Daily Archives: Apr 24, 2015
Last week’s buzz continued this week, with everyone making holiday plans for the summer. Almost on cue, Saturday saw an evening hosted by Bally’s Entertainment, the next edition in a series of events to promote their venue in Colombo. Exotic dancers provided the entertainment for the evening, while guests enjoyed the ‘Vegas-ish’ feel that had been created. And if that wasn’t enough, there were loads of goodies for the taking, enticing players to make a quick trip to Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, another set of the party crowd was at Confluence resorts on ECR for Sunburn on Air, featuring headlining act W&W. Fusing styles and mixing influences, the duo have a diversity that appeals to multiple audiences, as was evident by the multitudes that had gathered.
On Sunday, the who’s who of Chennai headed to The Park for the Luxe Royale Night, a special fund raiser by Vivek Karunakaran, in association with the Madras Midtown Round Table 42. The purpose of the evening, I suppose, was to leave us with something to think about, as art, dining and fashion were entwined with live music and dance. As part of the concept, there was no specific stage, with the entire hotel being used to showcase different presentations. Hip-hop at the lobby? Contemporary dance at The Leather Bar? Or an art auction at 601? A fair bit of scurrying about ensued, trying to keep up with all the action, especially for those who didn’t get prime seats, and I was more than a little surprised when a dancer suddenly came to life right next to me. Karunakaran’s Spring Summer collection was followed by the Celebrity Walk of Pride, where everyone from actors to sports persons happily showed off their VK ensembles. Just as we were craning our necks to see what was next, an aerial acrobat proceeded to perform, suspended from above, followed by a flamenco-inspired dance piece. The finale was Karunakaran’s Regimental Colle-ction for both men and women, with structured jackets, billowy skirts, intricate detailing and drapes.
To wind things up, I also got to add a little bit of bling to my week, courtesy Forever Mark Diamonds, in association with Arpranje Jewellers Bangalore, who hosted an exclusive preview of their latest collection. Guest of honour Nandita Das added to the frenzy that generally accompanies all things sparkly, putting her special stamp on the proceedings.
City-based DJs, Rudy and Prashanth, will be treating the crowd to commercial EDM hits at Dublin tonight. Being ladies night, the evening will see free shooters being dished out to the women. Entry for couples at Rs 2,000 (cover of Rs 1,500). From 8 pm to 1 am. Details: 24994101
There’s nothing like a dose of hip-hop to kick start the weekend on a Friday night. DJs Dominic and Mukund will be playing just that at Q Bar, Hilton, tonight, with unlimited vodka on offer for the ladies. While Dominic has been in the industry for over 10 years, Mukund is the resident DJ of the bar with over five years of experience. Entry at Rs 1,000 per couple and free for ladies. Details: 22255555
Going old school
Head to 10 Downing Street on Monday and step back in time while listening to classic hits. DJ Gavin, who will be playing covers of select old-school songs from the ’70s and ’80s, promises to introduce a sense of nostalgia at the bar. Also, order from their food menu and get discounts according to you age (valid for ages 30 to 60 only).
Kingfisher is the beer that made the Mallyas rich. Eagle is the handy Thermos flask you carry to hospitals. Dove is the soap that claims it isn’t a soap. Penguin is the publisher of books you never cared to read. Crane is that paaku thool (betel nut) with that irritating jingle. A top-of-mind-awareness test of bird names is likely to throw up such learned responses from the smartest of city dwellers. That’s how much we know about the winged creatures.
For a generation obsessed with Angry Birds and avian flu, it’s quite ironical that we can’t tell a crane from a stork, or a falcon from a kite. To cure ourselves of our collective ignorance, let’s go on a wild goose chase to up our bird IQ a few notches.
What’s common to the cuckoo, the owl, the kookaburra and the cock? If you blinked like a dying tubelight, let’s put you out of your agony by pointing out that these birds are named after the distinctive sounds they make. Owl, for instance, is derived from the Sanskrit ‘ulluka’, which in turn flows from the ululating call it makes. I’d add the Indian crow and the New Zealand kiwi to the list.
Appearances and plumage also play a role in the nomenclature. The flame-like orangish red colour of the feathers give the flamingo (from Spanish ‘flamengo’) its flamboyant label. Eagle comes from the Latin ‘gquila’ and it means ‘water-coloured’ or dark-hued bird. Along the same lines, penguin draws its roots from ‘pen gwyn’ which implies ‘white head’ in Welsh.
Sometimes misnomers have resulted in ludicrous choices. America’s favourite thanksgiving bird, the turkey, is actually not from Turkey. It’s a native species often confused with the guinea fowl, which was introduced to Europe from the Mediterranean country. The resulting confusion gave rise to turkey, which incidentally is referred to in Turkey as ‘Hindi’ because it’s thought to have been imported from India. The albatross has a similar tale. In the early days, it was mixed up with the pelican and was, hence, christened from the Spanish word ‘alcatruz’ (meaning water carrier).
Other common birds have rather pedestrian origins. The German word for ‘singer’ gave rise to swan. Rooster was whipped up when ‘cock’ was found to be unparliamentary. Pigeon is literally ‘young chirping bird’. And many think ‘dove’ is related to the past tense of ‘dive’ in reference to its flight. Hope that left you happy as a lark.
Radio stations still scream formats like it’s a war cry. ‘Format’ is a word that limits this beautiful medium from what it can actually deliver. It’s an age-old technique that levels the land for the programming crew and creates channels of irrigation for the sales.
If you are to experience this on a regular basis, it will make you feel like you are sowing paddy in a distant village with only a few farmers by your side. Everything from imaging and show type to selling and marketing revolve around this word. Some stations even have the same kind of toilet in their rest-rooms across the country, just so they stick to the format. Within the next five years, a lot will change for radio because of the countless technical innovations that keep cropping up on the World Wide Web.
Media will be ‘app-tised’ and, on radio, no one will care much about long-drawn-out interviews, audio releases, outdoor activation, game shows and the like. For radio, it will come down to music and moments. The plan will be to keep it real and on a social platform. The digi-revolution is great for consumers as it helps them access their choice of entertainment anywhere and at any time.
Imagine a radio station on an app—giving you just music sans the frogs croaking. Now that will be a radio unit that you can call a friend. The painfully-long and boring ads will not be heard, but only seen as a ticker. That will be a blessing, especially with the classless varieties of ads that get produced today. The user experience will be of utmost priority and once that’s achieved, you would rarely tune back to a terrestrial radio station.
Contrary to the notion that formats cause disruption, which creates ‘listenership’, I think it causes a bigger disconnect with the listeners. You have AIR scrambling with their radio commentary during the World Cup and, at the same time, when you switch to a private station they are in Candyland. One of the million reasons why formats are forgettable.
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.
Our pick of digital apps that offer cashless payments
Digital wallets not only let you make hassle-free transactions both on and offline, but they are branching into other areas of wealth management, too. Looking beyond favourites like Paytm and Google Wallet, we bring you the latest apps to solve your cash or card woes.
Short for Mobile Wallet app, it enables faster smartphone payments as it simply needs to be linked with a debit/credit card to connect to a bank account. You can even transfer money to contacts in your list, if they do not have the app. The best thing? You won’t need to enter bank details.
Free on Android. Details: mowa.in
Once you feed in dates for recurring bills, the RBI-approved app will remind you about the dues until you pay. From mobile bills to digital TV subscriptions, this one even reminds you to pay the domestic help, school fees and gym subscriptions. You can store credit or debit card details for smooth payments without saving the CCV number.
On Android. Details: play.google.com
YPAYCASH mobile wallet lets you recharge your DTH televison connections like Airtel, Reliance and DISH, apart from utility bills like gas, electricity, water and others. You can also book bus tickets on travelyaari.com, transfer money to bank accounts and go e-shopping.
Available on play.google.com
With this app, you can recharge all major mobile connections, pay your phone and electricity bills, shop, buy tickets and more. Features like sending money to social media contacts, gifting air time, scheduling payments and asking family and friends for a top up on your talk time, make it more convenient.
Available on play.google.com
The new Sunday brunch at Clubhouse, the 24-hour bistro of Taj Club House, features a buffet accompanied by mocktails and wines. Expect live stations for barbecues, South Indian staples like appam with stew and kurma, street food like chaat and Oriental cuisine. The kids section has a chocolate fountain and home-made candies too. From Rs 1,433 per head onwards. Details: 30925995
Tranquebar at ITC Grand Chola is offering different variants of the Shrub, the classic ’90s cocktail made with ripe fruit juice that is stewed with sugar and a dash of vinegar. Take your pick from flavours that include peach, raspberry and passion fruit, among others. At Rs 950 plus tax per cocktail. From 5 pm to 11.45 pm, till April 30. Details: 30853787
Fans of North Indian food must head to Cream Centre for its Gujarati and Rajasthani food festival. Make your own thali by choosing from the chef’s creations like dhokla and kanji vada, ghatte ke saag and more. End your meal with drinks like chandan kesar sherbat and desserts like shrikhand. Thali at Rs 450 plus tax. Details: 30853850
Shifting from its usual take-away model, Kolapasi’s third outlet, in Mogappair, allows customers to have a quick meal on the spot. You can even taste samples before placing your order. Serving comfort food, the menu has combos that include sambar rice, chicken biryani, paruppu podi rice, white rice and fish curry. Meal for two from approximately Rs 400 onwards. Details: 9710927797
Haven Sampoorna is offering a chef’s special every day. While fans of sizzlers will love the signature devilled vegetable sizzler, other specials include spinach and cheese manicotti, crostini rosti and eggplant involtini, among others. We particularly like their cheesy pizza sandwich. Meal for two at approximately Rs 700. Open from 12 pm to 10.30 pm. Details: 9092382382
The chef within
City-based recreational culinary studio, Foodology is conducting a summer camp for children above four years. Participants will cook dishes from Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines, such as tomato salsa, sweet corn and bell pepper fritters, Caesar salad and falafel. They will also learn to bake items like spanakopita and apple pie. From May 4-8, 9.30 am to 1 pm. Registration at Rs 5,000 per head.
What to expect as FashionTV’s popular nightclub gears up to introduce the concept of ‘table selling’ to Chennai
It’s been more than a couple of months since news of a certain upmarket nightclub brand launching in the city started doing the rounds. And with their launch party under a week away, Malcolm A, MD of Cloud 9 Entertainment, reveals that he’s the one bringing FashionTV’s popular lounge bar to the city. “FashionTV has moved to several verticals — cafes, hotels, residences — and we will be representing the brand in Chennai,” says Malcolm adding that the brand is looking at introducing cafes in India next, as he pulls out blueprints of F Club & Lounge, that is expected to open to the public with an international DJ brought down for the event. The blueprints
Spread across two floors, F Club & Lounge has taken over the space that was formerly Flames at Le Royal Meridien. Completely redesigned and currently spanning 6,500 sq ft in all, Malcolm tells us that the hotel was chosen to meet FashionTV’s requirement of having a separate entrance for the club. Located on the ground floor, the lounge is capable of seating 60 and has two bar counters — one at the indoor zone and another at the outdoor smoking zone. The club, located in the basement, is where all the action will unfold, with a bar counter that’s nearly 40-feet long, an elevated DJ console that will allow everyone a view of the artiste du jour and 2,000 diamond-like LEDs dotting the roof.
While Malcolm doesn’t reveal whether the club will serve the Ciroc Celebration Cocktails that have a following in Bengaluru, or the prawn puchkas and peanut butter chicken wings that their patrons in Mumbai have come to love, he does promise that Chennai will have its own signatures. “We will be offering only finger food, but it is all specific to the city,” he says, adding that their USP will be their VIP and Diamond zones. The VIP zone is where they will promote the concept of ‘selling tables’. Meant for groups of five to six, these tables will come with alcohol and food, but be prepared to shell out anywhere between Rs 20,000 and Rs 40,000 to book one for the night.
Details: 28282000, ftv-chennai.com
Besides options like Australian lamb and Norwegian salmon, Red Box Butchery sends home fresh duck, mutton and seafood too
For those who can’t help but think ‘just another delivery service’, Nicholas Paul, the man behind the week-old Red Box Butchery, points to the basics. “Regular butchers hang the meat for hours once the animal is slaughtered. This affects freshness and can cause the meat to become tough,” he says, explaining that meat should be handled in a temperature-controlled environment. This is why even his delivery bikes are fitted with insulated boxes and use imported gel packs to maintain temperature during delivery. But a hygienic butchery (all his products are washed only with bubble top water) and delivery across the city are not Paul’s only calling cards.
In the business of fresh and imported meats and seafood for 10 years now, Paul used to own a chain called Prime Deli and is also on the speed dial of several hotels in the city. Through his delivery model, Red Box Butchery, which he plans to set up across multiple cities in South India over the next two months (also watch out for his cold-cuts project in the pipeline), he offers mutton, seafood and poultry like chicken, duck and turkey (even beef and pork on special orders). Amateur chefs and barbecue experts will love their range of cuts like brisket, rump steak and lamb rack with cap on or off, while we love that they offer frozen, imported meats like Australian and New Zealand lamb (from Rs 1,200-Rs 1,400 per kilo onwards).
In the seafood department, there’s rock lobsters, mud crabs, tiger prawns and hoki (New Zealand), basa (Vietnam), salmon (Norway) and octopus (Thailand). And with caviar catching on in the city, Red Box Butchery offers a salmon roe (Rs 800 for 50 gms) that can be the highlight of your next party. But if you’re feeling truly luxurious, it must be the beluga at nearly Rs 15,000 a portion.
Mutton from Rs 550 per kilo onwards. Details: 43570000, 65250250
Chips, pickles, papads and a buffet — this three-day festival dedicated to the jackfruit, has it all
Unni Tharakan is reading from his list of products that will be available at the Chennai Jackfruit Festival next weekend and we’re finding it hard to follow. Did he say jackfruit cake mix? “Yes. Dry jackfruit petal or seed powder can be used to make pastries,” clarifies Tharakan, one of the 12 organising committee members behind the event. Tharakan’s list, that started with humble jackfruit chips, now boasts jellies, jams, squash, halwa, candies and even papads. And these are only the ‘value added’ products that will be sold at the three-day festival scheduled to begin at the Chennai Trade Centre on May 1.
The back story
“Tender or raw jackfruit has the texture of meat and can be used as a substitute in biryanis and several curries. We will also have live counters where visitors can try dishes like bajjis, cutlets, tacos and fritters, all made with jackfruit,” shares Tharakan, whose co-organisers are all from various backgrounds that have nothing to do with the jackfruit. “We just wanted to organise a food festival and give the proceeds to the Mother Teresa Charitable Trust,” he says, adding that one thing led to another and after much research and discussion, they ended up creating Chennai’s first jackfruit festival. And we say Chennai’s first, because organisations like the Jackfruit Promotion Council of Kerala have organised similar festivals in Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru. As a matter of fact, it was the council that helped Tharakan’s team identify vendors from across the country, who made unique jackfruit products.
Biryani & buffet
At the festival, expect pickles from Shillong, papads from Chickmagalur, juices from Mumbai, jackfruit bars from Ratnagiri and a host of masalas and cake mixes from Kannur. And James Joseph, the man behind JackFruit 365, that freeze dries the seasonal fruit to make it available all year round, says, “I am looking forward to the 3,000-year-old raw jackfruit dish, chakka puzhukku. This ancient carbohydrate replacement of Kerala and Sri Lanka is the most tasty, low sugar, high fibre, gluten-free dish you can have, to fight off diabetes.” Popular city-based caterer, Reena Paul has created nearly 20 such dishes for a jackfruit buffet that will begin at 6 pm on all three days. Other than the rice and rotis, every other delicacy (think chakkakurru masala, chakka sambar and chakka pradaman) on the menu is made with jackfruit.
Buffet passes ( Rs 450) must be booked in advance. Details: chennaijackfruitfest.com
Take your pick
On the varieties of the fruit grown in the country, Shree Padre, a jackfruit expert and editor of Adike Patrike, a Kannada magazine, says there are a few named by universities, but several unnamed varieties identified by natives. “For example, Gururaj Balthillaya, a grafting expert, grows nearly 40 varieties in Athrady, near Manipal,” he points out, adding that popular varieties are Kachahally and Janagere, both found near Bengaluru. Also look out for the chembarathi or the red-fleshed jackfruit found in the Tumkur district of Karnataka. Though it is in no way superior to the rest, it sells at a premium of Rs 5 per bulb.
Fruit fact file
■ Jackfruit is rich in dietary fibres and vitamins
■ Owing to its low glycemic index, jackfruit is good for diabetics
■ The fruit has great amounts of potassium and helps regulate blood pressure
■ Nearly 85 per cent of North Indians have never tasted the fruit as they consider it a vegetable
■ More than 95 per cent of the jackfruits available here are grown organically, because jackfruit farming is almost non existent in the country
■ Panruti, near Cuddalore, is known as the jackfruit paradise of the country with more than 1,000 hectares of the tree. It is the only place where it is available around the year
Fashionable yet playful—that best describes the Emporio Armani Spring 2015 watch collection for men and women. Inspired by classic aviation styles, they sport both analog and digital movement. Our pick is the pendant watch with a mother-of-pearl dial and a rotating closure. Available at outlets like FOSSIL, Lifestyle and Shoppers Stop. Rs 15,995 onwards. Details: 66949082
Bring on the bling
Add some extra sparkle to your jewellery collection with ORRA’s anniversary sale. Get up to 25 per cent off on diamond and platinum jewellery, and Rs 2,000 off per 10 grams on hallmarked gold jewellery. So hurry up and choose from solitaire necklaces, kundan jewellery and contemporary designs in platinum and gold. Till May 8. Rs 10,000 onwards. Details: 28114141
Montegrappa, Italy’s iconic pen manufacturer, has launched its flagship boutique at the Palladium, in Mumbai. Unveiled by actor Saif Ali Khan, the swanky address features a wide range
of writing instruments, watches, perfumes, cufflinks and leather accessories. Products from Rs 12,000 onwards. Details: montegrappa.com
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