Having Kashmiri food in Delhi is a phenomenon in itself. As we were declaring our unremitting love for Kashmir, Shangri La’s Eros Hotel invite for The Kashmiri Wazwan delighted us to the core. The menu includes some of the best dishes from the state prepared in authentic style. A unique amalgamation of food from the kitchens of the Kashmiri Pandits and the Muslims, the food also sees seamless integration of the vegetarian and non- vegetarian fare. Kashmiri Pandits avoid the use usage of onion and garlic. Instead they base their dishes around a lot of tomatoes and other Indian spices. Mughal influence also plays a role; that’s why the dishes are predominantly non- vegetarian comprising of mutton, chicken and fish which are mildly spiced. The Kashmiri Food Festival will go on till 12 February.
Distinct elements of the Wazwan were spread out before us. We started off with the Mutton Seekh Kebabs, lamb marinated with Kashmiri spices and cooked in clay oven which gave a nice kick to the palate. Kashmiri Baingan and Paneer Tamatar reflect the cooking style of the Kashmiri Pandits with the former cooked in pran paste and the latter cooked in tomatoes and pran paste. The Kashmiri Pulao is something not to be missed. The Basmati rice are flavoured with saffron and simmered in lamb stew giving it a very distinctive taste with liberal quantities of nuts sprinkled on top. Saffron also imparts a nice colour apart from the flavor. Paya Shorba was a perfect blend of Kashmiri spices slow cooked which gave it a comforting aroma.
Coming to the star elements of Kashmiri food, Tabak Maaz, Rogan Josh and Murgh do Pyaza really stood out. All of these dishes can be cooked in different ways with or without onion and garlic. Tabak Maaz was soaked in yoghurt till tender and then fried. It was nicely cooked and was juicy. Rogan Josh, braised lamb chunks cooked in traditional spices with the striking red colour imparted from the use of chillies was enjoyed well with Khameeri Roti. The ‘murgh’ was succulent and had the right flavours. A large amount of fat was used in the dishes representative of the fact that it helps the natives to survive the harsh climate.
Meanwhile we had Kehwa (traditional tea of Kashmir) to wash down the meal. The Walnut chutney, a perfect accompaniment was nothing like its austere raw form. Mirchi Korma, Gushtba and Rista followed with their rustic flavours. Pretty much the same spices are used in their preparation but the use of yoghurt or tomato makes all the difference. Mirchi Korma is deep fried lamb cooked in Kashmiri spices in onion and tomato gravy whereas Gushtba and Rista are pounded with a wooden hammer and fat is added to keep the balls moist. Gushtba is cooked with curd and milk in Kashmiri spices and pran masala. Rista is cooked with cardamom and chilli powder in pran masala.
We ended our grand meal with a Phirni. Team Salt and sandals recommends a visit!
Where: Shangri La’s Eros Hotel
Lunch: INR 2100 + taxes
Dinner: INR 2300 + taxes
Most people who enjoy a good Indian meal outside have heard of Sanjeev Kapoor’s flagship restaurant chain, The Yellow Chilli. If we haven’t visited one already, it’s on the “soon” list we keep tucked away in our minds for the next time ghar-ki-daal just isn’t cutting it. My wait for the next such occasion was cut short when The Yellow Chilli launched its 2nd outlet in Mumbai. The Salt & Sandals team was lucky to be part of the grand launch, and boy, our taste-buds sure were thanking us after!
AN INNOVATIVE SPIN ON INDIAN CUISINE
The restaurant has a contemporary ambiance made warm by the hand-painted Mumbai skyline and Dadar station signs adorning the walls. We were still marveling at that when Padma Shri chef Sanjeev Kapoor walked in to greet the crowd. The most well-known face of Indian cuisine was perfectly at home in his fine-dining restaurant, and charmed the audience with his wit and repertoire.
Only his food could supersede his charm! Servers kept an array of bite sized appetizers coming. From Misal Bruschetta to Curried Lemongrass Paneer, the food offered both familiarity and a little something new for the taste buds. It’s the kind of creativity that makes you feel warm and welcomed. Take their Kolhapuri Mini Pizza for instance. Its flavor beautifully juxtaposes the Kolhapuri masala on a mini pizza bread. Not what you’d except in an everyday pizza, but not so far-out so as to become unsavory.
Even the cocktails came with a punch, with Kokum Mojito reminding us of the globalization in culinary world.
DIVING INTO THE MAINS
The Yellow Chilli main course menu at Dadar offers an exciting range with some regional influence as well. Mumbai’s favorites like Solkadhi, Kothimbir Wadi, Kolambi Masalafry, Mutton Rasa etc sit proudly amidst the signature dishes of restaurant.
Sanjeev Kapoor’s signature dishes on the menu include Hare Masaley ka Bhuna Paneer, Shabnam Ke Moti, and Lalla Mussa Dal etc in the vegetarian section. The non-vegetarian section also hosts the favorites like Lawrence Road Tandoori Murg, Puran Singh Da Tariwala Murgh, Raan Buzzaki, Galouti Kabab, and Dum Ghosht Biryani etc.
The delectable dessert spread will also leave you spoilt for choice, with the likes of Gulab-e-Gulkund, Cappucino Coffee Cake, and Butterscotch Lava etc. adorning the menu. They also have Motichoor Trifle which simply blew my mind.
TO SUM IT UP…
The Yellow Chilli offers delicious and innovative Indian cuisine, along with a fine-dining experience that won’t blow a hole in your pocket. This restaurant gets a tick from us in all boxes, and we highly recommend you visit them soon!
Art Zone by Pullman launches its 3rd exhibition ‘Patch of Blue’,Venkat Shyam’s iridescent world of colours, in collaboration with Ms. Ina Puri, Art consultant and Documentarian and Art and Aesthetic Art Gallery. Venkat’s paintings are a magnificent selection of his recent works that draw upon the life of the tribal artist in contemporary times. The deliberately naive & stylised narrative touching upon the myths & culture of the Gond tribe is magical in its use of colour & forms. Venkat’s exceptional work impresses once again & draws attention to a genre that is age old & cutting edge.
From culture specific painting to highly abstract themes, Venkat has done it all. He believes an artist must bring freshness to the time honoured themes. “When one looks at my paintings, one must feel they are traditional but at the same time, there have to be new elements in them,” he says.
Art Zone by Pullman is a project that is a manifestation of the hotel’s own design vision. ‘Art Zone by Pullman’ program has been created as a new initiative intended to add elements of local interest, culture intrigue and visual ingenuity to the hotel’s communal space as a real need has been identified to facilitate the implementation of arts within the hotels. We at Art Zone by Pullman are excited about hosting a series of art events that will focus on contemporary art in India. The lower ground floor around the courtyard will henceforth be called ‘Pullman New Delhi Aerocity Art Zone.’
“Pullman Hotels and Resorts have an incredible affiliation to design, art, photography and local culture and collaborate with artists and designers around the world to help bring its design vision to life. Pullman New Delhi Aerocity with its strong ‘Art’ connect has associated with renowned art curator and documentarian Ms. Ina Puri and Art & Asthetic Art Gallery for Art Zone by Pullman.” says Mr. Tristan Beau De Lomenie – General Manager, Pullman Novotel New Delhi Aerocity.
Venkat Raman Singh Shyam’s works reflect upon the mythical & contemporary truths that inspire his art. The patch of blue sky that appears like a leitmotif is alive with birds, stars & the crescent moon says Ms. Ina Puri, Art curator and Documentarian.
About the artist
Venkat Shyam, has been sketching and painting since he was seven years old. Every scrap of paper, even the blank spaces on the walls of his home were covered with his charcoal drawings. When Venkat’s uncle, Jangarh Singh Shyam, visited in 1983, his eye caught the image of Shridi Saibaba on the wall and the sketches of houses and insects in the margins of the newspaper. He asked Venkat to come to Bhopal to paint after he had completed his studies in the Sinjhona village school.
His first painting was of the goddess Khero Mai, who protects the village from evil spirits and to whom he had prayed before he left for Bhopal. When Jangarh saw the painting and called him a “donkey”, Venkat knew his uncle was pleased with his work. Later, Venkat went to Delhi, where at various times he worked as a cook, a rickshaw puller, a mason, an electrician, putting most of his earnings into buying art materials. Here, he would often visit the well-known contemporary artist, J. Swaminathan. Swamiji’s affectionate manner and the respect he showed, treating Venkat as a fellow artist, would always lift his spirits. Jangarh Shyam death in 2001, came as a severe blow to Venkat. He decided then and there that he would do nothing but paint. Through his artistic journey of three decades, Venkat has integrated both modern and traditional stylistic influences in his work. Venkat has travelled extensively in India and to many European Countries, where his works have been exhibited. He was awarded the Rajya Hasta Shilpa Puraskar by the Madhya Pradesh Government in 2002. He was also the coordinator for an animated film of a Gond folktale, made by Tara Douglas, which won an award in the Tallest Story Competition in Scotland.
About Ms. Ina Puri
Ms. Ina Puri is a writer, art curator and a documentarian. She has authored several books, including In Black & White (a biography of Manjit Bawa), Faces of Indian Art (iconic artists seen through the lens of Nemai Ghosh) and Journey with a Hundred Strings (on the music and life of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma). Ms. Puri produced Meeting Manjit, a film on Manjit Bawa, which won the National Award. She is currently the Editor of Art Varta.
She recently published a pictorial memoir on Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma titled, The Man and His Music. Her latest book is Raghu Rai’s Kolkata, the distinguished photographer’s fascinating narrative of the city and its people. Ms. Puri’s three-decade-long engagement with the arts embraces everything from tribal art and folk theatre to contemporary performing arts, visual arts and literature. She stays in Gurgaon with her husband, Ravi, son, Arjun, and canine soulmate, Leyla.
About Art and Aesthetic
‘Art and Aesthetic’, an art gallery based in Lado Sarai, New Delhi, started its journey of promotional initiatives in 2012. Providing both domestic and international forum to art and its practices, it strives to reach out to wider audiences and form fresh and meaningful connections across globe.
With a clear vision, a focused agenda and an honest commitment to its artists and viewers, ‘Art and Aesthetic’ aims to introduce programmes to facilitate an inspiring and creative environment that provokes public dialogue through contemporary art – making.
Its interactive programmes will provide an ideal opportunity for intensive and resourceful sessions on innovative thinking and new perspectives on world art. The gallery has had an enriching exposure through participation in art fairs in Berlin, The Hague, Mumbai and 16 solo and group exhibitions in New Delhi.
The University of Edinburgh and British Council India celebrated with Burns Night Supper, an evening of friends to commemorate Robert Burns, a Scottish poet and lyricist who played a significant role in Scottish culture. The supper night witnessed Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Vice Chancellor & Principal, the University of Edinburgh and Alan Gemmell OBE, Director British Council India welcoming the guests at British Council, New Delhi.
About the Poet- Robert Burns
Born on January 25, 1759, Robert Burns is the national poet, or bard, of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is known as one of the best poets who has written in Scots and English, with his writings often being blunt when it came to political or civil commentary.
Burns Night is a celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns, as fans all over the world come together around his birthday with bagpipes, poetry readings, singing, and feast on traditional Scottish delicacies mainly the haggis, tatties, and drinking Scotch whisky.
About the Event- Burns Night Supper
Speaking at the event, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Vice Chancellor & Principal, the University of Edinburgh said, “Burns Night is one of the biggest celebrations in Scottish culture, and this year, we are tremendously pleased to be here in India to celebrate it with our Indian friends and colleagues. The University of Edinburgh’s connections with India stretch back over many centuries and today we are working in partnership across India to address a wide range of challenges. From solar power and water purification technology, to cutting-edge stem cell research, the protection of wildlife, and the improvement of livestock husbandry, our collaborations with institutions across India are a vital part of the University’s global ambitions.”
Burns Night with a twist
This year, as an extension of the Indo-UK relations, Burns Night Supper was organised for the first time. The traditional meat haggis was served along with an interesting vegetarian version. A great ceremony was made of carrying the haggis out of the kitchen, accompanied by a bagpiper and then was set down at the table. The reader addressed the haggis, reading the poem “Address to a Haggis” by Burns, as the guests greeted with enthusiastic applause and toasted the haggis with whisky.
Traditionally made from sheep offal and spices; the vegetarian haggis has a delectable set of ingredients such as carrot, swede, leek, celery, oatmeal, barley, lentils, onion, mushroom, kidney beans, chick peas, and spices, packed into a vegetarian (non-edible) plastic casing and boiled.
About the Night
The evening then saw the humorous highlight of Burns’ works that was designed to praise the role of women in today’s world. Always delivered with grace, charm and wit, this savaging of the lads’ crude dispositions and social inferiority is always accepted with good humor by the men present.
Overall loved my evening! Looking forward to the next set of events.