Zura

Cuisine: Mediterranean Blurb: bookshelves, multi-level café, bar and restaurant with style and flair Gurgaon Sector 29 is a smorgasbord of restaurants and bars. Zura is for those times when you’re catching up with friends and want to nibble rather than gorge. Atmospherics: It is a breezy café with bookshelves and a laden pastry counter. You…

These are a few of my favourite things

This is not a recommendation of the best in Delhi: it is just my private list, one that I have carried along from childhood/adolescence/young adulthood. So, all the places have been around at the very least since 1980! 1. Bom Bay Bhelpuri, Sundernagar (at the corner of the park). Shri Bhajan Lal and his son…

What’s Cooking in Kashmir

Think about Kashmiri food and the first thing that comes to mind is the justly famous wazwan. However, try eating it for two consecutive meals and you’ll be laid up in bed for a week thereafter, so heavy is it. Indeed, most visitors to Kashmir have no difficulty finding the ristas and gushtabas of a…

The Lore of White Tea

“You can find a diamond in a coal mine,” beams the genial Rajeev Mittal of Mittal Tea House, Lodi Colony, New Delhi”just the way you can discover white tea on a regular bush.” White tea – it’s not really white, but very pale green and its leaves are long and pointed – is, quite simply, the…

Indians – good, bad and ugly

On the whole, we’re a warm and hospitable bunch of people. Whether it’s a Sardar taxi driver in New York or a village woman living in a mud hut in Kutch, no stranger need fear that he’ll be dealing with an inscrutable oriental. There is, however, the flip side of the coin. We are loud…

Kashmir and the Mughal Connection

In 1598, Emperor Akbar annexed the Valley of Kashmir to the Mughal Empire. In one fell swoop, the Mughal emperors acquired a summer home. Kashmir in turn, acquired some of its most important heritage sites. Emperor Akbar’s contribution was limited to the wall around the hill of Hari Parbat, which still stands today, complete with…

Jodhpur, the Blue City

Jodhpur is either lush and verdant and green, or is part of the harsh, blinding desert. It all depends on your perspective. If you are coming from, say, Udaipur, then Jodhpur is shockingly bleak and harsh, and its pink-tinged sandstone fort looks like an outcrop of the stony desert. If, on the other hand you…

Spice Up Your Life

What is the spiciest dish you’ve ever eaten? I’ll bet you’re thinking only of fiery hot red chillies. Yet, other things than chillies can blast off the top of your head. Japanese wasabi paste comes to mind. Korean cuisine has a yellow mustard that’s ear-burning too. I was once invited to a Korean banquet where…

2008: The Year of the Rat

Exactly five years ago, I made my way to Hong Kong. It was my first trip to South East Asia and I was wide-eyed with wonder. The veritable forest of tall buildings, the neon brightness that threatened to outshine the sun, the sheer variety of Chinese food, from roadside dai pai dongs (street-side stalls) to…