Memories of Restaurants

It was our final evening in Tunisia. All twelve of us had met for the third time; we were fated to meet a few times more – food writers from all over the world, who would collect in a different country once a year at olive harvest time. All of us – from the US,…

Leela’s Latin Fiesta

When the organizers of India Fiesta Latina got in touch with Leela Ambience Gurgaon for a venue for their salsa performances and workshops, Chef Ramon Alvarez of the hotel pricked up his ears. Alvarez is from Spain (Barcelona, in fact, and he’s done a stint at El Bulli but that’s another story) and his wife…

Pakistani Passion

Every hotel vies with its competitors to host the most innovative food festival. There are a couple of variables. Though the cuisine has to be bold and novel – and of course memorable – it also has to appeal to the taste-buds of the public and be as popular as possible. There are a few…

Galauti versus Kakori

Most red meat eaters thrive on the texture of the stuff. So it is inexplicable that Lucknow’s gourmets have invented kebabs so soft that they could give a vegetable a complex. The galauti and the kakori have both originated in Lucknow. In my ignorance, I thought that they were both largely the same, until a…

Souring agents

My friend Karan has a strong opinion on almost everything. So, it didn’t surprise me at all when he trashed my plans to try out a new Malaysian place in town. His objection? The cuisine of Malaysia does not use enough souring agents according to my very opinionated friend, who had much to say on…

A Meal in Kattumaran

One of the few places where I’ve ever eaten seafood idlis – or even heard of them for that matter – is in Kattumaram, a tiny seafood restaurant just outside the gate of Chennai’s Park Sheraton.  The chef, a TV food show host, has travelled down the length of the Tamil Nadu coast to research…

The Four Southern States

For most of us in the North, South Indian food is a largely homogenous entity, comprising idlis, dosas and not very much else. So I was in for a surprise last week when Trident Gurgaon invited me for a festival that was no short of brilliant. Not only did the variations in the food of…

The Real Mughlai Food

Forget about the too-greasy-to-be-true offerings that commonly go under the name of Mughlai food in restaurants. The real Mughlai food is not even a homogenous entity. It has, if researcher Salma Husain is to be believed, transformed itself from completely Central Asian from the time of Babur who came from Ferghana, to overwhelmingly Indian by…

The Red Devils

I have a friend who travels to Europe and USA with a bottle of Tabasco. She doesn’t relish food that is less than incendiary. The result is that she just has to spice up her food and she – and doubtless others like her – find that Tabasco works just fine. It is spicy, its…

Cooking with Wild Almonds

When I walked into Zest, Delhi’s newest restaurant that has fuelled a feeding frenzy among the chattering classes, I had made up my mind that I would only sample dishes from the Middle East, Chinese and Thai sections. Well, maybe I’d give the modern European and Italian sections a try, but I’d definitely steer clear…