Flavor Expedition 2019: Part two

Flavor Expedition 2019: Part two

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Innovating anew with on-trend ingredients (clockwise from top left): Pork chop with charred carrots and boudin noir at Tesse; Oiji’s short rib dish stars bone marrow; Frankie Goes to Bollywood menus a Frankie with eggplant curry; soft-baked egg with mushroom-stuffed brioche at La Mercerie; chicken liver mousse with poached apples at Ferris; and Atrium’s Grilled Focaccia with kimchi butter and buckwheat honey.
Credit: Gerry Ludwig July 7, 2019 SHARE
This is the second installment of our annual menu-trends research tour where on week-long ventures in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles we visit on average 40 newly opened restaurants in the space of five days. Of course, being able to complete visits to eight restaurants per day requires careful planning.
But as thorough as we are in covering the details, inevitable snags do occur. A great example is from Day 4 of our New York trip, when a freak cold front blew in and dumped a half foot of wet snow on the city in four hours, resulting in nearly complete traffic gridlock. Needless to say, we did not make our eight visits that day. In the end, though, we came back with rich insights and fresh ideas from each city, thanks to the chefs and operators whose new concepts are driving the next wave of innovation on American menus. Gerry Ludwig Caviar de sologne sits atop purple potato chips at Tesse. The French Resurgence
In a classic example of the old becoming new again, the past year has seen a mini-explosion of French restaurant openings in the major cities, including Tesse in West Hollywood, Calif., and Le Sud, Bar Biscay and Taureaux Tavern in Chicago. In New York, new French eateries include La Mercerie, Chez Ma Tante in Brooklyn, Maman & Mimi, Bistro Pierre Lapin, and the wildly popular, award-winning Frenchette. It is not surprising that Flavor & The Menu cited the “French Evolution” as one of the Top 10 Trends for 2019.
And as is expected from new restaurants that feature a specific global cuisine, experimentation with classic treatments was consistently evident, with the chefs creating fresh interpretations of old favorites. Incredible Eggs
Egg in all its glory (clockwise from top left): Osetra caviar atop eggs at Taureaux Tavern; Frenchette’s soft scrambled eggs with escargot; smoked trout caviar at Le Sud; sieved yolk adds texture to Oeuf Mayonnaise at La Mercerie.
Eggs are a particular area of passion in French cuisine, and many of these new menus featured multiple egg-based preparations. The venerable dish Oeuf Mayonnaise was a frequent offering, yet each version was uniquely prepared and presented. At Taureaux Tavern, Mike Sheerin, executive chef, sets a halved eight-minute egg in a pool of garlic mayonnaise and finishes the dish with a drizzle of maple syrup and generous dollops of osetra caviar, while at La Mercerie, chef Marie-Aude Rose fills hollow egg whites with an ultra-thick housemade mayonnaise and finishes the dish with a blizzard of sieved yolk. She also serves an exceptional Oeuf Cocotte, eggs that are soft-baked in white-wine cream sauce with a mushroom duxelles-stuffed brioche bun served on the side. Most astounding was the Brouillade at Frenchette, a plate of perfectly silken soft scrambled eggs, simply topped with a few escargot sautéed in green garlic butter.
The other “egg” dominating these new French menus is caviar, served both as a freestanding course with classic accompaniments, and as a luxurious garnish. The Caviar Toast at Tesse is a one-bite treat of toasted crouton layered with crème fraîche and a crisp purple potato chip topped with caviar de Sologne. The Blinis Demidoff at La Mercerie are equally diminutive and delicious: coin-sized buckwheat pancakes topped with a smear of artisanal lemon butter and osetra caviar. And while these examples feature costly imported caviars, we were enthused to see many chefs serving premium American caviars, which have been rapidly rising in popularity because of their quality and markedly lower cost compared to the imports. Of particular note was the caviar service at Le Sud, a generous two ounces of wild-caught Washington state steelhead trout roe surrounded by sieved egg, crème fraîche, pickled shallots and shaved bread crisps. These domestic caviars are enabling a growing number of chefs to create visually arresting plate presentations featuring a unique combination of craveability and affordable elegance. Gerry Ludwig Egg in all its glory (clockwise from top left): Osetra caviar atop eggs at Taureaux Tavern; Frenchette’s soft scrambled eggs with escargot; smoked trout caviar at Le Sud; sieved yolk adds texture to Oeuf Mayonnaise at La Mercerie. Menu Standout: Ants on a Log
The childhood treat of celery sticks slathered with peanut butter and topped with raisins is now being morphed into an adult bar snack. We encountered two versions, both in Chicago, and both uniquely delicious. Z Bar abandons the original combination of peanut butter and raisins in favor of crème fraîche that is artfully piped onto the celery sticks and topped with tiny mounds of California white sturgeon caviar. At the Midwestern-themed Twain, chef Tim Graham retains the peanut butter, but blends it with a creamy duck liver mousse and finishes the filled celery stick with bourbon-macerated cherries.
While these may seem like niche concepts, they are simple to prepare and boldly flavored, and could easily become signature items for both cocktail and sports bars, and any casual venue looking for a new snack or sharing plate. Gerry Ludwig At Z Bar, “ants” are California white sturgeon caviar over crème fraîche. 50 Ways To Love Your Liver
We believe that French cuisine’s return to popularity will result in the increased appearance of Gallic-inspired dishes on mainstream menus. This is already occurring with chicken liver pâté, a dish possessing strong appeal for both dining consumers seeking a rich and indulgent treat, and chefs who appreciate the low cost of the base ingredient. We found chicken liver spreads and mousses not only in French restaurants during our research, but on a wide range of menus, from sharing-plate restaurants to cocktail bars.
On the French side, Tesse served its Chicken Liver Parfait in a small jar topped with frisée and accompanied by toasted brioche and apricot jam, while Chez Ma Tante generously smeared its Chicken Liver Pâté on one side of a plate and finished the dish with a small mound of piparras (pickled peppers).
Our favorite treatment in a mainstream restaurant was the Chicken Liver Mousse from Greg Proechel, executive chef at Ferris in New York—an oblong bar of pâté garnished with apples poached in sour beer and sprinkled with apple blossoms. A close second was the Chicken Liver Pâté from New York restaurateur Gabriel Stulman’s Simon & The Whale, topped with housemade blackberry jam and toasted oats. The plate of Chicken Liver Mousse at nearby cocktail bar Existing Conditions exemplified simplicity, accompanied only by a ramekin of grain mustard and a mini-sleeve of Ritz crackers.
From creative updates of Southern French comfort dishes such as cassoulet, bouillabaise and daube, to craveable gratins, blanquettes and confits, this resurgence solidly positions French cuisine to provide innovation for mainstream full-service restaurant menus and satisfy dining consumers seeking a break from the everyday. Gerry Ludwig (From left) Tied House offers a bread course with bone marrow butter, miso butter, green tomato marmalade and more; Twain serves a playful bone-marrow sloppy Joe; Marrow Poppers at Z Bar star potato, marrow and Calabrian chile; Frenchette’s Celtuce Gratin sees bone marrow, soft herbs and breadcrumbs; and Tesse combines bone marrow, bucatini, duck prosciutto and Parmesan. Bread & Butter Reimagined
Elevated bread service (clockwise from top left): La Mercerie serves wheat boule slices with olive oil-lemon butter while Twain offers a category of bread plates including: Corn Sticks with green pepper jelly and honey butter; Pretzel Biscuit with malt butter; and Egg Harbor Bread with whipped bacon-fat butter.
While conventional bread-and-butter service at restaurants is largely a thing of the past, an unexpected and inspiring discovery from our latest research was the significant number of new concepts with a signature bread-and-butter plate offered on the menu.
Many of the new French venues we visited placed their focus on the butter, offering small-batch, house-churned, cave-aged and imported artisanal varieties, while mainstream casual and casual-upscale spots highlighted housemade breads, rolls and biscuits as the centerpiece of the dish, accompanied by flavorful compound butters.
La Mercerie offers a plate of toasted wheat boule slices with a choice of two hand-kneaded butters imported from Brittany, one made with buckwheat and the other flavored with olive oil and lemon, selling for a neat $7. Chicago’s Twain is an ode to Midwestern cuisine, thanks to Tim Graham, executive chef. The menu features a category of bread plates selling for $3 to $4, including an Egg Harbor Bread with bacon-fat butter, Corn Bread Sticks with green-pepper jelly and honey butter, and Cheddar Chive Drop Biscuits with malt butter. At Atrium in Los Angeles, Hunter Pritchett, chef/owner, sells a $7 plate of olive-oil-drenched Grilled Focaccia, accompanied by kimchi butter and buckwheat honey.
Most notable was the Tied House Bread Course, served at the Chicago restaurant of the same name. A large, celebratory sharing platter intended for tables of four or more, the $32 Bread Course is a compilation of assorted breads and housemade compound butters and condiments, including bone-marrow butter, miso butter, crème fraîche with honeycomb, green-tomato marmalade, and chicken liver mousse. The surprising twist is that all of the breads are purchased from a local artisan baker rather than made in-house, which the waitstaff states up front when describing the dish.
It is always gratifying to see operators selling quality and charging for it. The bread-and-butter plate continues to evolve away from a complimentary prelude to the meal—often served as an afterthought and intended as a “filler” for hungry diners—into a sales-building sharing plate that is thoughtfully crafted and carries a commensurate selling price. Gerry Ludwig Elevated bread service (clockwise from top left): La Mercerie serves wheat boule slices with olive oil-lemon butter while Twain offers a category of bread plates including: Corn Sticks with green pepper jelly and honey butter; Pretzel Biscuit with malt butter; and Egg Harbor Bread with whipped bacon-fat butter. Menu Standout: The Frankie
The Frankie is often referred to as “the Indian Burrito.” It is classically composed of Indian spiced meats, vegetables and sauces wrapped in an oversized, thinly rolled naan bread. We first reported on the Frankie two years ago, when authentic versions were first served up at fast-casual concept The Bombay Frankie Company in Los Angeles, and New York’s Pondicheri chef/owner Anita Jaisinghani introduced mashed-up breakfast and brunch versions.
This year we were treated to an eclectic array of authentic and mashed-up Frankies served on a unique gluten-free flatbread at the new quick-serve concept Frankie Goes To Bollywood in New York.
The flatbreads used at each of these venues are slightly different in size, texture and flavor, validating our assertion that the Frankie is more about the fillings, allowing significant leeway in the choice of carrier as long as it is tasty and large enough to hold its contents. So, in our view, any operator that is already using a burrito tortilla or large sandwich wrap could easily expand the flavor and variety on their menus by offering some form of Indian-inspired “burrito.” Gerry Ludwig Pondicheri menus a Breakfast Frankie that sees a roti wrap stuffed with masala egg and chutney. Marrow: No Bare Bones
Once a menu darling of the gastropub segment, roasted bone marrow dishes experienced a decline in mainstream popularity over the last half decade. Today, this member of the offal category is earning renewed space on menus, but the treatments are no longer just about “bone and bread.” The latest versions layer in flavors via the creative addition of toppings, crustings and sauces.
A delicious and slightly whimsical example is the Sloppy Marrow served at Twain, where a large split marrow bone is roasted, placed on a slice of white bread, smothered in beef sloppy Joe, and finished with a drizzle of yellow mustard and diced white onion. Decidedly more upscale and complex is the Bone Marrow from Korean restaurant Oiji in New York’s East Village. Brian Kim and Tae Kyung Ku, co-chefs/co-owners, top the raw, split bone with spoon-tender short rib braised with makkoli rice wine and gochugaru, and then oven-roast the bone until the short rib has formed a crunchy crust. The dish is finished with roasted tomatoes and maitake mushrooms, and dramatically presented on a bed of hot stones. Chef Sheerin takes a slightly different approach at Taureaux Tavern with his Oxtail & Bone Marrow dish, roasting the bone on a bed of pulled oxtail in a cast-iron pan, and topping it with an assortment of torn fresh herbs tossed with pickled shallots.
Other innovative treatments include the Marrow Poppers at Chicago’s Z Bar, where small lobes of marrow are coated with bordelaise sauce, wrapped in shredded potato, deep fried and served with a Calabrian chile aïoli. The Bucatini and Bone Marrow at Tesse pairs a dish of buttery herbed pasta with a roasted marrow bone that has its contents scraped into the pasta and tossed tableside. A craveable veg-centric Celtuce Gratin at Frenchette features thick lettuce stems baked in a bone marrow-laced sauce topped with toasted breadcrumbs.
All of these examples are highly indulgent for sure, but for diners making that less-frequent visit to a full-service restaurant and seeking a treat, bone marrow dishes fully fit the bill. Gerry Ludwig (From left) Tied House offers a bread course with bone marrow butter, miso butter, green tomato marmalade and more; Twain serves a playful bone-marrow sloppy Joe; Marrow Poppers at Z Bar star potato, marrow and Calabrian chile; Frenchette’s Celtuce Gratin sees bone marrow, soft herbs and breadcrumbs; and Tesse combines bone marrow, bucatini, duck prosciutto and Parmesan. Unique Taco Treatments
There is always room in the American foodscape for one more innovative taco idea. We found several at mainstream casual full-service restaurants, including the chipotle-spiked, bacon-wrapped pineapple Pastor Tacos at Merchant in Chicago. But the best came from dedicated taco restaurants, such as fast-casual Guerilla Tacos in Los Angeles, whose extensive menu of non-traditional taco fillings such as sweet potato with almond; feta cheese and fried corn, butternut squash with halloumi cheese; dates and candied pecans; and salsa rojo beef with rajas, Oaxacan cheese and foie gras wowed our entire team (R.I.P. foie gras, which has since been banned in California).
A stunningly delicious treatment that we believe has huge growth potential is the “red taco,” served by Teddy Vazquez, a former Uber driver turned taco tycoon, at both his Teddy’s Red Tacos food truck in Los Angeles and a new brick-and-mortar shop in Venice, Calif. Vazquez offers only one type of taco filling: a birria-style shredded beef that is simmered in a broth spiked with ample amounts of red chiles, and served only on corn tortillas. Each tortilla is dipped in the crimson birria broth before being griddled or fried, lending a deep orange hue and a rich, complex layer of chile flavor that, when filled with the shredded beef and garnished, results in a singular taco whose craveability can only be grasped through tasting.
While the red taco is a lightning-in-a-bottle type of dish that should rightfully be owned by Teddy Vazquez (time will tell), tacos enjoy such immense popularity with dining consumers in all age groups that opportunities abound to expand menu differentiation with creatively executed new variations. Gerry Ludwig (Left to right) Guerilla Tacos’ Salsa Roja Beef Taco combines three different chiles with Oaxacan cheese, pickled onions and foie gras; the Deluxe Plate at Teddy’s Red Tacos stars birria-style. shredded beef simmered in red-chile broth served in a variety of formats; Sweet Potato Tacos exemplify the unique treatments at Guerilla Tacos. Almond chile, feta and fried corn add interest. Menu Standout: Blood Sausage
While the mere name of this ingredient may cause some dining consumers to run screaming, blood sausage is in fact gaining traction on several new restaurant menus.
At Ferris, chef Greg Proechel serves a sharing plate of Blood Sausage that is griddled into crispy crumbles and tossed with grilled dates, shaved carrots, puffed rice and toasted sunflower seeds. The Berkshire Pork Chop at Tesse is accompanied by a link of the French blood sausage Boudin Noir. And Chez Ma Tante serves a generous slab of griddled Blood Cake that is topped with a sunny-side fried egg.
Also helping to expose American diners to this flavorful ingredient are the increasing number of Korean restaurants in Los Angeles that specialize in dishes based on the indigenous blood sausage known as soondae.
The unfortunate fact is that the greatest barrier to wider acceptance of blood sausage is the name. It has a pleasantly spicy flavor, with a texture that varies from creamy to crunchy, depending on the preparation. As dining consumers become increasingly sophisticated and chefs continue to experiment with an expanding array of global ingredients, we may see this much-maligned sausage moving closer to the mainstream. Gerry Ludwig The Blood Sausage at Ferris features grilled dates, puffed rice, beef-fat croutons and sunflower seeds.
Part One of this report appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of Flavor & The Menu.
The third and final installment will appear in the September/October 2019 edition. ISSUE

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Meat and One Veg | Forever hungry and grumpy

Birmingham Top 50 Restaurants
I don’t know why I do this to myself. What idiot thinks they can do a top 50 restaurant list and not come under fire from every angry chef who expects to be higher placed? That’s right, this idiot. It’s a list I’m willing to stand by – a carefully constructed list of what I believe to be the best places. I’ve eaten at all listed, so no place for Nocturnal Animals as I’m still to go, and the likes of Opus and Zen haven’t been visited in recent enough years to qualify. Go easy on me, please.
50. Blue Piano
££
Let’s be real about Blue Piano, they have one great dish and a menu full of dishes that are merely good in comparasion. That one dish – a savoury carrot cake – is worth the trip alone. It’s a stonker which can’t be appreciated until it’s tried. Follow it up with a tour around South East Asian classic dishes from a living room in Edgbaston, or just order more carrot cake. I know what my choice would be.
49. Lasan
£££
A good neighbourhood restaurant seemingly still trading off dishes made famous by the previous Head Chef. Beautifully redecorated and with a servicable cocktail menu, it is a nice place to enjoy more conventional Indian food.
48. Buonissimo
££
A proper neighbourhood restaurant just off Harborne High Street. The owner knows the name of everyone who has dined here, and greets them in such a manner that suggests he may be their secret father. They do some stuff better than others, but on the whole it’s a wholesome tribute to the marginally anglicised Italian food that the majority of this country believe is ‘authentic’.
47. Rico Libre
££
Slightly schizophrenic tapas restuarant in the very spot my mother and father met, so extra bonus points for that. The menu is a voyage that never sits still: jerk mingles with raw dishes and then zips back over to the Canary Isles for roasted quail with mojo sauce. I’ve come to realise that this isn’t the most refined of food, but none of this matters; it’s always the joyous atmosphere that makes the trip to Rico worthwhile.
46. Fazenda
£££
On paper somewhere that serves unlimited amounts of carved meat isn’t really my bag, but I’ve been four times since they opened and Fazenda is good. It’s very good. The meat is generally of high standard, accurately cooked and then carved. And that salad bar, fresh and well maintained. Disclosure; most of the four times have been driven by the want of the Malbec which is exclusive to them and is an absolute peach.
45. The Karczma
££
They have a rug on the ceiling. They have free lard to spread on bread. They have lots and lots and lots of Polish vodka. Yes, you may be the only person not wearing white Levis and a Helly Hanson puffer jacket, but don’t let that put you off. This is wholesome Polish food at it’s best.
44. Umami
£££
It’s not cheap, but it is a very good Indian restaurant in an expensive part of town. On the rare occasions we’re feeling flush we’ll drive over to Harborne from Moseley to pick up a takeaway from here, which is as much a compliment as you need. The fish dishes in particular are excellent.
43. Sabai Sabai
£££
For all the talk of ‘real’ Thai food, which is often delivered by middle class white boys who once backpacked through the Northern regions, it’s nice to have somewhere that does the food of the Southern islands well, cooked by Thai chefs, and served by a team who understand hospitality. I have a lot of time for Sabai Sabai, especially so the Moseley site which is cosy and ultra-consistent.
42. Shabbabs
£
A very popular question I get asked is “are you still a member of a gym?”. Another is “what is the best balti in Birmingham?”. The answer to both is “SHABBABS” which makes considerable more sense with the latter than the former. Best enjoyed in large groups around 11pm with a table-sized naan and several baltis. Cans of lukewarm Carling from the off licence around the corner are optional.
41. Asha’s
£££
Yes, the prawn bhuna is £21. Yes, that is a lot of money for a curry. Yes, it is worth it. There is more exciting Indian food to be had in Birmingham, but for those looking for a plush curry with good meat and excellent breads, this is my pick in the city.
40. Ngopi
£
Wonderfully cheap cafe in a corner of town best experienced through the visors of a suit of armour. Everything is under a fiver; pretty much everything will be new to those unfamilar with Indonesian cuisine. Whilst instant noodles with beef and cheese will never be my thing, I’ll never tire of the fried prawn dumplings. Excellent coffee, too.
39. Purecraft Bar and Kitchen
£££
A few years ago Purecraft was probably my favourite place to go in Birmingham. Although the city has caught up, it’s still very good; turning out unfussy food and beers to the more discerning of clientele. The connection to Simpsons is strong; the produce is excellent and the technique strong. My Dad likes it in there, an achievement because he can complain about everything.
38. Sky By The Water
£££
Sticking a signature restaurant on the top level of Resorts World was always going to tricky, but they’ve nailed it. The menu is a list of things that work together, prepared with the kind of classic French technique we don’t see enough of. Maybe the jewel in the crown is the pastry section, headed-up by ‘Bake-Off, The Professionals’ Darryl Collins. If you leave without trying his salted caramel chocolates you’ve failed.
37. Palmyra
£
Want the best falafel, fuul, and fattoush in the city? You need to come here. I’m a fan, mostly because I can feed two people for under a tenner. The meat dishes arent quite at the level of the veggie stuff, but this is a classy place for Syrian food.
36. Ken Ho
££
I won’t pretend to be an expert on Chinese food, so we’ll keep this one super short: super good dim sum. Probably my favourite in China Town, but then again I know nothing.
35. Andersons
£££
If charred bits of cow are your thing, then no.35 on this list should be your number one. The best steak house in Birmingham by a distance, the meat is well sourced and equally well cooked. It’s a shame that I don’t get overly excited by steak, or else I’d be here a lot more frequently.
34. Chung Ying Central
££
The cold hard truth about this city is that good Chinese food could not be found outside of Chinatown. Chung Ying Central changed that; bringing the quality food they were famous for to the business district. The standards are still the same, except this is in far nicer surroundings, with a nice bar stocked with quality drinks. I know it would be far cooler for me to put in some backstreet restaurant where no English is spoken, but I like the deep booths and the fact that the staff smile and treat me like I’m wanted. It’s a bloody good restaurant.
33. The Plough
£££
Have The Plough ever turned out a bad dish? I’m not sure they have. The reason why it’s busy every single day is because they never miss a beat. They have tacos and pizzas and beers and cubanos; the kind of food you want to eat alongside Birmingham’s most expensive pint. The people of Harborne have it lucky, The Plough is pretty much the perfect pub.
32. Early Bird
££
The question of brunch is a big one in Birmingham. The answer is easy; Early Bird is the best by a distance. They do sweet better than they do savoury, and they happen to do savoury very well indeed. Superb cakes, a healthy ethos on keeping wastage to a minimum and some solid cooking (ginger marinated bacon sarnies anyone?). I always order too much because everything is so good.
31. Pint Shop
£££
I’ve never had a bad meal in Pint Shop. I’ve never had an average meal here either. I’m particulary partial to the kebabs, but then the burgers are also very good. And the scotch eggs whilst I think about it. And the sausage rolls. You get the gist. The potential choices here are huge; it’s making them which is the hard part.
30. Otto
££
My girlfriend misses living around the corner from these. Maybe that’s her way of telling me she wants to get back with her ex. Crap. Really superb pizzas topped with carefully sourced ingredients. I’d love this place to be within walking distance. Maybe I’ll get with her ex.
29. Tap and Tandoor
££
A genuine game changer; take the standard desi fare and make it with quality meat. The results are stunning; some of the best chicken tikka you’ll eat and seekh kebabs that taste strongly of lamb. The butter chicken will knock five years off your life so order two and save the kids a decade of visiting you in a home.
28. Legna
£££
If I haven’t been murdered by a chef and this list reappears next year, I expect Legna will be much higher. At the moment its a little inconsistent, but when it is good it is mindblowingly so. My call would be to stick the pasta which is made fresh everyday and treated to Aktar Islam’s refined take on Italian food. This isn’t traditional Italian, but an homage from a chef who loves cooking this style of food. Beautiful dining room to boot, too.
27. Bonehead
££
The best fried chicken in Birmingham award isn’t a difficult one to attain, but it is one that Bonehead has ran away with. Free range birds, brittle batters, served from a concise menu in a dive bar setting. It’s real good fun.
26. Hen and Chickens
££
Not the first desi pub in Birmingham, but the first to make tracks into the city centre. Some people will say they prefer it when it was a little grubby and the prices were cheaper, but those people are idiots. The mixed grills are the reason why people come here in hordes, though the curries aren’t shabby either.
25. Marmaris
£
Birmingham’s best Turkish food is served in a chip shop style location next to a Wetherspoons. Wasn’t expecting that was you? Me neither. Stick to the skewers of grilled meat and you’ll have a great time here, they are all excellent. Yes, you might be sat next to an angry taxi driver, or a drunk from next door, but this all adds to the fun. It’s a gem.
24. Little Blackwood
£££
I cried for weeks when they closed Cheval Blanc. I had nothing to worry about; Little Blackwood is everything you want from a neighbourhood restaurant, getting better and better with every new menu release every month. How chef Ben Taylor manages to produce food of this standard from a kitchen the size of my bathroom is beyond me. One to keep an eye on and could well be Birminghams first Bib Gourmand.
23. Baked in Brick
££
After cleaning up every award possible in the streetfood world, the transition to oning a restaurant has been seamless. The staple might be very good pizzas, but don’t overlook other dishes; in particular the chicken tikka flatbreads, or the best Sunday roast in Birmingham.
22. El Borracho de Oro
£££
Charming Spanish restaurant that oozes class. What makes it special is an understanding of seasonality, taking the best of this country’s produce and turning it into plates that still feel true to its cuisine. Grab a few friends and pre order the whole suckling pig – it is superb.
21. Oyster Club
££££
If the goal of Oyster Club was to prove that Birmingham could finally have a properly class fish restaurant, they’ve suceeded. Utilising the fish suppliers from their sister restaurant, Adams, the produce is king here; treated simply and cooked with total precision. It’s pricey, but worth it. The fish and chips is about as good as life gets.
20. Laghi’s Deli
£££
The fact that Laghi’s is the only ‘Italian’ restaurant in Birmingham to make fresh pasta speaks volumes. Classical and unapologetic, the best meals here are the ribbons of taglietelle with ragu, or the authentic carbonara that has high spec guanciale bound in a dressing of just warm egg yolk. A real taste of Northern Italy.
19. Atrium at UCB
£££
It’s impossible to overlook the importance of the UCB in this city. Without them churning out the finest of chef talent, we wouldn’t have the five Michelin stars. It’s at Atrium where most of these chefs cut their teeth, a smart restaurant that is far too cheap for it’s own good. A meal here is a glimpse at the next generation, and a tasty one at that.
18. Caneat
££
I have no idea what goes on inside Dom’s head, but the results at Caneat are always staggering. He gets acidity and umami, understands the importance of texture. He’s a proper chef. Stirchley is super lucky to have Caneat; it’s the kind of place that would thrive anywhere.
17. Poli
££
Everything about Poli excites me. They’ve nailed the pizza, the small plates are superb, and the wine choices impeccable. It’s the best opening in Birmingham this year. I plan on spending a lot of time there.
16. Peels at Hampton Manor
££££
Had I been to Peels more than once it is likely they would have been much higher. The meal we had was very good; precise and loaded with flavour. Coming here is an experience from the welcome drinks in the conservatory, through to dinner in the handsome dining room. Thoroughly deserving of its Michelin star.
15. The Wilderness
££££
My mate Jim reckons this is the best restaurant in Brum, a statement that many others echo. It defies convention: rock plays loudly in the dining room, dishes are paired with cocktails, and dishes occasional contain profanities –“Oh Bollocks” for dessert anyone? The food has a touch of DiverXO about it; in your face and boldly presented. Everyone should eat at The Wilderness at least once.
14. Dezhou Style Braised Chicken
The clue is in the name for the signature dish here. Utterly brilliant chicken in a broth with noodles made fresh to order. Don’t neglect the rest of the menu; it’s all excellent, even the dishes that on paper might not sound appealing. World’s loveliest owners.
13. Zindiya
££
I really love Zindiya. We have it about once a week, and have nailed our order; chicken tikka, aloo tikki chaat, chilli paneer. It never lets us down. In a city brimming with Indian ‘streetfood’ restaurants, Zindiya stands head and shoulders above the competition
12. Original Patty Men
££
Drake loves an OPM and for good reason. Cult classic burger stuff in an archway in Digbeth. Superb patty with crazy level attention to detail. No list for top burgers in the UK would be complete without OPM.
11. The Meat Shack
££
Humble brag time; I have a mate who is a Michelin starred chef who swears that the R’n’B is the best plate of food in the city. It is a corker. Big flavoured burgers that crucially let the beef shine.
10. Gaijin Sushi
£££
Sushi isn’t really my gig, but even I can appreciate the level of skill here. The knife work of the chef is a sight to witness, and he utilises his previous tenure at the fish market to source only the best of ingredients. The rave reviews it’s getting up and down the country are fully justified.
9. Simpsons
££££
The original of the starred restaurants shows no sign of slowing down, churning out classical combinations with a few modern touches. I’ve been coming here consistently for a over a decade because it’s a personal favourite of mine.
8. Folium
££££
Folium gave me one of my best meals of the past year; a complex, technically sound riot that showed chef Ben Tesh’s Nordic-esque use of bright acidity. Service is totally charming and in the celeriac riff on carbonara they have a future classic. Seems a given it will get a star later on this year.
7. Kilder
££
Kilder is pretty much perfect. Choose anything from the short menu and it will be executed with the level of detail usually associated with far grander establishments. It is the proof that when done properly a sausage roll, a pork pie, or a cheese toastie can be as good as any other dish.
6. Purnells
Glynn Purnell sees the world differently to you and I. He has a Willy Wonka like ability to see the humour in the smallest of detail, and transmit that onto the plate. But this is very much a serious restaurant led by one of the stars of the industry, Sonal. A meal here will guarantee to make you smile, a detail too often overlooked.
5. Tiger Bites Pig
££
It’s number five for a simple reason; when I think about food, my mind goes immediately to here. Not a day goes by when I don’t want the braised beef with confit egg yolk, or the unctuous pork belly. It’s better than Bao in London, something I thought I’d never say in this city.
4. Opheem
££££
Aktar Islam’s progressive Indian is a special restaurant destined for accolades of the highest order. It rewrites what we consider to be this style of food, with complex spiced dishes created with the most modern techniques. Opheem is for me the best Indian food not just in Birmingham, but the entire country.
3. Adams
There are people who would expect Adams at number one, and I understand that completely. In my opinion they are the closest of all our restaurants to Birmingham’s first two Michelin starred restaurant, delivering the precise, intricate style which the guide love to promote. They have an incredible front of house team; polished and knowledgeable, backed up by a stellar wine list. It is impossible to find fault with it as a restaurant. But there are two other places that raise my pulse just a little higher. That said, if you want the complete Michelin experience in Birmingham, it is Adams you should be hunting out first.
2. Harborne Kitchen
££££
If money were no object and this blog didn’t require me to eat at the arse ends of the food spectrum, I’d be at Harborne Kitchen to eat every single week. That’s why it’s number two on this list. It is a rare treat of a restaurant which blurs the line between casual and smart, where shorts are perfectly acceptable clothing, staff will have a giggle with you, and the food speaks for itself. The cuisine is hard to define; modern, it struts confidently around the continents. The wagyu lasagne from the start of the year remains one of the best things I have ever eaten. Carters
The first time I ate in Carters it struck me as a homage to the places they were eating at – it was all a bit familiar. But something has clicked into place over the last few years, Brad Carter is now cooking food that is uniquely him; it is his wild personality on a plate, using the larder of the UK. Fire is always present, the ingredients treated with maximum respect. It is the most exciting restaurant we have in this city; a place not afraid to challenge the palette and take a few risks. Carters is presently in the form of it’s life. There has never been a better time to visit.
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Rude food by Vir Sanghvi: The new wave of restaurants – Hindustan Times

Great chefs and restaurateurs never rest; they just open great new places brunch Updated: Jul 06, 2019 22:16 IST Hindustan Times Cantan, a new restaurant in Bengaluru, offers the best Chinese food in the city
Over the last couple of months, I have tried some interesting new (and not-so-new) places in Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai. What has surprised me is how there is not a single dud among them.
Manish Mehrotra is India’s greatest chef. But so far, at least, all his expansion has been westward. There is a massively successful Indian Accent in New York and a well-reviewed branch in London.
So, I was pleased to find that Manish’s latest venture is more accessible to his original fans. Comorin is in One Horizon Centre, a gleaming new development in a part of Gurugram that thinks it is Singapore.
I first went a few months ago when it had just opened and though there were flashes of brilliance, it was too much like Manish-Mehrotra-does-Bombay-Canteen. Comorin in Gurugram is the only restaurant that has a real buzz without loud music or dim lighting
I went back a fortnight ago and discovered that Manish had rearranged the focus of the kitchen so that it reflected his own style. It is a large, very New Yorky space that looks as though many people have had a say in its conception. I am not a fan of the shared tables and high chairs, though clearly everyone else is, judging by how packed the restaurant always is. Manish Mehrotra is India’s greatest chef by a long way
But it is impossible not to be a fan of the food. This is Manish at his best. The dishes are not fancy but they are delicious. There are seekh kebabs doused in a spicy butter, a dish inspired by a similar kebab in Chandni Chowk. For dessert, there is Cheeni Malai Toast, a dish most North Indians remember from their childhood. But just as Anton Mosimann took that nursery staple, Bread and Butter Pudding and turned it into a dish fit for a king, Manish has created the world’s best Cheeni Malai Toast. Rahul Akerkar [of Indigo], who was a legend long before Manish Mehrotra opened Indian Accent, is back with a new place called Qualia
All dining rooms fade when compared to Manish’s food, but I will say this for whoever is in charge of the vibe: this is the only restaurant I know of that has a real buzz without loud music or dim lighting. You can hear yourself talk and you can see the food.
For owner Rohit Khattar, this is yet another triumph. And of course, there is only one Manish Mehrotra.
Long before Manish opened Indian Accent, Rahul Akerkar was already a legend in Mumbai. My neighbourhood restaurant was his Under The Over and I have many happy memories of delicious meals, all cooked with that classic Rahul mixture of simplicity (he lets the ingredients speak for themselves) and high levels of skill. Rahul Akerkar finds a way to source local ingredients
Rahul went on to open Indigo, one of the most important establishments in Indian restaurant history and eventually, the original Indigo became the capital of an empire of sorts (Indigo Deli, Neel, etc.).
Some years ago, Rahul sold his shares in Indigo (by then, the name had been appropriated by an airline anyway) and then was banned from opening anything new because of a non-compete agreement. So, every foodie in Mumbai waited for that non-compete to run out so Rahul could open a new restaurant. Qualia does modern European food, such as tuna loin with an avocado pachadi and pickled beets
Qualia, in Parel, is that new restaurant. It is probably India’s coolest serious restaurant with a look and feel that are unique. It is dominated by an open kitchen where you can see the chefs at work, which is notable, because a) so many of the chefs are so young b) around a third seem to be women and c) the great man is at the pass himself, looking at every plate as it goes out.
Like Comorin, Qualia is packed out night after night. I don’t know how Manish manages to serve 400 people on a Saturday night (with small plates, it is even trickier because there is more work to be done) and I don’t know how Rahul, in some ways the ultimate perfectionist, copes with the crowds.
The food at Qualia plays to Rahul’s strengths: modern European (or new American – I am never sure where one ends and the other begins!) with an international taste profile, combined with a reliance on local ingredients. Rahul has never been like the average five-star hotel chef who is at the mercy of the purchase department; he has always gone out and found his own ingredients. And now, with a menu that focuses on fermented foods, he is doing things that very few Indian chefs will understand.
As brilliant as the restaurant is, the senior staff are of equal calibre. The managers run the room with smooth and friendly efficiency and the servers are so warm, you actually want to make friends with them.
Qualia beats Indigo. This is Rahul’s most definitive restaurant. There is no cuisine that Manu Chandra cannot excel at
Manu Chandra, Bengaluru’s greatest chef, is so gifted that I always wait to see what he will do next. Manu is classically trained: his European food at the Bengaluru Olive is the best of any of the many Olives. But his time in New York has given him a feel for smoking, curing and playing around with produce. At Bengaluru’s Toast and Tonic, the meats are aged and the sausages are made in-house. The restaurant even makes its own tonic water.
When Manu does Indian, the food can be fabulous because he uses his imagination rather than old recipes. I still remember the Berry Pulao at Monkey Bar. It was delicious but different from the Britannia version, which most foodies would regard as the classic pulao. It turned out that Manu had never been to Britannia, had no interest in copying somebody else’s dish and had invented this version entirely on the basis of what he thought it should taste like.
As much as I admired Manu, I always knew a day would come when his food would fail to live up to the high standards I associated with him. It happened with the Delhi Fatty Bao, where not only was the service slapdash, but the flavours tasted wrong and ham-fisted to me. Fine, I said to myself, I have found Manu Chandra’s weak spot: he can’t do Oriental.
Wrong.
I went last month to Cantan, Manu’s new Chinese restaurant in Bengaluru. Spread over two floors, it offers the most authentic Chinese food you are likely to find in that city. I ate half the menu. There were tuna spring rolls, delicate lobster dim sum, a spicy chilli gravy with strips of pork belly, a Chinese (Taiwanese) take on the Japanese gyoza, tender lamb on the bone and Dongpo Pork. I have since been to China and Manu’s food compares favourably with anything I ate there.
So, is there anything that Manu Chandra cannot do? Town Hall is a hotspot for finding the perfect sushi rolls, spicy if you want them to be
I don’t know if you know who Augusto Cabrera is? He is the least known, most influential chef in India. At the turn of the century, when the Delhi Oberoi opened the trend-setting Threesixty Restaurant, one of its attractions was the sushi counter. Till then, the only sushi in India had been restricted to speciality Japanese restaurants like Sakura. But the Oberoi wanted to bring sushi into the mainstream.
It worked wonderfully well, largely because Threesixty chose (wisely) not to go with a traditional Japanese sushi chef but gave the job to Augusto, a Filipino with a gift for understanding fish. One reason why Threesixty was such a hit was because Augusto knew how to make sushi accessible and to create new-wave sushi rolls that did not seem intimidating to first-timers. Augusto Cabrera has taught Punjabis how to eat sushi
Eventually, Threesixty settled down to a routine. If you wanted sashimi or nigiri, Augusto would do that for you. But if you wanted fun sushi, he would do that too. In no time at all, Augusto’s sushi had become such a craze that I used to tease him that he would be remembered as the man who taught Punjabis how to eat sushi.
Till that point, I had never believed that sushi would catch on in India. But Augusto had the strategy worked out; his rolls did not intimidate anyone because no raw fish was visible and because (if you wanted them to be) they could be spicy.
Within a year, other restaurants had started serving Augusto-style sushi and as Navneet Kalra, Augusto’s current partner says, “sushi is now the new butter chicken”. Varun Tuli made Asian food in malls a delish reality
Navneet and Augusto run Town Hall in Delhi’s Khan Market (along with partners Randeep and Navneet Bajaj – there are a lot of Navneets at Town Hall!). It is so phenomenally successful that you often see Rahul Gandhi waiting patiently for a table. Navneet Kalra is a natural entrepreneur and the Bajajs are superb restaurateurs (having run Amour in Delhi for years), so their brand of expertise provides Augusto with a perfect new restaurant to exhibit his skills in his post Oberoi avatar.
I went last week to the Mumbai Town Hall, a glittering, rocking place next to Qualia, and there were people waiting for tables. Augusto was there. The food was amazing; Wasabi quality at one third the price. And the godfather of sushi in India has another hit on his hands. Half & half pizzas at Yum Yum Cha, Delhi
And finally, a brief word about Varun Tuli, who I have known for years ever since he opened the first Yum Yum Tree in Delhi’s Friends Colony. Yum Yum Tree has since shut, but Varun has become a mini-mogul, opening several branches of a more informal spin-off called Yum Yum Cha.
I wandered in unannounced to the Select Citywalk branch last month (sadly, I was rumbled a little later) and ordered randomly from the menu. To my surprise, the food was outstanding and far better than anything any ‘oriental’’ chain has managed.
I don’t know how Varun does it. But having eaten his food, I now have less patience with the rubbish Chinese/Japanese that you get in malls. This is a new benchmark.
So, three cities and five restaurants. Who says you can’t eat well in India?
From HT Brunch, July 7, 2019
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch
First Published: Jul 06, 2019 22:13 IST tags

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Diya Rai – Touring Together 3

“Briannn! Have you taken out my sweater? I am gonna step out of the bathroom,” yelled Diya.
“Shit!” Brian murmured under his breath and replied, “A minute, Diya.”
He opened her suitcase and rummaged through it for her sweater. He took out the crimson pink sweater and called out to her. As said by her, she was in complete jitters when she came out. Immediately Brian went over to her and helped her wear the sweater.
“You look hot in this jumpsuit, you know!”
“Really? Oh, I thought I would look more hot in a bikini.” Diya winked at him.
“Is it so? If you allow me to gape at you in that, then I would tell whether you’re hot or not.”
“Shut up, Brian!” Diya let out a giggle and threw a pillow at him.
“Okay, let’s go to Botanical Garden. That’s near. We can spend a quiet evening there.”
“Okay.”
The duo set out on a walk to the garden. It was refreshing, as they took in the cool breeze into their souls. Soon, they reached their spot and paid for the entrance tickets. As soon as they entered, they were surrounded by colours of different shades. Yes, the flowers. As their eyes wandered around, they could only see greenery and flowers everywhere. Flowers of different shapes and fragrance. It was like their dull grey life had suddenly sprung to colours. They read about each and every plant they passed. Needless to say, The Botanical Garden was one of the largest gardens in India. They walked on and on through pathways, gaping at every little flower which they came across.
“This is s beautiful!” exclaimed Brian, admiring the fern art which adorned the entire garden.
“I know, right?” replied Diya absentmindedly.
Soon, they entered a glass house which contained lots of ferns. They also found some good spots to take pictures. After an hour of walking through the garden, a huge spread of fresh grass beckoned their tired legs. It was a spacious picnic spot and many people were enjoying their private time. They seated themselves and enjoyed the psychedelic view around them. On their way to the garden, they’d grabbed a few sandwiches from a roadside shop. Since their stomachs felt hungry due to the long walk, they immediately gobbled on them. They didn’t speak much, as the nature engulfed them in its resplendence. After resting for 20 minutes, they got up to move.
Since they’d some more time to spend, they look a leisure walk around the streets of Ooty and shopped for some home-made chocolates. It was 8 PM when they reached their hotel. They reached Toda Cafe which was located on Level 5 of the hotel. The quaint little restaurant served Indian, Chinese, Continental and Mughalai cuisines. Diya ordered some Shangai Chicken Fried Rice with Dragon Chicken, while Brian ordered Pan Fried Noodles with Finger Fish. While they waited for the food, they conversed about the ambiance and the soft instrumental music which calmed their senses. Once the food arrived, they bent down their heads to gorge upon them. After the main course, they entered the Valley Bar and ordered cocktails for themselves. While Diya went in for Blue Lagoon, Brian ordered Elimary’s Cocktail. Finally, they retired to their room, completely satisfied with their outing.
Once inside the room, neither of them felt sleepy.
“Hmmm…Can we do something crazy?” asked Brian out of the blue.
“Crazy what?” Diya raised an eyebrow.
“Like speaking about our fantasies?” Brian winked at her naughtily.
“Fantasies in the sense?”
“Oh, c’mon Diya, why do you keep questioning me back? I am utterly bored.”
“Even I am. Okay, shall we watch a movie in my laptop?”
“ ! That’ll be even more boring. Can we play a game?”
“Okay, what game?”
“What about I feed you some chocolate without using my hands?”
“Jeez! How would you do that?”
“Watch this…” Brian trailed off, as he opened a home-made chocolate bar, broke a piece of it and threw it inside his mouth. All the while, Diya eyed him with suspicion.
“What are you trying to do, Brian?”
“Wait! Now I come closer to you. I should feed the chocolate to you. So, I bring my mouth closer to yours….”
“Brian! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Get away from me.” Diya hollered.
“I am just demonstrating, Diya. Let me feed you. If it doesn’t go down well, then we’ll drop the game.”
“Brian, I..I don’t want this demonstration. Let’s just….”
But Brian was already so close to her that Diya could feel his warm breath. Her insides tingled and she felt goosebumps break out in every part of her body. Even before she could protest, his lips were on hers. Slowly, he parted his to transfer the chocolate to hers. With no other go, she too opened her mouth and received the chocolate. The moment was soooo mushy and romantic that Diya didn’t want to break the contact. Unbeknownst to her, she held him closer and her grip on his shoulders increased. And then, they began smooching wildly. A passionate make-out session commenced. Soon, Brian moved away from Diya’s lips and started kissing all over her neck and shoulders. Diya let out muffled moans in response. Their burning rage to take that forward was evident from their loud smooches.
Brian made her lie down completely on the bed and pulled out her top in one go. With lust-filled eyes, he hungrily gaped at her bra which had red polka dots on it.
“Why are you staring like that?” Diya asked, almost in a whisper.
In response, Brian pinned himself completely on top of her. It was then that Diya felt his bulge. It was rock hard. At that moment, she began having apprehensions about what was about to happen. She looked hard into his eyes and finally realized….that she was in love with him! Not just a passing love, but a deep, strong, and compassionate one that would last for a lifetime. ‘Wow! What’s happening to me? I am in love! Oh God! I never expected this to happen. Why would I allow him to make love to me, if this isn’t love? But, does he love me? We didn’t even confess to each other, yet here we are in the brink of having sex.’ Grinning to herself, she asked, “Brian, do you have a condom?”
“Of course, baby, I would never forget that.” He replied in an erotic tone.
“So, you preconceived this to happen?” Diya asked, rather naughtily.
“Maybe.”
“Ahaan!”
But there were no more words exchanged, as Brian had already unclasped Diya’s bra. He hungrily went down on her milk globes and sucked on each of her nipples. Diya’s uninterrupted moans increased his mood even more. After half an hour of foreplay and tasting each other, Brian entered her. What followed next was an intense union of two souls, as they rocked each other. And when they came together, it was Diya who spoke first.
“I love you, Brian.” It was a heartfelt confession. Brian was lying on her chest with his face buried in her bosom.
Surprisingly, he did not respond. She was taken aback.
“Brian, I said something to you.”
“Yeah, I heard it. And I also know that it is the heat of the moment which made you say that.”
“No! It wasn’t. I am serious, Brian.”
The urgency in her tone made him look up at her.
“What? You don’t mean that, right?”
“I do mean it, Brian. I am in love with you.” A sheet of tears formed in Diya’s eyes. She couldn’t fathom whether it was the intensity of her love for him or whether it was his ignorance of her feelings.
“Oh! I am sorry. I thought that you were playful. I didn’t mean to hurt….”
“Shhhh! I am crazily in love with you. I don’t know about your feelings, but you’re the first serious love of my life. I have spurned N number of boys in my life. I never did that with you. Your aura was magnetic, Brian. And I was always the iron-hearted. You attracted me easily. No other guy could do that. Now, I have fallen head over heels in love with you. Even more than the love I had for Karan.”
“Karan? Is that the guy with whom you had a puppy love relationship?”
“Yes.”
“Hmmm, so you love me?”
“Yes. What about you?”
As a response, Brian sealed his lips to hers. Diya too responded promptly. She could never refuse him. He was everything to her. At the spur of the moment, she forgot that she was the rough and tough Diya who used to scorn boys, evade them and turn down their sweet love proposals with harsh words. She had changed herself. Or rather Brian had changed her.
She thought that it was love for Brian too, ignoring the vibrating calls from his mobile phone, which displayed ‘Monali’.

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Northern Indian & Persian Cuisine @ Drop Exchange, Solaris Mont Kiara

Always on a look out for some good noms, I was over at this rather unique Wall-Street themed bar and restaurant the other day. Located in Solaris Mont Kiara, Drop Exchange looks every bit the watering hole you would have expected from the outside, but the moment we entered, we realise they serve some really good Northern Indian & Persian Cuisine! Relaxing ambiance, read on for what noms they have to offer. Northern Indian & Persian Cuisine @ Drop Exchange, Solaris Mont Kiara Drop Exchange No 2, Jalan Solaris, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel : 6012-608 9066 Northern Indian & Persian Cuisine Interesting decor Did I mention this is a wall street themed bar and restaurant? That’s how the name Drop Exchange came about, named after the fluctuations in the stock market, but also with a hint of fun, especially with regard to the drop in their drink prices. Pretty cool. We kicked off our meal at Drop Exchange, Solaris Mont Kiara with some Homemade Cottage Cheese Chargrill. One of the many appetisers on the menu, the cheese doesn’t look like it at al, but the moment you pop it into your mouth, the cottage cheese marinated with spices literally melts in your mouth. Homemade Cottage Cheese Chargrill (RM27) We then tried out the Cutlis, a vegetable dish, which was really savoury, hiding the fact that there’s no meat inside. Vegetable cutlet, deep fried, inside the feeling is made of boiled vegetables. Nice! Cutlis (RM25) Ah, bring forth the meat! Chicken Tikka is always a safe choice for chicken lovers. Prepared tandoori styled, we loved how the flavours really complemented the chicken meat. Authentic flavours of Punjab chicken, must try! Chicken Tikka (RM30) What’s a good Northern Indian & Persian Cuisine without some curry dish? Up next, we had the Salli Ma Margi, a persian styled chicken curry offering, topped with generous amounts of crunchy potato salli. Good to have with the Pav, some homemade soft bun served on the side, this is some awesome curry gravy! Salli Ma Margi (RM25) Another rather elaborate dish came next, the Papeta Par Edu, a Parsi style tomato onion masala topped with baked sunny side up egg . What caught my attention the moment it was served was the egg! It looked really appetising, and when we dug in deeper, the onion masala inside, tasty! Papeta Par Edu (RM20) Rogan Josh, one whole piece of mutton cooked in aromatic spices and more! The dish is a rather big one, so be sure to share it when ordering. Rogan Josh (RM40) We ended our rather heavy meal at Drop Exchange, Solaris Mont Kiara with some sweet Indian desserts. They offer a wide variety of Indian desserts from B esan Barfi, Rabadi, Gulab Jamun, Kulfi and more. We tried a few, some were a tad too sweet for my tastebuds, but it was a good end to our meal. Gulab Jamun (RM12) Kulfi (RM15) Did you know Drop Exchange, Solaris Mont Kiara even has an app? Go download it from Google Play Store and Apple App Store to find out more. Now if you’re in the vicinity of Solaris Mont Kiara, don’t forget to try them out. Quote “Isaactan.net” and get 20% off on your food bill, valid till 31st October 2019. Make your reservations today by calling 603-6412 2113 or Whatsapp’ing to 6012-608 9066.

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Helpful Cafe Data and a Information to Indoor/Outdoor Furniture

Believe again, my dear friend. Our chefs are very adept at complementing locally found meat produce like Aberdeen Angus or seafood such as for example salmon with a sortiment of the nation’s favorite vegetables.
Scottish cheese is also a regular function on Scottish choices along with good fresh fruit sorbets, purees and sauces. A morning at a Scottish restaurant will have diners seeking beyond the much-discussed stereotypes.I will be telling you in regards to the internationally respected
aqiqah bandung
Scottish eateries in Edinburgh of which the natives are pleased, including the internationally-renowned James Thomson trio The Witchery by the Castle, Rhubarb in Prestonfield and The System over the Museum of Scotland.I will also let you know concerning the much-loved Edinburgh’stores’Stac Polly and Howies.We do, obviously, have an extraordinary range of global eateries in Edinburgh, nearly all of which provide very high culinary and company standards.
From Rome to Paris to Dehli and beyond…
The acutely popular but usually one-dimensional Italian cuisine is given a stimulating make-over at Valvona and Crolla, an French delicatessen, wine specialist, cafe and restaurant.The organization was were only available in 1934 by Alfona Crolla, the present owner’s grandmother as an easy way to provide German immigrants with traditional Italian services and products found from the best regional producers in Italy.
In these days the delicatessen has been extensive to include a very successful restaurant. The household also provide a bakery and a cafe in the city centre. Specialising in the most effective wine and cheese Italy provides having an exceptional family-oriented method to their perform, Valvona and Crolla is more a way-of-life than a business.If you are into French cuisine, you shouldn’t really miss out the ultra-blue Maison Bleue restaurant, if that’s actually probable!
This pleasant German, North African-american and Scottish cafe comes complete with rock arches and a control staircase to party your eyes upon and is undoubtedly one of the very most vibrant restaurants in Edinburgh!
The initial selling point with this cafe is its modern staff. Maison Bleue has chefs and customers of team from France, North Africa and Scotland and this really is reflected in the menu.If you like the food especially German any way you like, search in to the snails and fois gras. If you want to try out some Scottish cuisine, I would recommend the haggis balls in beer batter….that is, unquestionably, my first selection!Like points warm and hot? Me also! Let us check out a Mexican and an Indian restaurant.
Mariachi is usually considered the most effective Mexican in Edinburgh. When it comes to what a Mexican cafe really should be, calm, interesting and atmospheric, Mariachi actually hits the fingernail on the head.Mariachi was voted the very best Mexican cafe in Edinburgh in 2009 by the Edinburgh Record Food and Drink Guide. If you’re buying a restaurant that places a tickle in your stomach and a smile on see your face, you can not move much incorrect at Mariachi.
Mom India’s Restaurant coined the term’pose on tapas’back in 2008. You may be thinking…tapas?! India?! The cafe homeowners have got the Spanish concept of tapas and applied it to Indian food to finger-licking effect. It is one of the very most successful restaurants in Edinburgh.It’s a frustratingly easy concept. You usually remain facing a selection thinking things to get and you realize you have to choose something. At Mother India’s Cafe, you don’t. Take as numerous dishes as you want. Try new things out. There ain’t much to lose. Views: 1

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Review: Julien Royer reimagines the farm fare of his youth at Louise

Review: Julien Royer reimagines the farm fare of his youth at Louise Back Leslie Yeh Editor in Chief Louise is the first overseas venture from Singapore-based chef, Julien Royer. Trending Now Read More Created with Sketch. Sign up for our newsletter to have the best news and reviews from Lifestyle Asia delivered straight to your inbox. Email Address Yes, I agree to the Privacy Policy Subscribe As far as star chefs in Asia go, Julien Royer needs no introduction. Since opening Singapore’s Odette in 2015, the fine-dining restaurant helmed by the the 37-year-old French-born chef has experienced a meteoric rise: It picked up two Michelin stars just nine months after opening; and shot quickly up the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, from debuting with a Highest New Entry award at No. 9 in 2017 , to reaching No. 2 in 2018 ; and finally, edging out four-time-winner Gaggan to take the No. 1 restaurant in Asia for 2019 . A few weeks ago, Odette jumped to No. 18 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 . It follows, then, that the local food scene was all abuzz when we heard the news Royer had set his sights on Hong Kong for his first overseas venture, to open in collaboration with Hong Kong’s JIA Group (Duddell’s, Old Bailey and Chachawan, amongst others). After a head-to-toe makeover from acclaimed local designer André Fu (The Upper House and The St. Regis Hong Kong ), Louise recently debuted in the old Aberdeen Street Social space in PMQ. Serving rustic recipes inspired by Royer’s childhood growing up on a farm in Auvergne, the restaurant represents a more casual sibling to Odette’s fastidious, tweezer-constructed tasting menu. Ambience Embracing the ‘bistronomy’ movement — gastronomy served in bistro-style environs — Louise largely pares back the formality, with a casual all-day lounge on the ground floor and a cosy dining room upstairs. Although we were initially wary when we read the restaurant is “designed to emulate the chic, colonial home of a fictional expatriate French lady named Louise”— the mysterious mistress trope having been exhausted at restaurants such as Madame Fu , Madame Ching , Mama San and Mrs. Pound — it turns out the real inspiration behind the name is more sincere: Louise is the middle name of Royer’s paternal grandmother, just as Odette is the name of Royer’s maternal grandmother (and a strong culinary influence on his life). The Parlour is a tropical-inspired all-day lounge. Fu has, unsurprisingly, done a spectacular job in creating the colonial-style home of Louise, dividing the two-storey heritage space into different dining areas, each of which emanate a distinct look and feel. As was the case during the space’s prior incarnation, the patio is still one of the best places to enjoy a pre-prandial cocktail on a balmy evening (try the French Martini, HK$88, with a wonderful undercurrent of tart black currant); while through the double doors, the all-day ‘Parlour’ comes to life with an array of rich green succulents such as cacti and palms. (It’s here where you can dig into the dedicated cold cuts and cheese bar, and classic bistro dishes from Croque ‘Louise’ to Polmard beef tartare). Outdoor and indoor spaces flow seamlessly with cushioned rattan chairs placed around four-top tables in the lounge, mixed with tropical-print armchairs and cushy slate-grey banquettes. Blush-pink lamp shades cast a warm glow on the bar: a beautiful, green-marbled piece which extends the length of the room, set with tall, leather-backed bar chairs. Adjacent to the patio lies the ‘Drawing Room’; with a botanical carpet and tropical murals painted on the walls, it can be easily repurposed into a private space for special events and celebrations. The Drawing Room is ideally suited for special events and celebrations. Up a plushly carpeted staircase you’ll find the ‘Dining Room’, where lighter cream and blush-pink colours are the dominant palette. Natural light floods in from the floor-to-ceiling windows along one side of the dining room, with stately olive-green curtains and sleek Kef speakers mounted on the walls. While the lack of tablecloths and crystal stemware speak to Louise’s more down-home approach, the room still exudes a classy elegance, with an open kitchen and extended pass acting as a showpiece and bridging the gap between chef and diner. Feminine tones dominate the light and bright upstairs dining room at Louise. Food & Drink While Odette serves fine dining with Asian influences, Royer has gone back to his roots growing up in the countryside of France to craft the menu at Louise. Heading the kitchen here is Executive Chef Franckelie Laloum, Royer’s long-time peer who’s relocated from Tokyo’s Azure 45 at the Ritz-Carlton, where he earned the restaurant its first Michelin star. Together, they’ve collaborated on an à la carte menu which burrows to the heart of familial French dining, intended to ‘invoke the joy of sharing a meal’ prepared with top-notch ingredients and honest cooking. (Though our server tells us that the food is indeed made for sharing, the chef emphasises that it’s meant to be singular portions — betraying some mixed signals between front- and back-of-house that still need to be sorted). After whetting our appetite with a plate of rustic sourdough from Bread Elements (a popular supplier for some of the best restaurants in town) and a pot of French butter, we start our meal with the heirloom tomato tart (HK$258). An elegantly reimagined caprese , the trio of summery tomatoes rest on a sturdy yet flaky pastry tart, with a quenelle of bright basil sorbet cutting through the creamy bulb of fresh Luigi Guffanti burrata. The heirloom tomato tart is a rustic yet elegant farmhouse-style dish. Pâté en croûte (HK$188) is a traditional cobblestone of chicken, duck and foie gras pressed together with chopped olives and housed in a square of golden pastry spread with a thin layer of port wine gelée, providing a sweet contrast to the gaminess of the liver. Classic to a tee, the dish proves the kitchen’s not afraid to dive into the more technical and labour-intensive canons of classic French cuisine, from perfecting glossy sauces to charcuterie-making. Our next dish, the angel hair pasta with caviar (a pricey HK$458, part of a specialty caviar menu) is a study in the art of subtlety: the thin strands undressed save for a touch of truffle which envelops each twirl of the fork in a heady perfume. The lack of superfluous ingredients refined elegance that’s implicit in Royer’s style of cooking. Thin strands of angel hair are interspersed with tiny pops of Kristal caviar. Frog legs (HK$258) are plated like savoury lollipops, tender and meaty with the trimmed bones affording an easy way to swipe the succulent meat through a pool of astoundingly bright and herbaceou) parsley purée, juxtaposed with dots of garlicky white purée. Garlic chips add a final element of crunch in this quintessential bistro dish, revived and reimagined within the framework of contemporary Gallic dining. In a bit of table-side theatrics recalling those at Belon — another upscale French bistro in SoHo — a whole roast yellow chicken (the same local variety sourced from the New Territories) is paraded around the room dressed with a bushel of bright green rosemary and other fresh herbs. However, the carved-up bird doesn’t quite deliver on its promise (especially considering its HK$858 price tag): the meat is disappointingly devoid of much flavour, with some of the white meat slices erring on the dry side. Luckily, comfort arrives in the form of Nigata rice ‘en cocotte’ (included with the chicken): A cast iron pot of fragrant Japanese rice is glossed over with chicken fat and interspersed with crunchy bits of chicken skin and chives, before being showered with seasonal Australian black truffles. On the side, La Truffade (HK$178) is a small dish of sautéed potatoes draped under a heavy blanket of Cantal cheese, with a simple sprinkling of garlic and parsley to highlight the mildly nutty, milky characteristics of the young cheese sourced specially from Royer’s hometown of Auvergne. Roast yellow chicken is attended by a cast iron pot of fine Japanese rice glossed in chicken fat. Visible from the staircase through an open viewing window, the pastry kitchen churns out some textbook-perfect pastries that are well worth throwing out your summer diet for . On our visit, we were pleasantly pleased with the ‘Mama Royer’ yoghurt cake (HK$118), a prized family recipe with ice cream and confit lemon, while we swooned over the mille-feuille (HK$128), shatteringly crisp golden pastry held together with an ethereal cream speckled with dark flecks of Madagascar vanilla. Capped off with raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries, the simple yet masterful dessert suggests some very capable and skilled pâtissiers in the kitchen. (You’ll also want to try the traditional French cannelés and crisp, scallop-shell-shaped baked madeleines.) Cheese lovers won’t want to pass up the opportunity to tuck into the specialty selection of cheeses (paired with charcuterie in the Parlour) from MOF cheese artisan Xavier Bourgon, designed to delight those who believe the older and smellier, the better. The menu at Louise is complemented by an excellent selection of house cocktails and a total of 24 wines by the glass. On our visit, we enjoyed Louise’s own label from Champagne Pommery, an effervescent vintage full of finesse — but oenophiles will also find comfort in discovering boutique wineries from lesser-known French regions as well as a selection of other wine-producing countries. Who could pass on freshly baked madeleines and cannelés? Verdict Louise marks a welcome return to classical French cooking, unmarred by the overly creative impulses that can sometimes tend to cripple Western chefs cooking in Asia — those who think fusion-leaning bells and whistles are somehow compulsory to opening a Western-style restaurant here. By contrast, Louise is content in sticking to the classics, elevating familiar dishes such as pâté en croûte, frog legs and French-style pastries with a certain refined technique and careful attention to composition. Some dishes are instantly transportive, whisking you straight to the countryside of France as if you were summering in Royer’s own family home. That said, the idea of bistronomy is to deliver the polish of haute cuisine stripped of pretensions, affording the average diner the chance to appreciate classic recipes at affordable price points. For a restaurant that bills itself as casual and affordable, the price of some dishes (tellingly unavailable on the website) are occasionally as off-putting as the starchy tablecloths and stiff service — those hallmarks of old temples to haute French gastronomy — that the restaurant supposedly seeks to avoid. If the current shifting tides in culinary thought have taught us anything, it’s that gone are the days when we should dutifully accept French food being priced at a premium (over Chinese, Mexican, Indian, you name it) simply due to its Old World prestige as a first-rate cuisine. If Louise can manage to be as cheerful in generosity as it is in disposition, Royer will soon be counting another successful restaurant as a notch on his belt. Opening Hours: Mon–Sun; upstairs open 12–3pm, 6–11pm for dinner; downstairs open 12–11pm for all-day dining (no reservations). Recommended Dishes: Heirloom tomato tart with burrata, Nigata rice ‘en cocotte’, La truffade, pâté en croûte, angel hair pasta with caviar, sautéed frog legs, ‘Mama Royer’ yoghurt cake, Madagascar vanilla mille-feuille. Price: HK$1,000–$1,500 per person with drinks. Noise Level: Comfortable. Service: Attentive, though with a few service kinks to sort out during opening weeks. Louise 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong Website

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Festival of India Celebrates ‘Culturally Many, Spiritually One’ | News, Sports, Jobs – The Intelligencer

HEATHER ZIEGLER Life Editor
WHEELING — The beauty and serenity of the cultural Festival of India will once again grace the streets of downtown Wheeling.
The fourth annual Festival of India is set for 2-8 p.m. Saturday, July 13 at Heritage Port in Wheeling. This year’s theme is “Culturally Many, Spiritually One,” and is meant to intrigue and inspire visitors, according to festival officials.
Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott welcomes the now annual event with open arms.
“Almost every weekend during the summer we have an event in the city of Wheeling, and the Festival of India is one of the neatest ones. It brings a whole lot of folks down to Wheeling for those who don’t get a chance to see the city. It’s great for the people who live here too; it’s something different, and I’m really thrilled to have them,” Elliott said
Jaya KrsnaDas, coordinator of the festival, said the event allows visitors a look into the culture and traditions of India.
“Our aim is to unite people from diverse backgrounds and cultures to share the joy of spiritual brotherhood as children of God. The festival also centers around community building and social cohesion, so please bring your family along for a day of fun, laughter, and spiritual upliftment.”
Also known as the Festival of Chariots or Ratha-yatra, this event has its roots in ancient India and is celebrated in major cities worldwide, from Paris to London, Moscow to Brazil, and Durban to New York. It spreads a universal message of love, peace and goodwill.
Among the festival highlights will be a Float Parade at 5 p.m. on Water Street, free entertainment featuring live, local bands, and the traditional garbhaor dandiya (stick) dance. Visitors can enjoy a fusion of poetry, dance and drama.
∫ Multicultural storytelling on the lawn: Rangoli–multicolored street painting; and speakers will focus on the theme of compassion, tolerance, and concern for justice in all faiths, which is a positive step to a socially cohesive United States of America.
∫ An interactive Q&A booth presenting captivating and relevant topics for discussion. If you’re teeming with a million questions, then here’s your oasis.
∫ For a brief respite, enjoy some yoga. It’s information overload out there, so now is the time to clear the mind, stretch the body, and awaken the soul, Krsna Das said. Leading local yoga teachers will guide you to a new high during yoga sessions.
∫ Mantra Meditation — Connect through sound, and experience peace of mind and upliftment of spirit by meditating on and chanting God’s names.
∫ Thinking about going natural? Pop in to the cooking booth and discover all-natural, interesting, and cost-effective methods to improve and maintain your health, including Cleopatra’s beauty secret. Learn about Ayurveda, a holistic approach to health that allows you to become a balanced, vital person with the least effort.
∫ Gift and clothing boutique with exotic Eastern garments for women to kiddie saris and hand-crocheted dolls.
∫ Govinda’s Food Court will spoil you with an array of delectable eats from authentic Indian cuisine to Western treats. It’s East meets West, with affordable home-made food prepared within minutes.
∫ Carnival festivities for children will include a variety of arts and crafts and activities that include fairy gardens, hair braiding, and a cake walk to keep them entertained.
For more information, contact Jaya Rama (Josef Lauber) at Lauberjosef@me.com. NEWSLETTER
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Bengaluru, July 5 — Bangalore based Petoo, QSR (quick servi

Bengaluru, July 5 — Bangalore based Petoo, QSR (quick service restaurant) which has rapidly grown to 10 cities in the last few months, welcomes Mr Hanumanth Shukla to their leadership team in the newly-created position of Chief Sales Officer.
Hanumant brings 27 years of sales experience spanning across industries, including FMCG and Telecom, in setting up, turning around and scaling up various businesses across the globe. From building the team from scratch and designing & executing a highly effective distributed sales strategy, he helped Airtel Money Zambia scale up from USD 100 million to USD 4 billion through kiosk-led manual atm model which made Airtel Money the number 1 player in the market. He will be adding his expertise in strategic, analytical & operational execution at Petoo Sales division to lead its audacious goal of 1100 stores by 2020.
Besides his last leadership role at Airtel Zambia, he’s recognized for his proficiency spans across Business Strategy, Partner Management, P&L Management and Stakeholder Management for iconic companies like Coca Cola, Airtel, Idea, Godrej and Goodricke.
Petoo is aiming to fulfil its vision of building a national brand of Indian Quick Service restaurant with Industry leaders who bring expertise in driving multi-cultural & cross-functional resources. Recently, they have also on-boarded Mr Nilesh Krishnarao, (Ex-COO, Tonguestun, which was acquired by Zomato) as their Chief Experience Officer.
Petoo is the result of some very insightful research and is solving customer pain-points of serving consistent, quality Indian Food in Quick, Easy and Modern format with a great focus on food science and technology. The team at Petoo understands that Indian cuisine holds a significant place on the global stage and it’s also the need of the evolving customers.
It has also built a unique solution which eliminates the need of Chefs at each store level, which is unheard of in an Indian restaurant context and removes the dependency on cold/frozen logistics network, making its restaurants viable in even the most remote parts of India.
Backed by Infosys founders and founded by IIT alumni and serial entrepreneurs, Ritesh Dwivedy, Abhishek Mandal and Kumar Setu, who also have extensive experience in food, hospitality, and IT/ITeS, they have grown to 45 outlets in last 1 year since it started rolling out its franchisee restaurants. With an asset-light model and an investment of only Rs 20 lakhs, it offers good ROIs within 24 months of the establishment to its franchise owners.
Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Business Wire India.

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