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Villa Maya, Trivandrum, Kerala

Villa Maya, Trivandrum, Kerala

"Wel gome to Vella Maaya," she said with the classic Kerala accent. The guy smiled with a 'first time?' coming right out of him. My eyes were all inside. The courtyard was magical. A place like this could be magical at night, but in broad daylight? It was magical then too. I was walked straight into the lobby space with two nice large sofas and loungers on either side of the entry. The wooden staircase that leads to somewhere equally magical, I suppose, was a treat for the eyes. The property was still sinking into me. The beautiful lawn. The orchids on the wall of the lawn. The pencil art on the wall on either side of the large door. Everything was magical. The toilets....oh man. The toilets were so inviting, that if you decide to stay and sleep there, you would be forgiven. The wooden stairs that I thought was leading to some magical place actually led to the master bedroom. It had two large beds. And equipment placed in a way that you can ha

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Seafood Festival, Lotus Thai, The Park

Seafood Festival, Lotus Thai, The Park

I haven't been to THE PARK, in ages. To Lotus Thai, well, at least not in the last 3-4 years. Lotus Thai was the go-to place for premium Thai, but once they shut for about 10 months before relaunching last year, it has skipped my radar. Until tonight when the seafood festival really caught our attention. My cousin, a theeni pandaram from birth (read, well meaning version of foodie in Tamil) wanted to see (or taste) an entire menu of seafood in Thai cuisine. While that is not uncommon, it is uncommon in Chennai. So, off we went. Started off with some nice crackers (basically appalams), but non veg ones. The prawn crackers were cracking! The garlic crackers were cracking too. We regretted filling our tummies as there were lots to try. Three stunning dishes stood out! Like really shining. While waiting for them, we did gulp down some drinks. A green tea mojito was fabulous, with just a hint of aftertaste of green tea and the Rose Lemonade was a nice and ref

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Cuisine of Navaitha's at ITC Grand Chola

Cuisine of Navaitha's at ITC Grand Chola

In a city like Chennai (and I think this applies to most of South India or even the whole country), anything with rice and a little orange colour is called a Biriyani. No wonder, tomato rice gets the bad name!!! Which is why when something looks and feels like biriyani, but is actually not and then to not call it the biriyani takes a lot of guts. I've enjoyed the Kitchens of India series at ITC Grand Chola. Apparently they send their chefs to the homes of those being showcased and they spend about two to three weeks to really understand the cuisine before being showcased. Their first one, which had the Nawab of Arcot's home cuisine was so good that I started following the series. This time around, its the Navaitha Muslim's flavours being showcased. This cuisine apparently started off from Tipu Sultan's times and is an integral part of Bangalore, albeit a lesser known one. Which is why, I loved the fact that the fantastic dish, the Yakhni Pulao wa

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Ministry of Crab, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Ministry of Crab, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Two fantastic cricketers. One Chef. A noble intention. No ego branding. This deadly combination brings in a fantastic restaurant. The Ministry of Crabs. While it also makes it to Asia's Top 50 restaurant list, it also operates out a quaint little space in the Old Dutch Hospital in Colombo. A picture speaks a thousand words, but some pictures speak a thousand pictures. This one prawn photo that I posted on instagram went viral (by my standards) and the one question that most people had was, "Is that shell on?" Nope. It was without the shell, but the head was intact." So, we thought we were not going to Ministry of Crabs. After unsuccessfully trying to get a reservation for dinner, including blowing my trumpet about this blog, I was waitlisted. Our host in Colombo was able to get us a place for lunch and after nearly missing our place because of a delayed meeting, we barely made it, just before they were going to release our table. The place was full

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Saturday Brunch at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency

Saturday Brunch at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency

The last time we had the Saturday brunch at Focaccia, Roberto was around. It was a client meeting and he stunned them all. The meeting went well. The two times I went after the chef left, I came out feeling, 'I miss Roberto.' The risottos and tiramisu and the things he could do were simply excellent. He is an Italian after all. I was excited when I heard the another Italian chef is going to take over Focaccia. Being the only Saturday brunch in the city, Focaccia has a clientele that is hard to take away. I mayn't be able to understand why the newly expanded brunch came before the new chef, but I guess it was time. You had to make up for not having Roberto. So my friend from Germany, who with his wife is a self proclaimed Italian specialist with their vast eating out in Italy, joined me for brunch. It looked fabulous. There were crabs and fish and large prawns for the grills, an extensive dessert counter, a mellowed down cheese counter (actually no

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Intercontinental Chennai Mahabalipuram

Intercontinental Chennai Mahabalipuram

That night was magical. While, it felt like entering a fort with its high walled security entry, the moon light on the bridge that runs through the property was truly magical. It was serene. The view of the pool from the bridge was intriguing. Like a blast from the past.....I mean well past, like a few civilisations past. The pool like the Harappa and Mohenjodaro pool. With the moonlight on it. Some things change for better, I guess. After a long long wait for the property to be up, the sprawling resort on ECR is up, but in a new avatar as the Intercontinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort. While not really a beach resort, the beach is walkable. The place has an intriguing feel because of the way it is built. It feels like it has too many characters. The lobby is eclectic. With straight stairs going up to the extremely well planned out bar with a spacious outdoor space, a royal indoor space and a modern side to it, the lobby and bar alone seemed to have multip

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