Zanotta

“Never change a winning formula” goes the conventional wisdom and certainly the current formula at Zanotta seems to be working well for the Leela Kempinski Gurgaon. It is billed as an Italian restaurant, has its own wine library, is open only for dinner and was crowded to capacity on a Monday evening. On the other…

China Garden

It was a Sunday night, the elegant restaurant in Ashok Hotel was packed to capacity. There were at least half a dozen five year olds on the premises and they were all making a beeline for my table because I was sitting near the fish pond that runs the length of the restaurant. The kids…

Smoke on the water

A houseboat holiday As the setting sun turned the sky first golden and then rose, the waters of the Dal reflected the multitude of tints. Other shikaras were darkly silhouetted against the sun’s rays, and I supposed my own shikara was too. My shikarawallah sang a mournful ditty that made up in gloom what it…

Sikkim

It’s my pet theory that you can never really have explored a new destination till you’ve seen its market. It was with that in mind that I set off to the floor above the local taxi stand in Gangtok. Extreme pressure on real estate and not much in the way of flat land means that…

The Final Frontier

The best part about Delhi’s dining scene is the side of the road segment where you can dine like a king without leaving the comfort of your car. Usually two people can dine for a three figure sum. The Final Frontier is a take-off from that concept. It is on the side of a road:…

In the Shadow of Shahrukh

It was 1988 and I was wending my way to Khajuraho in June. I remember that trip with clarity, despite the 26 intervening years. Partly because the muddy dull light of the height of summer crept into every one of my photographs, whether I took them at 6 am, 3 pm or 7 pm. And…

La Vie en Rose

A week after I returned from Paris, I visited an up-market restaurant near where I live. Though I have always been partial to their warm chocolate cake, I have to say it tasted like hell. It was chocolate brown all right, but the flavour defied description. It had nothing to do with the ingredient I…

Jaisalmer

If there’s one man in Jaisalmer who qualifies for the title of Mr. Jaisalmer, it is Jitendra Singh Rathore, Vice Chairman of Fort Rajwada, by far the best hotel in town. He has worked tirelessly to put Jaisalmer on the tourist map, an activity that has borne him bitter-sweet fruit. Bitter because as yet there’s…

Blue Blooded in the Pink City

Zorawar Singh Gate, held up with scaffolding, does not look like a very promising sight. Nearby, a movie hall, also coloured the regulation pink, albeit in a lurid shade, looks even less promising. Yet, just as you’re thinking that you’ve left the ‘old Jaipur’ behind, somewhere in the vicinity of Tripolia Bazar, you’ll be taken…