Monday, March 31, 2014


NIRAV MODI, a brand known for its iconic jewels, launches its flagship boutique at Defence Colony, New Delhi

New Delhi, 2014: NIRAV MODI, a brand known for its innovative and exquisite diamond creations that have  been well appreciated at international auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, launched its first flagship boutique at D-33, Defence Colony, New Delhi amid much style and glamour.

With the launch of this 6,000 sq.ft. boutique, the brand is now set to bring iconic NIRAV MODI jewels to the people of the capital and promises to take the way jewelry is experienced into new realms of luxury.
Nirav Modi, Founder and Creative Director

Speaking on the occasion Nirav Modi said, “It gives me great pleasure to launch a boutique in the heart of the country and close to people who I believe have always been appreciative of the NIRAV MODI ethos of design, craftsmanship, innovation, quality and rarity and supportive towards our brand. We look forward to adorning every unique individual that walks through our doors and doing so in a way that makes it an unforgettable experience for her.”

At the launch, a themed fashion show saw models and charismatic women from Delhi cognoscenti take to the ramp, adorned by the latest collections from the NIRAV MODI atelier. Dressed by Dabiri, the fashion studio run by the talented duo Ambika Jain and Divya Kapur, the models came from a wide age – range, signifying the timelessness of NIRAV MODI jewels that are created to bridge generations and serve as a family legacy.

Dilshad Sheikh, Neeli Kapoor and Bina Ramani gracefully represented the phase of adulthood while the age of innocence was well characterized by Anna and Avanti Talwar, Anushka Ansal and Ishira Goel. Supporting their efforts were well known beauties of the ramp such as Indrani Dasgupta, Anchal Oberoi, Ankita Jain, Tina Chatwal, Archana Akhil, Parvathy Omanakuttan, Deepti Gujral and Sonalika Sahay.

Bina Ramani

Omar Abdullah &Sara Pilot
Indrani Dasgupta

The choice of models across age-groups also reflected the evolution of life and the concept of NIRAV MODI jewel being treasures that accompany a woman through the many stages of her life from a young age through womanhood and eventually to the next generation, in a harmonious cycle.

Family and friends including Omar Abdullah & Sara Pilot, the Ansal Family, Charu Sachdev, Kalyani Saha, Sanjay Kapoor, Sanjay Sharma (Head of Christie’s in India), Sujata Assomull Sippy, Deepika Jindal, Rajiv Luthra, Rajiv Memani, Renu Bhatia, designers such as Rohit Bal, Varun Bahl, Gauri and Nainika, were spotted at the launch party, all congratulating Mr. Modi, admiring the d├ęcor of the boutique and trying on several pieces from the collections in-store.

The concept of the boutique draws inspiration from Nirav Modi’s personal design aesthetic and his passion for iconic art. Art lovers too were seen admiring noted works from the Progressive school of art which found place of pride in the salon. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Who Doesn't Need Some TLC?

You all know I have been sampling all this exotic fare at fancy restaurants. While it is great fun trying out great dishes, over-indulgence in food always has it's repercussions. 

Delhiites as a people, love food. Even in the middle of recession, whichever restaurant I went to, I mostly found it bustling with people, spending on food as if there was no tomorrow. But the flip side is that lifestyle diseases and obesity is on the rise. At the end of the day food is supposed to nourish you and make you feel good, not overpower you or overwhelm you.

Yet modern lifestyles are such that many people do not get the time to plan out nutritionally balanced meals properly. While cookery shows are on the rise, there is a whole new generation of youngsters who neither have the time nor the inclination to bother getting into the kitchen and toiling over pots and pans. I don't know whether that's good or bad. It always helps to be a little aware of and monitor what's going inside your body. It's the only one you have!

However there is some help at hand. 

Tarani’s Low Calorie Kitchen brings the concept of gourmet calorie controlled meals to your doorstep. Get ready to be good to yourself. Tired of starting diets and never sticking to them? Wondering if food can be tasty and healthy at the same time? Well, get some TLC in your life with Tarani’s Low Calorie Kitchen.

TLC will be offering calorie controlled and portion controlled gourmet food deliveries across the country. Get rid of the cooking blues; take away meals or canteen food and sign up for this meal plan which gets healthy meals delivered to you with no fuss or bother. Now eliminate the stress of consulting a dietician, or purchasing and cooking meals for your next diet. 

TLC offers four basic meal plans, each of which has a customized and calorie controlled menu, are designed for Healthy Living, Weight Management, aiding in meals for Type 2 Diabetics, and helping with nutritious meals for Cardiac Health. 

The meals are portion controlled, fresh frozen and ready to eat. Each of the meals has been specially prepared according to the customized meal plan, in the state of the art TLC Kitchen in Delhi. The meals are best described as fine dining and offer a fabulous way to stay healthy and fit, all the while dispensing with the need to cook special meals at home.

They are ideal for working couples, singletons and anyone who does not have the time or resources to cook healthy food at home. The TLC kitchen is the brainchild of promoters Tarani Kapur, and has on board well known hospitality consultant, Sohrab Sitaram, who is the name behind many successful hospitality concepts and ventures. The meals have been created according to a plethora of healthy recipes which incorporate the most optimum ingredients for your special dietary needs. 

The meal plans are best done over a period of two weeks for optimum results andoffer, lunch, dinner and a mid-day snack. TLC ensures customized support and has four main meal plans to choose from: 

Calorie Controlled- Designed for people who want to eat healthy and feel good without compromising on taste. 

Weight Management- Designed to help and aid weight loss along with maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Gourmet food with the right calories…just for you! 

Diabetic Friendly- Designed for people with type 2 diabetes. 

Healthy Heart Program- Designed for better cardiac health- food prepared with low sodium content and calorie controlled. Getting onto the TLC diet plan: Getting onto the TLC Kitchen diet plan is as simple as the click of a button. 

I have tried their Calorie Controlled meals and was mighty surprised at the taste and variety. You don't feel guilty having interesting variations as they are super light and just the right portion. The added advantage is that once you try this for a fortnight, even if you do not want to continue, your body will be tuned to healthy and appropriate eating, a habit that you would be able to build into your long term diet, making minor changes and enhancements in your planning.
Get onto, and choose the meal plan most suited for you. Register and pay online and be ready to receive your frozen meals. TLC Kitchen also has a dietician on board to help clear your doubts and concerns, as well as help you choose the right meal plan for you. 

The meals at TLC come beautifully packaged in special containers keeping the nutrients packed in and the food fresh for a long time. The balanced meals help you reap maximum results and offer a truly fine dining gourmet experience. Imagine indulging in Baklavas, Brownies, Thai curries, Chicken Cordon Blue, Meen Moilly, Noodles and Stuffed Kulchas, all of which help you control your weight and have a healthy heart as well. 

The cuisine is replete with the freshest of ingredients and also offers highly nutritious meals. TLC Kitchen calorie controlled meals are pre-portioned so you don't need to count calories; the meal programs are designed to be an aid in helping individuals to meet their weight management and wellness goals all at the price of INR 275/- a meal which is less than what you would pay for a fine dining experience at a restaurant.

All of these gourmet diet delivery meal programs are delivered by Courier throughout India & hand delivered in Delhi NCR. Whether you live in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Indore or Chennai, they have a healthy meal delivery program for you! 

*** It is recommended that you consult with your doctor prior to starting any new diet or weight loss program. TLC Meals are priced from INR 275/- a meal and a programme of lunch, dinner and midday snack for two weeks would cost INR 10,386/- and for four weeks is INR 18,666/- .The minimum delivery for all meals is 14 days. 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


A restaurant is not just a place to go eat. A good restaurant is a moment in time that captures a mood. A good restaurant ideally shows you a different way of life through a meal. For me a good restaurant is the cute cusp between imagination and reality.

When we go out to eat or lounge, we are not necessarily looking for just food and drink. We’re looking for memories, for thrill, for delightful discoveries and for latent learning. We’re looking for a getaway from the monotony of our homes, the synchronicity of clocks that rule our lives. We’re looking for anonymity and abandon, for reverie and rebellion in equal measure. 

There are times when the poshest of restaurants in a five star hotel leave you wanting more. At others, a hole-in-the-wall establishment can meet all that you were looking for on that particular day.
Outside the Raasta alley

So I set out one day recently to review yet another restaurant. Now that the initial enthusiasm of reviewing restaurants is waning, I was guilty of waking up that day and going, “Oh no, another restaurant!” We creative types get bored easily, you know. My lucky colour that day was yellow and I wore a summery yellow T shirt with a floral skirt with flowers in red, yellow and green to upgrade my enthusiasm a bit. The weather was on the cusp of a reluctant winter waving goodbye and a cheerful spring peeping in from the windows. So I threw on my parrot green crochet, netty shrug looking more florescent than I’ve ever looked in recent times.

I reached Hauz Khas village surprisingly hassle-free that day, simply following the Google Maps navigation lady on my phone, whom I call Billo Rani. Half way through I wondered if I was too casually dressed? I confess I had not read the brief properly and while every restaurant claims to be multi cuisine these days, I was just bored to look through the menu.Taking a cue from the name Raasta, I assumed it would be predominantly Indian with some Chinese and Lebanese thrown in.  So what if it were a very stuffy, very brocaded, very sherwaniied place in a typical Indian 'way' or Raasta? I beg your pardon for the oversight rightaway. 

We located Raasta in 5 min as it is very easily accessible from the main Hauz Khas village parking area. As we opened the discreet looking wooden door of Raasta on the first floor, it was as if we had entered Jamaica. Oh My Goodness! But the whole damn place is an ode to Bob Marley! Imagine my utter delight. I have maintained -since the early 1990s- that reggae is the most joyous sound in the world. It can transport me to a different heaven altogether. I mean is there a bigger musical delight than ‘Buffalo Soldier’ on loop?! 

The huge wooden bar in Jameson Lounge, Raasta

The restaurant is designed in green, yellow and red(note the colours mentioned earlier, ahem) which are the typical colours of the Rastafarian movement of a Caribbean sect, juxtaposed with wood, paintings of Bob Marley, wide screen TVs, Marley memorabilia, Jamaican and Caribbean motifs all around and almost no artificial lighting during the day. It was like entering a dark, mysterious den of discovery and delights. 

Big spacious green and wicker lounging sofas, low tables, a huge wooden bar and a huge open balcony called the Jameson Lounge, overlooking green kikar trees with eye-catching pillars and panels done in yellow, green and red. Can’t remember when was I last so happy to see so much colour. 

Time just stood still. I felt I was sitting on some faraway, tropical beach, with reggae music soothing my soul. I had to literally stop myself from dancing as the crowd was mostly young college students who looked roughly half my age! 

Marley memorabilia

Relaxed lounge seating

Raasta Special

We started with the Raasta Special Mocktail, a mix of strawberry, cranberry juice and fizz. Very refreshing and tropical in taste, and sets the mood for some calypso carousing.

Apache Salad
Crispy Caribbean Chicken Strips

Raasta offers a snack menu that encourages small nibbles, light bites and a hearty meal as well. For starters we tried the Caribbean Chicken Strips, 
which are tender chicken strips marinated with Caribbean dry rubs, crumbed, fried and served with a fiery Harissa sauce. The Apache Salad I ordered features lightly grilled sea 
bass on a pleasant salad of lettuce, red and yellow peppers, olives and cucumber. Can be a great one dish meal for dieters. 

Lamb Empanada
Pomegranate Stuffes Three Cheese Bites

While Raasta has improvised the menu to cater to a wide range of palates, incorporating local tastes, I stuck to the original classics served here which is Caribbean and African food. 

But the selection offers cuisine from all across the world and is a melange of Oriental, Middle Eastern, Indian and Continental cuisine.

For vegetarians ‘Pomegranate Stuffed Three Cheese Bites’ as a starter are simply exquisite. 

Seafood Stew
Caribbean Chicken Curry

For main course we had Seafood Stew and Caribbean Chicken Curry. Both were served with fragrant garlic rice and absolute delights in terms of taste, flavours and lightness. The Seafood Stew was in a tomato based sauce, piquant and not oily at all. 

The Caribbean Chicken Curry has tiny pieces of perfectly cooked chicken in a fragrant and aromatic chicken mince with interesting interludes of Caribbean jerk spices. 

The Prawn & Chicken Jambalaya is also a speciality here, although to cater to the average Delhi youngster, they have enough pasta, pizza and kebabs too.

Creme Caramel with a View
The atmosphere is unpretentious and relaxed and the food hits the right notes with new tastes and sensations, transcending old, predictable barriers. Much 
like the theme of the place.

Rastafarian culture after all, is a way of life dedicated to an ideology that believes in the rejection of materialism and embracing greater spiritual values. The Raasta movement which brings alive a more free-spirited approach to life found its main champion in Jamaican born singer-Bob Marley whose soulful lyrics made Rastafarian culture popular in mainstream music and culture. One of reggae’s earliest proponents, his songs live on long after the legend has passed on. Raasta-the lounge pays tribute to this great legend, with a primarily Reggae influence on music. 

Bob Marley is said to have claimed that the word reggae came from a Spanish term for "the king's music". The music became synonymous with the songs of revolution and independence sung by Jamaican singers and then popularised in the mainstream by Bob Marley and others. Dubstep's early roots are in the more experimental releases of UK garage producers, seeking to incorporate elements of drum and bass into the two step garage sound. 

I am told the mood in the evenings is very different and clubby and the spacious place is packed on most weekends. 

These are the special nights at Raasta: 

1. Raasta Monday- Reggae Night 
2. Raasta Tuesday- Karaoke Night 
3. Raasta Wednesday- Retro Night 
4. Raasta Thursday- Simmer Down Session with Reggae Rajah's 
5. Raasta Friday- Dub Night 
6. Raasta Saturday- Killwish with Reggaetoon dancehall + Dub 
7. Raasta Sunday- Ladies Night At Raasta

They also call live bands often to perform. It's just the right place to enjoy these musical melodies and discover new and fresh musical talent with some great food and drinks.

To me Raasta is yet another triumph of stand-alone restaurants/lounges in Delhi that have pushed the boundaries, pushed the envelope of entertainment in 5 star domains and given refreshing, revolutionary recreational spaces. It is anti-establishment in a delicious, eclectic manner. Symbolically as I step out, playing on the system is a song that goes “Mr. President, retire, retire, retire.”

I know for sure, the day I am feeling down and out and a bit listless, and when the world seems without rhythm or melody, I will put on my bright yellow T-shirt and torn denims and hit ‘Raasta’! I’ll be a Rastafarian again!

Raasta Caribbean Lounge 
Number of covers: 88 
Average meal for two: Rs 1500 
Reservations only till 9 
Contact No: 011-40623028 
Address: 30, First Floor, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi- 110016

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chef of The Week-Nilesh Singhvi


Nilesh Singhvi

    Nilesh Singhvi is an accomplished chef with 20 years of experience. Although he has managed and cooked various cuisines, his passion remains for preparing Indian cuisine. 

Chef Singhvi worked for the Taj Group of Hotels, the leading luxury hotel chain in India, and rose to become their executive chef. During this career, spanning nearly 18 years-mostly as the Indian chef in top five-star hotels, he got the chance to work with a few master chefs of Kashmiri, Avadhi and South Indian cuisines. He was the main Indian chef of Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi – a five-star property known for its restaurants. In 2000, he became executive chef at hotels in Nashik (Maharashtra), and then at Goa and Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh), where he mastered himself in these regional cuisines. He then accepted a new challenge as the executive chef at Hotel Yak & Yeti in Kathmandu, Nepal. 

Hailing from Jodhpur in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Chef Nilesh Singhvi is entrenched in Indian culture and hospitality but at the same time is very open minded, flexible and always looking for new ideas. 
His love for cooking began in India, so he pursued formal culinary training at the Institute of Hotel Management in India, a school similar in prestige to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

During his career, Nilesh has cooked for dignitaries such as Mr. A.B.Vajpayee, Ex Prime Minister of India; Mr. Jacques Chirac, Former President of France; Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Former Prime Minister of U.K.; Mr. George Bush Sr., Former President of USA, Mr. Bill Gates and many others. He also participated in the Indian Food Festival at Le Touessrok, Mauritius & World Economic Forum, Davos. 

Nilesh is presently at the Bombay Club in Washington, DC preparing the fine dining regional Indian cuisine as executive chef. Bombay Club opened its doors to offer fine, authentic Indian cuisine to Washingtonians in 1988 and the restaurant maintains its focus for excellence under the leadership of restaurateur Mr.Ashok Bajaj. 

    Serving Parsi, Goan, Moghlai and coastal Indian cuisine reminiscent of the erstwhile clubs of India in a formal, white-tablecloth dining room just a few blocks from the White House, the restaurant has played host to international celebrities from President Bill Clinton to Paul Simon.



     Here's a tete-a tete with Chef Nilesh Singhvi:

  1.What is the latest addition to your menu? 
    Brussels Sprout Poriyal
2.    The hottest selling item on your menu.
Crispy Kale Chaat
3.    One dish you are extremely proud of creating.
Tandoori Mustard Scallop
4.    Which is the oldest dish on your menu?
Green Chili Chicken (other than usual chicken makhni).
5.    Most expensive dish on the menu?
Tandoori Lamb Chops
6.    Name some celebrities who frequent your restaurant? 
This is one of the power dining spots of Washington DC. Hillary Clinton, Stevie Wonder, Michael Douglas, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Madeleine Albright, many Senators, world bank chiefs, Shakira and  Condoleeza Rice.  

7.    The dish on your menu that gives the most value for money.
Tandoori Salmon

8.    The best thing about being a chef?
It’s the second noble profession after being a doctor.

9.    The worst thing about being a chef.
Leaves you with very less time for the family.

10.  The best home cooked dish you enjoy. Who makes it?
Rajasthani Gatte , my wife.

11.  If you were not a chef, what would you have been? 
I would have been in the Army
And why? I feel it is a very honourable, sacrificing and dedicated job which makes you serve your country at best & make you a fit, disciplined & decorated gentleman.

12.  One chef you really admire and look upto?
Not one, but I do admire quite a few great chefs and I want to be like them.

13.  What’s the USP of your restaurant?
The first regional Indian fine dining Restaurant in the country, the first Indian restaurant to serve a sitting president. Our hard work and dedication are our USPs as we adopt a keep evolving-keep changing attitude (we just celebrated 25th anniversary & that too on top rating).

14.  What do you like about the city you are in Washington D. C.?
Capital of the world, city with mostly young & educated people, climate.

15.  One guest you wish to be able to create a dish for. Who would that be?
President Obama
And what would you serve him/her?
Chakki ki Subzi (a Rajasthani vegetarian delicacy)

16.  Would you like to share a special recipe or two with our readers?
Sure, these are two easy to adapt recipes:

Shrimp with tail, peeled & deveined (16-20)       20 each
Lemon juice                                                                    1 tbs
Curry leaves chopped                                                    1 tbs
Salt                                                                                  1tsp
Red chili powder                                                              half teaspoon
Black pepper ground                                                      half teaspoon
Fennel seed ground                                                       1 teaspoon
Oil                                                                                           1 tablespoon     

Mango diced small                                                          1 cup    
Sugar                                                                                     1 cup
Lemon juice                                                                       1 tablespoon
Cardamom ground                                                          1 teaspoon
Salt                                                                                         half teaspoon

Marinate the shrimps with rest of the ingredients.
Keep them aside for 2 hours.
In the meantime, prepare chutney by cooking all the ingredients (except cardamom) together in a sauce pan.
Cook till mango is soft. Add cardamom ground. Check for the seasoning.
Take it off the fire & let it cool.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Put in shrimps & cook till transluscent.
Serve hot with mango chutney.


INGREDIENTS                                             QUANTITY
Chicken Boneless                                            2 lbs
Thai green chilies                                            5 Oz
Cilantro chopped                                            1 cup                                                         
Dill chopped                                                   1 tspn
Onion                                                              1 medium (chopped)
Tomato                                                            1 medium (chopped)
Oil                                                                   2 Tblspn
Garlic Ginger paste                                         1 Tbspn
Turmeric Powder                                            Half Tspn
Red Chili Powder (deghi mirch)                     Half Tspn
Coriander seed powder                                   1 tspn
Salt                                                                  To Taste
Lemon juice                                                    2 tspn
Clove ground                                                  5-6 each
Green cardamom ground                                5-6 each
Fennel seed ground                                         1 tspn

1.      Cut the chicken in pieces & wash.
2.      Ground cardamom, clove & fennel.
3.      Ground green chilies into a paste (adding little water).
4.      Heat oil in a pan, add onions, fry for 15-20 minutes till golden color.
5.      Add ginger & garlic paste, saute for 2 minutes till oil separates.
6.      Add the spices (powders) & fry for few seconds.
7.      Add tomatoes cook for few minutes till oil separates. Add salt.
8.      Add the chicken & cook till it gets almost cooked.
9.      Add dill, cilantro & green chili paste. Cover the pan for about 2 minutes.
10.  Add lemon juice & grounded clove-cardamom-fennel.
11.  Serve hot.

Garnish with halved cherry tomato, ginger julienne.
Can also add spinach (blanched & made into paste) to make more green & healthy.