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Batlivala and Khanabhoy

Batlivala and Khanabhoy

A new cuisine in a city is a challenge and very few places are ready for something like that! Parsi cuisine is one such! An empty restaurant on a Sunday evening is not a great sign for any place, but when a new cuisine is been around for a while, I guess, there needs a lot more work to educate people about the cuisine, especially if you are opening a restaurant without having a ready market. Take the Korean and Japanese restaurants, for example! There is an abundance of expat crowd from the respective countries who would be happy to be customers, but Parsi? I'm not so sure. My experience was one where I had to tell people to keep an open mind. 3 couples were out for dinner and 5 of the 6 of us wanted to walk out at various stages. The odd one out was me! Different people had different opinions about the food and the most common was, "it is so bland." The slightly funny tasting spicy papads were a hit among everybody. No complaints. The starters passe

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Upali, Simply Sri Lankan, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Upali, Simply Sri Lankan, Colombo, Sri Lanka

I've never had a jackfruit gravy! I don't think so! With a tanginess from tamarind and some kind of a mango-gravy-ish flavours, the dish, GATA POLOS, was the epitome of our lunch which introduced us to some wonderful Sri Lankan cuisines in Colombo, aptly named Upali, Simply Sri Lankan. The king coconut opened our lunch. Perfect thirst quencher for a hot day and for the visitors like us, it added a visual element to the meal. With a tinge of lime and the slightly different flavour from our own tender coconut, we were set for the Sri Lankan lunch. While very similar to our cuisine, specifically Kerala cuisine, there is so much difference too. The similarities and the differences are wonderful for an exploring palate. Like an Indian lunch, rice is the staple! Rice with three vegetables and a chicken or fish gravy was the norm. The differences were in the sides. Like that supremely wonderful jack fruit gravy, the POL SAMBAL, which was like a dry chutney m

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Lombardy Food at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency

Lombardy Food at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency

Don't judge a chef by one bad meal! Lesson learnt! When I first met chef Ferrari, yes, that is his name, the setting wasn't perfect. There were too many people and the food simply did not live up to the mark. I wasn't even interested in going back or writing about it. A few months later, the Lombardy Food festival shows up and now we see what a little super star this chef is! Italy, like most countries, has varied cuisines within the country and though similar, each region has its own charm. Lombardy or Milanese cuisine is the region of the risotto! And yes, extremely healthy quantities of butter! And fried cheese! So as you might guess, there is no dearth of flavour! The best way to enjoy a dinner here is to tell the chef a budget and the meats you don't eat and ask him to feed you! Trust me, it is better than your choice! Choice is extremely overrated and this way you get to taste a lot more dishes! Our dinner started off with a Pear and Gorgo

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Lagoon, Cinnamon Grand, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Lagoon, Cinnamon Grand, Colombo, Sri Lanka

We've seen Marina! Not the beach, but the restaurant. Lovely place, isn't it?. And then there is Lagoon which is Marina on steroids! While Sri Lanka is known for sea food, didn't except a scene like this in a 5 star hotel. I mean there was a full big Sting Ray on display! Phew.  Simply the size of the fishes and crabs on display were mind boggling. The restaurant being packed, we were happy to be seated outside by the mini stream filled with fishes and the air with fishy odour. I guess that set the tone for the dinner and the evening. One poor guy who was vegetarian for that night (or month) was stuck with us and while all of us felt sorry for him, no one wanted to give him company.   He did enjoy some Kala Kung with some green curry on his own. Back to the plot. Our host in Sri Lanka went all out on his orders. Cuttle Fish batter fry, crabs, lobsters and prawns were on the table. I think our friend's heart was also on the table, though

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Selvi Mess, Salem Bypass Road

Selvi Mess, Salem Bypass Road

Have you heard of a pure non veg restaurant? OK, maybe you have! But have you heard of a restaurant that doesn't want vegetarians to step inside? Something like having a board as soon as you enter warning you that there is no veg food. And then reiterating the message again at the end of the board? I've not! The food has to be excellent for them to get away with something like that! It was! Just a couple of dishes were mind blowing! The chicken fry. That's it, no complicated names. The waiter (in mufti), says that he will tear the chicken apart and just fry it with masala. Oh it was yum. I mean like really really yum! And then the dish of the day. The Katla Fish Fry! Some spell it Catla. For someone who is not fish fan and then skipped graduate school to a direct post graduation in fish eating (read as, started eating sushi directly), I've never come to like cooked fish. I know, that sounds strange. I do here and there, but this fish was something. Ye

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Kongu Parotta Stall, Erode

Kongu Parotta Stall, Erode

I wasn't even offered a choice! It was lunch time and he parked the car outside the hospital and took a few minutes trek and Voila! "When in Kongu Nadu, eat Kongu parotta," he said ushering me into the a/c room portion of the restaurant. Outside was a factory. Parotta factory. The dough was puffy. Like an air pocket inside it. I was already dying to taste the parotas. They were everything that my friend said they would be. Fluffy like crazy, soft like meat and yummy as he!! Since they serve you a little spicy gravy on the side, there is no need to order something to wet the parotta, instead you could get something else on the side! We got ourselves the Quail Roast. While I wasn't expecting the whole bird, that's what arrived! Yummy fried bird. Chicken Kongu Biriyani finished the meal. The biriyani was spicy and had a slightly overpowering flavour of garlic that gave it a unique taste. While I'm not sure if this is how the Kongu Biriyan

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5 course dessert with Chef Vikram

5 course dessert with Chef Vikram

Secret to success? I'm sure there are many! Some may suit you and some may not! One that is absolutely essential (unless you win a lottery, which technically, is not success but getting rich) is pushing your limits! It could be anything. Today morning, I pushed my limit when I simply got out of bed! For a lazy @ss like me, that is pushing the limit. Or even eating at the same restaurant twice in two days. No wonder, I am sitting and writing a food blog! Then there are others who push limits that are already stretched for the average Joe! When a post takes off on twitter and friends start cursing me for leaving them behind or not helping them get a reservation when Chef Vikram is in town, I had to push another limit! Go on the knees and request the chef to entertain friends for dinner. "I'm out of supply and we are fully booked," was the answer. "But I could do dessert like you guys did a few years back." Ear to ear grin. Don't know whe

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