Matamaal

“My granny cooks the best” Kashmiri Atmospherics: The modest-sized restaurant that has a full-sized shikara inside (it doubles up as a table!) is run by a delightfully hospitable Kashmiri couple. Surinder and Nalini Sadhu are the eponymous ‘grand-parents’ (Matamaal means naani’s house) and it is they who greet first-timers and regular guests with the famous…

Lady Baga

Authentic food, authentic beach experience Mostly Goan Beach Shack food Atmospherics: I think it is safe to say that this resto-bar has the most distinctive interiors in the NCR. It has been done up to resemble a section of a Goan beach with cane chairs placed on real sand, a fantastic play-list that includes Portuguese…

The Truth about Aphrodisiacs

There’s a nifty saying in Kashmiri that goes, “Pir chun’e bod; yakin chu bod” which translates as “It’s not the doctor who is great; its your belief in him that does the trick”. Two aspects strike me insofar as aphrodisiac foods go. The first is that the Kashmiris would appear to be right after all.…

The Uncomplicated Flavours of Kumaon

“Chop off the head of the goat and with the animal’s feet tied, hang it over an open coal fire till you can easily skin it.” That is the first step in preparing the Kumaoni classic, kachpak. I spent last weekend at Bhimtal’s Fisherman’s Lodge, being educated in the intricacies of local cooking. Many of…

The A to Z of Punjab Grill

In the universe of the food and beverage world, you will see several restaurant models that keep playing out, over and over again. One is the family-owned restaurant where the colour scheme has not been changed since the ‘80s. The other is the modern bar that opens in January and has shut in November, after…

Militancy’s Child

Fear and other emotions are alien to a generation of Kashmiri youth who grew up under the shadow of militancy..   In 1991, when militancy was at its peak, Omar Jan was three years old. It was the year I got married and travelled to Kashmir as a bride. Before that, my visits to Kashmir had…

Pizzas

When Chef Dharamvir of Taj Palace went to Istanbul on a study course, the last thing he expected to find there were pizzas. Yet, scarcely any street corner was free of a pizza joint. Called lahmacun locally, totally unlike the Italian version, Turkish pizzas are much thicker and the fillings were much more India-friendly. The…

Shervani Hilltop, Naini Tal

A couple that I once met in Ladakh – we were staying at the same hotel – claimed that the best hotel they had ever stayed at in their lives was Shervani Hilltop, Naini Tal. I was rather taken aback, because this couple seemed to have visited every hotspot in the world. Then I met…

Eating a Bit of Culture

The Commonwealth Games are sure to flood Delhi’s restaurants with foreign patrons. Why not take a cue from South East Asian  restaurants and treat them to spot of Indian culture while they’re tucking in? Now that the Commonwealth Games are round the corner, I wonder how many hoteliers and restaurateurs have given much thought to…