orders via the Ipad which is linked to the main server. But as the net was down we had to personally give orders to the staff. I was pretty certain we will stick to Mexican, well partly because Spoons is known for its Mexican cuisine and partly because I wanted my Dad to try a different type of meal which I thought he will like cause it is hearty enough with bread, meat and chillies for him not to complain.We started with Sopa-de-Tortilla which is Tomato & Cilantro based Mexican Broth with Chicken. It is pleasant and seems perfect for a cold winters night or even when you are really missing a good home cooked meal. Though I usually try out cocktails I was feeling a bit under the weather so I stuck to a diet coke while my Dad called for a beer. After this we moved on to starters which was Lamb and Chicken Tacos and Mexican Nachos, which are served with refried beans, jalapeno and cheese. until now my dad was not super impressed, as I could see from his expression. That changed once we called for the main course which were Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Quesadillas and Grilled vegetables in Romesco sauce. Just to be on the safe side I called in for Lamb Shanks, but in retrospect I feel the Mexican cuisine was too strong and this dish paled in comparison. So anyway over all verdict was the Enchiladas and Quesadillas were out of this world. I mean I have not been to Mexico but if this is how good it tastes I cannot wait to go there and try it out. The appetizers were nice but something we have had before. Most importantly, if you plan to eat Mexican just stick to Mexican, don’t mix it with the other cuisines have those separately as the Mexican cuisine is amazing!

Spoons – 3, Local Shopping Center, Masjid Moth, GK II, Tel: 011 29216221
Price- Rs.2,000 for a meal for two (minus alcohol)

Grilled Vegetable with Romesco sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin Olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 ripe plum tomatoes, halved
4 zucchini halved
100 gm sweet red peppers, seeded and quartered
100 gm sweet yellow peppers, seeded and quartered
4  Pineapple slices
100 gm asparagus, trimmed
1 large mushrooms,stemmed
50 gm baby corn
50 gm French beans
50 gm broccoli
50 gm cauliflower
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Romesco Sauce
1/4 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted
1 large clove garlic, peeled
4 grilled tomatoes (from Grilled Vegetables, above)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Prepare outdoor grill with hot coals or heat gas grill to hot, or heat oven broiler.
2. Grilled Vegetables: Mix together olive oil, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add the vegetables; toss to coat well with oil.
3. Grill or the vegetables, working in batches if necessary, for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through.Transfer vegetables to serving platter, reserving 4 tomatoes for Romesco Sauce.Sprinkle vinegar over the grilled vegetables while still hot.
4. Romesco Sauce: Place almonds,pieces of garlic in food processor. Whirl until the almonds are ground. Add the reserved 4 grilled tomatoes, the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Whirl until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste. Serve sauce in a bowl on the side with the vegetables. The sauce can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, covered. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Chicken Enchiladas
1 chicken breast, diced
1 medium onion,chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 flour tortillas, softened (8 inches each)
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese or 1 1/2 cups Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 (15 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 tabs chopped green chillies

1.In fry pan, cook chicken and onion together in oil over medium-high heat until chicken is just done.
2.Divide cooked chicken evenly between 8 tortillas; add 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese to each tortilla.
3.Roll enchiladas and place seam-side down in 9×13″baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with no-stick cooking spray.
4.Melt butter in a medium saucepan; stir in flour to make aroux; stir and cook until bubbly; gradually whisk in chicken broth then bring to boiling, stirring frequently.
5.Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and green chills; pour sauce evenly over enchiladas.
Top with remaining 3/4 cup cheese (baking dish may be double-wrapped and frozen at this point) and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce nearedges of baking dish is bubbly