A swanky affair
The Art Deco lines of the Palladium mall in Mumbai recede as you step into the lavish luxury of the second floor, dimly lit Pan-Indian restaurant, Veda. The interiors hit you in the stomach even before the cuisine does. Red and black chandeliers, loads of traditional glass work from Rajasthan, the lotus and peacock motifs in gay abandon all point to the master of Indian fashion, Rohit Bal who has indeed designed the interiors in his characteristic OTT style. A display of the traditional in a contemporary way, with huge leather-covered wing chairs adding a tiny bit of the colonial to the ostentatious interior.
The food culled from various Indian states and masterfully interpreted for contemporary diners by veteran chef K P Singh, proves a delight to the palate. The tastes are strong and true. Simple dishes like fried spinach chaat and crispy okra have been rendered to perfection. A selection of melt in the mouth kababs like kasturi chicken and galoufi sheekh kabab compete for tenderness with the malai lamb chops. The chef now sends in his signature Veda lamb special in a rich masala and a tangy butter chicken. Not to be missed, is the dal Veda, a richly satisfying version of the humble lentil. All accompanied by an assortment of garlic naans, pudina parathas and a selection of special chutneys.
And this the chef promises: to keep the food light so that it sits comfortably on the stomach and the conscience!
– Shirin Mehta
Chez Vous, French for ‘At your Place’ may be considered Mumbai’s first French bistro. Contemporary French cuisine is served up in a modern black and white interior with large French windows overlooking Mumbai’s street bustle. It is the brainchild of three young entrepreneurs — one Indian, two French – Satyen Melwani, Frederic Fernandez and Chef Cedric Combe.
A blackboard on the wall declares the offerings of the day in white chalk. The lunch menu is limited but quick and satisfying and today includes croque monsieur, leather fish and veal stew, among other things. Madeleines, those quintessential French cakes, are on the dessert menu.
Dinner is a more elaborate affair with dishes like beef chateaubriand, cote de veau, French Caribbean style stuffed crab, avocado tarter and terrine de boeuf et foie gras. The chef, we are told, spent months teaching the local butcher to do the cuts exactly as he wanted to get the most juicy meat pieces. A glass of French wine is perfect to wash down your meal.
– Shirin Mehta
Devoted followers of Tarun Tahiliani may recognise their master’s work – this time on a dining space! The newly opened Aish at The Park, Hyderabad, has much of the designer’s signature motifs : the jewel-toned ensembles have metamorphosed as Swarovski glitterbugs on the ceiling and the photo-imprinted cushions, reminiscent of his splendid kaftans.
Tahiliani’s first attempt at restaurant design however, true to the hotel’s brief, is a fascinating recreation of an opulent Nawabi lifestyle of the past. The quilted creamy upholstery, sparkly round mirrors and walls studded with black and white frames of the erstwhile Nizams of the city add to a rich, classic ambience with a quirky edge. A private dining area is partially hidden by a silvery trellis patterned door. Inspired by the palaces of yore, treasure houses of antiques, Aish, surrounded by select pieces of pottery, an intricate mother-of-pearl floral floor and a dazzling Osler chandelier boasts a plush cocoon that complements – or distracts – from the feast on the table.
The cuisine, an authentic spread of traditional Hyderabadi and local Andhra flavours does justice to the sumptuous interior. We taste the evening away starting with a delicately spiced khajoor paneer ke dhol and broccoli-dill tikki, moving on leisurely to a traditional Shikampur kebab, palakura pappu, a six vegetable medley called chowgra, the famed haleem, and more, all accompanied with portions of aromatic biryanis and kulchas. The finale: flamboyant preparations of almond and saffron halwa and walnut-ricotta-maple kulfi.
Aish means to luxuriate. In this setting, it comes quite naturally!
– Mala Vaishnav
View from the top
Four young entrepreneurs: Vidur Parashar, Nikhil Kanwar, Varun and Wasique Soni have given Delhi ‘The Complete Dining Experience’, over three levels at the Circa 1193. The adaptability of the space is pronounced by its naturally well-lit glow during the day, contrasted elegantly by its transformed ambience by night that represents best the lively vibe of a contemporary European Trattoria – with some of the best food on offer throughout.
The entrance is through a gateway carved out of ancient stone, bordering past a courtyard, enveloped in foliage and a vertical fountain leading to the bar.
Ascend the staircase to reach the fine dining space showcasing the Chef’s Table. A short walk up to the final floor leads to an open rooftop from where you can clearly see the iconic Qutub Minar, bathed in moonlight.
The antique finish to the silver leaf mirrors on the primary walls of the floor adds the illusion of space to the already enormous dining area while contributing to the rustic, earthen aesthetic area in mention.
A drink and melt in the mouth braised spare ribs with ginger soy sauce from the Robata Grill kick-start my gastronomical experience. I am then led to the fine dining space, where I relish deliciously baked black cod and sesame miso sauce and wasabi serabi-crispy potato and creamy onion in a wasabi pancake with a parsley butter soy sauce. From grilled lamb rack to garlic butter inaniwa to crisped momen tofu, Chef Achal Aggarwal has excelled himself.
I then go down to the courtyard and help myself to a platter of sweet chilli apple tart, chilled orange cheesecake with tofu, mud cake, Asian spiced pear, ginger and red berry compote with white peppercorn ice cream. And then the red and yellow pepper with pineapple sorbet so unusual to the palate! And finally, jasmine tea.
– Arti Sarin
Shakahari at the Pune Marriot Hotel and Convention Centre, is a celebration of the vegetarian way of life. The restaurant practices and maintains strong fundamentals in retaining all vegetarian principles with regards to kitchen, crockery and cutlery.
A one of its kind, Shakahari is open to customising its cuisine as per the requirements of the patrons, offering private dining rooms for upto 18 guests, a special chef’s table and an outdoor seating area. The venue also boasts an open kitchen. The design elements of the restaurant are a perfect juxtaposition of the rustic and contemporary, enhanced with the warmth of amber candles, soft lighting and a simple earthy palette.
The menu offers authentic Asian vegetarian cuisine which is a lavish mix from around the continent. So while there is the akhroot aur badaam ke seekh (walnuts and almonds spiced with green chilli and cooked in tandoor) from India there is also some sumptuous meang ta kri or simply lemongrass salad with crispy tofu, cashew nut, rice noodles in seasonal leaves from Thailand. There is an exquisite blend of Japanese cuisine with its mouth-watering palette of the delectable yakitori plate which comes with heaps of skewer asparagus, leek, shitake mushroom, white onion with teriyaki sauce. And to complete this vegetarian experience are a myriad healthy deserts like the Tub Tim Krob which is water chestnuts steeped in sweetened coconut milk and a selection of delicious yogurts. Perfect accompaniments to all these scrumptious cuisines are an assortment of vegan wines.
An Asian Master Chef Pensiri and an Indian Maharaj, Bhuralal together conjure up specialities in food and dessert along with 18 flavours of iced teas.
– Arti Sarin
ITC- Welcomgroup recently opened EDO Japanese restaurant and bar at the world’s largest LEED Platinum rated hotel ITC Royal Gardenia, in Bengaluru.
The name EDO (pronounced Yedo) is inspired by the ancient name of Tokyo. EDO showcases the Izakaya style of dining which are popular after-hours destinations for gatherings over drinks and great food in Japan. Designed by Super Potato, this 81-seater is conceptualised around the modern stone garden.
EDO brings alive the concept of Japan’s vibrant after-hours culture, with authentic sushi, sashimi, succulent robatayaki, crisp tempura and artful bento meals, accompanied by five Japanese soho and whiskies, culminating in a grand finale of delectable desserts perfected by Master (Sensei) Chef Miyazaki.
– Arti Sarin