Sunday, March 30, 2014

London - this and that

A short post on two unconnected topics.

From the window of the apartment we are living in London we can see the US flag fluttering. The flag is on top of the US Embassy which is at Grosvenor Square. Nothing particularly unusual about this. I have been carefully observing this flag. It is not lowered at sunset. It keeps fluttering thru the night. I remember the huge fight that Naveen Jindal had. As always in India we had a whole lot of rules and regulations on the display of the Indian flag. If you are interested have a look at this. Despite Jindals fight, we still have a regulation that says the Indian Flag cannot be displayed at night. Me, being an Indian, seeing that the Americans fly their flag at night just shows how backward they are, how utterly hopeless they are. We Indians have deep pride in our flag. We are so much the better lowering it every evening!

Read the rules. Really, why would anybody bothered raising or displaying the flag in light of this. Just think how ever display of the flag in the cricket matches – think T20 going on now – is a violation. `Gheun Taak Ghorpade” is what comes to my mind. Arrest the lot. Unpatriotic fellows.

There are some classic salads. The Warldorf Salad with always has Apple, Walnut, Celery and Lettuce and is dressed with Mayonnaise. The Caesar Salad always has Romaine Lettuce, Croutons, and Parmesan Slivers and is dressed with a dressing made of Egg, Oil and Lemon Juice. A Salad Nicoise always has Tuna, French Beans, Boiled Egg and Potato and is dressed with Olive Oil and Vinegar. Of course there are some variations but by and large these are the critical components without which the salad is not a definitive.

We do like a Salad Nicosie. You may have read a previous post on Salad Nicoise. One of the ingredients for this is Tuna. Every time we are in Europe we buy a few tins of Tuna. The best is sold by a company called Ortiz. This is a family owned company with the fifth generation now running it. They sell a lot of different tinned fish, Anchovy, Tuna Sardines and so on. This is normally slightly difficult to get as it is not normally available in all supermarkets. Being a sort of premium product this is found in better delicatessens and more upmarket stores.

This is a Green labeled tin of Yellow Fin Tuna

You must remember that in Europe, United Kingdom and the United States of America there is no concept of Maximum Retail Price or MRP as we know it. Here the concept is different. It is one of Caveat Emptor or buyer beware. You should know or make the effort of finding out how much something costs. This is why online shops are so good or successful. There is no MRP. So, consequently, there is no discounting as such. Things are simply sold online, or at different shops at whatever price they think fit. Having regard to this, I keep a pen and paper in my pocket and go from shop to shop noting down the prices of things and then after comparing buy them from the cheapest source.

Now back to Ortiz Tuna. We buy 250 gram tins. Ortiz sells two types of Tuna, a Green labeled tin which has Yellow fin tuna. Yellow fin has a stronger flavour and darker pink colour. The Blue labeled tins have Bonito which is white in colour, supposedly low in fat and very delicate in flavour. Bonito, technically is not Tuna, but that really does not matter. Bonito and Tuna are the same family. Let me show you the results of my fact finding on the price of Ortiz Tuna 250 gram tins.

250 grams Yellow fin Tuna [Green tin] Price in GBP
250 grams Bonito [Blue tin]. Price in GBP
Harvey Nichols
Whole Foods
4.49 [for a 160 gram tin not 250]

Do you see the totally shocking differences? The cheapest at 3.99 is hugely cheaper than the most expensive at 7.85. Please also note that the shops are inconsistent in their basic concept. It is not even consistent among the shops that either Yellow fin or Bonito should be cheaper or more expensive. It is simply hit and miss. To top all this, in just October 2013 a mere six odd months before writing this, the cheapest Tuna was at Harrods at 5.50 for a Yellow fin tin. 

I am simply amazed.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Brasserie Chavot

Dinner was to be at Brasserie Chavot on Conduit Street. This is a new restaurant, about a year old opened as part of, and, at the same time as not part of the Westbury Hotel. The restaurant is located in a space owned by the Westbury Hotel but for some reason does not show up on the Westbury website as a restaurant. Strange. I am sure there is an explanation.

The man whose name is on the door is Eric Chavot a Frenchman with quite a formidable reputation. He has worked with the best, Pierre Koffman, Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc among others. He then joined the Capital Restaurant and promptly earned it 2 Michelin stars. When he left the Capital lost its stars and Chavot did a variety of jobs before returning to start Brasserie Chavot. Within a year he had 1 Michelin star. Depending on how cynical you are, seeing the speed at which Chavot has got this star would indicate that he is an excellent chef with top class food or that his `Mama’ or `Fua’ is a Michelin inspector. I am happy to tell you that the former is the case.

Bookings were made from Bombay, well in advance and on the day we set about walking to the restaurant. It was chilly and breezy, soon, alarmingly, it started to drizzle. Luckily in a few minutes the drizzle stopped and we arrived at the restaurant, damp. Coats were taken and we were sat down.

The restaurant looks absolutely gorgeous. You feel as if you are in a Parisian Brasserie. To my mind every aspect was meticulously reproduced here. High ceilings, dimly lit chandeliers art nouveau-style tiled floor and banquettes, distressed mirrors all lend to the distinctly Parisian feel. Wonderful ambience. To get going I decided to have an Aperitif, a French one called Lillet. A Lillet is a combination of white wine and Citrus and is served cold. I had never had this before. It tasted like a Martini Bianco. Perfectly drinkable. HRH the Queen of Kutch stuck with Italy, she had an Aperol Spritz which she declared was as good as any she had in Italy. With these we got a small bowl of smoked Almonds and Cashew Nuts. Lovely. They must have been made in house, but, I can swear that they tasted exactly like the nuts you got in those Hickory Salt Almonds from Blue Diamond California. Does anyone remember those?

Thankfully just one menu and just a single page. 13 starters and 12 main courses. No `jhanjhat’ no choosing from only one menu, no we can give you one course from the tasting menu and one from the inspirational and other such nonsense. One menu and one wine list. A lot of the 13 and 12 dishes looked like something we should order. We made up our minds, ordered, drank our Aperitifs, snacked on the nuts and waited for the food.

Snails Bourguignon. Meatballs and Potato Espuma was what HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered. This came in a big bowl. The dish was stupendous. It was a delicious reworking of the classic Escargot Bourguignon where the snails are kept in their shells [or re-inserted into `fake’ shells] cooked in butter with parsley and garlic in an oven. Here the snails were out of the shell, sautéed in the butter with garlic and parsley. Small [marble sized] Pork meatballs were added and the snails and meatballs covered with a Potato foam. The dish was so tasty and so comforting. Deep fried Soft Shelled Crab with Saffron Aioli is what I ordered. Deep frying food is something that can lead to exceptional results. You need to have a sufficient quantity of oil [so that it does not cool when the food is added] at a temperature of not less than 180 Centigrade. These two very simple requirements are almost never followed resulting in heavy greasy, oil soaked food.  Brasserie Chavot managed both and the results were stunning. A crunchy, golden greaseless Crab served on a wooden board on a fake Parisian newspaper. The Crab with lashings of Paprika dipped into the Saffrony Garlicy Aioli was a brilliant combination. We were very very happy. The food was top class so far. We told the Waitress that the Snails Bourguignon should be served at breakfast. Boy oh boy it will keep you going and make you smile. Who wants a thakela Masala Dosa or namby pamby Idly for breakfast? This would be a real breakfast for champions.

Snails Bourguignon. Meatballs and Potato Espuma 

Deep fried Soft Shelled Crab with Saffron Aioli 

The main courses did not disappoint in the least. HRH the Queen of Kutch decided to order a Pork Chop with Mustard and Honey. Once again the food was brilliantly seasoned and very flavourful. You could taste the grill flavour and the Honey Mustard Sauce was well balanced. The plate also had a Pear which was grilled. With this she got a large portion of Pomme Frites which, once again, were given the proper treatment. Hot oil and a lot of oil. The result was crunchy, golden and greaseless chips. I had my favourite Choucroute Garnie. This is Sauerkraut with five pork products – pork belly, some ham, some knuckle and some exquisite sausage. I have had lots of Choucroute Garnie at many places. This one was different in one significant way. There was a small portion of very well cooked Sauerkraut instead of masses of badly cooked Sauerkraut as is usually the case. This made the dish more balanced and elevated it. I was pleased.

Pork Chop with Mustard and Honey

Choucrute Garnie
A delicious Cassoulet

Herring Salad

Duck with Mushrooms

Pistachio & Chocolate Pots De Creme


We washed this down with a reasonable bottle of wine GBP 22 that is Rs 2200 or so. No way could you have got this in India. There was one slight irritant. Normally bread is given `free’ with a meal. In Italy, as I had written earlier, there is the irritating Coperto which is a charge for bread. Here at the Brasserie Chavot bread was chargeable. If you ordered it you had to pay for it. This in itself is not a problem as we had spotted this in the menu, but, the staff was instructed to offer it at every opportunity. This was jarring. It was somewhat like touting or hustling. Unnecessary we thought.

It was a beautiful meal. Robust, full flavoured, heavily seasoned food expertly cooked. What more could one want. Eric Chavot is an immensely talented Chef. We would like to have many more meals here in future. There is a lot more to eat.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay - Perfection

We had made a reservation at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Being extremely well known, it is difficult to get reservation at short notice. By short I mean 2 months during the off season. As soon as we knew we were coming to London we booked. We had a table at an early 6.30. We did not protest.

This was our third visit to the restaurant. I am not going to bore you with photos of the food. I am going to try and tell you how utterly great the whole experience was. The food, the service, the ambiance and the staff.

As is our wont we arrived a good 15 minutes early, so in the chilly London evening twilight we went for a short, time-wasting walk. We wasted the requisite 10 minutes and arrived at the restaurant at the appointed hour delightfully frozen. We were greeted and our name found in an instant on the computer. HRH the Queens coat was whisked away and we were escorted to our table. Every staff member who made eye contact wished us good evening. The restaurant was about ¼ full, only to fill to capacity as the evening progressed. The Sommelier turned up and asked if we would like an Apertif or Champagne. Two Champagnes were ordered and served in the most delicate glasses I have seen in a long time. Once this was over, the Captain in charge of our table had probably had a look at the computer that indicated we were repeat visitors. He come and welcomed us back, handed us the menus and said, as we know starters are on the left side and mains are on the right.

Soon the utterly charming Maitre D’ Jean-Claude Breton arrived at our table and shook hands with both of us and warmly welcomed us back to the restaurant. Obviously the computer was the reason he had this knowledge. There was no way he would remember us 6 months after our previous visit. I take my hat off to this level of training. You have a computer system, use the damn thing, use it sensibly and teach the staff to use it. Let me be totally honest, we have no relationship with Jean-Claude Breton, but the way we were treated you would have thought we knew each other for years.

After we had ordered, the Sommelier Jan Konetzki turned up to help us with the wine. This can be a fairly daunting task for us. We have really no knowledge of wine so we need help. I started getting recommendations for wines which were simply too expensive. I told him I wanted cheaper wines. Without blinking he turned the page to much cheaper wines. Ultimately he gave us a relatively cheap wine that met our specifications [medium bodied with less tannins]. It seemed to make no difference to him that we were ordering such a cheap wine. Professional to the core. Just to put matters in perspective, the wine cost Rs 5,000/-. The wine was excellent. You cannot get a wine of this quality in India at the best 5 star restaurant at this price. It would probably cost 3 times as much in India.

The food itself was a work of such skill that it was shocking. After eating in relatively ordinary restaurants for the last few days we realised what high quality cooking really is. Every component was cooked with high skill. Every component was perfectly salted and full of flavour that you did not think was possible. The knife skills in cutting the vegetable, the colour of the vegetable, the sourcing of the vegetable [all baby vegetable sourced from a dedicated grower in Pembridge] and the quality of meat and fish was all of the highest order. Each plate looked like as the cliché goes – a work of art.

This is what we ate:


Ravioli of Lobster, Langoustine and Salmon poached in a light bisque with Oscietra caviar and Sorrel Velouté
Sautéed Foie Gras with roasted Veal Sweetbreads, Carrots, Almonds and Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar


Cornish Turbot baked on the bone with Seaweed, Palourde Clams, Fennel, Broccoli and Romanesco

Cotswold Lamb, winter vegetable “Navarin”, Best End, Braised Shank, Confit Breast and Shoulder


Bitter Chocolate cylinder with Coffee Granité and Ginger Mousse

English Peppermint Soufflé with bitter Chocolate Sorbet

The service was faultless. The friendliness of the staff and their knowledge of the food and the ingredients was a constant source of delight. In case they did not know something they immediately went to the kitchen and asked. We had two questions, what was the green puree in the fish – Brocolli, and, what was the herb in the Foie Gras – Dried Parsley.

The evening ended. A taxi was called and Jean-Claude Breton asked if we would like to see the kitchen and meet Clare Smyth the head chef. We said we had already seen the kitchen but would love to again. We went in and the kitchen was flying. You could seek chefs in the background scurrying about. But at the pass where the plates were being assembled was Clare Smyth and a couple of Chefs, armed with tweezers carefully and purposefully and calmly plating food. It was unbelievable. Ms Smyth suddenly shouted `Service’ and busboys arrived to take food out. The kitchen was spotlessly clean. Photos were taken, including one with Chef Clare who charmingly agreed to pose for a photograph in the middle of a busy service. We were very touched.

As we left the kitchen, HRH the Queens coat was magically waiting for her as was the taxi.

It was an end to a stunning evening. It was perfect in every way. I do not think I have ever had a better restaurant experience. I certainly hope that this is not the last. I want to experience more. Gordon Ramsay does not cook here. His name is on the door. This is what his standards are. I have the highest respect for him. I can understand why he shouts so much. It is all about perfection. 

That night, I thought was perfect.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Turin - The food

Turin is located on the North West of Italy in the Piedmont region. It is close to France. Turin is strictly not Mediterranean as far as food it concerned. The food is cooked with butter and cream. Not much olive oil is used here. They are famous for the Truffle, no not the cake and not the chocolate, but the fungus. Eating chocolate, that is to say bars, slabs and so on, is said to have been invented here. A local sweet is called Gianduiotti which is a mix of hazelnut paste and chocolate. This tasted somewhat like Nutella. Turin also is home to a beverage called Bicerin which is hot chocolate, coffee and whipped cream. Ice cream shops are all over and Pistachio ice cream was my favourite. This is totally unlike the Pista ice creams we get back home. This has a huge Pista flavour and has a salty tang. Delicious. More than the flavour, it is the texture of Italian Ice Cream that makes it so really magical.

Turin has a very strong Apertivo culture. At between 5 and 6 in the evening till about 9, most bars and cafes set up a large buffet table on which plates of food are laid out. It could consist of bits of cheese, cut up dried meat, bruschetta with all sorts of toppings, Frittatas and so on. You order a drink which regardless of whether and how much you eat is priced at between 6 and 10 Euro, and you can snack from the buffet. At times if you sit down at a table, you may be brought a plate or three of snacks. How utterly delightful and civilised this is. Women sit together with kids, older women gossip all while having private time with their pals, have a peaceful drink, get something to take the edge of the appetite and simply relax. I cannot tell you how nice this concept is. Of course we cannot do this at home because (i) drinking is a sin (ii) licensing laws and pricing ensures that drinking is unaffordable and (iii) sitting on a sidewalk is impossible for a variety of reasons. Sigh.

Apertivo on the pavement. Turin

The platefuls of food we got. 

The first night we were recommended a place not far from our hotel. It was called L’Agrifoglio. We researched the restaurant, we took a walk to it and had a look at the menu and then being satisfied we reserved. This was a decent place. A young staff and slightly edgy. All very enthusiastic. Paintings for sale adorning the walls. I guess that should give you the vibe. To start we had two types of Ravioli. HRH the Queen had Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Butter and Sage, while I had a meat Ravioli. Both were decent, however the portions were a bit large to be starters. For her mains, HRH the Queen ordered a dried cod variously called Baccala or Bacalhau or Bacalau depending whether you are in Italy or Spain or Portugal, cooked with Tomato and Olives. She said it was delicious. I had Stinko which is Italian for Pork Knuckle. This one was slow roasted. Perfectly nice if unremarkable. As our vegetable we had batter fried Artichokes which are a local speciality.


Bacala with Olives

Stinko - Pork Knuckle

Deep fried battered Artichoke

The nest day when walking we saw a restaurant and looked at the menu. Somehow, it – the restaurant and the menu – seemed great. So Restaurant Vittoria it was for dinner. It was a great meal. The restaurant turned out to be the equivalent of, I guess, an Irani restaurant, a local, something that people in the neighbourhood came to for dinner. Bachelors who did not cook at home came to eat here. To start HRH the Queen of Kutch get herself some Ravioli with a cream sauce. It was really good if dull looking. I ordered a classic; Vitello Tonnato which is dish from Piedmont of cold sliced boiled Veal covered with a Tuna flavoured Mayonnaise like sauce. The dish is prepared a few days in advance, covered and kept cold. This allows the flavours to develop. Lovely.  

Vitello Tonnato

Ravioli with Cream

For our mains HRH the Queen of Kutch got a truly stunning dish. Artichokes [which were very much in season] and Prawns dressed with a lemon and parsley oil. This dish was full of flavour and a lot of bread was used to sop up the immensely flavourful oil. I ordered a Veal Saltimbocca ala Rommana, something that I like and unfortunately do not get. This is a really simple dish consisting of flattened Veal Escalope, some sage leaves and some ham. This is quickly fried and served with a slice of lemon. I was a happy bunny. For our vegetable component we had yet another plate of Fried Artichokes. This was a good meal.

Saltimbocca alla Romanna

Prawns with Artichoke

Deep fried battered Artichoke

On our visit to the Museo dell' Automobile in Turin we had to visit Eataly. This is a huge. What is Eataly? It is a part store, part museum, part restaurant, part food court, and, sort of New Age health and wellness place. Being there at lunchtime we ate lunch. A small Octopus Salad and a bowl of Pasta with Tomato sauce and some fresh Mozzarella. The food was decent. However, I was surprised at the degree of cooking of the pasta. According to me it was really al dente, it was frankly `kaccha’. I have not eaten pasta that underdone even while in Italy. But I cannot give you a definitive answer if this was simple perfectly cooked by Italian standards or simply `kaccha’. But the dish looks damn good. As far as Eataly is concerned, we were both underwhelmed. It was large no doubt, but it seemed unkempt, sort of dishevelled. A Whole Foods outlet is much nicer.  

Octopus Salad

Pasta with Mozzarella

The last meal was at Al Garamond. This was a slightly modern Italian restaurant, serving food with a modern twist. As an amuse buche we were given a small bowl of Rice Salad with Tomato and Tuna. Once again the rice was either al dente or `kaccha’ depending who you ask.

One of the dishes prepared locally in Turin is Tajarin – this is pasta. The reason why it is unique is that it is made in the ratio of 40 egg yolks to 1 kg of flour. That makes the pasta very rich. This pasta is often cooked with Truffle and butter or cream. HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered a version with Peas and Mint, a classic combination if you ask me. This was really delicious. We would like to make this when we get back to Bombay. All ingredients are available in Mumbai. Wonder what we will do with 40 egg whites though. The waiter recommended a Sausage Tartare made with the local sausage Salsicca Di Bra a veal sausage. This was to be served with a Parmesan Ice Cream. Told you the restaurant had a modern twist. Tartare means that the dish is raw, totally raw the waiter emphasised. I nodded and ordered the dish. Turned out to be wonderful. The Parmesan Ice Cream was nice, it had a bit of sugar but it was a Parmesan Cheese Sauce made into an ice cream. Nice start.

Arty or nutty table setting?

Rice Salad

The glorious Tajarin with 40 egg yolks

Salsicca di Bra with Parmesan Ice Cream

For her mains HRH the Queen ordered Rabbit poached in Milk with Vegetables. The Rabbit was moist and tender and the dish most pleasant. For my main I got Lamb with a Sweet Sour, sort of Pickled Red Pepper. Once again very nice. We got some Petit Fours when we got our bill.



You can eat very well in Turin. The food is not expensive nor is the wine. An Apertivo is a most pleasant experience.         

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Turin or Torino, Italy. Magnificient

After Verona we were to go to Turin or Torino as the Italians call it. This was a 3 hour train journey and the distance was about 275 kms. The train was pretty fast though not the fastest. We bought the ticket from Mumbai and it cost us a princely sum of Rs 2,011 for two people which is about Rs 1000 per person. This includes banks ripping you of on the exchange rate and the exorbitant `service charge’ levied because of this online booking. Despite all that it was as cheap as chips.

Of course you will ask the obvious question, why Turin? Not a complex answer. The explanations are (i) we wanted to go to one more place in Italy (ii) it had to have a flight connection to London (iii) it had to be a place we had not gone to. So Turin it was. And yes, Turin is not part of the regular tourist path. That would be Rome, Venice and Florence with possibly Lake Cuomo. But I bet you did not realise how big an influence Turin has on us as Indians. The influence is bigger that any of those cities.

Well, first and foremost, Turin is where our real leader Smt Sonia Gandhi spent her childhood. Now is that not reason enough? Now you realise why Turin has such an impact on us Indians. FIAT - Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, in its full form, is from Turin. Even today we use FIAT’s in India. In fact the FIAT from the humble `Dukkar Fiat’ that our parents or grandparents owned, to the Premier Padmini’s that was a status symbol in our memory and is today a disgusting taxicab. I bet you must have had a Cinzano to drink at some point, or even Martini the Vermouth as opposed to the cocktail. Well they come from Turin. The wine Barolo which is always very expensive comes from here too. And, who has not heard of Juventus the powerhouse football team.

Let me tell you Turin was FIAT – Fantastic Interesting Awesome and Terrific. We were very pleasantly surprised by Turin. It was fantastic.

Turin is in the Piedmont region of Italy and, is located in the North West of Italy. Turin’s location in the Alps resulted it in being the venue for the 2006 Winter Olympics. Remember a golden rule. Any city post 1960 that has hosted an Olympic is a fantastic city with brilliant transport infrastructure. What more would you want as a tourist? Think London, think Atlanta, think Athens, think Barcelona, think Beijing. Need I go on?

Turin is a young city; the Romans did not have much to do with it. So, Turin has much newer buildings mainly 18th and 19th Century. The city has been built in a grid so streets run in a logical fashion. Navigation is very easy. The buildings are built on a large scale, they are utterly gorgeous, regal and spectacularly beautiful. The city is full of majestic Piazza’s or squares. The squares are exquisite and many have statues that are elegant. Turin has numerous art galleries, libraries, gardens, theatres and opera houses. The city is a hotbed of culture.

Many monuments and their images absolutely define a city. The Burj Al Arab hotel shaped like a sail defines Dubai, Eiffel Tower, Paris, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, London Bridge, London and Christ the Redeemer Sao Paulo. Turin has the exquisite Mole Antonelliana. This was originally conceived as a Synagogue and constructed with much difficulty. It stands a monumental 550 feet high. Today it is the National Museum of Cinema. The building is gorgeous. In the very centre is a glass elevator which takes you to a viewing balcony from where you can see all of Turin, well not really, but it is a big view.

Being so linked to the car industry, especially one as large and powerful as FIAT, there is a truly wonderful automobile museum in Turin near the old FIAT factory called the Museo dell' Automobile. This museum was really excellent. The sheer number of exhibits, the way the museum was curated was amazing. You have 3 floors of exhibits, cars, engines, chassis, interactive displays and films depicting various aspects of the automobile. We had gone to the Ferrari Museum in Modena [Ferrari is owned by FIAT]. That museum was the most emotional one I have ever been to. The Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart was cold and unemotional though good. This one was everything, it was emotional, and it was large, well curated and totally interesting. We spent a better part of the morning there. Excellent.

The FIAT factory, which shut down in the early 1980’s has been converted into a huge commercial complex. You have a large shopping complex and a couple of top hotels in the old building. The unique thing about the factory was the fact that the roof housed a test track with a ramp leading up from the factory. FIAT has a very large office adjoining the factory today.

Turin is also home to one of the largest open air markets in Euroupe. In the area behind Piazza Della Reppublica known as Ports Del Palazo is  this huge market with stalls neatly laid out. It is a fruit, vegetable and meat market. It was really huge and with all sorts of beautiful fruit and vegetables on sale. This was really exciting and we spent quite a lot of time wandering thru this. We ended up buying some sun dried Tomato, Borlotti Beans and a some mixed beans, all of which will go in making some soup when we are back home. That was fun.

Almost all the sights in Turin are within the centre of the city and you can easily walk with the logical grid system. If you want to go to Lingotto the FIAT factory, the complex I referred to in the previous paragraph, the best way is to buy a one day pass for a princely sum of 5 Euro from any Tabacchi [or cigarette walla] and use all the transport available for a day. There is a direct underground Metro that is very convenient, damn clean and safe. You could also visit the Juventus stadium if you are soccer crazy.

Turin has restaurants, cafes. Bars, ice cream ships, sandwich shops literally every 50 meters. You will not go hungry or thirsty.

All in all, if you have seen the must do tourist spots in Italy, do visit Turin. A more regal and enchanting city with grace and dignity I have not yet seen.