2018 will be the year which I will always reminisce about! This is the year when I finally managed to have my first food festival – Purvaiya and got rave feedback. This year I wasn’t able to try and go out much, unlike last year as Dad has been unwell since June and I had to be around him all the time. The other side of it was that I got time to watch series on Netflix/Amazon and few other India sites and brushed my technical knowledge on mobile/gadgets. I will soon share the name of these series that I enjoyed and some channels that you need to follow. You will also get to discover tech gyan as well. But here, we will talk about food alone!

I didn’t get much of time this year to go out and try new places but whatever little time I had, I enjoyed some great meals and some were disappointing as well.

Poke Bar is an excellent place where the meal in bowls will just wow you. Also, their cocktails are highly recommended as when Chef Vikram does something, he does it to its best. My meal at Guppy is always fantastic and every meal there is worth every bite.

Upstairs’ is going to set a new benchmark for pop-ups. 2 Michelin star chef Claude Mosi was here earlier this year in January for 4 weeks for pop up at Indian Accent. The first floor of Indian accent has ‘Upstairs’ which is a perfect venue for pop-ups. Without a doubt, the unmatched service of Indian accent will not only wow you, but also enhance your dining experience.

Comorin was the best and most memorable meal for me. Something I have been always advocating, to promote and serve our own Indian cuisine in a very simple way. Chef Manish Mehrotra clearly showed the potential of Indian cuisine and you don’t have to go overboard with gas, foam, and sphere. Indian food in its simplest form can be served in a smart, young chic restaurant. Cocktails at Comorin stand apart! A winner in every sense!

Olive is another place, which always amazes me with their food and service. This year after much speculation, they opened Serai at Olive. A tapas style bar where you can have a couple of drinks and then move to Olive for food. Well, it’s good but the cocktails were disappointing, too much of experiment has killed the essence of cocktails. They also have a very limited cocktail menu, the sangria sour was a disaster, very badly made cocktail. I miss the cocktails of The Dirty Martini.

Orza was another disappointing place where the service was not only bad but very unprofessional as well. The new menu at The Wine Company, which was curated by Sara Todd, was confusing; I really wonder that after 2 pegs who is going to remember that gourmet food at their table.

Café Staywoke was excellent so was the Clock Tower, a nice place to have good finger food with a glass of beer.

Sorrento was excellent and it’s always fantastic to meet my friend Ankita and our Chef Neeraj Tyagi. I was supposed to visit Shang Palace but I guess this will happen in 2019.

After years of waiting and with patience Purvaiya happened, a food festival of Bihar region. The compliments and the positive response was overwhelming. From journalists to bloggers -everyone praised the food. I am super excited and ready to take it to other cities as well.

Another disappointing meal was at Pluck this year where I had some very confusing plating and tasteless food. Over the years, the quality has gone down drastically.

I have had two great meals at The Lalit New Delhi. Baluchi is evergreen pan Indian restaurant and I have always had a great time. Oko is their new pan Asian with the great view of the city.

Dhaba Estd 1986 is still fresh and going strong. I never had any bad meal there. The much talked about Sly Granny and CivilHouse both were disappointing. When I went to CivilHouse Chef Hemant Oberoi was not there. Very slow service and the food wasn’t even good. I don’t know what the fuss was all about.

One very interesting observation this year – Every place which got rave reviews by famous food critic, journalist and social media people turned out to be a disaster for me! I hardly follow any food writer or critic for that matter. But most of my meal, in high rated places, turned out to be either very bad or mediocre. That is how I decided to not go by such ratings, however, I should go to the places where I have enjoyed my food.

Unplugged Courtyard is one place which took me by surprise. I have known Chef Akshay Bhardwaj and was very sure that it’s going to be a great place. The food here is excellent and so are their cocktails. The Drunken Botanist and Molecule both were excellent. Duty-Free Gurgaon has excellent food. Chef Shantanu Moity is my bet for next year, as well as Chef Anees. Prankster and Pra Pra Prank are still going strong and my every meal there is full of happiness. I am looking forward to trying their new winter menu. Chef Megha is doing a fantastic job at Lavash and I am going there soon to try their new menu. Chef Pawan is doing a great job at Verandah and Mango café( which is going to open soon).

Sevilla has been was absolutely great every time I have been there. Now that Chef Vivek has joined, I am looking forward to trying the food at Jade. I had two great meals at Indus Express, Vivanta Dwarka. Well, I also had a great lunch at Thai Pavilion and Culina 44 and I can’t forget their tiramisu, the best in Delhi.

Sujan is undoubtedly one of the finest chefs of our generation and his Baar Baar Pop up at Khan market shows the same. Food is simple yet flavourful, very Indian and very modern with some excellent Indian inspired cocktail. A truly made in India restaurant that everyone should be proud of.

And not to forget some great wine evening with Lacave and Madhulika’s wine dinners. Some great wines and some great learnings. I am really looking forward to attending some more wine dinners next year.

Besides this, we also enjoy comfort food for our family, whenever we want to order food home, or just want to dine out without spending a lot! Our favorite family places where we visit or order at the blink of our eye is – Amar Jyoti (Sarojini Nagar) & Rajinder da Dhaba! Nothing can beat the food here. We have had kebabs and curries that we order in plenty and relish each bite. Tanmeet Arora who owns Amar Jyoti has been generous with his hospitality. My son loves Amar Jyoti’s mutton kebab as well as Momos. We have enjoyed various non-veg curries and have become a die-hard fan of Amar Jyoti! Another comforting and quick delivery Chinese for home has been Captain Chang! I am not a fan of Behrouz biryani – but all our Biryani parties for family get the maximum order from this place and my family also enjoys their Chicken kebab (chicken koobideh – is what they call, though it isn’t close to Koobideh); hence I would simply call it Chicken Kebab! When I reminisce about my days in Saudi Arabia and the food, I make a plan to visit Afghan e Darbar at Lajpat Nagar. It isn’t close to the food I had in Dammam, yet it gives me some flavor of Saudi.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this and stay tuned as 2019 will bring in excitement and a new saga…


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