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Pravaas – Embark on a Culinary Journey Of India In London

If you are looking to experience the vibrant tapestry of Indian Flavours with a fresh, modern, stylish, fusion take, where every bite tells a story…then look no further! Pravaas in the plush South Kensington hood of London, by acclaimed Chef patron Shilpa Dandekar is a refreshing addition to the capital’s culinary landscape. Pravaas’s  culinary journey began with a deep respect for the roots of Indian cuisine. Chef Shilpa draw inspiration from the diverse regional flavours and time-honoured recipes passed down through generations. It’s a celebration of the culinary heritage that makes Indian food a tapestry of tastes. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International. 

Every dish that leaves their kitchen and arrives on the table is evidently a labour of love. The chefs pour their expertise and passion into each creation, ensuring that it not only tastes exceptional but also carries the soulful essence of Indian culinary traditions. The are embracing traditional cooking techniques that have stood the test of time. The result is a harmonious fusion of tradition and innovation on the plate.

Just as the seasons change, so do their menus. They celebrate the bounty of each season, incorporating seasonal produce to enhance the freshness and authenticity of their dishes. It’s a nod to the age-old Indian tradition of cooking with the rhythms of nature.

Every single dish which comes out of Chef Shilpa’s kitchen seems to have been made with love, which is clear with every mouthful. To Shilpa, spices are so much more than just ingredients – they’re the beating heart of every dish, no matter which menu discerning diners plan to indulge. Enjoy this truly exclusive experience in the luxury of these private surroundings.

Chef Shilpa’s time time tested creations are now the signature dishes of PRAVAAS and include Wasabi Chicken Tikka, Venison Dalcha or Red Snapper and Palourde Moilee. Make sure you leave room for dessert because the rendition of Shahi Tukra is not one to miss. There is also an impressive menu of delicious signature cocktails to choose from and great wines are carefully selected to complement the food offerings.

A meal experience at Pravaas is an extraordinary one, with a side of impeccable service by professionally trained staff. The decor is  charming as is the ambiance. The vibe is relaxing too, music is soothing and food which is not only well presented but also tastes great, with generous portion sizes. All in all Highly Recommended! 

Looking for the perfect venue to host a private dinner? Look no further than Pravaas in South Kensington. With just 30 covers upstairs, the restaurant already boasts a suitable air of intimacy, but if you’re looking to push the boat out that bit further, head on downstairs to the private dining room.

Offering the ultimate fine dining experience, their private dining room seats 20 guests. The space offers an intimate, exceptional dining experience – perfect for meetings, special occasions or private dinners.

The private dining room bursts with character. While ceramist Colin Johnson’s interactive Moonflower installation cleverly plays with both light and form, the large chef’s window really steals the show, giving diners unprecedented access to head chef Shilpa Dandekar’s kitchen and the magic her team creates.

About Shilpa Dandekar: Chef Patron and owner of Pravaas, South Kensington

Taking years to meticulously hone her craft, Shilpa Dandekar has developed a reputation as one of London’s leading female chefs.

Her wealth of experience spans more than 4,500 miles, igniting with impressive beginnings learning her trade as a trainee chef with India’s famed Taj hotel group. A move from her home city of Mumbai to the UK in 2005 resulted in a discovering a new, previously unexplored talent for cooking modern British food. Various pubs shaped Shilpa’s modern British techniques and until she found herself revisiting her roots and embarking as a sous chef at London’s renowned Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Quilon.

While Shilpa’s time working for Chef Sriram Aylur taught her everything she needed to know about precision, it was through her next star chef employer, Raymond Blanc, that she developed her passion for the intricacies of European cooking that had been absent from her younger years. Quickly recognising her potential, Shilpa was appointed as Head Chef of the first Brasserie Blanc (near Bank) which she credits as a real starting point for her career.

As her exploration of the capital’s culinary scene continued, Shilpa found herself increasingly mystified by the lack of creativity on offer in contemporary Indian dining. She wanted to finally marry her two culinary loves together – the pairing of (ancient) traditional Indian dishes with more modern flavours and techniques found across dishes in Europe. In 2014, Shilpa took the plunge and started her own business with husband Faheem Vanoo. First came a successful takeaway and home delivery unit in South West London before launching her first bricks and mortar restaurant PURE INDIAN COOKING in Fulham. 

Now, 10 years on, Pravaas in South Kensington is the realisation of all Shilpa and her family wanted to achieve. A destination shaped by years of expertise. Somewhere that her unyielding passion for the culinary arts and her insatiable desire to explore various kitchen styles allow her to create some truly exceptional dishes. Remaining steadfast to the essence of authentic fine Indian cuisine, Shilpa and her team extend a warm invitation for you to embark on a new culinary venture, where the flavours resonate with the very heart of India.

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New Japanese Restaurant Brings Authentic Flavours to Gurgaon

Your next step should be the prawn tempura (vegetarian option: seasonal vegetables) dusted with shichimi salt; the accompanying light and warm ‘tentsuyu’ sauce will add zing to your experience…reports Sourish Bhattacharya

A highway can sometimes transform the dining scene of a city. Two expressways definitely can.

In the case of New Gurgaon, the once-sleepy outpost of the Millennium City on NH-48, the Dwarka-Gurugram and Delhi-Mumbai expressways are bringing it closer than ever to both Delhi and Manesar’s Japanese-dominated industrial townships.

These expressways, and the residential condominium complexes coming up around them, are dramatically transforming the area’s landscape and presenting new opportunities to its solitary five-star hotel, Hyatt Regency Gurugram, which opened in 2013 and was last in the news when the Ministry of Home Affairs selected it as the venue for the G20 Conference on Crime & Security.

To celebrate New Gurgaon’s increasingly international profile and re-establish its first-mover advantage, the hotel opened an izakaya-style Japanese casual dining restaurant-cum-bar named Shin’Ya this past week on May 23.

The 40-seater restaurant with minimalist decor and Japanese cafeteria-style seating, and music that gets pumped up as the evening progresses, does not need a lot of decorative embellishments because it is the food that does the talking here.

And in the hands of its presiding chef, Adi Melaz, an Indonesian master of Japanese cuisine previously with The Oberoi New Delhi, the classics are served just the way they’re meant to be. So, if you’re Japanese, it will bring tears of nostalgia to your eyes, and if you’re a local in search of authentic — and not Californicated — fare, Shin’Ya, which means ‘midnight’, by the way, has to be your next pit stop.

From the gyoza (seared prawn dumplings) with a drizzle of a sweet and tangy sauce (tangy, because of the yuzu juice in it), to the addictive sweet miso-glazed melt-in-the-mouth black cod served with ‘hajikami’ (pickled ginger) sticks and ‘umeboshi’ (sour pickled plum) to balance the sweetness of miso, Shin’Ya doesn’t let you down.

In between, you can progress from the classical miso soup, just the pick-me-up you need after a long drive from Delhi to New Gurgaon, with the vegetarians having the option of digging into a creamy soup of roasted kabocha pumpkin and leeks.

Your next step should be the prawn tempura (vegetarian option: seasonal vegetables) dusted with shichimi salt; the accompanying light and warm ‘tentsuyu’ sauce will add zing to your experience.

Next on the menu were the sushi, and the chef, being a sushi master, decided to surprise us (pleasantly!) with the Black Dragon, which combines the crunch of soft shell crab tempura with the oiliness of slivers of unagi (eel).

Combined with cucumber, tobiko (flying fish roe) and mayonnaise, it’s an unusual sensory experience that you bite into.

Incidentally, the alternative for vegetarians, spicy avocado rolls, may not be as exciting, but even they score high in the taste test.

The chef’s selection of sashimi — ‘maguro’ (tuna), ‘hamachi’ (yellowtail), ‘sake’ (salmon) and ‘hotate’ (scallop) — presented artistically on ice shavings, will make you fall in love with raw fish. Dipped into soy sauce charged up with wasabi (horseradish paste), the sashimi are indeed quite a treat.

For vegetarians, the alternative is asparagus and sesame ‘wafu’ dressing, which are not quite the same as sashimi!

From sashimi, progressing to the miso-glazed black cod (king mushrooms for vegetarians) is just what you’d want to do to go back home with a pleasant high (even if you have not had a couple of cups of sake!), but the chef had another plan for us.

Japanese meals do not end on a memorably sweet note, but the culmination of our meal was sesame pudding with azuki beans and a generous topping of ‘kuromitsu’ brown sugar syrup (similar to but thinner than molasses).

As you’d expect after a good Japanese meal, you feel satiated yet light, and go back home with a supreme sense of satisfaction.

Shin’Ya is a welcome addition to Delhi-NCR’s rather limited number of Japanese restaurants. Its minimal look disguise a languid dining experience loaded with gustatory pleasures.

ALSO READ-CARBONE to Open in Atlantis The Royal Dubai in 2025

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Cinnamon Bazaar Richmond: A Kaleidoscope Of Flavours, Colours And Spices In A Leafy Suburb

Inspired by the hustle and bustle of global bazaars – where ingredients, trends and ideas have been exchanged for centuries – the menu showcases a range of vibrant, pan-Indian street food style dishes, as well as new innovative vegan-friendly plates, created by Executive Chef and Founder Vivek Singh and Head Chef Rakesh Singh. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

At Vivek Singh’s Cinnamon Bazaar discerning diners can have spiced-laced breakfast eggs, setting the stage for adventurous dining, to vibrant sharing plates and creative cocktails, Cinnamon Bazaar Richmond promises to be the new talk of the town.

Start your day with the house special parathas – warm, homemade flatbreads filled with the likes of keema lamb; potato with a hint of chilli; or cauliflower and cheese. There’s also eggs aplenty including Bombay-style scrambled, healthier options of fruit and bircher and, for heartier appetites, the fully loaded Big Bazaar Fry-up.

As the day progresses, diners are invited to explore a diverse selection of sharing plates, each showcasing a rich tapestry of Indian spices and ingredients. Kick-off with snacks such as Makhani Popcorn with fenugreek leaf and spices before choosing your chaats from a choice of seven- must tries are the Pineappel (sic) Kasundi with caramel puffed rice, the Benarasi Tomato Cashew and the Aloo Tikki, a spiced potato cake with curried white peas, chickpea sev and chutneys.

Larger plates include creative spins and spice-laced classics, such as the Toddy Shop Pepper Fry with stir-fried shrimps, cracked pepper and curry leaf; along with plant-based twists – think Vivek’s new Veganjosh Shepherd’s Pie with root vegetables, soya nuggets and mince, topped with potato ‘chokha’. Finish off your Indian feast with a sweet fix of chocolate and paan mousse, with palm jaggery and nutmeg ice cream, or carrot and ginger toffee pudding with banana ice cream.

Pair your meal with creative cocktails that pack a flavourful punch with choices such as Pink Me with Woodford bourbon, strawberry and orgeat bitters and the Cinnamon Bellini with prosecco, cinnamon syrup and gold dust. Alcohol-free options include the Berry Burst and Mango Lassi – a Bazaar special with mango, yoghurt and cardamon.

The bold interiors reflect the food and are inspired by India’s eclectic bazaars with a mix of bold and playful colours, bright neon signs and striking patterns. Feature walls and ceilings are plastered with Indian newspapers with items such as mirrors, teapots, vintage tins and books strewn throughout. There’s also a spacious al fresco terrace, seating 48, offering the perfect spot to soak up the atmosphere and watch the world go by.

A bazaar brings people together – whether that be to meet, work, drink and eat – and this the ethos behind Cinnamon Bazaar Richmond. Meet friends for a chat over chai, enjoy a working breakfast, a flavoursome lunch or dinner, or pop in for a cocktail.

FnB columnist Riccha Grrover caught up with chef extraordinaire Vivek Singh…

RG- What is your future aspiration for your brand? 

VS- We are approaching 25 years of Cinnamon Collection, and in those years, a lot of the visions we had for ourselves have been accomplished along the way. Cinnamon Collection has changed the potential of Indian dining in this country and many people have been influenced in the industry by the work that we have done which has, in turn, enabled people to think differently in the context of Indian fine-dining and elevated Indian cuisine. With the 5 restaurants that we have developed over 20 years, every single bit of success has come from the realisation of some tradition, however, looking ahead, we would still like the Cinnamon Collection to be at the forefront of the movement of introducing the world to Indian cuisine. As well as this, we would like to continue to seek opportunities and successes by being part of an industry of talent, new ideas and ambition. 

RG- What keeps you motivated in your business and craft? 

VS- The things that keep me motivated in my business and craft are very much the same things that motivated me 25 years ago – it is the people. The people who work with us, the people who come and experience the food and the people who are there for any part of the journey.

RG- What is your mantra of success? 

VS-Always being on the go, never standing still and constantly exploring new experiences, new ideas and new opportunities. As well as this, staying positive and always striving to develop more!

RG- What has been your inspiration that got you to this stage of your successful career? 

VS-I think there are two inspirations that have gotten me to this stage of my career. One is realisation, as a Chef I believe you are only as good as your last service, you always need to stay on the ball and concentrate to keep things consistently good. Two, is that you need to enjoy the journey, success or not, whatever comes your way, enjoy it for what it is.

Excellent attentive service, charming interiors, relaxed vibe, outstanding taste, brilliant presentation, generous portion sizes, eclectic menu choices…Vivek Singh’s Cinnamon Bazaar Richmond is truly a showcase of spice and all things nice! Highly Recommended! 

All about Chef Vivek Singh 

Vivek Singh, Executive Chef of the Cinnamon Collection has a global reputation as one of the masters of Indian fine dining, Vivek Singh’s signature culinary style marries modern Indian flavours with Western techniques and is one of the most inspiring Indian chefs of his generation

Executive Chef & CEO of six restaurants (The Cinnamon Club in Westminster and Dubai, Cinnamon Kitchen in Battersea and the City, and Cinnamon Bazaar in Covent Garden and Richmond), author of six cookbooks and a regular face on both television and live cookery events across the country, Vivek Singh is one of the most inspiring Indian chefs of his generation.

Chef and Restaurateur

The Cinnamon Club first opened its doors in 2001 at the historic Grade II-listed Old Westminster Library and has been redefining the expectations of Indian cooking ever since. Vivek liberated Indian food from its traditional shackles and crafted a brilliant marriage between Indian flavours and western fine dining styles. The Cinnamon Club is now a benchmark for fine dining Indian restaurants around the world.

In 2008, Vivek opened his second restaurant in London, Cinnamon Kitchen City. Located in Devonshire Square – rather fittingly within the former warehouses of the East India Trading Company and a stone’s throw from London Liverpool Street station – the restaurant was the City’s first tandoor bar and grill and includes the chic, spice-infused destination cocktail bar, Anise.

Following this, 2016 saw the launch of Cinnamon Bazaar located in Covent Garden. Inspired by the hustle and bustle of ancient and modern bazaars from around the world, the restaurant blends Old World flavours with The Cinnamon Collection’s renowned modern Indian culinary style to create a unique cultural dining experience.

In 2018, Vivek opened another Cinnamon Kitchen outpost in the new Battersea Power Station development and in 2021, Vivek partnered with Park Hyatt Dubai to open his first international outpost, Cinnamon Bazaar Dubai.

And March 2024 sees Vivek bring Cinnamon Bazaar to the leafy suburb of Richmond. With an all-day menu, open from breakfast through to dinner, Cinnamon Bazaar Richmond is designed to transport diners to the colourful markets of India with its vibrant and playful interiors.

Chef Vivek Singh, the Author

With critical acclaim came consumer demand and Vivek wrote The Cinnamon Club cookbook in 2003, quickly followed by his second publication in 2006, The Cinnamon Club Seafood Cookbook, and a third, Curry: Classic and Contemporary in 2008.

His fourth cookbook, Cinnamon Kitchen: The Cookbook, focus on the dishes of his second restaurant released in 2012, while his fifth cookbook, Spice at Home, published in 2014, combines recipes from his home both in India and the UK, and connects the two cultures with spice and technique.

In 2017, Vivek published his sixth highly anticipated cookbook, centred around glittering Indian festivals and beautiful celebratory feasts called Vivek Singh’s Indian Festival Feasts.

Chef Vivek’s TV Appearances

Widely regarded as one of the most articulate and inspiring Indian chefs of his generation, Vivek regularly appears on television with regular appearances on leading British cookery shows such as Saturday Kitchen and MasterChef. In September 2019, Vivek featured on new Channel 4 show, Snack Masters.

ALSO READ: Luxury French tea emporium in London’s Covent Garden: Mariage Frères

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Luxury French tea emporium in London’s Covent Garden: Mariage Frères

Luxury tea emporium, Mariage Frères brings true tea savoir-faire to the capital in its beautiful five-storey listed Georgian townhouse on Covent Garden’s King Street. Step inside and Mariage Frères’ meticulous attention to detail, and commitment to quality, is evident in every detail and product, from the elegant retail space and restaurant, specialising in tea gastronomy, through to the two private events spaces and the tea museum. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

THÉ Mariage Frères continues to set the standards in luxury teas offering an unrivalled and the largest collection of tea in the world from its apothecary-style wall, stretching to over 1,200sqm. Organised like the grandest of wine cellars with exceptional crus composed of subtle and sophisticated blends, all are available by the weight from antique black canisters. Discover 1,000 aromatic varieties from 36 tea-producing countries

Unique and specifically blended for Mariage Frères first London store is the Covent Garden Morning – a luminous black morning tea with aromatic notes of hazelnut.

Recognising the 19th century roots of the brand, 170 years later Mariage Frères continues to offer a traditional and artisan approach to tea-making. Tea specialists, dressed in white linen, are on hand to offer customers expert advice before they purchase their chosen blend from the vintage cashier booth, recreated in the style of the original stations manned by the Mariage brothers back in 1854.

Other products, including seasonal collections, all beautifully packaged in an eye-watering array of jewel-like colours, include an assortment of tea-flavoured and tea-scented items from incense through to confectionary, gift sets, distinctive teapots and teacups, books, strainers and tea paraphernalia.

For those looking for a luxury grab-and-go experience or an elevated lunch, Mariage Frères offers over 50 types of freshly brewed tea alongside the most beautiful looking, freshly prepared open sandwiches, sweet and savoury pastries.

SALON DE THÉ

On the first floor, discerning diners are seated either in the Voyage, an elegant gallery, flooded with daylight from the atrium above and surrounded by an intricate listed heritage balustrade, or in the beautiful White Himalaya room surrounded by antique tea canisters. Walls are adorned with modern art and prints featuring the creative imagery used in Marco Polo tea campaigns dating back to the 19th century.

Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, Mariage Frères’ unique Cuisine au Thé concept runs throughout the menus, using tea as a delicate ingredient, spice or flavouring in every dish. Exquisite presentation, generous portion sizes with flavours on point, impeccable service with suggestions at hand, charming interiors and decadent vibe,  makes it a meal experience to remember and is highly recommended!

Light and contemporary dishes include avocado guacamole-style with Japanese Matcha green tea and sweet potato crisps; seared Thai-style beef tartar seasoned with Lune RougeÒ tea, honey soy sauce, ginger, cashew and toasted sesame; veal with Jasmin Bohème tea; roasted chicken with smoky Black Léopard Tea jus; and Saumon Matcha with sautéed spinach, Siam rice and barberries. Tea-infused desserts are a delicious work of art with the likes of Rouge in Love with Paris Over the Rainbow rooibos tea-candied strawberries with cream, bourbon vanilla shortbread and French meringue; and a decadent Carré D’Or, a 24-carat dessert of dark chocolate covered with Black Magic Tea and 24-carat gold leaves. Their green, blue, black and red teas sitting alongside fruit teas, vintage varieties, unique harvests and the brand’s with white, yellow, signature Marco Polo blend.

All-day brunch is served every day and is an integral part of the Mariage Frères menu with Parisien set meals, all featuring freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, toasted brioche with Gelées Extra de Thé and Aquitaine butter; a tea-infused dessert, choice of tea and a Mariage cocktail or glass of champagne. Enjoy with scrambled eggs seasoned with Sel Matcha, artisan marinated smoked salmon and shrimp, Japanese matcha green tea fromage frais with herb and pomegranate-glazed salad; or roasted, braised and confit of vegetables in I Have a Dream tea.

The afternoon teas are a must try with a variety on offer including the King Street Afternoon Tea with a choice of savoury amuse bouche and pastries; or enjoy a warm freshly baked Parisien fruit scone with Mariage Frères Gelées de Thé.

As well as a vast range of teas and champagne, Mariage Frères offers a selection of stunning tea cocktails including the Opéra Blue Dream, blue tea with red fruits, vanilla aromas and gin; the Mariage’s with Marco Polo Rouge red tea syrup and champagne and a Mirabeau Ballet, black tea with red hibiscus blended with liquorice, lychee and white rum.

MUSÉE

The Musée du Thé on the second floor showcases tea antiques from around the world enriched by the Mariage Frères family’s personal collection from their years travelling at sea. Hand-illustrated oak and beech tea chests, pewter tea boxes, Chinese furniture made of carved wood, caddies, cannisters, teapots, old archives and an array of curiosities line the walls, providing a fascinating insight into the history of tea.

SALON PRIVÉ

For private events and tea tastings, two private rooms, accommodating up to 30 seated and 50 standing, one with its own terrace; are available.

Mariage Frères was founded by brothers Henri and Edouard Mariage in 1854 and has been operating out of the Marais district of Paris ever since 1854. Over one hundred years later, in 1983, this heritage was adopted by two ‘outsides’ – Richard Bueno from Holland and Kitti Cha Sangmanee from Thailand – who decided to breathe new life into it. Joined in 1987 by another great tea lover, Franck Desains, the new men at Mariage Frères developed a unique gourmet approach to tea, now known as ‘French tea’. Its exceptional reputation, specialist tea salons across the world, gourmet products and unique Cuisine au Thé concept have created an iconic French brand favoured by haute couture fashion houses, supermodels and celebrities.

The brand is currently stocked in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols as well as in some of London finest restaurants and hotels including The Rosewood, Claridge’s, and Hide. Their Products are also available to buy online.

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Seasonal Culinary Creations at its Best: W London

Perception Lounge at W Hotel London offers a diverse array of delectable bites, enticing guests with a variety of flavors and textures. The Head Chef Rohan Almeida with his team has lined up a tantalising seasonal menu for the spring summer season this year. A feature by FnB Columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Among the appetizing options is the Salt and Pepper Squid, featuring tender squid delicately seasoned with salt and pepper, accompanied by a tangy fermented chili dip. For seafood enthusiasts, the Tuna Tartare presents a refreshing blend of flavors, combining fresh tuna with creamy avocado puree, zesty soy honey and lime dressing, creating a harmonious symphony for the palate. Another seafood delight is the Crispy Black Pepper Shrimps, showcasing plump prawns coated in a crispy black pepper batter, served with a delish sweet chili and garlic dipping sauce.

For those who prefer poultry, their Chicken Satay offers succulent chicken fillet strips, grilled to perfection and served with a rich and nutty peanut dipping sauce. Meanwhile, the Crispy Fried Chicken boasts a delightful fusion of soy and ginger-marinated chicken, expertly fried to achieve a crispy exterior, paired with a creamy buttermilk dip for added indulgence. Vegetarian options are also abundant, with highlights such as the Crispy Cauliflower & Broccoli Tempura Florets, featuring a crunchy exterior enveloping tender florets, served alongside a luscious vegan satay sauce dip.

Guests seeking a heartier options can indulge in the Crispy Confit Pork Belly Bon Bons, offering succulent bites of pork belly coated in a crispy shell, complemented by a delectable sesame chili garlic and apple sauce. The menu also features a selection of W Bao’s, featuring crispy chicken or marinated tofu nestled within pillowy steamed buns, accompanied by a spicy Sriracha mayonnaise or vegan alternative. For a lighter option, the Tacos showcase inventive combinations such as Tuna with soy, ginger, and avocado, or Avocado with cucumber, coriander, and chili, served on delicate tortillas for a satisfying bite-sized treat. With its diverse range of offerings, Perception Lounge promises a culinary journey this summer that will delight the senses and satisfy a range of palates.

Diners will also have an array of other options to choose from. The Asian poke bowl combines rice, Wakame, carrots, edamame beans, cucumber, and radish, drizzled with sesame dressing and wasabi mayonnaise, topped with peanut crunch for added texture. For a refreshing bite, the Xi’an Cold Skin noodles salad presents a delightful mix of cucumber, beansprouts, carrots, and cabbage. Seafood lovers may opt for the Yusheng salad featuring smoked salmon, daikon, carrots, red cabbage, bean sprouts, and wakame. Meanwhile, the classic Caesar salad offers a timeless choice, available in both regular and smaller side portions.To customize their salads, patrons can choose from a selection of toppings, including fried tofu, grilled chicken, or grilled shrimps, each adding its own distinct flavor profile to the dish and elevating it ofcourse.

Moving on to mains, the menu showcases a blend of international flavors and comforting classics. Burger enthusiasts can indulge in the W Burger, a classic meat burger embellished with lettuce, tomatoes, sliced onion, pickle, and served with fries in a charcoal and linseed bun. Toppings such as matured Monterey jack cheese or sweet cured bacon are available to accentuate the burger experience.

For those craving British fare, the Fish & Chips features salt and battered cod accompanied by chunky chips, tartare sauce and mushy peas where the fish surely provides a satisfyingly crunchy exterior and tender fish within. 

Alternatively, the Steamed Whole Sea Bass offers a lighter option, infused with soy, lime, spring onions, and chili, served with jasmine rice for a fragrant and flavorful meal. Vegetarians can savor the Redefine meat burger, boasting harissa yogurt, avocado with a side of sweet potato fries.

In the rice bowl section, highlights include the Coconut prawn curry with wild rice, topped with curry leaves for an aromatic finish. Sweet and sour pork with pineapple and peppers, served with jasmine rice, offers a tantalizing balance of flavors. For noodle enthusiasts, the Ramen noodle broth presents a comforting and hearty option.

Complementing the main dishes are a selection of sides, including spiced corn ribs, fries with various seasoning options, garden leaves salad, and sweet potato fries, catering to different preferences and cravings.

To round off the dining experience on a sweet note, the dessert menu features indulgent treats such as Passion fruit and mango cheesecake, Mochi ice cream in a variety of flavors, Sticky toffee pudding with honeycomb and vanilla ice cream, Fried bao bun sandwich with apple pie filling and vanilla ice cream, and an Asian ice cream selection, offering a delightful conclusion to a memorable meal at Perception Lounge.

Exceptional service, charming interiors, classy vibe, delightful presentation and outstanding dishes both in terms of portion and taste, it’s all Highly Recommended! 

About Head Chef Rohan Almeida 

Chef Rohan has over a decade of experience in the hotel industry. Originally from India, years ago he came to the UK to pursue his dream; to further study culinary arts and hospitality management in a west London college after which he started his culinary journey in one of London’s leading five star hotels -Grosvenor House, A J W Marriott hotel at Park Lane. During his tenure at JW Marriott he got a chance to work with well known chefs like Nigel Boschetti, Robert Stephens, Paul Hallet, from whom he learned a lot he feels. Currently Chef Rohan is handling the role of Head Chef for W London. With a unique blend of creative flair with a true passion for food, his engaging interpersonal skills, he has a strong record of streamlining kitchen operations and ensuring best food quality and service standards. He believes in maintaining traditional recipes though giving innovative new-age presentations.

About W Hotel, London 

Located in Soho, every main attraction in central London orbits this luxe landmark hotel within walking distance. It’s a pedestrian’s paradise for shopping, food and entertainment. Everything from Leicester Square to Carnaby Street and Covent Garden is a love letter to your hedonistic heart. It has luxurious rooms and suites with a playful design and a touch of Cool Britannia

The Perception Lounge 

An urban oasis where music, fashion, and design come together at the right frequency. Curvy lounging corners and a spacious design invite night owls to come and vibe to invigorating music & events programming. Urban edge meets London glamor for drinks.

ALSO READ: A fusion of art and science, not just a Bakery: WHEATY

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A fusion of art and science, not just a Bakery: WHEATY

Wheaty-Wheat.Heat.Eat is the ultimate destination for a diverse selection of all-natural, slow-fermented, high hydration breads, each crafted with love and precision in small, artisanal batches. The brand takes immense pride in delivering a delightful and wholesome experience, ensuring that everything they offer is hot, fresh, and free from preservatives, with an emphasis on enjoying it right away to savour the peak of flavour. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Wheaty’s journey began as a heartfelt lockdown hobby, where the visionary behind Wheaty, founder, Mr. Varun Tuli, MD of Yum Yum Cha, discovered his passion for the art of bread-making during those initial weeks of confinement. Mr. Tuli’s dedication and enthusiasm knew no bounds, and as soon as the lockdown was lifted, he enthusiastically imparted his newfound knowledge to his talented bakery team, laying the foundation for what we now know and adore as Wheaty. 

Wheaty is not just a bakery; it’s a testament to the fusion of art and science, where each loaf of bread is meticulously crafted to perfection. Their repertoire of breads includes the divine 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough, the comforting and soft Milk Bread, the classic and crispy Baguette, and the tangy Olive Sourdough, among many others, ensuring a myriad of scrumptious bites to choose from. 

But wait, there’s more! Their current menu extends far beyond just a variety of breads. Wheaty aims to revolutionise discerning diner’s culinary journey by offering an exciting array of options that cater to all taste preferences. For the first time in Delhi, foodies can now delve into a whole new world of gastronomic delight by ordering our DIY Pizza kit, allowing you to create a mouthwatering Neapolitan pizza in the comfort of your own kitchen. And for those with specific dietary needs, they present an exquisite range of eggless croissants and Gluten-Free breads, ensuring that no one misses out on the joy of indulging in the finest bakery treats. 

But that’s not all – they believe in elevating your dining experience by offering a delectable selection of dips, sauces and other delectable accompaniments that complement their bread offerings perfectly, adding a burst of flavour to every bite. 

Wheaty is much more than just a bakery; it’s an enchanting culinary haven where passion, craftsmanship, and creativity converge to deliver an unparalleled bread experience. The brand invites you to join them on this extraordinary journey as they continue to innovate, explore, and delight your taste buds with the finest offerings from the world of baking. 

Wheaty breads, pizza and pasta packs all have robust authentic flavours offering a diverse range of options catering to various tastes and nutritional needs so there’s something for everyone. Their packaging is attractive and also convenient to unbox, it can even make it a good gifting option with its exquisite presentation; it’s portion sizes when you order are generous; the taste is fresh, world-class and exquisite; it’s all baked to perfection giving you a wholesome experience when you order anything from their varied menu choices! At Wheaty, every loaf indeed tells a tale of flavour, tradition, and innovation! Highly Recommended! 

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Shanghai Noir: A Decadent Indo-Chinese Brasserie in the heart of London Westminster

Descend into an art-deco-infused den of fire and spice as Indo-Chinese brasserie Shanghai Noirbrings intriguing new flavour to the heart of Westminster. Taking up residence on the lower ground floor of the stunning, Grade II listed Old Westminster Fire Station, Shanghai Noir harks back to the heyday of 1920s and 1930s Shanghai with a fusion of powerful flavours, and opulent furnishings. A heady atmosphere that’s heavy with anticipation captures the spirit of the city that never slept and brings an air of the unexpected to every visit. A feature by FnB columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Undisputedly the most modern and alluring Chinese city in the 1930s, Shanghai was a seductive concoction of glamour and sin, prompting some to call it “The Paris of the East”. The arriving Art Deco style was reinterpreted with more sumptuous Chinese materials like lacquer, ivory, local woods, and silks and created a sensual experience like no other. Shanghai Noir’s 78-cover sultry subterranean vibe restaurant draws on the very essence of what made that era so extraordinary, cleverly distilling it into the lower ground level of one of London’s most beautiful historic buildings.

The restaurant and bar are open Monday-Friday evenings from 5pm until midnight, then for lunch and dinner service on Saturdays. Spiced aromas and low lighting will guide you down the staircase surrounded by chinoiserie wallpaper and gleaming brass accents.

Inside, tables are dotted with small, red-fringed lamps, casting sultry lighting and mysterious shadows around the space where you can just as easily slip into a clandestine corner for surreptitious gossip over cocktails as you can take up space by gathering as a group for larger get togethers over a fusion feast.

The Edwardian-era building provides plenty of characterful private dining nooks to suit special occasions and add another layer of intrigue to your evening: The Opium Saloon (16 guests), The Den (38 guests), The Snake Charmer (24 guests) and a Chef’s Table experience is available for 9 guests at a time.

A place where culinary artistry meets unparalleled luxury, Shanghai Noir strives to infuse every moment with the essence of indulgence and refinement; whether that’s providing Saturday lunchtime sustenance through starters and small plates, or layering tables with colourful collusions of Chef’s specials and sides for an evening’s event at this Indo-Chinese fine dining restaurant.

Familiar calling cards of Chinese cuisine take on complex flavour profiles or twists on tradition with an Indo-spin. Seared black bean scallops, Paneer garlic cream mushroom bao, Devil’s chicken lollipop, and Green papaya & mango salad bring zest, depth and tang to dishes that can either be eaten as starters, a moreish accompaniment to cocktails, or ordered in abundance for a tasting table full of delicious smaller servings.

Innovative mains include a bold Chef’s Selection showcasing next level Eastern-inspired creations. Embrace the opulence of the era with the likes of garlic Pak choy stew and jasmine rice, finished with gold leaf. Bhot Jolakhiya Chilli Chicken with Glenmorangie Fire prepares spatchcock chicken with the hottest chilli in the world for a flavourful hit that is hard to beat, and whole Cantonese Steamed Ginger Sea Bream permeates the air with delicate aromatics of lemon, fresh herbs, and ginger root.

The selection of homemade steamed Dumplings is a must-try, with fillings such as lamb, chicken or vegetables, served with tomato & key lime chutney as well as the option to add a broth. Shanghai Noodles come stir-fried Calcutta ‘Street Style’, or as soft buckwheat soba drenched in a red seafood broth and brimming with catch of the day fish, mussels, squid & octopus.

Desserts provide spectacle as well as substance with the signature Coconut Lychee Pannacotta with Pandan leaf-infused coconut pudding, lychee cream, fresh lychee & tapioca pearls, served within a dramatic dry ice bath.

Have you ever been served from an Assassin’s Teapot? Or sat down to share a Smoking Dragon? Masterfully created cocktails come laced with intriguing new layers of fusion flavour beautifully served within clever contraptions that immerse guests evermore into the Shanghai Noir experience.

The Shanghai Noir Firecracker comes smoking inside the Assassin’s Teapot; an intriguing artefact from history, embodying both ingenuity and malevolence. This teapot’s clever design once allowed the host to serve different beverages (or in the most nefarious cases, poison) to guests from the same vessel, simply by pressing a specific mechanism or aligning the teapot’s spout in a particular way. Now the hidden brew consists of nothing more sinister than a refreshing, punchy blend of Szechuan pepper infused gin, Campari, vermouth, orange bitters, mango & soda. The signature shake-up can also be theatrically served for two to share in the show stopping, intricately designed glass dragon. It’s the perfect place to enjoy sinfully decadent drinks! 

Other Indo-Chinese concoctions to be sure to sample include a fruity, aromatic take on the classic Margarita, The Shanghai (Tequila Blanco, kiwi, coriander, lime & almond); and The Pearl, a sweet creamy blend of vodka, pistachio & lychee to honour the generations of sweet makers from the two nations.  

The wine list is well researched and helpfully split into sections of those that go best with either Indian spice or Oriental flavours. And for an even more premium experience, an impressive offering of Fine Wines features sought-after French vintages ready to impress including: the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Domaine de la Janasse, Rhône, France (2020) for £160 per bottle; and the Château Rocheyron Grand Cru St-Emilion, Bordeaux, France (2011) for £245 per bottle.

A luxurious, East Asian dining experience in the heart of London’s Westminster, Shanghai Noir lifts the veil on an iconic era of glitz, glamour and mystery that begs to be explored. Attentive service, charming vibe, delish cuisine, stylish presentation, luxe decor all in all makes it a meal experience to remember! Highly Recommended! 

About the Executive Chef of Shanghai Noir: Amit Bagyal

Amit Bagyal is a highly creative Indian origin chef in London with over 16 years of experience in the culinary industry.

He’s also been the executive chef of fine dining Indian restaurant Yaatra, before that Amit was the Head Chef of Kanishka, where he oversaw the kitchens of Kanishka Mayfair, Kanishka Kitchen Heathrow, and Mathura Restaurant. He was responsible for ensuring the high standards of fine dining, culinary skills, and food and beverage were maintained.

Chef Amit has also held positions as the Sous Chef at Michelin-starred Benares in Mayfair from 2019-2021 where they regained their Michelin star, Head Chef of Masala Dabbas Foods from 2017-2019 and Senior Sous Chef at the Strand Palace Hotel from 2016-2017. Over the years, Amit has developed his trademark cooking style of taking tried and tested Indian dishes and giving them his own bold spin with fine-dining levels of presentation. 

ALSO READ: An idyllic countryside Pub Motel: The Blue Boar Inn, Warwickshire

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An idyllic countryside Pub Motel: The Blue Boar Inn, Warwickshire

At Blue Boar Inn you can expect a friendly welcome, whether you’re dropping by for a quick drink, a delicious meal or an overnight stay. The team there welcomes you with open arms and provides an experience that anyone will truly enjoy. The Blue Boar Inn can be found amidst charming Warwickshire countryside, they are situated in the heart of this rural landscape. Tucked away in the village of Temple Grafton, it lies between Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, and the historic Roman market town of Alcester. What they offer is the genuine Cotswolds experience, away from the typical tourist crowds. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

The Blue Boar Inn’s oldest section dates back to the early 1600s and it has been a welcoming haven for guests for over four centuries. This Alcester pub offers cosiness throughout the year, featuring crackling fireplaces during the winter and flourishing patio space during sunny summer days.

Their commitment to creating memorable moments is evidently unwavering as they sure  strive to offer guests an escape from the ordinary within their Alcester restaurant. From the delectable menu to their well appointed comfy rooms, every aspect of each guest’s visit is designed to make them feel at home.

One has the opportunity to choose from classic pub grub, Indian classics and succulent Sunday lunches, which are skillfully prepared using the highest quality, locally sourced ingredients. Their food is sure to leave a lasting impression for all the right reasons.

At The Blue Boar, they also provide a delightful selection of popular kid’s dishes, crafted to effortlessly replace oft-used kids phrases such as ‘I don’t know what I want’ or ‘I don’t like it’ with smiles and full stomachs!

Choose one of their charming guest rooms, which have been meticulously designed to provide a welcoming and cosy atmosphere. Their rooms offer a perfect blend of comfort and traditional charm, immersing one in an inviting ambience that feels like home. Adorned with original features, such as their captivating wooden beams and elegant stone walls, the rooms exude a timeless appeal.

These well-equipped rooms are bursting with traditional charm but despite their historic appeal, these rooms provide all the modern amenities you need, including ensuite bathrooms, TVs and access to WiFi.

The Alcester hotel experience is not limited to the inviting guest rooms and on-site restaurant! Grab a drink from their well-stocked bar or soak up the glorious views from the outdoor garden area. They offer the complete package, enabling guests to have a memorable and enjoyable stay there.

Following an exciting day of discovering the many attractions that Warwickshire and its surrounding areas have to offer, you won’t need to venture too far to treat your taste buds to an extraordinary evening meal in this Alcester restaurant. It’s the ideal conclusion to a busy day, they will be sure to set the scene for relaxation as you prepare to settle into one of their cosy beds. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend getaway or an extended stay, they are committed to making your experience enjoyable and memorable.

In true Alcester hotel style, their guest rooms come complete with the option of starting your day off the right way with their Full English Breakfast. With an array of dishes to choose from, you’ll be full of energy and raring to go as you head off on the wonderful adventure of exploring your new back garden, the scenic Cotswolds.

The service is impeccable, the vibe is relaxed, cuisines are delectable so highly Recommending this Alcester hotel for your next Cotswolds retreat. With unmatched assistance from start to finish, the owners and staff are dedicated to ensuring that every detail seamlessly aligns with and exceeds guest expectations. You can surely count on them to play a significant role in creating an exceptional and unforgettable staycation experience for discerning guests.

ALSO READ: VORI, London: Holland Park’s Favourite Modern Greek Taverna

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VORI, London: Holland Park’s Favourite Modern Greek Taverna

Run by three brothers – the Greek street food pioneers behind the much-missed Hungry Donkey in Spitalfields – and named after their favourite beach on the island of Andros in the Cyclades, VORI is a modern taverna that celebrates all that is special about Greek food, wine and hospitality. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Although it only opened a year ago, Vori has quickly become a firm favourite with Holland Park locals and visitors alike. They flock here throughout the day to enjoy lovingly prepared and authentic rustic dishes, many cooked over charcoal and all created using seasonal Greek and local ingredients of the highest provenance, against a backdrop of terracotta walls and gleaming, slate-grey tables. Not content to rest on their laurels, Markos Tsimikalis and his siblings are marking Vori’s first birthday with a  launch of an exciting new menu.

The Greek table is all about sharing dishes, connecting with friends and family and recounting stories, all of which are at the heart of Vori. Thus the Faros lunch and dinner menus continue in the same fashion as before, with dishes coming out in waves as and when they are ready.

Diners will still be able to enjoy signature fare such as Kolokithokeftedes (deep-fried courgette fritters, feta & Greek yoghurt) and Manitaria (seasonal grilled mushrooms, petimezi & pine nuts). These established favourites will now be offered alongside new dishes, many of which will change weekly, according to the season. Grilled fish and meat is offered as specials, dependent on what Vori’s trusted local suppliers have sourced for them that day.

Generous rustic roasts for the table to share such as kid goat (Katsikaki) is complemented by new nibbles like Htapodi (octopus carpaccio) and small and medium plates including Keftedakia (Greek meatballs), Matsata Thalassinon (home-made Cycladic pasta, seasonal seafood & bottarga) and deep-fried Mastello cheese with chilli thyme honey.

In addition, Vori has added new dishes to its ever-popular breakfast offering, from Brizolaki (grilled onglet steak, hand-cut chips & fried egg) through to Avgofeta (egg sourdough, tomato & Graviera cheese).

Vori – now with the strapline Greek Plates & Wine – will of course continue to champion indigenous Greek wines, as well as a range of unpasteurised beer from award-winning Greek microbreweries. The festivities don’t end there however. On 5 May – Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday-Vori will be serving a special set menu. 

The most important date in the Greek calendar, Orthodox Easter is characterised by traditions and customs that date back centuries. Vori will be honouring these with staples such as slow-roasted joints of lamb and kid-goat, Mageiritsa (a thick soup made with lamb offal, onion & rice), Tsoureki (sweet bread) and, of course, the customary dyed eggs for smashing, all of which are served in homes and restaurants throughout Greece on this day.

Vori offers a meal experience that’s relaxing and indulgent, with service that is impeccable, in chic surroundings and upscale vibe, with delish dishes which look and taste exquisite, all in all Vori is a remarkable restaurant and it’s a must visit in London for the best of Greek cuisine. Highly Recommended!

Vori is open from Tuesday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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SPAGNOLETTI: An All-Day Italian and Pasta Lab

Spagnoletti serves Italian soul food enriched with contemporary flair, in a whimsically retro-futuristic environment and centred around an ethos of one simple ingredient: flour. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International

They make their fresh ingredients onsite every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the theatrical open kitchen where discerning diners and go and enjoy all manner of pastries, breads, snacks, small plates, sharing plates, pasta dishes, signature standouts and sweet desserts.

Debuting a brand-new flour-lab concept in the heart of King’s Cross, the menu is a loving collaboration between their Chefs, and the wacky restaurant design itself is inspired by one of London’s most innovative engineers.

The interior is cleverly divided into different environments perfect for individuals, groups, parties, or business events. A journey to the upper floor will take you to Spagnoletti Spritz Lounge, housing a long communal bar that serves draught Venetian wine, beer on tap and a creative cocktail station.

From lunchtime onwards, you can witness the making of agnoletti, rigatoni and stunning ciccetti dishes, lovingly created and served from the open cucina that takes centre-stage on the ground floor. 

Henry Chebaane is the creative mastermind behind the interiors of the Megaro hotel overall and At Spagnoletti, he has imagined a vibrant, stylish, and exuberant environment sitting behind the 19th century façade. The name and design are inspired by Charles Spagnoletti, the 19th century London engineer and inventor, who was responsible for the development of the telegraphic signalling systems first used on the Metropolitan line, and then on most of the British railways which were passing through King’s Cross Station. There are plenty of hidden surprises that were inspired by this innovator – around every corner at Spagnoletti, there’s something new to discover.

Their menu is designed for the meals to be shared, rather than individual portions – the proper Italian way! Visit them for Italian soul food, served in a retro-futuristic ‘flour lab’ amidst the buzz of London King’s Cross. They are all about Simple, honest Italian food which is enriched with contemporary flair to deliver an uncompromised quality of flavours at affordable prices. The vibe of the restaurant is welcoming and relaxed, the music creates a chilled downtime vibe, the food is delicious and unique in amazing flavours, ingredients are fresh, presentation is charming, service is attentive, all in all its a wonderful experience and is Highly Recommended!