Thursday, 29 May 2014

San Giorgio Design Hotel

Are you ready to pack your bags and hop on the first flight to Greece?  I promise you will be once you see these images of San Giorgio Design Hotel in Mykonos. Dreamy Bohemian luxury, gentle sunlight streaming in and my favorite white, everywhere! I have to admit I have a bit of a soft corner for white. It's impossible to maintain in your own home, but in a luxury getaway, nothing is better than the simplicity of white :) Sheer white drapes, white cotton sheets, white stucco walls and white high beamed ceilings... ahh, bliss.

And what about the styling? Everything so pretty and with a lot of Indian touches... I LIKE!

So are you are you now longing for a dreamy getaway yet?

This is my last post for the month. Off to Singapore for a few days. Nothing like a nice break- seeing the sights and doing some much needed retail therapy :)

[All images - San Giorgio Design Hotel]

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Bring Home Stories: City Life inspiring Design

The city is like a living breathing organism and every city has its own character, its own flavor and its own story. Stories of ordinary people going about their everyday lives and stories about extraordinary people who the rest of us admire and aspire too. Bring Home Stories evolved from an idea of telling these stories- stories of the cities we inhibit, the random people we meet and those places that make a city special.

Bring Home Stories is the brainchild of Sapna Bhatia and Paul Liptrot. Sapna is an international journalist and Paul, an artist based in the UK. Together this team aims to capture stories of cities around the world- of art, culture and everyday life through the lens, and use these stories as inspiration in their designs.

Quite a unique idea, right? You can also watch some of their amazing videos on Delhi here.

The first collection of the Bring Home Stories label is comprised of exclusive products ranging from artwork, cushion covers and apparel, all inspired by the Delhi phool mandis (flower markets), now sadly pushed to Ghazipur. View the entire range of products that Bring Home Stories has on offer, here

Next up on their agenda, Bring Home Stories will be launching a showcase inspired by stories from the cities of Mumbai and Dubai. 

[Images courtesy - Bring Home Stories]

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Summer Menu Tasting @ Olive, Qutub

I was thrilled to bits when I got an invite for a special meal previewing the Summer Menu for Olive, Qutub in Mehrauli, Delhi. I love my Mediterranean food and Olive has quite a reputation for it. Thanks Shivangi Sinha of Shivangi Reviews for thinking of me for this one :)

Before I go into the food let me start by saying that Olive, Qutab is one of the most romantic restaurants I've visited. It’s perfect to celebrate an intimate evening with that special someone in your life. White stucco walls, touches of azure blue, wonderful outdoor courtyard seating... the works- all this behind an entry that you may miss if you’re not looking out for it.

With the Summer menu, Chef Sujan, who has recently taken over the reins at Olive, aims to create innovative Mediterranean and European food that is light, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients together with some more exotic fare. When I first laid eyes on the menu, I was filled with anticipation and couldn't wait for the food to arrive.

The tasting menu consisted of several starters, salads, a chicken and mushroom consume with chicken tortellini, an assortment of vegetarian and non vegetarian main courses and a couple of desserts. Phew, sounds like quite a lot, I know. So rather than going over every item we tasted I’ll just give you the highlights of the things I loved.

A cracker topped with goats cheese, basil and tomatoes dried under UV light

From the starters I loved the Foie gras with chicken liver parfait. It was served with brioche and it was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. Each bite was like a little taste of heaven. This is a signature dish at Olive and I can see why it’s so popular. It was by far the best plate of food I ate all night. 

Foie gras and chicken liver parfait

The other starter I loved was the Goat’s cheese mousse with salt baked beetroot. The beetroot, cheese and candied walnuts worked so well together, and the rocket leaves added a nice peppery flavor to the dish.

Goat's cheese mousse with salt baked beetroot

The home cured salmon starter was a dish I was undecided about. I loved the cured salmon. It was perfection and lovely with the caviar and pickled cucumber. But I did not like the green apple water. The flavour of the apple was a little over powering for me, and it was also quite difficult to eat without a spoon. I think it may have worked better if the ‘apple water’ was served as a jelly and was a little less concentrated.

Home cured Salmon compressed apple, pickled cucumber, caviar, cucumber and green apple water

Nothing says summer like a fresh salad, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the charred baby gem and summer salad, although I did like the smoked goat curd that was served with it. I never got a chance to taste the pear and endive salad. It looked delicious. Unfortunately our servers forgot to serve this to our table, in spite of being reminded twice. 

Chicken and Mushroom consommé with chicken tortellini. I didn't particularly like the consommé
especially as far as I am aware a consommé should be absolutely clear and not have fat floating at
the top. I also found the tortellini a little too thick and chewy.

Getting to the mains... I’ll start with the vegetarian options first. Two dishes stood out. The Pave of melanzane with grilled baby zucchini and polenta was absolutely delicious. It’s not often that a vegetarian main can impress a die-hard meat eater, but this did. It was an earthy, hearty plate of food that looked too nice to eat. I also enjoyed the Fettucine in zucchini. It wasn’t a standout dish, that blew me away, but I loved its simplicity and the flavours of the parmesan and zucchini.

Pave of Melanzané with grillled baby zucchini and polenta

Each of the two seafood mains had some really great components and some which didn’t work for me. The Pan seared scallops were perfectly cooked but I found the pumpkin puree too sweet. I also didn’t think the crispy chicken was necessary. Chef Sujan explained to us that the chicken wings were meant to add the component of crispiness, but I’m not sure if it worked.

Pan seared scallop with crispy chicken wings, pumpkin purée, apple and grilled baby leeks

Zucchini wrapped reef cod with leek nage, potato spaghetti and zucchini frites

The Zucchini wrapped reef cod was absolutely delicious and the sauce it was served in was equally good. Unfortunately, although I liked the idea of potato spaghetti, I personally didn’t enjoy its texture. Also some nice crusty bread would have been nice to soak up the sauce it was served in.

Of all the main courses I tried, my favorite was the Corn fed chicken breast. I’m not really a chicken person, especially if there is beef or lamb on the table, but in this case the chicken was so good- soft, perfectly cooked and so succulent. Chef Sujan managed to transform the humble, and often boring chicken into something amazing. A wonderful plate of food that was hearty and delicate at the same time- nothing seemed out of place and the hazelnut jus tied everything together.

Corn fed chicken breast, sweet corn purée, charred corn, potatoes, kale and hazelnut jus

Lavender scented Australian lamb rump with roasted baby vegetables, 
semi dried tomatoe, broad beans and parsnip purée

Sirloin steak with oxtail ragout, black garlic purée, asparagus and potato fondant. I liked this dish, but it didn't blow me away. However I loved the oxtail ragout and the black garlic purée

And now for my favourite part of a meal- Dessert! We got to taste four different desserts. Yes you heard me correctly... FOUR! I loved most of them, but the one that really stood out was the Mille Feuille of mango. And considering that the other desserts were cheesecake, Tiramisu and chocolate ganache, all of my favourites, it’s really saying a lot that I picked the mango dessert above the others. The Mille feuille of mango, to me, captured the essence of summer. It was light, the mango sorbet was a perfect balance of sweet and tart and the mango and mascarpone mousse was rich and not too sweet-Summer on a plate.

Mille feuille of mango... my favorite dessert of the evening. Loved it!

Pave of chocolate ganache with orange sorbet, orange jam and popcorn. This was my least favorite dessert. To me it just didn't work. The orange jam was too tart, the chocolate was a little too bitter and the popcorn didn't make any sense

Baked cheesecake with passion fruit curd and passion fruit mascarpone... really good

Tiramisu with coffee sorbet and biscotti... another really yummy dessert. 
Probably my second favorite dessert

Overall I’d say that the summer menu is really exciting and definitely worth a try. Visit to celebrate a special occasion with a loved one, or simply to treat yourself to a fine dining experience and some great food.

Chef Sujan, Pawan Soni, Moi, Indrojit D Chaudhuri 

I also have to mention that I got a chance to meet some great folks. Chef Sujan who wowed us with his food- it was great chatting with him and understanding his thoughts behind his creations. Getting to meet with Pawan Soni of Indian Food Freak was also tremendous- such a treat discussing the food blogging scene. And also meeting fellow food bloggers Indrojit D Chaudhuri of Belly Curious and Soumabha Ray Chaudhuri & Naman Varshney of Foodaholix was a real blast. They sat at the table next to mine and it was great chatting with them during the course of the evening. I also must thank Ujjala Bhattacharjee Gupta and Pareina Thapar of Very Truly Yours for taking such good care of all of us.

[All Images by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use without prior written consent]

Monday, 26 May 2014

Horn Please- A Funky & Modern Indian Restaurant in Melbourne

Quick check in to say hi. Hope everyone had a great weekend. This post is going to be short and sweet. I know I'm becoming a bit irregular with the blog posts, but a lot is going on work wise, so bear with me... please? 

Anyway, I'm always on the look out for interesting interiors, and I happened upon this restaurant, as usual, on Pinterest and just loved its design! It's funky, it's quirky, it's modern and it's very Indian. And the name, Horn Please, perfectly captures that sense of humor that the design portrays. 

I have a real soft spot for design that reflects modern India and modern Indians, and that's why my eyes lit up when I saw this place. I am completely in love with the indigo blue & white patterned tiles used in the bar counter and the Hindi wall graffiti... so cool. 

Oddly though, for some reason the interiors remind me of a very modern version of those Iranian/ Parsi restaurants you see in the Fort area of Mumbai. Take a look and tell me what you think, and you can read more about the restaurant here

[All images courtesy Horn Please]

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

There's Something About the Color Blue

It's absolutely sweltering outside! Even though Gurgaon is slightly cooler than last year, it's still pretty bad. So I'm quite happy to be sitting indoors, drinking lots of iced tea and thinking cool thoughts. With all this heat, it's no surprise that the mind turns to cooler things for comfort and respite. I guess that's why I'm going through a phase where I seem to be obsessed with blues... everything indigo, cobalt and navy is my color of the moment. The other day I bought some pots for the balcony and no surprise, they were all blue!

[1, 2, 3]

Blue is such a soothing color I think. When I see it I think of cool ocean breezes and tall icy glasses of Mint Juleps :) or iced tea... OK who am I kidding... Mint Juleps :)The color fills me with a sense of calm... like the feeling you get when you look up at a blue, cloudless sky that seems to go on forever. Or that feeling you get when you take a step into a pool on a hot day and exhale in delight at the gentle coolness of the water.

[4, 5, 6]

There's something about the color blue... The color seems calm me down... its like an instant chill pill :) 

[7, 8, 9]

Dashes of blue in the home add such a pop of color that soothes, relaxes and rejuvenates. The perfect balm for all the stress that comes with dealing with temperatures in the forties. I love these intricately patterned blue tiles. You can get lost in all that detail! This is something I plan on using in our kitchen, once our new place is built.

[10, 11,12]

I also have a thing for blue linens and drapes, especially with block prints. I didn't realize it until I sat down to write this post, but every curtain in my home is blue! I guess I really got myself ready for summer didn't I?

What's your color of the moment? Do write in and share... I'd love to hear your thought.

Monday, 19 May 2014

A New Week - slowly getting my groove back...

Summer is well and truly upon us and the short respite we had from the rains last week seem like a distant memory. The sun is hot and its rays, unforgiving. Luckily no crazy site visits so I can take shelter in the refuge of home, with the blinds drawn and windows closed to the hot, dry breeze that's blowing outside.

I seem to be slowly emerging out of the funk I've been in the last couple of weeks and I must say that the responses I got to my last post were amazing! I was worried while writing the post that you guys would think I was quite mad with some of the stuff I wrote down. Especially the dancing in front of a mirror and dressing up and taking selfies... but I was surprised, and relieved to find that so many of you did the same thing... phew! :) I guess we are all quite similar when it comes to how we cope with our moments of stress, moodiness and writer's block. I found myself laughing out loud  at how alike all of us gals are. 

Although I'm still not very inspired when it comes to the blog, I've started taking a few pictures again, which is a start, I guess. In the meantime I've been doing a lot of reading and magazine scanning. I'm sure inspiration is just around the corner...

[All images by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use these images without prior written permission]

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

I'm in a bit of a Funk!

I've been away from the blog for a while now. Been in a bit of a funk. We creative types are renowned for our 'stuck in a rut' phases, mood swings and tantrums... There are some days when everything annoys us and we convince ourselves that the entire world is working against us (we have a bit of a flair for the dramatic). On those days finding the right shade of pink is simply impossible, and everything on site seems to be fixed just askew enough for only you to notice. On those days you wear a scowl on your face that warns people a mile away to stay away. When I'm on site, sadly the guys on site get it. When I'm at home... well you know who get its :) A few weeks ago I had a day like that. I was prickly as a cacti and snapping at everything the hubby said. So I decided to take some me time. I went to one of my favorite cafes and treated my self to some coffee and cheesecake. Nothing like cheesecake to make you feel better :)

There are other days when your mind is a blank. Ideas are in scarce supply, and no amount of Pinteresting and page flipping though magazines can help.  And lets be honest,when your business rests on being creative, being in this kind of a funk is quite frustrating!  Right now I'm sort of at a loss for ideas for the blog. Hence the prolonged silence. It's been like this ever since I got back from my trip home. I'm trying to get myself out of this rut and it occurred to me that this was actually a pretty good idea for a post:) I mean if you read this blog then you are probably a creative type too. And I'm sure you've experienced the same thing!

So I decided to make a list (I do love my lists!) A list of things I've found help me to get out of a funk or a rut or a dry spell when ideas are hard to come by, or maybe just a plain bad mood :) Here's my list...

1. Treat yourself to something you like... a day at the spa, or just a mani or pedi. Nothing like being pampered to improve your mood. 

2. Take a break and visit your favorite cafe and indulge your sweet/spicy/savory cravings. I have a sweet tooth so for me, there is nothing quite like a slice of cake or pie to lift the spirits.

3. Turn on the stereo and dial up the volume and dance like front of the mirror...even if you can't dance! My favorite is anything from the 80's. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing quite as good as the music from that period :)

4. Get moving. Go for a run or a walk. There have been so many times when ideas have popped into my head while running. If nothing else, all those Endorphins will definitely make you feel happy and exhilarated!

5. Give your face a wipe with a wet towel scented with some lavender oil and if you are at home and have some time, have a nice hot bath with Lavender or Bergamot oil

6. Get out of your home/office and go buy some flowers. Nothing like colorful flowers to put a smile on a face.

7. Do something a bit crazy and weird. I sometimes dress up, put on some make up and take selfies. I know that sounds crazy and definitely very self obsessed, but it's so funny and it really makes me laugh at myself. There is nothing like a good laugh!

8. Baking is another thing I do to get out of a funk. Sometimes experimenting in the kitchen seems to get my creative juices flowing and ideas start popping into my head.

9. Plan a holiday or a trip. I know this sounds a bit odd, but I have a list of places I hope to visit that are on my bucket list. So I plan trip to one of these beautiful and exotic places. Sometimes while researching a place and admiring its architecture and design, I end up being inspired in my own work.

10. Take a break. If none of the above quick fixes work, then I just take a break. I've found that sometimes you need a little distance, and a little sloth :) When it comes to thinking up new ideas, nothing works better than a break from trying to think of new ideas. I mean even if you love what you do, you sometimes need a break :) 

How about you guys? Is it just me, or do you guys also get stuck in a funk? I'd love to hear about what you guys to to get out of it!

This is me going the 'dressing up and taking selfies' route :)

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