Manna in the Desert

Our guide in Amman had the rather unlikely name of Basel Ahmed. Had I but known it, his name was the perfect metaphor for Jordan itself: on the crossroads of Christianity and Islam. He had two seemingly irreconcilable passions: history and cuisine. While on site – Jordan has an unfair proportion of world famous Roman…

Hakkasan: the master comes to Mumbai

One of the most famous restaurant brands that originated in London has traveled across the continents to land at our shores. Every Indian traveler in Old Blighty has visited Hakkasan at least once for its brand of Chinese food reinterpreted for the international palate. The most interesting aspect of the restaurant is the name. Hakka…

The cuisine of the Royal House of Sailana

Enough attention has never been paid to the heritage of royal cuisine. Now is a good time, before it gets shrouded in the mists of the past. Palaces and havelis still exist; the people who once inhabited them still live on, although in vastly different circumstances. Look hard enough and you’ll even find jewellery and…

Royal Birthday Bash in Udaipur

Maharana Arvind Singh of Mewar celebrates his birthday in style. Visitors from all parts of the globe, villagers from the erstwhile princely state of Mewar, townspeople from Udaipur, a phalanx of press people, even filmstars beat a retreat to the doors of the living quarters of the City Palace. While lunch was a strictly family…

Chettinad Delights

Travel around Delhi and you’ll chance across the occasional restaurant that advertises its unique selling point. “Our chef is from Bukhara” proclaims the signboard outside. Wherever the chef is really from, what the restaurant is trying to do is to hope that some of the greatness of the legendary restaurant will rub itself on their…

Zaffrani Zaika

You can tell the sincerity of a restaurant by the quality of the freebies it serves. Zaffrani Zaika won’t give you store-bought papad. Instead, it makes a sort of baked matthi and serves that with three dips, all made in house. And here’s one place you needn’t be afraid of over-ordering: the waiters will tell…

The Spice of Life

Go to a Thai restaurant anywhere in the world, and order a Massaman curry, chicken red curry or a vegetable green curry. You will have quite a lot in common with an Indian meal. Or, visit a Syrian, Lebanese or Turkish restaurant and there will be other things in common with Indian food. The same…

Diva

This empress of Greater Kailash II periodically undergoes extensive renovation, but this time around, it has become a new restaurant altogether. The ground floor with its wood-fired oven and semi open kitchen has turned into a café, in the style of Café Diva in Greater Kailash I, N Block Market. Visibly less formal than Diva…

Indian Food, the International Way

Fortunately for me, every restaurant in London puts up their menu in the window, the better for passers by to judge the advisability of dining there or not. One thing that puzzled me was an item on the menus of all the Indian restaurants: they all had chicken tikka flavoured with rose petals. Rose petals…

The Leela and The Oberoi Gurgaon

It has been a while since high profile hotels have opened in the capital. No fewer than two opened in the month of April. The Oberoi Gurgaon and the Leela Palace New Delhi have been keenly anticipated, but nobody could have imagined just how divergent the styles of both hotels would turn out to be,…