Monday, February 19, 2018

Unwind in Style at Tabula Rasa Cafe & Bar

Often in city life we spend our days cooped up indoors in air-conditioned rooms all day. I even live in a high-rise, on a slightly higher floor for the first time, and there are days when I feel a palpable disconnect with mother Earth. Nothing refreshes me more than descending down those floors once or twice a day and walk on terra firma and breath in some fresh air. It is like starting afresh, on a clean slate, energised to deal with a cluttered lifestyle again. Clean slates are important, to de-clog the brain, to clear your lungs, to teach your heart how to throb again.

Which is why it is always so good to find open air restaurants and cafes. Al fresco dining has a charm of its own. Not only is it eco-friendlier, it is a sure shot way to rejuvenate your senses and breathe in some fresh oxygen. One of my most exciting discoveries in this category, this fortnight has been the Tabula Rasa Bar and Cafe at Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Nestled amidst fragrant frangipani trees and cobbled floor, and an understated, trendy and contemporary set up, Tabula Rasa is an open air bar that serves great drinks and plays classy music. Tabula Rasa is a Latin phrase often translated as "blank slate" in English and originates from the Roman tabula used for notes, which was blanked by heating the wax and then smoothing it. This roughly equates to the English term "blank slate" or more literally, "erased slate" which refers to the emptiness of a slate prior to it being written on with chalk. Visiting this place is sure to help you unwind to the core and feel rejuvenated.

Berry Blossom

Tabula Rasa features live music gigs through the week, showcasing brilliant young, local bands and artists. On Saturdays they have a DJ night where you can dance into the night and let your hair down. As far as the menu goes, they have some wonderful cocktails that are perfect for the setting. I started with a Berry Blossom which is a vodka based cocktail with berries infused in vodka, cranberry juice and ginger ale. It is a wonderful blend indeed. The mood is set and live music begins to add to the experience. 

Thai Grilled Chicken

Jalapeno Cheese Poppers

For bar nibbles we try the Thai Grilled Chicken and Cilantro Prawns which both possess a distinct flavor. We also try a Sauteed Herbed Vegetables which are really nicely done, crunchy and not even a bit overcooked, simply perfect. For vegetarians the Jalapeno Cheese Poppers are also a great option that we loved. My drink needs a refill and this time I try to be more adventurous. By now I know Tabula Rasa has a list of their own unique cocktails crafted to perfection. So I try a Spiked Kerouac which is a Margarita along with a shot of strawberry infused Tequila. The presentation of this cocktail is stunning. It is however quite heady and perfect for someone who can handle strong spirits well.


For the main course we try the dependable Fish and Chips which are served with flair. But what is a review without some experimentation! So we try the Pineapple Grilled Pork Chops (Great sauce) and Mushroom Fried Chicken Burger (a decent burger) and Blackened Fish with Cherry Tomato Butter Sauce which is served with Paprika Rice(a bit too tangy for me). In fact all their burgers are pretty good with interesting elements such as Jalapeno Stuffed Chicken Burger or Pork Back Rack Burger.

Pineapple Grilled Pork Chops

For vegetarians there are ample interesting choices such as Grilled Corn and Spinach Cake with Fricasse of Green Peas and Broccoli or Mexican Veg Pizza or a Bean and Zucchini Burger.

The lively music and the animated conversations all around the island bar keep your spirits high through the meal. The crowd too looked very artsy and bohemian that gives the place a cool vibe. Our senses were sated, so there was no scope for dessert but we decided to share a plate of Tres Leches which helped end the evening on a soft, mushy note. Tabula Rasa would definitely be a great place for a romantic date with its soft lighting and casual ambience and cute tables and perched chairs under the frangipani trees. It is also a perfect setting for de-stressing with friends at the end of a hectic work day!

Tabula Rasa at night

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Yakult Danone India expands its Probiotic portfolio by launching Yakult light

Having carved a niche for itself in the probiotic category, Yakult Danone India Pvt. Ltd., a 50:50 joint venture between Yakult Honsha and Danone has further expanded its product portfolio in India by adding a new variant:Yakult Light. This new variant was unveiled by fitness icon and Bollywood celebrity Shilpa Shetty Kundra who endorsed Yakut Light at a Press Conference in Mumbai recently. Present on the occasion were Mr. Minoru Shimada, Managing Director, Yakult Danone India Pvt. Ltd., and Dr. Neerja Hajela, General Manager – Science and Regulatory Affairs, Yakult Danone India Pvt. Ltd.

Yakult Light is a sister product of the signature Yakult product and contains the same unique probiotic, Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS), in the same amount (6.5 billion). LcS has been scientifically proven, through more than 80 years of research, to help improve digestion and build immunity when consumed regularly. With reduced sugar and Vitamin D and E, Yakult Light caters for the daily needs of the health conscious and is suitable for all age groups. It contains less sugar and calories owing to the use of a sweetener of natural origin, Steviol Glycoside.The recommended retail price of Yakult Light is Rs. 80/- for a pack of 5 bottles.

Speaking on the launch of Yakult Light, Mr. Minoru Shimada, Managing Director, Yakult Danone India Pvt. Ltd. remarked, “We are frontrunners in the probiotic category globally, and 35 million bottles of Yakult, our iconic probiotic drink, are consumed daily in 38 countries and regions across the world. Driven by our core philosophy of improving intestinal health through our probiotic strain LcS, our journey in India has been interesting so far. We see further growth potential in the market for our products. Our signature brand Yakult is already a household name and is being consumed by most families as a part of their daily diet. Today we are present in over 40 cities in 12 statesacross India. The health benefits of Yakult are tangible and there is an upward trend in consumption. To address the growing demand and in line with the needs of the Indian consumer we are delighted to make our product range more versatile and inclusive by launching Yakult Light to accompany our existing probiotic signature product, Yakult. Yakult Light caters to a broad consumer base such as the health conscious adults and the elderly.

We will sell Yakult Light across 12 states in both retail outlets and our unique Home Delivery system. We have over 260 Yakult Ladies delivering our health message to Indians on their doorsteps. We have planned a 360 degree campaign to communicate the key messages of Yakult Light as well as consumer engagement initiatives at the ground-level to raise awareness.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

British Airways Invests in Substantial New Catering for World Traveller Customers

British Airways has announced a multi-million pound investment in its World Traveller (long-haul economy cabin) catering, introducing an exciting and expanded new menu, which provides more quantity and quality to both meals and great snacking options throughout the flight.

Options now include:
                Pretzels with the welcome drink
                Four-course meal with starter, entrĂ©e, dessert, cheese and biscuits, accompanied by a bread roll and bottle of water
                Second meal or substantial snack depending on the length of the flight
                Regional meal options served according to destination
                Magnum ice-creams
                Tuck box with chocolates and crisps
                Hot breakfast on longer overnight flights
                Graze movie-snack box on longer* flights
                Complimentary drinks from the bar

Previously customers travelling in the cabin were served a complimentary snack, a three-course-meal or a light meal, depending on the time and length of their flight as well as a complimentary bar service of hot and cold drinks.

The new catering arrives from January 17, and the menus that will change every six months.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, said: “Our customers tell us that when they’re taking a long-haul flight, great food and beverages make a real difference to them. It’s a huge driver of customer satisfaction so we want to make sure we deliver a great experience. With this multi-million pound investment we’ve focused on introducing more quantity and quality to the catering, delivering tasty meals and great snacking options throughout the flight.

“Our new four-course main meal has been developed by our team of chefs to be full of flavour at 35,000ft and we’ve created regional options depending on the route. The second meal option is either a tasty sandwich or a more substantial pizza wrap, both served with additional snacks, depending on the length of the flight.”

“Our customers have also told us they want to be able to save some items for later in the flight, so we’ve replaced the water cup with a bottle of Highland Spring on the first meal, and added Graze snack boxes on our longest flights. We’re also offering Magnum ice-creams on daylight flights from London and a Tuck Box on inbound and overnight flights.”

The airline’s customers will be welcomed with pretzels and a drink. Once they are settled in, they will be served a four-course meal such as a starter of couscous salad, followed by a main course of chicken casserole with an ale sauce, colcannon mash and seasonal vegetables, or a vegetarian tomato, farfalle and vegetable dish. Dessert will be a Pots & Co. salted caramel and chocolate mousse, followed by biscuits and cheese. The meal will be accompanied by a bread roll and a bottle of Highland Spring water.

On the shorter daylight long-haul flights to destinations such as New York and Dubai, fliers will also receive a sandwich such as egg and cress with a chocolate or Nutri-Grain bar. Those on longer daylight flights to destinations such as Cape Town and Hong Kong will receive a hot meal, such as a pizza wrap or a regional option, with a pot of pasta, a chocolate brownie and a drink as well as a smokehouse BBQ crunch Graze movie-snack box. A hot English breakfast will also be served on these longer flights that operate overnight.

Customers on daylight flights from London will be offered a range of Magnum ice-creams, while those on night flights will be offered a tuck-box with options such as Dairy Milk Buttons, Twix, Kit-Kats and Mini Cheddars, which will also be available in the galley for them to help themselves to.

The airline is also serving regional main meal options around its network, such as chicken in spicy cheng du sauce on flights to and from to China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, kathrikai milagu seeragam and channa dal on flights to and from Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai and acchari veg and dal palak on flights to and from Bangalore and Delhi. On flights to the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia,) customers can enjoy chicken in spicy Arabic sauce.

Regional breakfasts will also be served including Chicken Congee for Far Eastern routes and an Indian option featuring: Idli Shanna, Sambhar, upma and dosa.

The popular meal options for customers with special dietary requirements will continue to be available to book on more than 24 hours ahead of their flight departing.

Travellers looking for a special treat can also pre-order meals on flights from Heathrow up to 24-hours before their flight. Options include a Gourmet Dining meal for £18.00, Taste of Britain and Taste of the Far East for £16.00 and a Great British Breakfast, a Healthy Choice meal or a Vegetarian Kitchen option all for £15.00.

British Airways is investing £4.5 billion for customers over the next five years, covering the installation of the best quality WiFi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. The airline is also investing £600m specifically in Club World, including outstanding catering and luxurious White Company bedding - plus, from 2019, a new seat with direct aisle access. This year British Airways will start services to six new routes including Nashville and The Seychelles.

The airline’s longest flights serve: Bangkok, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Chennai, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Las Vegas, Lima, Los Angeles, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico City, Narita, Oakland, Phoenix, Rio de Janeiro, San Jose (California), San Jose (Costa Rica), Santiago, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo (Haneda and Narita).

The first flight with the new catering on January 17 will be the BA117 from Heathrow to New York JFK departing at 8.25am.