Pizza is something I take very seriously. Thin crust, hand-tossed with a perfectly balanced tomato sauce base, topped with stringy mozzarella, fresh basil and spicy pepperoni is just heaven on a plate! I hate the fast-food re-heated frozen pizzas with their doughy, pasty bases and not enough toppings. When done right, even a plain cheese pizza can blow your mind. I’d eaten at PizzaExpress – a chain of Italian eateries founded by Peter Boizot in Great Britain in 1965, now with a global reach – before, and had been quite impressed with their pizza, so when I was invited for a tasting of their new Summer Menu, I was looking forward to it.
Have you ever wished for something fantastical, only to be disappointed? Like when you’ve had a long day and all you can picture in your head is a really spectacular <insert name of your favourite dish here> but you reach the Restaurant only to find that said dish is off the Menu? Well that feeling pretty much describes my experience at Pesto Pesto, when a group of bloggers and I were invited for a preview of their “French Food Festival”.
Having heard about Pesto Pesto’s Italian fare, it was surprising to me that they were choosing to do a FFF, but I love French cuisine, so nonetheless I was excited.
Walking into Stone Water Grill (SWG) for the first time after almost 2 years, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. Countless nights of teenage shenanigans, birthdays, after-parties and more flood my mind. Their message for the night was ‘We Are Back’ – and back with a BANG indeed. As I joined an invitee table, we are introduced to Riyaaz Amlani, CEO and Managing Director of Impresario Hand Made Restaurants, the big daddy behind SWG, Salt Water Grill and so many more. With only minor renovations to the interiors, the ambience is rather soothing, with dark sofas and soft orange lighting.
My family are predominantly foodies, with a passion for non-vegetarian food. Having traveled to Italy and indulged in quite a lot of their local cuisine myself, so when my family suggested dining at Favola at Le Meridien, I didn’t need much convincing! We made a reservation and turned up on time only to find ourselves the sole occupied table, although it was a Saturday night.
The ambience at Favola is lovely and welcoming. The head Chef Roberto Boggio, an Italian himself, was friendly and immediately made a visit to our table and some recommendations as to what we should order for our meal.
I love working with fresh ingredients, and luckily enough for me – I can get them delivered weekly to my doorstep (Green Tokri, holla!). This week, my choice ingredient was Basil. I’ve never made a Pesto sauce from scratch before, so this was as good a time as any to give it a try. As you may or may not know, Parmesan Cheese is a premium ingredient, traditionally used along with Pine Nuts and Basil to make a Pesto sauce. Unfortunately, even the smallest Parmesan slabs available at stores here are too expensive for my budget, so I decided to improvise and use Amul Cheese instead. Purists – I know what you’re thinking – blasphemy! – but this was just for experimental and economical purposes, so don’t judge. Here’s how it went down: