Well, it’s a tossup (as weekends usually are) between a review of ‘Pride & Glory’ and a post about spending Sunday evening at the book launch of the Times Food Guide. As can be expected, food always wins in my life. So here is an account of what I did on Sunday evening...prepare to be consumed with jealousy.
So, the story goes like this – HT and Times of India both release a food guide every year in all Indian metros in which they rate and evaluate all the restaurants and pubs in the city. As part of this exercise, they also give awards to the best in various categories like Best Pub (Smoke House Grill*), Best Italian (Diva*), Best Russian (Bline*) etc. And what could possibly be better than the fact that the book launch also is a place where these 30 odd winning restaurants have stalls and you can sample the best on their menu.
* Winners of 2009
So we get all dressed up for the event and tried to brainwash our tummies into stuffing in more than it ever had before. The event was held in the gardens of Maurya Sheraton in Delhi. The place was done up in stunning hues of red and silver and could easily have been mistaken for an upscale lounge. The centre of the lawn was the bar with the winners having their own areas. Ricks (Taj) served regular drinks whereas Manre tried to experiment with some signature cocktails. The coup de grace though was the counter for Smoke House Grill. The bartender was whipping up Caprioskas with fresh fruits like Apple, Musk Melon, Orange, Water Melon etc. I tried the watermelon caprioska and was floored!! A brilliant mix of crushed watermelon, brown sugar, lime juice, mint vodka, ice and sprite, it was one I’m dying to recreate at home!
When we looked around, I was convinced I had died and gone to heaven!! I must have done some very good deeds in my past life for god to award me with this one night in heaven!! The food at the venue ranged from the best in Indian (Bukhara, Dum Pukht) to eclectic Indian (Chore Bizzare, Swagath, Oh Calcutta). Fancy some oriental?? There was Sakura, Wasabi (renowned for the best Sushi in Delhi), The Orient Express. Or if its Italian that you prefer, Diva, Grand Café, Threesixty Degrees, La Pizzeria all vied for your attention. Or if you rather try different cuisines, you could have the brilliant Russian food at Bline (a personal favourite) or Lebanese at Mashrabiya or Mediterranean at Sevilla & Shalom and there was even a Korean Restaurant - Kumgang.
It took us two rounds and a lot of rethinking to decide where to start from! We tried something from almost every stall. Some of my favourites: the sushi with tuna was good (I’m not a sushi person myself but it was quite good) at Wasabi; Ritu Dalmia herself was hanging around her table at Diva and suggested we try the Veal (which was outstanding if I say so myself); the soup and the chicken bline at Bline refused to disappoint and made us want more (the owner who is usually so conservative with his words was surprisingly in good spirits and even chatted with us while recommending what to eat); we realized that we were not too fond of seafood when the Husband actually dared to down a baby octopus (with tentacles and all) and even the scallops were too squishy for our taste! The crab butter garlic at Swagath was brilliant though as were the prawns tempura at the orient express. La Pizzeria had some great tree mushroom risotto and a very interesting starter with watermelon and ham put together. I must confess I did not even go near the Indian food stalls so I can’t comment on them but going by past experiences at Dum Pukht, Bukhara, Oh Calcutta and Swagath, I can vouch they would have made the choice much tougher!!
If we could find any tiny corner of our appetite still remaining, we did the deserts full justice with the brownie mounds at Oberoi Patisserie, the mouse at Mocha and the chocolate praline tartlet which was divine!!
I wish the story ended there and we lived happily ever after….but it was not to be! The valet service of Maurya completely broke down and there was almost a stampede to get your card to the counter. A 40 minute wait at the foyer later, we drove back home, happy and content!!
Moral of the story – Next time, carry a bag to take back all those things that you just couldn’t manage to eat….and park your own car!!
For the record (in full Miss India fashion), I would like to thank the Husband for this one evening of heaven. And I would also like to thank P for being such a sport and helping us get the invite!
PS- I haven’t even touched up the celebs who were walking around. You see, I was way too busy hogging to notice the likes of Asin, Payal Rahtogi, Zulfi Syed, the current Miss Indias, Jiggs Kalra, Rahul Dev etc.