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BW Businessworld

Luring Taste Buds

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Owning the Kitsch brand has given me many opportunities to see the world, meet new people and eat the best food available. I have pin-pointed a few restaurants across the world that I have personally enjoyed. Among one of my favourite restaurants is Pierluigi in Rome. The Italians are great at creating a family feeling at restaurants and no one does it better than Pierluigi. The food is incredible. It is located in the Renaissance surrounded by artistes and their shops selling art, furniture, jewellery and musical instruments. Don't forget to order the tiramisu — the best I have ever had. A word of caution: it might not be possible to get a table — you need to know people who know people to get a table at dinner time.

In New York, Indochine tops the charts of my taste buds. It is a timeless classic that combines stylish ambience, tropical decor and exotic French-Vietnamese cuisine that is perfect for intimate dinners and private events alike. This restaurant is for anyone looking for a great dining experience. Its lemon tart reminds me of the lemon bars my mom makes, with a sweet caramelised crust; something very special!

Overall, my experience was really good; the service was on time even with our large party. My favourite things on the menu are: Asian Crab Cakes, Steamed Vietnamese Crispy Shrimp, Crispy Whole Red Snapper, Steamed Chilean Sea Bass (simply heavenly). The food was perfectly respectable unoriginal Pan-Asian, while the main ingredients were all properly cooked. The sauces were suitably mixed; nothing too heavy, all very exciting. Excellent wine, spicy catfish with sugar cane and lightly cooked greens, sticky rice, and coffee and truffles to finish serves best for me.

On the other hand, Hakkasan Miami at the ultra-chic Fontainebleau Hotel and Resort in Miami Beach is customised to make use of the best local ingredients. The restaurant serves Hakkasan's award-winning modern Cantonese cuisine and signature cocktails. A dim sum lunch menu is one of my other favourite foods. Continuing to set the standard for haute Chinese design, carved teak walls and turquoise hues that evoke sea and sand infuse the décor of the space, which includes a dining area, bar and lounge.

Back to walking down the streets of New York, another eye-catching place was the Cipriani restaurant, which is very famous and very difficult to get a reservation. Good food, great atmosphere, and it almost always has a famous celebrity dining and wining there. The location is wonderful and the setting is nice.

The vibrant energy pulls me to this place. The atmosphere here feels very Italian and I enjoy it very much. The service is fast and wonderful. I have been here a few times for the company and wine they serve along with an excellent blend of high quality cuisine.

Coming back home is always special and my most favourite restaurant in India is Greenhouse at Olive in New Delhi. It is the perfect place for a quick sumptuous meal. Olive is a sprawling 15,000 sq. ft place that opens into a stunning courtyard, surrounded by sheer plate glass walls enclosing a separate bar and dining areas and a greenhouse that completes the magic. The ambience won me over hands down, and then came the food which was on par with the beautiful surroundings. The Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip, Chicken Parmigiana, Venetian Apricot Chicken and — to complete the meal — a black tie mousse cake or Piccoli Dolci "little dessert treats", layered with cake, mousse, pastry creams and berries are some of my choices here.

In London, brunches are my favourite meal and nothing beats the trendy Jaks on Walton Street — I simply love these little places with organic home-cooked food. The new Jak's Bar is very cute, but don't think the place has a famous chef. And reservation is fairly easy. For brunches, the popular Tom Binks is fantastic. It is next to impossible to get a table for brunch or lunch during the summer months.

Zuma and Nobu are famous for Japanese cuisine. This is a place to see and be seen and the food is great, too. Again, you would need to book several days in advance for a table. Hakkasan is also one of my favourites in London, especially the new one in Mayfair. Valerie is also a favourite. Within walking distance of the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, Harrods and the Brompton Oratory, Patisserie Valerie on Brompton Road offers a traditional patisserie cafe and coffee bar in addition to a spacious dining room. The atmosphere is lively and bustling. The service from the French waiters is brisk and friendly. The food selection I found best was the Scottish smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and granary toast with honey roast ham, toasted brioche and mixed salad.

HEAVENLY AMBIENCE: Greenhouse at Olive Bar in New Delhi is the perfect place for a quick sumptuous meal (BW pic by Bivash Banerjee


(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 26-09-2011)