Fifth Foodie Meetup: Chef Madhu Menon at Herbs and Spice

Chef Madhu Menon

Chef Madhu Menon

When Chef Madhu Menon (of Shiok fame) promised to dish out a six-course meal to a bunch of food-lovers, there was (understandably) a virtual stampede to register online. There were only 28 slots available, and each person was limited to booking two slots. At 9.45am on the day registration was thrown open, I spent a good half-hour staring at the registration page and hitting refresh. At 10am sharp, my fingers blazed across the keyboard and my registration was confirmed. I was lucky – registration closed a record-breaking two minutes and 10 seconds later, with all 28 slots being booked.  Keep reading…


In Search of Total Perfection, by Heston Blumenthal

In Search of Total Perfection, by Heston Blumenthal

Any man who sticks his head-chef into an MRI machine and feeds him chilli-infused oil to see which areas of the brain “light up” in response to capsaicin deserves my respect. When the same man puts several pieces of marinated chicken into the machine to see how deeply each different marinade penetrates, I am consumed with the urge to commit bigamy (sorry, Spouse, I love you and all, but you have never put chicken in an MRI machine for me).

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Jiggs Kalra at Jamavar: Mewari Cuisine

Lunch with a friend

When you get a call from the country’s best-known gourmet, you answer your phone at once, and snap to attention. When you get a call from a friend, you answer your phone,  drop whatever you’re doing and make the time to break bread together. If the friend in question is the country’s best-known gourmet… well then, you’re one lucky ducky *insert smug smile.*

Jamavar at The Leela Palace recently showcased the cuisine of Mewar, Rajasthan in the form of a menu that the aforementioned gourmet/friend created through painstaking research into the history and culture of the region. He insisted that I sample the wares, and I gladly accepted.

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Cantonese Cuisine: At Home

Gavin struts his stuff

I enjoy “Indian Chinese” food. I even enjoy “American Chinese” food. That said, I have often wondered what the good people of China think of perversions like “Gobi Manchurian” and “General Tso’s Chicken”. A random tweet, from Gautam John of Pratham Books, bemoaning the lack of authentic Chinese food in Bangalore, sparked an idea.

Gavin Mak, who belongs to one of Bangalore’s oldest ethnic Chinese families, has been catering at our home for years. While Mak Hospitality, his catering company, dishes out some very good Indian, kinda-European, and desi-Chinese cuisine, Gavin  never serves authentic Chinese food, because he believes that “no one will eat or appreciate it”. I made a deal with Gavin: If I could find 10 people who would enjoy the “bland” flavors of true Cantonese cuisine, he would have to come and cook it himself.

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Secret Garden Café, Edward Road

Secret Garden Pasta

Making pasta at Secret Garden Café

Secret. Garden. Café. Three of my favorite words, all in a row.

Tucked away on Edward Road (betcha dunno where that is) off Queens Road (a clue, but eight out of 10 of you still won’t find it), this garden – okay, rooftop – café is so secret that only a select few know it exists. Which is a pity, really, since they serve some very good food indeed.

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Gina Braganza: Farewell

The Queen of Good Times :)

The Queen of Good Times 🙂

By the time I first met them, I’d heard so much about Gina and Carlton Braganza that I felt I already knew them. I’d visited Opus, their rocking little Goa-themed restaurant on Palace Road Cross a couple of times. My take at that time: decent food, inadequate service, bad sound system, great vibe.

In my role as editorial and copy consultant for the newly launched Food Lovers magazine, I contributed a column called “Inside Story”, in which we dined at the homes of various Bangaloreans to explore their attitudes to food and hospitality. The Inside Story written for the magazine’s second issue took place at the Braganza home.
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