Food & Drinks

Nowruz Celebrations at Zarin by Fairmont Jaipur

March 21, 2017
Zarin Fairmont Jaipur_Twitter

It’s always a pleasure being back at Fairmont Jaipur. That ‘Royalty State Of Mind’ experience is something I always look forward to on my travel times. The month of March is the time for celebrations as Gulf countries and Parsi community celebrates ‘Nowruz’, the Persian New Year. Celebrating the occasion in an Indo-Persian-Parsi style, Fairmont Jaipur recently invited me and a couple of other food influences to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Zarin, India’s only Indo-Persian restaurant. Candlelit restaurant, intricately painted ceilings, chandeliers, rainy winds gushing through the corridors and a set menu offering the finest of the Persian dishes being prepared by Chef Deepak Gurung & Chef Rehman was what we witnessed on the eve of Nowruz. The ‘Forgotten Recipes of Persia’ food festival will go on till 1st of April, offering finest of the fine Persian and Parsi recipes at Zarin. Also, in accordance is the celebration of Zarin’s 2nd anniversary since its launch in March 2015. Considering the feedbacks that they’ve received from their elite customers over the course of time, Chefs have introduced a menu for Zarin that consists of an array of Vegetarian dishes in the fresh carte du jour. The amalgamation between Indo-Persion style of cooking, techniques and usage of herbs is what resonates throughout the menu of Zarin. Let me take you on a pictorial journey of what I tried at Zarin from their newly launched menu. Table condiments Ajika, Hummus, Parsi coconut green chutney, Parsi tomato chutney with House Salad (Romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrots and olives served with house dressing) & Persian breads. Soup Soup – E – Joe – Slowly cooked barley soup with Persian spices. The soup was quite refreshing, light and mildly infused with herbs keeping the freshness of the vegetables intact. For non-vegetarian counterpart, the menu also had Harira …

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Amitabh Bachchan’s Favourite Sampan Restaurant

February 20, 2017
Sampan Restaurant_Novotel Juhu_Facebook

Mumbai might have many Chinese restaurants serving authentic platters, but Sampan stands out ahead of the crowd being a Bollywood favourite for decades. While Amitabh Bachchan’s favourite pick from the menu is Mushroom on Toast, Quantico lady Priyanka always opts for Chicken Pepper Chili while dining at this pool & Juhu beach front facing restaurant. So what is it about Sampan that really ticks with these world-trotting celebrities? I had the honour of finding that out when Novotel Juhu hosted me for a lunch break at this iconic restaurant. Head Chef Penpa Tseri had designed a special menu, presenting some of his finest works and I will not deny the fact that each dish stood out impeccably!   Beautifully designed interiors, reflecting the culture of China, a simple walk-in at Samapan Novotel Juhu ensures that you’ll be served nothing but authentic Chinese food. The restaurant has a whooping 10 page menu, but I was to dine on Chef’s special spread. To start with, I picked up Novotel’s Signature drink – NOVOTEL PUNCH, which was a concoction of Orange juice, Pineapple juice, Mango juice, Grenadine and fresh cream. The drink was quite refreshing for a lazy warm Mumbai afternoon. Based on my preference of meats, Chef Penpa created 4 starter menu which was a blend of seafood and chicken. Before my starters arrived, I was offered a cup of searing hot Jasmine Tea which acts as a palette cleanser to prepare you for your journey of Chinese flavours. The first on the starters menu was Mandarin Chicken which was sliced chicken in soya sauce, tossed with bell peppers and with a zing of crushed black pepper for course flavours. The chicken was succulent, soya sauce in harmony and the salty-spicy combination of black pepper anted up the taste manifolds. Next up on the …

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The Picnic Table By The Gateway Resort Damdama Lake

February 1, 2017
Taj Getaway Resorts_2

I have been saying this since a while now and finally someone heard the cry. It’s time that we move over gastro-pub experience and embrace the old school style of dining experiences. And what a fun way to bring the change by introducing the ‘The Picnic Table’ by The Gateway Resort Damdama Lake. Situated right next to the adventure zone of The Gateway Resort, near Gurgaon, The Picnic Table is a concept offering set menu of drinks and quick bites to bring about the ambience of enjoying a picnic. One can sit at their outdoorsy seating arrangements, or simply take their food over to the park and enjoy hot lip-smacking bites overlooking the green and serene vegetation of the property. Taking inspiration from the sanctuary style layout of The Gateaway Resort Damdama Lake, The Picnic Table too adapts the beauty of scenic landscapes and brings it to the food that it serves. Mexican style wraps tossed with fresh organic vegetables, an array of burgers, add ons and beverages; The Picnic Table surely embarks in the authenticity of the Picnic Concept. Speaking about the drinks, if you are a fan of Oreo Cookies or like chocolate-milky concoctions, then do give the Oreo Milkshake a try. They also offer Iced Teas, Hot teas and Coffee mixes to please everyone’s preferences. The Sandwhich section consists of in total 5 style of sandwiches with Chicken Seekh English Masala, Cheesy Grilled Panini and Aloo Patty signature style on the menu. The patty is soft, with the meat or the main ingredient embedded in a mix of raw cut veggies. The overall vibe is crunchy, fresh, juicy and very much a picnic food for any given season or gathering. For the younger crowd who absolutely can’t do without a layered dose of heaven called Burgers, The …

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Taksim, Ansal Plaza

January 27, 2017
Taksim Delhi_8

You’ve got to visit Taksim at the re-launched Ansal Plaza (Khel Gaon, Delhi) to believe that this recently opened restaurant is going by reservations due to its excessive demand. Be it a cosy weekend hangout or an ice-cold weekday evening meetup, Taksim is getting sold out on table reservations as we speak. The credit goes to the restaurant’s location, impeccable menu plan and the earthy-meets-eclectic ambience with live music & dj nights to keep the spirits high. Taking orders left, right and centre, the staff of Taksim is doing a tremendous job in keeping up with the demands of its customers, serving 2 floors,a mezzanine and a sprawling open-air patio setup; on a daily basis. Speaking about the ambience, the 4200 sq ft. place is well-lit, with wooden infrastructure, cutlery inspired modernistic art decor and comfortable seating arrangements. With a fully equipped live bar, Taksim offers an array of imported and domestic hard drinks, along with some signature cocktails on demand. My favourite has to be the Summer Cyclist which has an interesting combination of Orange and Litchi juice. If you like spice, then opt for Amrud Masala which has a base of Guava juice and a concoction of green chillies and Tabasco blend. No bar experience is complete if not for a dense list of nibblers and starters to munch on. Be it Lebanese platters, Mexican Salsa spread, American Diner Chips or Desi Fries; Taksim offers world cuisines on its menu. We tried Thai Grilled Chili Basil, Bombay Chicken which is basically mince chicken cutlet served Bombay Pav style, Feta Stuffed Sweet Potato Patty, Palak Patta Ki Milly Filly Chat, Dahi Ke Sholey which was thick spiced yogurt wrapped in crispy fried bread, Cottage Cheese Shawarma Quesadilla and many other sliders to try out. What is worth appreciating is the well …

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January 7, 2017

The country has been under the chaos of Demonetization – with limited access to cash and never-ending ATM lines. While at the moment every Indian hates the very idea of visiting an ATM and standing in line for the clock, KFC did something really fun recently – they introduced an ATM that dispensed ‘currency that you’d love to stand in line for’. Bringing the Nashville flavours of fried chicken to India, KFC has recently introduced their newest food trend from America – The KFC Nashville Chicken! It is smoky, extra crispy, intensely flavoured and topped with a generous portion of tangy American pickles. KFC Nashville Chicken is another level of being crispy (and finger lickin’) and can be had on a bun, with rice bowlz, as strips or even in 5-in-1 Meal boxes. And to introduce this American Food Trend to the foodies in India, KFC had installed an ATM machine (for a day) at the popular Cyber Hub in Gurgaon that dispensed Nashville Dollars – giving chicken lovers a chance to redeem these for the crunchiest KFC Nashville Chicken. Talking about this unique initiative, Lluis Ruiz Ribot, CMO, KFC India said: “In the past few months, everyone has seen that good things are worth the wait – whether at ATMs, or in life.  We just decided to make the waiting a little more fun and rewarding! The Nashville chicken has a cult-like following across the USA and KFC is the first QSR, to bring this USA original recipe to India. We wanted to make the launch as legendary as the product and therefore chose a format that is topical, strategically connects with consumers and induces trials.” Now who says luck only strikes once? KFC India has collaborated with me to giveaway 2 of my lucky readers a chance to …

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Dabur Honey Fruit Spread Loaf – Last Minute Healthy Bakes

December 24, 2016

Dabur as a Science based Ayurveda ensures products that tastes good and are healthy for all age groups. Right from their array of Hommade organic base products to a range of ready-to-eat products, Dabur is making our lives easier and eating habits healthier! Caught up in the festivities of Christmas but ran out on sweets for family and friends? An easy bake and healthy dressing will save you time to indulge in the celebrities and will become a yummy and healthy treat for your loved ones. With Dabur Honey Spread you can do much more than just spreading it on a jam. It is yummier, zingier and fruitier than any regular jam and comes with the wholesome nutrition that ensures a healthier and yummier treats always. Dabur Honey Fruit Spread is packed with elements of vitamins and minerals which boosts strength, immunity and balanced health of our body. Dabur Honey Fruit Spread comes in cute mason jours and have four gourmet flavours to offer – Strawberry, Plum, Kiwi and Exotic Berries. What’s more? These spreads contain chunks of real fruit bits and contains zero sugar and colours in them. Coming back to our last minute Holiday 2016 quick fix, you can do wonders with these Fruit Spreads! First off, here’s a recipe of simple Dabur Honey Fruit Spread Cake Loaf that is quick to make and requires limited ingredients but provides maximum flavours! Take a look at the recipe : Ingredients 500 gms Vanilla Cake Mix 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil/Olive Oil 1 cup fresh milk 1 tsp Sweetened Cocoa Powder 1 jar of your favourite Dabur Honey Fruit Spread (I’ve used Plum) Marie Biscuits (optional) Recipe 1. In a bowl, mix 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil in 500 gms of Vanilla Cake Mix. If you don’t have a Cake mix, then …

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STUDIO – Pan Asian Restaurant, Novotel Kolkata

December 19, 2016

Being in Kolkata, you get to taste many varieties of sea food preparations. Right from the roadside deep fried fish chops to a gourmet seafood platter at a renowned fine dining restaurant, you get to try it all. But with the influence of Oriental flavors in North East region of India, you also get to savour authentic and region-customised Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisines alike. Novotel Kolkata too proudly exhibits their oriental skills with a stand-alone restaurant called ‘Studio Pan-Asian’ that excels in Oriental menu. Bringing flavors from different parts of East Asia, Studio offers platters from Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and Singapore under one roof! My recent visit to Kolkata gave me a chance to dine in at Studio by Novotel Kolkata, where the Chef presented me an array of Oriental courses to try on. Looking back at my experience there and virtually re-visiting the dining experience for you let me share with you the items from the menu that I tried. For Appetizers, I was served Satey Kai from Thailand, which was basically marinated succulent grilled chicken in a skewer, served with peanut sauce. The combination of grilled chicken skewer with peanut sauce was simply spot on! Following this, we had Ebi No Tenpura from Japan, which was Prawn ‘Tempura’, served with freshly grated ginger & radish and came with a side of Tempura Sauce. We were served Juicy Tiger prawns, fried to perfection with very little room for leftover grease. From Malaysian region we tried Ikan Panggang, the Indonesian take on char grilled fish on a banana leaf. The flavors of the fish were well preserved; the earthy flavor of the banana leaf well coated the fish that was partially crispy on the outside and absolutely moist and soft from the inside. My favorite …

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#ChefStyle Cooking with Dabur Hommade Range

December 17, 2016

No matter how much you like cooking, time management always becomes a priority. With daily needs of cooking food that matches the culinary expertise of any Michelin Star restaurant is no less of a dream, right? But if the basic ingredients can be simplified to an extent that it saves time and also provides Chef-style taste for the dish? Dabur Hommade by Dabur has been promoting smart cooking experiences with a Science Based Ayurveda technology since the last 13 years. Being one of the first brands to introduce a quicker and more convenient ways of cooking in Indian kitchens, the journey has been backed by celebrated chefs like Vikas Khanna who often uses Dabur Hommade range to simplify the cooking process and time. Indian cuisine is incomplete if not for a tadka of Ginger-Garlic paste, which is why my mother has been a fan of Dabur Hommade Ginger Garlic Paste since forever. But what about adapting international cuisines in the Indian Kitchen? To prove that these base products by Dabur Hommade cut down on the cooking time and serve the richest content possible for great flavors, I picked up Dabur Hommade Ginger Garlic Paste and the thick Coconut Milk to create a Burmese Recipe. To keep the cooking fair and give you an insight on how I cooked Khao Suey, a soupy wholesome Burmese Meal with Dabur Hommade products, I clicked some ‘In The Making’ photographs. Take a look at my recipe and how I prepared this interesting yet detailed food item from the oriental kitchen. Ingredients For Soup 6-7 White Mushrooms 1 Carrot 1 Zucchini 250 gms chopped Cauliflower 150 gms finely chopped beans 1 Spring Onion 1 Shallot 1 ½ tbs Dabur Hommade Ginger Garlic Paste 2 inch stalk lemongrass, finely chopped 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tbsp …

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Mosaic Hotels Christmas Delicacies At M-LOUNGE

December 14, 2016

This article needs no introduction, because it’s the spirit of this festivity that brings out the best in any hospitality group and other brands alike. Mosaic Hotels too, getting into the festive mood, has introduced an array of Christmas Delicacies that are now available for the entire month for purchase! And to give us food lovers a personal experience of what they have in store for their Delhi and NCR foodies, they invited us over a tête-à-tête to introduce their Holiday Season specialities. M Lounge Patisserie, which comes under the Mosaic Hotels banner excels in breads, cakes and other assortments like chocolates and breakfast spreads. Keeping in mind the utility of products for a month long holiday season, M lounge has introduced a variety of breads, cakes and edible decors to meet the requirement of their clients. As simple as a bread loaf has been done 3 ways to bring in more flavours and a sense of being merry to everyone’s breakfast table. I personally loved their marble and jam flavoured bread loafs. Priced between INR 125-150 for 500 gms, these bread loafs will last 2-3 weeks and can be micro-heated to retain freshness at the time of serving. For chocolate lovers they have Leopard Bread and Marble Bread as well. For those who love the jam-bread traditional combination, the chef has introduced the Swiss Breakfast Bread and for the health conscious lot they have an array of Mutli-Grain breads too. Their festive star is the Chimney Cake which is basically an edible chimney made of croissant dough stuffed with battery-operated candles and an option of assorted chocolates, cookies and choco-cookies. These chimneys have been designed as a table decoration which can be savoured past it’s decorative show. The chimneys are priced between INR 274-475 and can last for up to …

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PepsiCo Lays – Making Of The Golden Chip

December 9, 2016

Saving every penny to buy a pack of Lays and pray to get a TAZO different from my over-flooding collection of these 286 colourful plastic disks – That’s how I spent my childhood! Growing up on Magic Masala and switching to the American Style Cheese & Onion, the transition has been quite a wonderful journey. Not just myself, but I have seen my elders switching from the regular ‘Namkeens’ to offering & gifting packs of Kurkure as the ultimate snacking option with friends and family. We have all cherished munching on an array of Lays and Kurkure flavors throughout our lives, with Saif Ali Khan and other Bollywood sirens sharing our love for PepsiCo all the while; nothing has ever deterred our love for these bites. And to experience the true value of PepsiCo’s dedication towards producing the best quality snacks and motive behind maintaining a production environment that balances all spheres of lifestyle, I was invited over to visit their biggest Lays & Kurkure production plant in Dhulagarh, Kolkata. I can write an entire article on how I felt; taking a tour of this plant, but let me summarize it to this, that while I was taken through the entire production process, all I could think of were 2 things – 1. Can I just stretch my hand, pick a crisp chip and munch on it already? 2. Why do people say that Kurkure has plastic in it, when not even a plastic vessel is used in the production?  Lay’s- Making Of The Golden Chip PepsiCo not only takes extra precautions in the production of Lays, but the brand takes active participation with thousands of farmers, providing them resources and regular interactive technical knowledge to produce the right quality of potato in India. Their major part of potato sourcing …

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