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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Independence Day 1947 Menu, Taj

On August 14, 1947, the entire country waited for the stroke of the midnight hour.. It was sweet moment as it meant India was now free... And at that very moment, the elite across the city of Mumbai had come together at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel's grand ballroom for the celebratory Indo-French feast. The hotel is renowned for its architecture and grandeur. Infact, what is even more fascinating is its role in the country's freedom struggle. Established away back n 1903 by Jamshetji Tata, the Taj Mahal Palace has an illustrious history that interestingly predates the construction of the Gateway of India. 

Another piece of history I came upon is that Sarojini Naidu stayed for long periods of time at the Taj was not charged given her role in the freedom struggle. And it was right here at the Taj that Viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten bid India adieu while standing on the front steps making his farewell speech. 

[Photo: Taj Mahal archives]]

As the country gears up to celebrate 70 years of Independence, Taj has dug deep into their archives pulling out all stops to recreate the dishes served on the very day at the Taj Mahal Palace to the elite audience. Yes, they have made minor changes, given that times have changed and food scene along with it. But it is such an honour to enjoy the food that was said to have been whipped up by the finest French chef along with their Goan- Bengali counterparts... The portion sizes are fairly large, considering people back then had quite a healthy appetite.. :-) 

What is served at the meal... 

Veloute d'Amandes - Cream of almond soup 

Kebab platter- Paneer, Broccoli and hará bar a palak kebab

 Vegetable Fricassee with herb pilau

 Vacherin de Peches liberation

The menu will be served between August 12 - 15 across Taj properties -Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai; Taj Palace, New Delhi; Taj Coromandel, Chennai; Taj Bengal, Kolkata; Taj West End, Bangalore; Taj Krishna, Hyderabad, Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad and St. James Court, A Taj hotel, London.
Meal for one will be priced at INR 1947 plus taxes

The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  :) 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Robin Hood Army out to feed 1 million people on Independence Day!

Have you heard of the Robin Hood Army??  Well, this is a group of people who came together with the objective of providing food to the needy on a regular basis... yes, it is not a one off event, or a campaign, but it is an endeavour to make sure people get food .. 

The Robin Hood Army is a registered NGO, but it doesn't function like one -- it's a volunteer-driven body that's decentralised. Every city has its local chapters, and people and restaurants in each area feed the homeless in their neighbourhood 

Facebook page - Robin hood Army

This year, on independence day they aim to conduct a food drive to serve 1 million people across India and Pakistan. In Chennai, they are are aiming to serve 100k people across the long weekend leading up to Independence day and would appreciate any sort of help. 

If you are an organization that would like to partner with us, you can contact Bhisham at +91 98849 85343.

If you would like to donate food/beverages, raw material you can contact Bhushan at 9790997354.

If you would like to volunteer, you can contact Avinash at +91 90941 04191.

For any other queries you can contact Archit at 9840532143 and if your the shy types write to us at

Alternatively you can also go out on your own and distribute food, and tag your city and #mission1million and post on social media or call any of the above numbers and let them know how many people you served.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

‘Spirit of the Earth’- Annam with Rakesh Ragunathan

How many kinds of rice do you know? I probably know about 5-6.. And so it was a revelation of sorts when I discovered there are over 30+ kinds of rice.. And today at the Spirit of Earth's Annam event I learnt about a handful from this lot and how they are not only healthy, but versatile as well. 
I got a chance to meet Smt. Sheela Balaji [Chairperson and Managing Trustee of AIM for Seva] who shared that ‘Spirit of the Earth’ is an initiative that hopes to promote healthy living. Situated in Mylapore, the initiative is born out of AIM for Seva's office. Here they also sell Organic Heritage Rice, handmade products using natural fibre made by tribal women of Anaikatti, Coimbatore, and handwoven cloth and paper creations by the residents of Krupa Home (a residential facility for the differently-abled). One will also find books on good living written by Swami Dayananda Saraswati here. 
Along the shelves you will find raw and par-boiled versions of seven varieties of rice grown in their 40-acre organic farm spread out in the soils of the Kaveri delta in Manjakkudi, Kumbakonam. These varieties of rice are all organic, heritage, non-hybrid, pesticide-free in nature and rich in nutrients. Some of the rice grown and sold are Iluppai Poo Champa, Kaatu yaanam, Kala jeera, Kichali Champa, Karuppu Kauvuni, Mapillai Champa, and Thooya mall.   All these varieties are not only rich in nutrients but come with a plethora of health benefits as well. There is a history to these and it is quite fascinating to hear them today [trying to relate to them to the period they belonged to] 
Not just that, each rice has a peculiar name and there is a story behind that as well. For example, Kaatuyaanam got its name because it grows over 7 feet tall, tall enough to cover a wild elephant and hence the name. Katu meaning forest and yaanam meaning elephant. The rice keeps diabetics and arthritis under control, boosts immunity and protects one against skin problems.
Mapillai champa got its name because back int eh days in small villages, they would invite the newly wed couple to the bride's home for a feast the day after the wedding. This rice variety is known for visor and virility and so a biryani was made with this and served to the groom. ;o) [talk about being forward]
The Kala Jeera rice is from the Koraput region in Orissa [Kora is set of tribal people who hail from a small village and this was all they knew to cultivate]
Aim For Seva had organised Annam event partnering with Rakesh Raghunathan, who is passionate about food to cook and offer inputs on a few of these rice varieties, giving the audience a glimpse into the world of indigenous rice. Across the two hour session, we saw how Iluppai Poo Champa Bonda, Mappilai Champa Halwa using the fibrous rice and  Kala jeera rice pulao was made. Rakesh went on to explain how each of the rice varieties were packed with healthy nutrients, could help deal with various health conditions and how they can replace the regular rice used at home. 
It was quite an insightful and interesting event, esp for someone like me who loved to cook and experiment with ingredients. He also told us about Lila pulao. Apparently the food that Jains eat during the fasting period was called Lila Khaana and so this pulao got its name from the same.  
Well, I got back home and yapped on & on about all these rice varieties with grandmon who herself hadn't heard of half these varieties. We decided to buy a few varieties and try some recipes at home. Now that project is still pending, but shall happen soon. It is amazing the kind of food history we have in our country and across the borders. Just wish some of the lost trends would be reintroduced ... 
The dishes

 The store.. 

Spirit Of The Earth 
Open: Monday – Friday
Timing: 10 am to 5 pm.
3rd Floor, Srinidhi Apartments,
No 4, Desika Road, Mylapore
Chennai – 600 004
(For more information, contact Sumita: +91 95000 82142)

Facebook page - Spirit Of The Earth to know more about their events and products.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Nawabi Food festival, J Hind GRT Grand , Chennai

I havent been to GRT Grand in ages and I did read about how the hotel was hit bad by the Cyclone last Dec, which led them to renovating the entire place. Must say, it looks smashing now.. Complete makeover! It had a swanky plush look, as against the slightly outdated earlier look. I was headed to J.Hind, the restaurant on the ground floor that was hosting a Nawabi food festival with the Nawab of Arcot. 

The month-long celebration of Nawabi cuisine will showcase the best-kept secrets of the royal kitchens for foodies in Chennai. Over the last month, the team of chefs from Grand Chennai by GRT Hotels visited the kitchens at Amir Mahal, spent time with the staff, and learned the nuances of the centuries-old cuisine. The Nawabs of Arcot are well-known for their heritage and culture, but not as much is known about their cuisine and so this festival was a good way to introduce the dishes to the world.. 

Some of the dishes on the 12-course degustation menu include saffron infused subzi galouti tikka, Dungara paneer tikka, patti samosa, pathar ka gosht, anda jhinga tamatar, Arcot gosht biryani, sundried tomato roti, and Nawabi paan shot among others [a good mix of veg & non veg dishes].  

The other cool aspect of this food festival is that the Chef shows off various techniques that most of us have seen only on MasterChef or other such international cookery shows. There was Spherification,  sous vide, use of liquid nitrogen, the smoking gun with apple wood and few other techniques as well that were shown off to the guests at the table. Now, while these were fun to watch and I was quite kicked that our Local chefs were incorporating the techniques into the cooking, I hope they are paying heed to safety aspect as well. The dishes were presented in fine dining style, some on a rugged looked plate, while others were served in a jar or a large container of sorts. 

Starting with the trio of amuse-bouches kicked off the meal, followed by the simple yet flavour packed soup - Narwal dodo ka shorba which was poured onto a bowl that had a small potli filled with spices. And then came the 1st show of the evening, the Focaccia Sheermal, a chat dish was prepared with liquid nitrogen in play. And with each dish, we had some element of surprise in either the technique or the way it was presented. Agreed the theatrics was fun, but the bottom line is the food quality, right?!

I enjoyed most of the veg dishes, the tomato based main gravy was odd  I couldn't put my finger on it. Loved the daal and paneer sabzi, with the sun dried tomato roti. There was a veg version of the biryani which was like a well made pulao... With ref to the desserts, I enjoyed the Badam halwa the most. Dont eat paan, so did not try that. And the jackfruit ice cream served with frozen rose was not really my thing- i dont like the fruit nor do i like flowers.. but there were many around who loved the dessert..  My friend who had come along was impressed with few of the non veg dishes but he felt the Biryani was a let down... 

The 12 course degustation menu will be available for lunch and dinner, and is priced at INR 1450++ (vegetarian) and 1650++ (non-vegetarian). More on this festival can be found here

GRT Grand 120 Sir Thyagaraya Road, T. Nagar; Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600 017

Call for reservations: 044 28150500


The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  :)