Leela Palace Udaipur

My first glimpse of Leela Palace Udaipur was not of the building itself, majestic as it is, but of the way the management looks after its guests. Shortly after a date for my visit was set, I received an email. Would I please list out my preferences for music, beverage and reading material. And while…

Biryani

What’s the big deal about rice and meat together in the same dish? Plenty, especially if you come from Hyderabad, Lucknow or Kolkata. Some of the best biryani I’ve eaten has been at Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton, prepared by a Hyderabadi royal called Begum Kulsum. She’s married in Lucknow, but fiercely retains pride in the cooking…

l’Opera

If a director from Bollywood made a film about the Samandari/Avanzo families from France, the audience would dismiss it out of hand as being far too filmy. However, it is a tale that ends with a fairytale patisserie in Khan Market, selling light-as-air macarons bursting with fruit flavours, and baguettes and flaky croissants. It starts…

Deepak Ohri

Deepak Ohri was on one of his famous flying visits to the capital when Upper Crust caught up with him. So, was he here to look out for a property? Was he here to recruit staff for Lebua, Bangkok? Or was it some other mission entirely? Ohri has a mysterious smile, and he used it…

The World’s Best Chocolates

The best chocolate certainly comes from Western Europe. But, the question that needs to be asked is: does chocolate have to be made in Europe alone to be considered good? Not really, but making chocolate – as opposed to growing the cacao bean – does require a temperature of about 18 degrees Celsius. Warmer than that…

Delhi Best Burgers

If you think burgers are a strictly non-serious item on a fast food menu, you’re in for a surprise. In Delhi’s best restaurants, burgers intersect that point between science and art. The Upper Crust definition of a serious burger is one whose patty has tenderloin: vegetarian burgers, chicken burgers etc are oxymorons. Salt and pepper…

Coastal Fish Curries

Kaveri G Ahuja from Coorg remembers the simple fish curries her grandmother used to make in Coorg. Swarms of tiny fish used to feed in the rice fields on either sides of the weir. Once the weir was opened, the water would recede and fishermen used to catch the fish. Kaveri says that they were…

The Legendary Kashmiri Wazwan

It may be 40 degrees plus in Delhi, but as I write this in Srinagar, I’m shivering in the cold of a spring evening. I am on the extensive lawns of the Lalit Grand Palace, arguably one of the most picturesque spots in the Valley. I am talking to the wazas (cooks) of the late…

Landmark Restaurants

Most of this list serves multi-cuisine, a certain recipe for patchy quality in a jack-of-all-trades sort of way, so the nature of the game is a few really great dishes and about ninety menu fillers. But just as likely, you may love a certain dish in a landmark restaurant, whether or not it is a…

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…