Daily Archives: Apr 17, 2015
It’s that time of the year again. The temperatures continue to rise as the IPL kicks off and Chennai goes crazy supporting its boys in yellow. Amidst the matches at home and the scramble for box seats (and I’m not sure if I should say because of or in spite of) the weekend saw quite a few launches, parties and heavy celeb presence.
Minnie Menon got the party started, launching her semi-precious jewellery brand at Isadore on Friday, with her latest line, The Lyrical Collection, that has 102 creations. When asked about the significance of the number, Minnie says since it was post World Cup and the start of the IPL season, she had to hit a century. The evening saw a fashion show, showing off a range of statement necklaces, bold cuffs and cocktails rings, teamed with slinky dresses. Which means the ladies got to see how the pieces worked ‘in action’ while getting to try them on later. In an interesting twist, Minnie also announced her foray into designing pieces for style conscious gentlemen. A pair of silver cuff links with semi-precious stones were unveiled and quickly picked up by Achim Fabig, the Consul General of Germany.
Some of the crowd headed to their next location for the evening, to celebrate the birthday of one of Chennai’s much loved personalities, AK Tareen. His lovely wife Sanober was responsible for much of the planning, a lot of it clandestine, hoping to give the birthday boy something of a surprise. From customised invites to choreographed dancing, she made sure the night was one to remember. Guests did a fabulous job of following the theme of black and gold with a dash of red.
Also taking place over the weekend was a photo exhibition by Sharad Haksar at Art Houz titled Red, White and Blue, showcasing some of his finest travel photos. Red and white for the flag colour of Japan, white and blue representing the national hues of Iceland. The exhibition not only showcased a different side to the photographer, but also rare glimpses of the stunning natural beauty of both locales. Quickly following and winding up the weekend was the launch of Rehane’s new store at Abhiramapuram. Actors Gautami and Pooja Kumar did the honours, followed by a fashion show with signature pieces from her latest collection.
The latest apps to help you get the best out of your vacation
Last year, the Ministry of Tourism launched Incredible!ndia, an app that gives tourists access to information about government-recognised tour operators, guides and hotels. As handy as this is, we look at other apps that can help you on your holidays abroad.
Homestay.com: A global platform for homestay accommodations, this Dublin-based website allows you to book online, even for a night. It provides detailed description about each homestay, including food served, restrictions and profiles of the owners. Details: homestay.com
Museum Finder: With this one, get listings of different museums around you, apart from other hotspots like religious places and botanical gardens. The app uses GPS to show you how far the museum is from your current location. The map view also has details like phone numbers and location sharing options. Details: itunes.apple.com
Party At: This is handy for those looking to party in a new city. Once logged in, you can view party posts by your Facbook friends. Locate clubs around you, check their upcoming events, and also connect with other people using the app. Descriptions of each club include everything—right down to privacy details and event timings. Details: play.google.com
All Trails: If you are on a trip to USA or Canada, this app is a must-have. With trail guides for hiking and biking, it also gives you information for other activities like fly-fishing and snowshoeing. Besides showing details of the nearest spots (to pursue activities of your choice), it also has topographic maps and rider reviews. It can be synced with a Samsung Gear Fit, enabling offline use as well.
Radio is a medium that can offer a presenter much more than just jockeying a three-hour on-air show. It’s a platform that allows the hosts to figure out his/her strengths and, thus, bring out their hidden talents. Once that is achieved, it’s the consumers of radio who start to offer opportunities—like singing, voicing, hosting, writing, theatre or even acting—leaving you pleasantly surprised. The next step is to prove that you can undertake a more specialised responsibility.
A lot of presenters have tried different career moves. While some have succeeded in making the bucks from an alternative path, others are still on the quest to find another source of income. To be honest, the money offered to a majority of radio presenters is ridiculously low. So it’s not surprising that you have presenters trying to figure out how to move their bank balance northwards. But why do presenters bite the bullet? Well, for a lot of them, the medium could be their only chance and so they accept peanuts.
Where presenters sometimes get the game wrong is when they back themselves into something that is not their strength. When it comes to the voice-over industry, it’s only the ones who have standards who are called back. Anyone can be a radio jockey, but not everyone can be a voice-over artiste. The same goes for the big screen. Not all radio jockeys are actors, but a few have definitely crossed the line with flying colours—like Ayushman Khurana, Shiv Pandit and our very own Shiva, BigFM Balaji and soon, Ajai Titus.
Nikhil Chinappa is not only a name on radio and television—he’s literally pioneered the electronic dance music revolution in the country with his mixes when he spins. All of the above mentioned have had time to identify their core strengths, which they have successfully turned into another career. That’s one way of laughing your way to the bank. See you next week with more radio talk.
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.
TM Soundararajan is a household name in Tamil Nadu. A playback singer beyond compare, he was the trademark voice of Sivaji Ganesan and MGR in countless hits. A friend of a friend often poked fun at his ‘ganeer kural’ (Tamil euphemism for being ‘high on decibels’) by labelling him as SOUNDararajan. That set me thinking. Does the name forebode your profession?
Is it an uncanny coincidence that William Wordsworth turned out to be a poet, Margaret Court became a tennis player, and Usain Bolt chose to be a sprinter? Actually, many wise people have applied their mind to this hypothesis.
Celebrated psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung saw a meaningful pattern in it. Chicago columnist Franklin Pierce Adams went a step further and coined the word ‘aptronym’ to chronicle names that match the occupation of a person.
From the evidence in hand, one can safely say that aptronyms are not as commonplace as the hair on Anil Kapoor’s chest or cuss words on Virat Kohli’s lips. But they are not a rare commodity either.
The New Scientist magazine was once famously flummoxed when they received an article on the polar regions from a Daniel Snowman and a piece on Subterranean London from one Richard Trench.
There are many more chucklesome examples on the internet. Let’s start with Sara Louise Blizzard. A weather presenter on BBC, she’s apparently weathered many a storm with her surname. Then there’s Dr Kevin De Cock, of the World Health Organisation. The genital man (oops… gentleman), predictably heads their AIDS project. Journalist William Headline was often described by reputed anchor Wolf Blitzer as having the ‘best name in news’ as everything about him was headline material.
The eeriest one I’ve heard is Dr Russell Brain. He grew up to be an authoritative neurologist. Another name that’s likely to make you go ‘good heavens’ is Alan Heavens. He’s a renowned professor at the Imperial College London teaching astrophysics.
Everyone’s perennial favourite is Sue Yoo. She’s currently the legal director at Verizon. From what one hears, the serial digs at her name made her consider turning a lawyer. At the other end of the crime spectrum is Christopher Coke. He’s a Jamaican drug lord with cocaine literally in his veins. They say his dad Lester Coke was an even bigger snorter. I’ll sign off with Thomas Crapper. True to his name, he founded a company that made the flushing toilet ubiquitous. If that didn’t unnerve you, nothing else will.
Image for representation purposes only.
Polished is passé — this season is all about keeping your statement pieces natural
Suddenly it’s no longer just about cut, clarity and colour. Jewellery designers around the world are experimenting with gemstones in their raw, untreated forms. From rough emeralds and rubies to sliced tourmalines with their multi-hued whorls, these unusual stones are taking the spotlight in accessories ranging from neck pieces to bracelets. And with celebrities like Chitrangada Singh, Jacqueline Fernandes and Leighton Meester sporting them on the red carpet, we thought we’d bring you our pick.
All that bling
Our love affair with blue is far from over.
From Amrapali Jewels, this 18k gold-plated bracelet—with a big blue agate stone forming the focal point—is a great accessory for a day at work or a casual evening out. Rs 3,100, at Amethyst. Details: 45991633
Yes, we know these aren’t gemstones, but these black and grey basalt stones from Iceland—lava rocks shaped by water over centuries into smooth oblongs and circles—create quite an impact. Crafted by city-based designer Ratika Haksar, the drop earrings are set in silver and will make a great addition to your jewel box. Rs 15,000.
Grab a slice
This may be a little out of our league, but we can’t help mooning over this stunning Kara Ross necklace. The NYC-based designer’s Petra Raw Rubellite Slice Necklace comes with an 18k gold mosaic link—featuring rubellite and diamond inlay—and is all you’ll ever need to set tongues wagging. Rs 13,73,450. Details: kararossny.com
Here’s something for the men. At your next black tie event, Studio Tara’s cuff links—made with watermelon tourmalines and emeralds, wound together with gold wire—will set you apart from the crowd. Rs 1,15,000. Details: 43144511
Tales in blue
When one accessory is all you need, reach for the Seafaring Cuff from New-York based designer Emilie Shapiro. Inspired by the sea, the rough aquamarines are embedded in recycled brass to create this imposing piece. Let your wrist do the talking for a change, we say. Rs 20,605 approximately. Details: emilieshapiro.com
Stone in focus
The perfect foil to manicured hands is this ring from Wexford Jewellers. From the Michigan-based jeweller’s Root Rings collection—handformed wearable art made with sterling silver and gemstones—this piece uses an unpolished, rough cut amethyst.
Rs 23,475 approximately.
Give your lobes a dash of luxe with these Feather Sun earrings from Natalie Dissel. The Dutch designer based in Bali, Indonesia, has complemented the sheen of agate with 13-carat citrine gemstones and detailing with peach coloured sapphires. Set in 18K yellow gold, these danglers will get you praise a plenty. Rs 2,30,052 approximately. Details: nataliedissel.com
Drape it or knot it, this lariat necklace with its statement slices of blue agate, offset by blue topaz, is a show-stealer. From Delhi-based brand Zariin, the Wrap & Knot Necklace uses bezel-set crushed gold—that follows the form of the raw stones—to achieve a look that is elegant and stunning. Wear it with an LBD for maximum impact. Rs 12,000. Details: 011 41096914
Keep things simple with this sliced amethyst pendant, in a prong setting, that can work well with a tee and jeans or a smart evening dress. From Pashma’s recently-launched artisinal jewellery collection, the piece starts from Rs 7,000 onwards. At Collage. Details: 28291443
Surya Praphulla Kumar
Straight off the grill
Don’t miss the South Indian grill festival at Copper Point, Hotel GRT Grand. Enjoy South Indian grilled delicacies ranging from narangyan kozhi to aatumoolai kal thuvatal and navathaniya adai to chakaravalli peratal and more. For lunch and dinner, till April 23. Fixed menu at Rs 999 plus tax for vegetarians and Rs 1,200 plus tax for non vegetarians. Details: 28150500
Mangoes are here
Khandani Rajdhani celebrates the mango season with a two-month-long festival, Aamlicious. Expect Rajasthani and Gujarati dishes made with raw and ripe Alphonso. There’s mango jalebi, mango dal dhokli, raw mango and onion bhajia, among others and a rotating menu ensures there’s something new each time you visit. Rs 475 per thali. Till June 15. Details: 28464433
Piadina crash course
Spoonbill is organising six workshops on jams, baking, snacks and chocolates. Learn to make corn and cheese piadina, mango smoothies and guava jelly. Participants (six to 12) will learn to make four dishes at each of the workshops, after which they get their own chef hat, apron, recipe book and certificate. Rs 850 per head. From April 22 to May 31. Details: 9003233331
New Year with betki
To celebrate Bengali New Year (April 14), Bayleaf is offering a selection of specials like chicken kabiraji, doi potol and lebu lonka murgi. Also look out for the gondhoraj betki paturi, where the fish is marinated in gondhoraj juice (brought down from Kolkata) and steamed. Till April 26. Priced from Rs 50 onwards. Details: 28114577
Park Hyatt’s week-long Eating Beautiful promotion at The Dining Room and The Flying Elephant has healthy salads that are grilled, mashed, roasted and blanched. Extra toppings include salmon, poached egg, seared tuna and chicken breast. Rs 450 plus tax onwards. Details: 71771234
Seafood lovers, head to The Manhattan Fish Market on RK Salai. The seafood platter at this week-old restaurant has prawns, lobster, calamari, oysters, mussels and barramundi, served with rice and vegetables. Also try their grilled and fried seafood specials. Platters from Rs 990 plus tax to Rs 2,490 plus tax. Details: 30853517
From orecchiette to tortellini and cappelletti, the pasta promotion at The Leela Palace offers a welcome change from the usual suspects
n a restaurant like Spectra, where one gets to choose from close to 10 pasta-sauce combinations (besides gluten-free and whole wheat options), one wonders what more a pasta promotion can offer. “There’s so much more than the popular pastas like spaghetti or penne,” says Dharmen Makwana. The executive chef of The Leela Palace intends to promote a thoughtfully curated selection of handmade pastas like the ravioli, tortellini and cappelletti, with ingredients varying from smoked aubergine to lobster and wild mushrooms. But do make note that this is not one of those set dinners that allows you a complete Italian meal. The pasta selection, available for two weeks starting this Saturday, is to be called on only in time for mains, while what you begin and end your meal with is between you and the restaurant’s extensive a la carte menu
What’s your shape?
At our special preview however, it’s pasta from start to finish. As we await our line up, the bubbly Hitesh Pant lays out a board of herbed and spiced flat bread slices to keep us occupied. We learn that this junior sous chef is the one who’s labouring over the delicate (but precise) folds and creases of the pastas that begin to arrive. First up is the tortellini. Stuffed with chunks of lobster and morsels of carrot, these navel-like pouches are carefully planted around a runny poached egg that when broken, melds with the chive glaze into buttery brilliance. We scrape up every last smear! Then comes the de-constructed carbonara ravioli. A parmesan emulsion is hidden in pockets of the pasta that’s peppered with crispy bacon bits, for another creative contrast of flavour and texture.
Wine over water
If you’re looking for something to sip on with your pasta of preference, we suggest asking for their new batch of wines. While the Italian white complements the lobster and poached egg, the full-bodied French red clears your palate after the carbonara ravioli. And if you’re going for the wild mushroom and parmesan, feel free to sip from both glasses as both wines complement the pyramid-shaped folded pasta of earthy, diced mushrooms (think porcini, button and shiitake). Our dinner continues with more handmade delights like the lamb ragout-laced fettucini and the vegetarian (the dough for the veg pastas are made sans egg at Spectra) cappelletti in a tangy tomato basil sauce. But we’ll allow you to discover the rest for yourself, at this promotion, on till April 30.
Between Rs 1,050 and Rs 1,300 plus tax each. Details: 33661234
A new catering service lets you choose from a ‘chef at home’ and a fully equipped ‘kitchen cart’
Now we agree that chefs have been on hire for years. But Elang Kumaran and his team give you more than one reason why you should pick their catering service over the competition. “My chefs will do the shopping with you so there’s no compromise on ingredients. And they will cook the same dish to suit different tastes at home,” says Kumaran who heads Field Caterers, the brainchild of restaurateur M Mahadevan. The best part is that you can avail this service for a group as small as five (the chefs charge a minimum of Rs 7,000 for the evening) or even for a couple celebrating their anniversary.
Field Caterers also offers a buffet set up, where you can choose to have signatures from a list of 18 restaurants that they are tied up with. There’s the complete list of restaurants from Oriental Cuisines (think Benjarong, Ente Keralam, Zara, etc), plus Mahadevan’s other projects and restaurants he is associated with (The Marina, Bombay Brasserie, Cream Centre, Saravana Bhavan, Anjappar and more).
While these services are already available to customers, we look forward to the commissioning of their third service, the ‘kitchen cart’ (or a food van) designed to handle the catering volumes that a regular household kitchen can’t. Capable of cooking for groups as large as 200, this van will also be a great option for those who don’t want the privacy of their kitchen disturbed. The only catch is that you’ll have to provide it parking space to cook. “It could be at your beach house, garden or apartment — as long as it is a private space,” chef Kumaran points out, adding that this service will be available in around 30 days.
Rs 750 per head onwards for the buffet or van. Details: 28115770, fieldcaterers.com
At Etc, shop, sample multi-cuisine fare and play a life-size game of snakes & ladders
When HK Ravoofa, Prathima Cuppala and Ramithra KM decided to open a restaurant, they knew that their love for Chennai would surface one way or the other. But on our tour of Etc, their 6,000 sq ft property that has a restaurant, cafe and boutique rolled into one package on 5th Street, Rutland Gate, we find more than just a few tributes to the city. Take for instance their tasting menu of the day. With dishes spanning from barwan paneer to Texas nachos and prawn in wonton sheet, there’s a happy mix of fare that would put a big smile on the face of any multi-cuisine buffet loving Chennaiite. “Our final menu has inputs from chefs whom we have worked with on our shows. We’ve ensured there’s something for everyone,” says Ravoofa, who, along with Cuppala, has directed TV shows like Samayal Samayal.
Boutique for company
Ravoofa is also the brain behind the many costumes worn by the contestants on Super Singer and used to run a boutique in Alsa Mall, that will soon be part of Etc. It should provide a good pre-meal distraction, besides offering all the apparel a city girl could want. “We will also have a selection for men,” Ravoofa clarifies, as I roll up Goan prawn vindaloo in a roti. Perhaps even the chefs here are doing their bit, tailoring the food to suit the regional palate. That’s why our meen moilee is not as coconut-heavy as it would be if from an ‘authentic’ Kerala kitchen and the vindaloo, though spicy, is not as fiery as the Goans serve it.
Post dinner, we discover more local elements (save for an out of place Italian scenery) in the restaurant’s outdoor section — old Bajaj scooter bodies and oil drums are reborn as chairs in one corner, while catamarans are transformed into couches in another. A metal milk can and bucket propped on a bicycle make up the wash basin, while a tea ‘master’ painted on a wall, seems to peep out from a 3D tea shop counter installation. Mostly made from upcycled scrap, the trio enlisted the help of art director Kiran (think Anegan, Ko, VIP, etc) for these unusual creations. And the quirk continues at the cafe upstairs, where we’re sure that like us, you too will not be able to leave without playing a game of snakes & ladders, on a wall that’s turned into a magnetic board, with giant 3D snakes, no less.
Etc launches in a few days. Meal for two from approximately Rs 1,000 plus tax onwards.
Prego at Taj Coromandel lures with a special menu, featuring fresh Italian black truffles
If you truly wish to savour truffles, have them the classic way — with a poached or scrambled egg. “That’s what connoisseurs go for,” says executive chef Alok Anand, who is gung-ho about the fresh batch (approximately a kilo) of Italian black summer truffles that have arrived at Taj Coromandel. Needless to say, he’s made haste to come up with a special truffle menu that will be available for 10 days starting today (truffles last no more than 15 days). And why not, considering their last good batch of summer truffles (and resultant menu) was just around half a kilo, three years ago.
Though the truffle menu at Prego offers a complete meal, you can choose to have just one dish, as they are all individually priced (Rs 700 plus tax onwards). And the chef recommends the seared scallops and leek sauce or the homemade pappardelle and field mushroom ragout, if you’re looking for dishes where the truffles shine bright. The umami flavour of leeks, parsley and parmesan enhances the earthy flavour of truffles, he points out.
Another umami ingredient, cepes make their way on to the truffle, mascarpone and chives pizza, while for dessert, there’s a truffle ricotta mousse and pistachio sponge. “Black truffles can’t be cooked for long — just tossed if needed. That’s why they’re usually sliced and used as a topping,” he concludes. Details: 66002827
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