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,…

Kayasth Khatirdari

In Delhi, there are Andhra restaurants, Kashmiri restaurants, even Naga restaurants but no restaurants of the Mathur/Kayasth community, which is why many Delhiites are not even aware that the cuisine exists. That is something that has piqued Anoothi Vishal’s pride. This food journalist belongs to the Mathur community. As she describes it, “All Mathurs are…

Salt of the Earth

Hotels routinely have food promotions centering around ingredients that have usually been brought from the other end of the world and that have great intrinsic worth. Oysters, wild salmon, truffles – the list of precious ingredients is endless. But what would you say about a salt festival? As a nonplussed hotel guest from Germany asked…

Bento Box

One of the most popular breakfasts in the ITC Sheraton, New Delhi is the Japanese bento breakfast. The brainchild of Chef Nakamura, he tells us about what these “Japanese thalis” stand for. Most bento boxes are rectangular and black, with a few being oval, square or crescent moon shaped. Red is an uncommon colour for…

The Ivy Comes to India

Marketing pundits who think they’ve cracked the code of consumer preferences throughout the length and breadth of the country, may just be in for a surprise. Alan Bird may not be a marketing pundit, nor The Ivy, Covent Garden, London, a marketing research organization, but during his ten day stint in India, there’s a lot…

Goan Wild at the Table

It was hot and overcrowded in the Friday market at Mapusa. On tiny squares of gunny sacks that lined the pavements and roads, hundreds of village ladies had staked out their space to sell a bewildering assortment of vegetables, fruits, sausages and cooking ingredients. In the midst of it all were spice sellers whose cinnamon…

A Mangoey Competition

What do shrikhand, kulfi and tomato chutney have in common? They all use mangoes as a flavouring agent – in the first two, ripe mangoes are the predominant flavour; in the third, raw mango dice perk up the sourness of the tomato. India’s best loved fruit finds expression in a surprising variety of ways, but…

Kashmiri Chutneys

Visit any Kashmiri banquet, and you’ll be proudly told by the host that no fewer than 30 dishes are being served. Just try to put down half that number of dishes at a single sitting and you’ll know that it’s impossible to stuff yourself after a point. Yet, the hosts aren’t lying, so what’s the…

The Breakfast Story

Six years ago, when Eggspectation opened its doors in New Delhi’s Vasant Continental, not only did the name not ring a bell with customers (it is a franchised operation, whose parent company is in Canada), people sniggered at the very idea of eggs cooked in dozens of ways. Three years is a long time in…