Last week, I was invited to check out DineFest – a ten-day culinary event (15th Feb – 28th Feb 2016) held across Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore. Featuring prix-fixe menus at several of each city’s casual dining restaurants, you can enjoy a three-course feast at a fraction of the a la carte cost.
Contrary to my experience with most Restaurants that pull out all the stops at tastings and then slowly decline in consistency, The Bombay Canteen (TBC) continues to impress. After my first visit (read: What’s Old is New at The Bombay Canteen), I went back for a meal with my family, and even ordered take-out from them. Each visit has been more enjoyable than the last.
There’s a lot that can be said about Indian food – we have more types of cuisines than I care to count, and more than enough restaurants and street food stalls touting the same. I love our cuisine, for all its bold flavours, subtle aromatics and delicate spices. On trips abroad, I often find myself craving it after a couple of days of the regional food – there’s just something about Indian cuisine that no other culture can capture in its flavours.
Among the most popular dishes in our country (and my personal favourite), biryani is way ahead of the rest. The origin of biryani is a highly debatable topic, but we all can agree that it has strong roots in both Mughlai and Hyderabadi (Nawabi or Deccani) cuisine. A simple dinner at the newly opened Food Story on Boat Club Road in Poona, however – changed the way I will look at every biryani dish I eat from here on out.
The EVVIVA Sky Lounge, on the rooftop of the Courtyard by Marriott – Pune City Center has the kind of casual-smart vibe that appeals to the twenty-to-thirty something working professionals as well as a slightly older audience. I’d been there before (two years or so prior), for a couple of after-work-parties, but never had a chance to sample anything from the menu. They’ve made a few renovations and changes since then, so I didn’t know what to expect when I was invited over, but I was looking forward to relaxing over drinks and dinner with a friend.
Sometime earlier this month, I accompanied my friend The Tiny Taster to the launch of the ‘Din Bhar and Lunch Menu‘ at The Bombay Canteen in Lower Parel. Honestly, I was actually quite skeptical at first, since I’d heard that the food was a ‘modern take’ on Indian classics – because every time someone tries to re-invent the wheel, I get a little bored – but I was intrigued to know what all the hype was about.
This February, I spent some time in Bangalore. Intending to delve into the city’s past, I made a trip to the iconic Bangalore Palace, the seat of the Wadiyar (or Wodeyar) dynasty. It may sound like an incredibly touristy thing to do, but if you’re a history buff like me, then exploring old museums and monuments is always a fun way to get to know a city better.
I had heard a lot of mixed reviews, but decided to keep an open mind and no expectations. Paying about Rs. 200-something for the entry ticket (it’s more for foreign nationals), with an audio guide included was fine, but being compelled to pay an additional Rs. 500 to be able to take photographs with my smartphone was not something I saw coming! It’s quite a heavy fee, but one I also imagine is necessary in order to maintain the huge costs that the Palace and grounds must be incurring for the basic general upkeep.
In a country like India, with such a wide range of cultures, there is no dearth of talented artisans. No matter where you travel – you’ll always find indigenous handicrafts in some form or the other, because not only are my countrymen (and women) extremely gifted, they are also very enterprising. Of course, in this day and age and with the rise of superstores and online stores which can deliver to your doorstep at the click of a button, the Indian artisan is somewhat shunted aside – or even worse, does not even earn enough for their dedicated efforts. Fortunately for these men and women, there has also been a rise in the number of NGOs that bring their talent to light and one of them is the Dastkari Haat Samiti, a national association of artisans and craftspeople from all over India. Based in Delhi, this 26 year old organisation has done wonderful things for the upliftment and empowerment of artisans, affording them a better platform to showcase their skills as well as a direct income.
This past September, I was invited to an event at the Lakeland Store by my dear friend, The Tiny Taster. Lakeland is one of the UK’s top kitchenware brands and has been brought to India by Westside. The meet-and-greet was organised to bring together Baking enthusiasts from all over Pune and introduce them to Lakeland’s range of cookware and appliances.