Sunday, July 31, 2011

Khyber? Pass!!!

Khyber is one of Mumbai’s older upmarket North Indian restaurants. If you wanted to take a foreigner out to dinner and give him `North Indian’ food, the first place one would look at was Khyber. Over the years, Khyber has become the 5 star hotel Concierge recommendation to guests who want to venture out for a meal. The other recommendation is Trishna.

For some reason, Khyber has long fallen off our horizon as a viable dinner option. On the rare occasion when we asked friends to join us for dinner there, they always cried off claiming ‘the food is very heavy and rich’. This, we thought was a strange comment especially since it’s consistently repeated. So last night, we decided we should take the plunge and have dinner there ourselves. We braved the torrential rain and were given a table despite, oddly, the restaurant having several vacant tables and simultaneously several punters waiting for tables. I did not quite understand this schizophrenic behaviour.

We were given a menu and looked at the drinks section. I wanted a beer and saw that a bottle of Kingfisher was Rs 250/- I assumed this was a pint bottle and therefore rather expensive. However, I am happy to report that this was the price of a large bottle i.e. 2 pints. This was a most reasonable price.

For starters we ordered a Kali Mirchi Chicken described as “Spicy chicken marinated in fresh ground black pepper and yogurt threaded onto skewers”. Before this was served, we were given the obligatory red pickle, pickled onions [very well done], green chutney, a plate full of sliced limes and green chilli. All good quality, not dried out. Soon the Kali Mirchi Chicken arrived. Disappointing. Well cooked but with not a hint of black pepper. Strange consistency, probably on account of it being marinated for too long in yogurt with ginger.

For our main course we ordered from the `Curries’ section of the Menu, a Saag Mutton described as “Mutton sautéed with ginger, garlic and rich red masala, cooked with spinach”. From the `Tava’ section we ordered Mutton Pasanda, described as “Mutton chunks in spicy red marinade topped with onion and mint”. Khyber describes `Tava’ foods rather interestingly; permit me to reproduce from their menu – “Stir fried and braised over high flame on the large Indian cast iron flat pan”. Strikes me as an odd description. The last thing we ordered was, what we thought was a safe as houses, Maa Ki Daal described as “the traditional slow cooked daal flavoured with garam masala, butter and cream”. Oh yes, we also had a plate of cocktail Naans and a Laccha Partha.

The food was strange to say the least. The flavours were flat and uninteresting. The Saag Mutton was a brown colour and left a red oily residue on the plate. I can assume this was because of the `rich red masala’. The Mutton Pasanda was an unmitigated disaster. The Mutton [goat technically] was mush, having been rendered so by lavish applications of raw papaya and being left in for too long. It was inedible. The Maa Ki Daal was extremely peculiar. It was deep red colour and not the dark brown we are accustomed to.

We were most disappointed in the meal. The most pleasant dish was the Mutton Saag. I have been thinking as to why the food was so strange. The only explanation I can think of, is a heavy use of the classic gravy that is the mainstay of Indian restaurants. I now remember a conversation we once had with the owner of the Great Punjab Restaurant at Bandra who said that the most boring aspect of his job was tasting the gravies every morning. Obviously, either the taster at Khyber is sleeping on the job or his taste buds are shot. Seeing the colour of the Maa Ki Daal I suspect the unthinkable had happened. The Daal had been cooked with the red gravy. This is really the only explanation that I can think of.

Was the food heavy? In my view not unusually. It was just (a) badly prepped, therefore, the end result was substandard and flawed and (b) cooked lazily by using large quantities of poorly made base gravy.

It’s sad that this restaurant should be the standard bearer of `North Indian’ food and the first exposure to many foreigners seeking out `Indian’ food.

I apologise for the lack of photographs. We had not carried a camera and frankly the food didn’t deserve to be photographed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Peshawari - Kebabs and Sharab

Everybody also loves a good Kebab. By this I mean a real Kebab, one made of animal protein not milk protein [Paneer] or Cauliflower, Broccoli, Potato, Capsicum and what have you. A place to find good Kebabs is the Bukhara in the ITC Maurya Delhi, the ITC Hotels singular, signature Kebab restaurant and at its clones, all conveniently called Peshawari, in other Indian cities. Please stay away from the `Kebabs And Kurries’ [their spelling] outlets that also exist in some ITC Hotels. These outlets are a very poor imitation of the real thing and are unfortunately just a notch above food courts.

You can be rest assured that the Kebabs at Peshawari are made with superior cuts of meat, well marinated and superbly cooked by experts. Of course you pay an arm and leg for them. Of course there are many hawkers selling Kebabs that are quite good. But, I am talking about real Kebabs served in pleasant surroundings with a glass of cold beer or a decent wine. This is not a time and place for street food.

So last night, armed with my trusty camera, we set out for a good Kebab meal at the Peshawari in the ITC Maratha Sahar Mumbai.

After a couple of beers at the bar we settled down at the table, put on our bibs and ordered our dinner. The smoky Mutton Burrah, a creamy Murgh Malai Kebab and a Kadak Seekh. The Mutton Burrah is really their best Kebab. The meat is simultaneously charred in parts, cooked in others and still pink on the inside. Lashings of Ghee, or butter, or both, are applied which when placed in the Tandoor burns, further adding to the smoky taste. The Murgh Malai Kebab is totally different. It's boneless pieces of chicken marinated very simply in cream and ginger garlic paste.  The Kadak Seekh is unique. This is minced chicken moulded onto a skewer and grilled. Then a batter is applied which crisps up. A powder containing dried mint, Chaat Masala, Black Salt and probably Kasoori Methi is lavishly sprinkled on top of all the Kebabs. We had the Kebabs with the obligatory Rotis and the superb Daal Peshawari. 

You could also have their version of the Tandoori Chicken. They do not anoint the bird with the lurid red food colouring that you see in almost every restaurant. The Tandoori Chicken is really quite good here.

This is rustic food. Eaten in a faux rustic ambience. Well its one of India's most expensive restaurants and the decor is rather, well, rustic. Being rustic allows them to serve you the food in messy plates. Have a look.

To wash all this down, a cold crisp Pouilly Fume is our recommendation.

A good meal.

The usual Roti Ki Tokri

A Pudhina Paratha. It seems to have changed from the last time we ate here. Have a look at the photo above

Murgh Malai Kebab

The wonderful Mutton Burrah Kebab

Tandoori Chicken
Chicken Reshmi Kebab

The incredibly good Mutton Seekh Kebabs

Daal Bukhara

Kadak Seekh


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kosha Mangsho

Everybody loves a good Mutton Curry. Getting a good recipe and then making one according to that recipe is another matter.

A few months ago we had lunch in Chennai at the home of our close friends who are Bengalis. Ruby, our friend’s mother, like most mothers and grandmothers over the age of 50 [not yummy mummies] is a great cook. She had made a typical Bengali Mutton Curry called Kosha Mangsho. This was deeply aromatic, spicy with Garam Masala, had a thick gravy, and, like all good curries, had potato. This, in my view, is essential.

Ruby generously shared her recipe in fabulous detail and honesty. This recipe which I followed to the `T' actually makes a Kosha Mangsho as good as Ruby’s. For a home-cook, this level of detail is rare, which is why this recipe is all the more precious to us.

We have made this a few times and have slightly adapted it. We made it a couple of days ago for dinner. It turned out very well. Leftovers have a great advantage. All you need to do is keep them away and make a Biryani the next day. Place the left over Kosha Mangsho in the bottom of a pot, add a tablespoon of Kewda Water [Screwpine], fill the pot with almost cooked rice, place on a slow fire for about 15 minutes covered and your biryani is ready.

Like all food with onion, ginger and garlic, particularly, stews, please eat the dish the day after making it. A night in the fridge does wonders for the flavour. 

So Ruby, take a bow. I am sorry to have tinkered with your recipe but, we believe it is better this way. The recipe follows.

Ruby Banerjee’s

Kosha Mangsho - Pot Roast Mutton Bengali Style


4 Tbsp or more Mustard Oil

5 Green cardamom
10-12 Peppercorns

6 Cloves

3 Inch cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces

2 bay leaf

5 onion finely chopped 
1-2 teaspoon sugar 

2 Tbsp Ginger Garlic paste

2 tomato, diced

1 1/2 Tsp Coriander seeds powdered
1 1/2 Tsp Cumin seeds powdered

1/2 Tsp Turmeric

2 Tsp chilli powder, or to taste

[If you like you could dissolve all the powders in a little water to make a paste]

1 Kg Boneless mutton cubed and throughly dried on some kitchen paper. This is essential.

2-3 potato, peeled and cut into big pieces

Garam masala powder

[Equal quantity Clove, Cinnamon & Cardamom dry roasted and powdered]

1 Tbsp Ghee


Day 1 - Cooking 

Heat mustard oil. Add the Cardamom, Peppercorns, Cinnamon, Bay leaf and clove. Stir till they crackle.

Add the onions and the sugar and sauté till golden. Really golden not golden from outside. Do this on a lowish flame.

Add Ginger Garlic paste and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the diced tomato and cook till the oil and water separates.

Now add the powders [which you may have dissolved in water] i.e. Corriander, Cumin, Tumeric and Chilli. Stir for a couple of minutes.

Turn up to high heat. Now add the cubed dried mutton in batches. This will ensure that water is not released. Once all the mutton is added keep stirring occasionally till all water dries, the oil separates and the meat and masala start turning darker. If the meat and masala start sticking to the pan and a tablespoon of water and scrape off the caramelised part. This process should take about 30 minutes to an hour. The meat will turn visibly darker. Have a look at the photos. 

Meat before browning

A much darker colour as well as drier

Once all the meat and masala has turned a much darker shade (almost black) add water to cover the meat, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. If it gets too dry add some water. You should have a thick gravy.

Now put the contents into a pressure cooker along with the Potato and cook till the Pressure cooker whistles once. Turn off the heat and wait till the pressure reduces. When cool, put contents in fridge overnight.

Day 2 - Eating

Heat the Kosha Mangsho, add salt to taste, sprinkle Garam Masala powder and Ghee. 

Classically eaten with Bengali Luchis, it is also good with steamed rice or chapatti/paratha.

Finished Kosha garnished with Corriander


Amy Winehouse - cut the hype

Much is being written about the untimely death of Amy Winehouse. However, this connect-the-dots, `27’ theory nauseates me and seems like nothing but a clever pigeon-holing by marketers, the media and business people. It simply demonstrates their ability to manufacture such clever coincidences and market a cobbled together phenomena. It’s us gullible, ADHD stricken consumers who require such packages to be able to be current and tweet or make public our so called grief at her death on Facebook.

I have her album `Back to Black’, and I like it. Yes, she does sing well, and, she was a character. She had released two albums. The first was called `Frank’ which went nowhere and the second was the blockbuster hit, `Back to Black’ which stoked interest in `Frank’. `Back to Black’ did have a few good songs and was, in my view, lapped up because of the easy to the ear sound. Part Blues, part Jazz, and part Soul. In other words, a deeply influenced sound. She had a great producer in Mark Ronson and a great backing band with the Dap Kings.

Was she as influential or genre busting as any of the other members of the so called `27’ club. Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain? Absolutely not, and, with her death, obviously will never be.

So let’s give it a rest shall we. She was good, she died at 27 but that does not have anything to do with anything so let’s not try and create more hype.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


We were booked for a 4 night stay at the famous Wildflower Hall luxury resort at Mashobra some 15 kms away from Simla. So we flew into Chandigarh and had a hotel car waiting to drive us the 135 kms to Mashobra. This was the most awful drive I have ever experienced in my life. The roads were bad, the traffic heavy with one lane and no dual carriageway for most of the way. You had to climb from sea level to some 8500 feet and the uphill stretches were long. We were stuck behind wheezing asthmatic trucks for eons. The scenery was awful. Just stretches of denuded hills with rashes of the ugliest construction. Ugly, dirty, unregulated. The mobile phone companies have literally carpet bombed the area. All shops had mobile phone branding. I have not seen as many men urinating alongside the roads as I did. The ugliness of Simla is beyond belief. After 5 agonising hours we reached our hotel. 

The hotel is a tower block which reminded me of the old war film `Where Eagles Dare’. I imagined evil Nazi Colonels walking around in Jackboots. Instead we got scores of waiters dressed in bizarre outfits which were designed to portray Himachali culture I assume. I don’t understand the need to dress waiters in such ridiculous costumes in such incongruous surroundings. Being served Eggs Benedict and Croque Madame by a man in a funny suit is not my idea of Himachali culture. But then again, I am a washed up lawyer not an hotelier. 

The hotel was nice. Being the only hotel in 15 kms they had you as a victim. They could charge you anything and you had no choice in the matter. A Club Sandwich was an eye watering Rs 795/- a Chilli Cheese Toast was a numbing Rs 650/- I mean this is Simla not Monaco!! By the same token a 650 ml bottle of beer was bizarrely priced at a super cheap Rs 350/- and a small Isle of Jura at Rs 300/-.

You could, in theory, go mountain biking or white water rafting. The catch being you had to hire a hotel car and drive to do this. Hire of a car was obviously at a rapacious price. We had no intention of doing so. So we went on walks since fresh air was free. One walk was barely pleasant, the other was good. We spent our time reading, watching the Cricket World Cup on TV and attending a fruit and flower wine tasting [yes no wines made with grapes just fruits and flowers, all of them ghastly]. We were bored to tears. Then we said enough is enough. We can do all this at home. 

We changed our flights, got into the car and fled after 2 nights. The hotel was not at fault. It was my decision to do this. I should have expected this. 

As far as the food is concerned, we had a good Bengali meal. Yes. Bengali. The chefs were Bengali and recommended Kosha Mangsho. This was good and spiced, unusually, with Panch Pohoran and not the usual garam masala. Breakfast was Eggs Benedict and Croque Madame. The other dinner was Buffalo Mozzarella and tomato sandwich for Arti and a dahi kadhi with cauliflower for me. Surreal, weird, unreal. Of course all this was served by the aforementioned waiters in costume. 

My advise, all unsolicited: 

  • Don’t go to any place in India where you have anything more than a 60 minute drive after a flight.
  • Don’t travel in India for holiday You get much much more bang for your buck travelling to a Dubai, Thailand, Sri Lanka Malaysia or even Singapore. 
  • You get much better food outside India. 

    H G Walter - Family butchers

    We were introduced to these wonderful butchers a few years ago and have been loyal customers ever since. The shop is just next to the Barons Court Tube Station. The guys behind the counter are extremely friendly and we have over the years developed a good rapport with a few of them. Our standing request is: we want all our meat vacuum packed in multiple packaging. For example, 3 packs of Pork Chilli Sausage with 5 sausages in each pack. They know we carry the meat to India and wish us a pleasant flight.

    Their sausages are really top class. The most flavourful and moist of the lot are the pork sausages and out of these our absolute favourite are the Chilly Pork. This is a slightly coarse grind and spiced with paprika and cumin. The Pork Chops, Lamb Chops and dry aged 28 day Aberdeen Angus Rib Eye are all top class. The animals are all free range. In fact, they say that their pigs have a superior lifestyle. Yup, see the package.

    Have a look at their website.

    We had bought the dry aged 28 day Aberdeen Angus Rib Eye and decided to have Steak Au Poivre for dinner a couple of days ago. To make it slightly more interesting we coated the steaks with coarsely crushed black, white and Sichuan pepper. The sauce was a simple brandy, cream and stock combination. I could have cooked the steaks without the pepper and made a pepper sauce with green peppercorns but I prefer the encrusted version.

    We made some lovely Pommes Darphin to go with the steak. This is a great little dish. You cut the potato on a mandolin add some salt and squeeze out the water. Then you put the potato in a hot, very hot pan with a quarter inch of oil and cook the potato pressing down to get it to clump together. Unfortunately the potato we had was the wrong kind. It did not crisp up too well. We had a crisp outside and a gummy inside. But a very good meal.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Pho Ga

    Pho Ga is a Vietnamese soup made with chicken. The beef version is called Pho Bo. 

    One of our favourite lunches especially when travelling is a bowl of Oriental soup. You get a hot broth, some noodle a bit of protein and some green vegetables. To make your meal healthier you could order a side of a Chinese steam vegetables like Kailan or Bok Choy or Choy Sum. This is nourishing, filling enough to keep you going till dinner and light enough for you to have dinner. 

    After some trial and error we have started making the Pho Ga at home. You don't really get stewing beef in India  so making the Pho Bo is not really much fun. Its really quite easy. And to make life even simple for you I am giving you the recipe.

    When assembling remember that the heavier vegetables go on the bottom of the bowl and the lighter on top.



    Chicken Pho

    For upto 3 large bowls 
    For the stock

    1 Large onion peeled and halved
    1 thumb sized piece of ginger unpeeled
    3-4 star anise lightly crushed
    1  3 inch piece of cinnamon
    3-4 whole cloves lightly crushed
    1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns lightly crushed
    Fish sauce to taste about 2 tablespoon
    Light Soy sauce to taste
    Salt to taste

    For the Soup

    Boneless skinless chicken breast [about ½ breast per person]
    Chinese egg noodles cooked in accordance with maker’s instructions and drained
    Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage or Lettuce


    A few leaves of Basil
    A few leaves of Coriander
    Onion very thinly sliced or spring onion sliced [green or white part]
    Red chilli thinly sliced
    Bean sprouts


    Roast onions and ginger directly on rack of a gas burner over high heat, turning with tongs, until blistered and blackened, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool. When cool enough to handle, rinse and rub under cold running water to remove any blackened pieces (some areas will remain browned). Don't be too fussy about this.

    While onions and ginger roast, add water to pot [about 500 mls per bowl of soup] and add star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, and peppercorns, onions, and ginger. Add normal chicken stock/bullion powder in accordance with water in the ratio as per manufacturer’s instructions. Simmer, uncovered, about 20 mins.

    Now add the chicken breast whole and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Do not boil or stock will get cloudy. Turn off heat and let the stock cool with the chicken in the stock.

    When cool remove breast and place on cutting board.

    Sieve/strain soup and put into clean pot. The more you strain it, preferably thru a muslin the clearer the broth will get. Bring to boil and add the Fish Sauce, Soy and salt if necessary and check seasoning. Keep on heat till service.

    Slice chicken breast thinly.


    In a deep bowl line bottom with the Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage or Lettuce. Place the cooked noodles on top. Place the sliced chicken breast on top of the noodles.

    Pour hot soup into bowl. The soup will cook the vegetables.

    Place the various garnish on top. Squeeze the lime and eat.


    This is a new blog and I am in the process of uploading lots of stuff. So blogs may seem out of sequence.

    In January this year Arti's mother was having a party at home. She asked Arti to make a couple of fruit tarts for the party. So in true excess meets excess style we set about making a few fruit tarts. The pastry was the classic Pate Sucre or Sweet Shortcrust Pastry. This had to be baked and when cooled the tarts had to be filled.

    We used a Creme Patisserie or Pastry Cream as the base and then arranged the fruit on top. The fruit was then glazed with melted mix fruit jam.

    They do look nice.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Wonderful Tonight

    On our return from Oxford we had book a show at the Royal Albert Hall. Main act Eric Clapton and opening act Andy Fairweather Low. Obama was in town and like in Mumbai traffic was a mess. So we caught a taxi and he whisked us thru Hyde Park to the Royal Albert Hall rather than the bus route which went from the traffic laden Park Lane – Knightsbridge – Kensington route. The venue was absolutely magnificent. Many entry gates and your ticket had a gate marked. No confusion or dhakka getting in. We had good seats and we sat down to enjoy the show. The shows were good. We knew the set list so walked out during the second last song got into a cab and went off for dinner. The decency and civility of the crowd as well as the absence of security is eye-opening to us Indians.

    Next day buzzed around London and got odds and ends tied up. Dinner was booked at Bar Boulud the London outpost of the Lyon born New York based chef Daniel Boulud. It was a large loud casual brasserie/bistro style. Great atmosphere but a bit too noisy. The food is deeply influenced by Bouluds Lyon upbringing so there is lots of Charcuterie. We first ordered a plate of Charcuterie to share. We got `homemade’ ham brined for 4 days and cooked sous vide, a pate, salami, tête de veau, and a `tagine’ basically lamb confit with Moroccan spices. All very good. I was still hungry so we ordered one more plate. 

    Starters done, we ordered his highly touted burgers. A French chefs tribute to America. Arti ordered the Frenchie Burger which was a burger with confit pork belly and I had the Piggie which was a burger with all American pulled pork with a spicy barbeque sauce. Both of us ordered frites. The burgers were frankly all right thought very under seasoned. The pulled pork which I ate for the first time despite reading and watching TV shows on it was underwhelming to say the least. The burger buns were brioche and therefore nice to eat. The frites were really frites. They were neither the usual chips nor the McDonald type frozen French fries. The frites were really good. Worth 13 pounds probably not. The wine we had was very good. The deserts were also top notch. They don’t allow photography so after the first two photos I was tapped on the shoulder. So pardon this.

    Today the weather has changed. It’s absolutely bucketing down complete with sound and light. Thank God, I was going to ask for my money back, it has been like an Indian summer here. Tonight we go to our favourite restaurant Le Gavaroche for a last big meal.

    Raymond Blanc

    A Chinese dinner on Saturday night. Great food. We were constrained to order the crispy aromatic duck and shrimp on toast but be that as it may. We ordered a fantastic Dover Sole cooked with chilli. What a crafty and effective presentation. The whole fish is filleted and the fillets stir fried with the condiments. The carcass too is fried and the fillets piled on to the carcass. Much like using the shell when making Lobster Thermidor. Clever. The beef with mango is a good combination.

    Our gastronomic journey has resumed. A client had gifted us a night’s stay at Raymond Blancs Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons along with a meal of our choice, wine of our choice and breakfast. Le Manoir is a 2 Michelin star restaurant and attached hotel a few miles outside Oxford. The location and the Hotel are extremely beautiful. The property was an old 14th century farmhouse which Raymond Blanc bought and has steadily upgraded. Each room has a name [not number] and theme. We were in something called Crystal. Nice largish room with top class fittings and upholstery. Bathrooms were large with once again top class toiletries. The soaps are handmade and you are told that they are not recycled so you are advised to take them away. The fruit in the room was beyond belief sweet. The cherries were like nothing we have ever tasted.

    After a shower and some TV we went down for dinner. We sat in the lounge and had a glass of Champagne. Things are a bit over the top here but I guess they have to cater to the rich and the super mega rich so there is a large range of price points. They have 74 yes 74 Champagnes in stock. That is varieties not bottles!! The canapés with our champagne were very nice except for the infernal `curry ball’ which was jarring.

    Soon we were whisked away for dinner. We had chosen the 5 course meal, which consist of the 5 most popular dishes. There was a 10 course meal available but that looked like being a bit cutting edge full of foam type food. The food was very good. The risotto was totally different from the Spring Veg Risotto we had at Galvin La Chapelle. This one had a sour note and no Parmesan. Instead you got a quenelle of Mascarpone. The veg were really lovely crunchy and the peas were really sweet and aromatic. Next course was Fish. This was quite Mediterranean in look and feel. It could be regarded as a deconstructed bouillabaisse but it had only 3 fish not the traditional 5. I thought the dish was mis-described as it said in the menu there would be a squid fricassee. The squid was grilled. The cherry tomato had olives placed on top [you can see them in the photo] and the sliver of toast had Tapenade. The Aioli and the bouillabaisse jus really brought it together. For me the dish of the day was the slow cooked chicken. This was truly astounding in texture. The Morel sauce was very very good. This dish looked and tasted earthy. Contrast it with the vibrant coloured fish dish. Clever. The desert was a masterpiece. To make a chocolate quenelle and put some fragile gold leaf on the fragile quenelle was skill. Very nice meal. Except for the gold leaf and the morels, there were really no luxury ingredients in the meal. It was good, fresh locally sourced produce. In fat it was actually quite a light, healthy meal!

    Breakfast was a good quality Continental meal. Fruit, fruits compotes, yogurts, cheeses, cereals, breads, cold cuts. If you wanted as a supplemental cost you could have a full English breakfast or the usual Eggs Benedict et al. Nice but nothing great.

    We wholeheartedly recommend a stay for 2 nights at Raymond Blancs Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons. A beautiful hotel, fabulous food, wonderful location and so easy to get to. It’s a short 45 minute drive from Heathrow and they will send you a car. It takes more than that much time to reach home from Sahar airport. You will be in a really magical place. Fantastic kitchen gardens you can walk about in. Friendly gardeners and friendlier chefs all around. The staff is charm personified. Really a magical place.

    On our return to London we went to our butcher to get the meat. I have taken a photo of centre cut beef bones which are grilled to give marrow. The photo also has osso buco cuts. God I wish we could just live here and buy and cook this stuff. What great great produce and what great knowledgeable salesmen.

    Sad the way we have wasted all we have in India.

    Tonight we attend an Eric Clapton show at the Royal Albert Hall. Should be great fun.