Saturday, March 28, 2015

Finding my Indian Accent!

For the longest time I've been pretty bored of Indian food served in restaurants. I almost never eat Indian food when dining out, if given a choice. I like Indian food cooked at home, with subtlety and balance, delicacy and moderation. To top it, I've had this disdain for all things fusion, especially fusion food, for some reason (I mean noodle stuffed samosa anyone? Uggh!) 

Indian Accent has been in the news for long and I would always bump into Chef Manish Mehrotra at foodie events and embarrass myself by admitting sheepishly to still not having experienced first hand, what his food was all about.

I guess there is a time for everything. I had to grow into appreciating Indian food all over again after a long chilly, wintery, desert of detachment. We landed up at the oh-so-genteel 'The Manor' that houses Indian Accent in New Friends Colony after a few twists and turns along the route. But the moment you step into The Manor, you understand why the chain is called 'Old World Hospitality' after all. The place has the feel of a rather opulent house and for once you do not miss the overly polished environs of a five star hotel. It is so good to have these different and delectable options in dining today that are a class apart.

Chef Manish Mehrotra is so relaxed and warm, chatting us up with a natural charm. The restaurant is packed on a Sunday afternoon but I see him mingling with each and every table with an inherent savoir faire.

I decide to go for the Chef's non-veg tasting menu with fair chance of sampling some veg options too. If the mini-naans oozing with cheese are a preamble to this meal, I know it is going to be one helluva ride.

The starter is an exquisite cauliflower and saffron soup that arrives in dainty black stone cups. Never ever ever have I tasted cauliflower in such an ethereal form. I beginning to get butterflies in my stomach at what Manish is going to conjure further. And then it begins, platter after stunningly plated platter of stunning, simple, sumptuous and almost sensuous display of Indian food. Yup! Its all Indian, afterall, I find myself gulping and eating my words, at my illogical ignominy of Indian! 

Read on to know how Chef Mehrotra systemically smashed my ivory tower of ignorance of how Indian food can be reinterpretted so smartly:

We start with Potato Sphere Chaat White Pea Ragda, age-old chaat dish that looks like a golgappa stuffed with something, except the entire sphere is made of fine potato vermicelli, crunchy to the core and delicious.

Next up the Soft Shell Crab, Flame Roast Coconut, Tomato Pickle Chutney, presented in a modern rustic twist.

Duck Khurchan Cornetto, Golden Garlic Raita,Chilli Chutney is actually a dish one could expect to greet in Alice in Wonderland and that explains the bemused expression on the kiddo's face by now.

Beetroot and Peanut Butter Tikki, Caper Wasabi Chutney is like poetry on black canvas, popping with colour and vitality. Yeah its got those quinoa pearls too, splashed with pizzazz.

Prawn Pakoda, Lime Pickle Cream is a sublime example of being one and perfect and complete, a masterpiece indeed.

Khandvi Gnocchi is pretty innovative but by now I am trying to just taste the carbs (it's a lost battle I know but nevertheless!) Manish loves sprinkling crunchy junkfood we Indians love as garnish. I saw a lot of khakra, kurkure and moong dal mixture in places. 

Yes on the Dal Moradabadi with Jodhpuri Chur Chur Paratha too. Maybe it was not required here, because the dal is delicious on its own reminding me of my Naani and the Paratha definitely had an ounce of my Daadi's love.

Ghee Roast Mutton Boti, Rumali Roti Pancake, Trio of Chutneys is simply exquisitely presented, an Indian version of a classic Peking Duck serving, I thought it was brilliant presentation.

Fresh Pomegranate and Churan Kulfi Sorbet in a Pressure Cooker. I mean how cute is that!

Rice Crusted John Dory Moilee, Market Greens and Pinenut Poriyal in the main course is classic three times over.
Avocado and Pomegranate Raita is something I lick the last teeny weeny spoon of off the square bowl. This has been more than a square meal indeed, something that inspires no dinner at all.

But Chef Mehrotra's Indian Accent isn't done yet. The dessert platter has a Dhoda Pie that tastes as if the dhoda was created in interior Punjab to always be incased in a pie! I give up I give up I give up. Indian is not boring. Indian is not boring. Indian is not boring. I repeat about a hundred times as I finish the meal with the choicest churan ki golis and aam-papad served on a cot. A cot is what one can dream of after having such sumptuous fare. Kudos to Chef Manish Mehrotra. May the Indian Accent travel far and wide!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Roger Wright appointed General Manager of Hyatt Regency Gurgaon

March 2015, Gurgaon: Roger Wright has been appointed General Manager of Hyatt Regency Gurgaon.   He joins the 451 room Hyatt Regency Gurgaon with over 30 years of international hotel experience.    Mr Wright has led twelve 5-Star and 5-Star Deluxe business and leisure Hyatt and internationally branded hotels across the Asia and Pacific Region.

Mr Wright’s knowledge of hotel operations, positioning, financial and strategic focus, combined with a deep personal commitment to the Hyatt brand, will play a vital role in further developing the Hyatt Regency Gurgaon’s position as the city’s “logical first choice” for anyone seeking a top quality large (40,000 sq. ft.) 5-Star hotel for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).   Mr Wright is recognized internationally and across India as an experienced “hotelier” and “industry leader”. He recently commented, “I am delighted to be back in Gurgaon and with the opportunity to lead an incredibly committed group of hotel professionals, each with their own commitment to quality, guest service and innovation.   The vision of our owners has led to the creation of some of the largest and best presented MICE spaces in India.  These incredible facilities coupled with the creativity and style of Hyatt has created a backdrop that supports our continuing business and demand growth”.

In an earlier three year tenure as General Manager with a large 5-Star Deluxe Gurgaon hotel, the hotel led group wide key result indicators for guest satisfaction, and was the number one Rooms Revenue performer across their Delhi and NCR large hotel competitive set.   The property was also recognized in the annual “International Hotel Awards” as “Best Hotel India” in three successive years, most recently in 2013-14.   During Mr Wright’s tenure, “Luxury Hotels of the World” awarded the property their prestigious “2011 Best Luxury Hotel & Conference Centre - India”, award.   During this earlier three year tenure in Gurgaon, Mr Wright was personally recognized in the annual Indian National Tourism Association / PATWA’s awards as the “2011 Top Hotelier India” and was the following year a finalist and first runner up in the “2013 Hotelier India Awards – General Manager” category.

A native New Zealander, Roger first joined Hyatt as pre-opening Director of Rooms of the Hyatt Regency Fiji.   He then moved to various Hyatt Regency properties including the Hyatt Monterey in California followed by General Manager Positions at the Hyatt Kingsgate Rotorua, Hyatt Regency Mumbai, Hyatt Regency Cheju in South Korea and the Grand Hyatt Beijing in the P.R.China.

He recently returned to Gurgaon from his home on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland in Australia and will be joined by his New Zealand educated, Fiji born, native Hindi speaking Indian wife, Marilyn.   Marilyn and Roger have three grown up daughters, Shirin, Yasmin and Zarina.   The girls all live in Queensland.

About Hyatt Regency Gurgaon
Hyatt Regency Gurgaon is the first Hyatt property to open in Gurgaon and is the largest convention hotel in the city. The hotel houses the largest meetings and events space of over 40,000 sq. ft. and the highest inventory of 451 well-appointed spacious guestrooms in the city. The hotel is strategically located off the Delhi-Jaipur National Highway 8 and is a 40 minute drive from Indira Gandhi International Airport. The hotel offers multiple dining options like Lavana, the signature restaurant serving authentic Awadhi cuisine, The Lounge, the perfect place to unwind with its comfortable and relaxing ambience, The Long Bar, a stylish  and casual bar and Kitchen District, featuring five open kitchens which work in harmony to form a unique culinary experience. There are also a number of recreational services available at the hotel including the Shvasa Spa, the fully equipped fitness centre and the relaxing outdoor pool. Reservations for Hyatt Regency Gurgaon may be made by calling (0124) 618-1234 or visiting

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Celebrate Womanhood with Raasta

Gang with your girls and raise a toast to the strength of womanhood. Raasta dedicates this Sunday for Women’s Day celebration at their Hauz Khas outlet in all its glory. Keep the celebrations in full swing as the Lounge is all set to charm its women patrons with a dedicated menu for the night. Loosen up yourself as set of drinks are on the house.
On this special occasion sizzle the dance floor on the beat of DJ Paddy. Chomp on the lip smacking Caribbean dishes and gulp down some booze to get the conversation flowing. It’s time to take a break from the regular busy schedules to experience a perfect girly night out this Women’s Day at Raasta.
So all you pretty ladies out there, book yourself this Sunday to get high on foot tapping numbers in addition to some tongue tingling bites.

What: Ladies night with DJ Paddy@ Raasta

When: Sunday, 8th March, 2015

Where: Raasta Hauz Khas, 30 Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi 110016

Time: 7:00pm-10:30pm