Navratri Feast at The Square, Novotel Mumbai

The entrance was suitably festive with a wall decorated with festoons and dandiya sticks, ideal for a short photo session before the hunger pangs hit. The lavish menu with an emphasis on vegetarian fare and Gujarati cuisine had been overseen by Executive Chef Kailash Gundapalli, with a special Tam-brahm counter curated by Food Consultant Geeta Hari. Ms. Hari, resplendent in her pattu podava (South Indian silk sari) ensured that we tried the raw banana bhajias and neer mor (a Tamilian version of buttermilk with lots of green chillies and curry leaves).

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Italian temptations at Alto, Four Seasons Jakarta

Far removed from the commercial and at times, grimy environs of Indonesia’s capital city, Alto at Four Seasons Jakarta offers one of the most elegant dining experiences a couple of newly weds can hope for. Jakarta was our final stop in Indonesia but we were determined to make the most of it. And with a…

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The curative power of friends and a good breakfast

I’ve had some of the best breakfasts in my home city – Mumbai. Be it brun maska and mawa cake at an Irani café or croissants and coconut crepes at a French one, the city has always filled my belly with good food and my soul with utter contentment. My best friends are also my favourite breakfast buddies. Over forkfuls of syrupy waffles and inappropriately large bites of basil and mozzarella sandwich, we nudge each other to offer up our dreams, secrets and pet philosophies.

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Joss, Mumbai: Swanky Asian dining in the ‘burbs

The pair of chopsticks beside my table luckily had regular cutlery for company. I wasn’t about to embarrass myself by toying with those contraptions in such an elegant setting. So I happily cut into my Vegas Roll (Rs 850), topped with crunchy corn tempura and sank into my seat with satisfaction. The combination of avocado and furikake sprinkle made this sushi quite delightful. Of the three new vegetarian sushi on the menu, this one was my favourite.

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A whiff of the orient at Asia Kitchen & Bar

The newly opened Asia Bar & Kitchen stands in a league of its own as a swanky, spacious and understated restaurant with a fine listing of oriental drinks and food. Purists generally turn their nose up in disdain whenever I mention vegetarian sushi. But Asia Bar & Kitchen once again reinforced my faith in its deliciousness. The asparagus and avocado tempura rolls had a crispy interior and softer exterior. The combination of ingredients and textures, combined with the creamy sauces made this dish a real winner.

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Vero Cibo: Novotel Goa Resort & Spa’s new bistro & bar

It’s not just mountains and temples that are awash with ‘good vibes’. It’s also places like the idyllic, gorgeous and uber luxurious Novotel Goa Resort & Spa at Candolim. An infinity pool against the backdrop of lush coconut trees and grassy green lawns, a state-of-art play area at the reception and the newly opened bistro…

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Papacream, Mumbai: Sweet heaven

I have an on again, off again relationship with ice-creams thanks to my sensitive throat. Never a great fan of simplistic, puritan ice-creams, I am more enthused by ice-cream in combination with crunchier, chunkier, warmer elements like waffles, chocolate cake and cookies. This is why Papacream works for me. They don’t just serve ice-cream. They serve complete dishes using ice-cream as the protagonist. The exception to this rule is of course the Belgian chocolate ice-cream which I recommend you have as is, in a cup or waffle cone just for its pure perfection.

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Tasting menu at Veranda, Bandra

On a rainy afternoon, we troop into Veranda, a recently opened fine dining restaurant located on the first floor of Hotel Executive Enclave, Bandra West. My first reaction is that it’s incredibly beautiful. Walls adorned with Indian art, classic white interiors set off by multi-coloured, floral chair cushions, lots of indoor plants and pretty lamps and a refreshing view of the rainy landscape outside the large windows do create the illusion of a veranda. Chef Monish Rohra greets us immediately upon our arrival and leads us to a corner table beside a window.

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Asado the Cocktail Street

Bandra is the go-to ‘cool’ haunt for practically everyone in Bombay. Whether it’s the sea you seek or a drink at a swanky restaurant, this artsy Catholic suburb never fails you. But it isn’t often that you come across a place you’ve never heard of. Asado the Cocktail Street has an exotic ring to it…

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Khavanu, pivanu, majjani life!

What is an Irani cafe set-up doing in the middle of Mumbai’s swankiest five star hotel, I wonder. I ought to be glimpsing Salade Nicoise and asparagus quiche; not brun maska and paneer akuri in a place like Pondichery Cafe, Sofitel Mumbai BKC! And then it dawns upon me. The Parsi New Year is almost upon us and the good folks at Sofitel want me to have my dinner “Khavanu, pivanu, majjani life” style.

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The terraced vineyards of Lavaux, Switzerland

Visiting Lavaux was never part of the plan. But one afternoon, during our idyllic stay at the quiet, French-speaking Swiss town of Lausanne, we realised that we wanted more of the beautiful Swiss wine we’d been having at every meal. The locally grown grape is called Chasselas and morphs into a wonderfully fruity white wine…

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