Food & Property Review | High Ultra Lounge, Bangalore … on top of the world!

‘Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
Dr. Seuss

HIGH Ultra Lounge, BangaloreJust last week I flew down south to Bangalore invited to review High Ultra Lounge, a Brigade hospitality property perched ‘above the world’  at 421 ft at the World Trade Centre. Keeping me good company was Pawan Soni of Indian Food Freak, a thorough gentleman and a man full of food tales! The visit to the property was literally one of being on ‘top of the world‘, fascinating and intriguing!
Bangalore City It was certainly wonderful to be back to the garden city, a city I spent several years of my childhood in, one I visited last in the 1990′s! Bangalore is beautiful. A feeling of nostalgia hit me when I landed at the swanky new airport, gulping in breaths of fresh, cool air. It was good to be back!
Bangalore City The launch of High Ultra Lounge made a visit possible when the hosts generously flew me down for an evening to review their property in the heart of Old Bangalore. What added to the magic was the prospect of meeting the fab bunch of Bangalore food bloggers. I’ve been fortunate to interact with them virtually over the years; a real interaction was full of promise!
Bangalore City From HIGH Ultra LoungeHigh Ultra holds loads of promise. Prime property soaring high above beautiful Bangalore,one of the highest in India {possibly after one in Mumbai}, the concept is dynamic, fun and energetic. If the aim is to get people to sit up and notice this happening place, it isn’t going to be difficult. We had the pleasure of getting a first-hand sneak preview and guided tour of 10,000ft of creativity, the brain child of Nirupa Shankar, Director, Brigade Hospitality, executed under the direction of Vineet Verma, the Executive Director.
HIGH Ultra Lounge Divided into 4 neat areas, well thought out, aesthetically planned, youthful, light, fun, energetic, ‘TIMELESS’ is the word they concur with. Timeless was the thought behind the planning and layout, and it’s been done beautifully. Each area has it’s own character, whether the High View,  High Mix, High Edge {my personal favourite} or the High Dine.
HIGH Ultra Lounge I love the attention to detail, the colour coding, the lighting that can change according to mood and occasion, the avante garde feel that flows through almost effortlessly. What strikes you is the way they’ve been able to seamlessly weave the feel through the entire space. Clever planning ensures that any one area or lounge can be completely secluded or cut off from another. Little things like sound proofing, camouflaged entrances, personalised spaces and relaxed touches are spot on.
HIGH Ultra Lounge Head for High Mix and Guru, the man in charge, charms you no end. Swiftly mixing innovative mocktails and cocktails, he pleases men and women alike. From Guru’s Love Potion to an outstanding Guava Worcestershire sauce concoction, he soon had the crowd eating drinking out of his hands.
High Edge, High Ultra Lounge, BangaloreFrom High Mix we went on to High Edge which was my favourite of the four spaces. With an almost Titanic like appeal, the edge juts out over the city. Done in warm yet searing bright orange upholstery, it is an exclusive lounge with a cover to seat 50 … yet an expandable capacity for many more. I loved the functional seating, the creative use of space the colours, the lighting, the ambiance which makes each area special.
HIGH Ultra Lounge 6Then came the highlight of the evening and we were led to the helipad. Voila! A Valentine Day special, a table for two set out under the stars. Going at Rs1 lakh for the evening, it’s as special as can get, the bright lights of the city 400ft+ below! Here’s the lot of us clicked by the very talented High photographer who shot in pitch dark {but for the candlelight and 1 lamp!}

Ultra High BangaloreIt was finally time for a sit down dinner at High Dine, open air, whimsical,   beautiful surroundings, heady music, wonderful cool nip in the air.  Pan Asian cuisine is  what flavours the menu here. The kitchen is headed by executive Chef Zhang Hao who was a pleasure to interact with, energetic, affable and with infectious energy!

HIGH Ultra LoungeWe were treated to an extensive menu of modern Pan Asian cuisine, delicious in every bite. My favourites included the sweet corn with coriander butter, sweet potato with teriyaki reduction and the grilled tofu with the Korean chili sauce {it was outstanding} as was the crab stick tempura.

HIGH Ultra Lounge

Fresh crabs, melt in the mouth texture and light as air, boy were they good! The fried snapper with thai sauce, and fried chicken with mint and thai basil added to the variety.
HIGH Ultra Lounge The camera was soon abandoned. We chomped our way into the mains. and were treated to a Thai green curry {finger licking good}, massaman lamb curry, fish in laksa sauce over steamed rice or soba noodles. There were generous, well seasoned sides of stir fried veggies, veggies with sambal oelek etc.
HIGH Ultra LoungeDessert was plenty of fresh fruit and a tender coconut ice cream {though I am still quite sure there was litchi in there somewhere}…the texture leaning more towards a sorbet though, yet delicious as can be. There was also Banoffee Pie which was well made and indulgent!

HIGH Ultra Lounge Thank you High Ultra Lounge for the fabulous pre-launch experience. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the concept. Before long, this is going to be a must visit destination for anyone headed for Bangalore and Bangaloreans alike. Bravo!!

HIGH ULTRA LOUNGE
World Trade Center,
Brigade Gateway Campus,
26/1 Dr. Rajkumar Road,
Malleswaram West,
Bangalore – 560 055
+91 80 4567 4567
www.highultralounge.com

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Culinary Event | Up Close and Personal with Chef Saby & Leonardo … & Sizzling Gamba {recipe}

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”
Mae West

We were brought believing that too much of a good thing is bad! Times have clearly changed and with good times come dispelled notions! Our afternoon at the decidedly charming Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli sponsored by Leonardo Olive Oil was nothing short of magic.

{Warning: Long post}
Leonardo Olive Oil @ Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli Nine Delhi food bloggers, Italian cuisine and olive oil that flowed nonstop, celebrity Chef Saby with his passionate efficient team, warm and light hearted hosts Himani & Chandana, and one of my favourite eating places OLIVE – it was food heaven under one roof! Four hours with one of India’s top 10 chefs passed by in a heartbeat!Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiI’m an ardent admirer of the super talented Chef Saby. Having missed a couple of opportunities to see him create culinary magic, this was one event that I wasn’t going to miss. Apprehensive about meeting a guy who has won just about every chef award in India, cooked for India’s top families like the Bachchans & Ambanis, someone inspired by Sydneys Tetsuya, he instantly put us at ease. Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi

 Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiI walked in on the dot of 12 noon, the given time … everything was ready, in place and waiting. Have been to events before where apparently a wait of 30 minutes+ is seemingly acceptable. Not so here. The anti pasti counters gleamed invitingly, Leonardo flavouring the spreadapple relish, onion & chili jam, mushroom pate, hummus, Caprese salad, the exotic cheese platter, stuffed little red peppers with whipped feta {my favourite}, Leonardo olives, more olives, cured meats …Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi Himani Dalmia, Senior Manager Corporate, Leonardo and Chandana Paul went out of the way to make us live the experience – Up Close and Personal with Chef Saby and Leonardo”! It was soon time for Olive fish & chips, asparagus the vegetarian option! Crisp & delicious! Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiThe Chef? Jack of all trades and master too, wonderful human being, as level headed as he is large hearted, ever smiling, humorous, an engaging speaker, fantastic team leader, eagle eyed, perfectionist … too many adjectives but it’s impossible to describe the man in a few words! His accolades speak for him – Best Chef of India Awarded by President of India, National Tourism Award, 2011-12, Director of Kitchens – ai, lap, olive qutab, olive beach , the moving kitchen by olive yet so down to earth! {He even walked us to the porch and waited for our respective cars to come}.Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi

For him, cooking is an art, the ultimate form of expression. “The platter is my canvas and the food ingredients, my colour!” … in the case of this artist you can eat his art. At Olive, he brings his love for all things culinary to life as he cooks right in front of the guests at a rustic kitchen called the Greenhouse on the Ridge. His recipes, as always, satiate and leave guests asking for more.

He threw his kitchen open to us, patiently guiding us into every nook and cranny {it was buzzing at lunch}, explaining kitchen procedures, chef training, sourcing fresh produce … the works! Once inside the cold room, you can imagine the grin when we saw the Padano! If we could have lifted that 40kg block of cheese we would have run for it!Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiThe menu for the day demonstrated different uses of Leonardo products – pasta, green and black olives, India’s first non-alcoholic beer, and olive oil of course! Non stop banter and photographs continued while discussing olive oil, the myths particularly surrounding pomace, the changing face of ‘food on our table’ … Pasta Marinare @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiOlive oil is the juice of the olive, the only oil on the market that is extracted from a fresh fruit is universally accepted as the healthiest of all edible oils. Adding olive oil to your diet is the easiest change you can make towards a healthier lifestyle. I ♥ olive oil! Mr V N Dalmia @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiLeonardo Olive Oil the first Indian brand of olive oil introduced in 2003 is a brand owned by Dalmia Continental Private Limited the flagship company of VN Dalmia {seen above; he joined us for lunch}. It offers four of the finest versions – Leonardo Gold, Leonardo 100% Pure Olive Oil, Leonardo Olive Pomace Oil and Leonardo Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The product list includes Leonardo Olives, Hudson Canola Oil, Granora Pasta, Indian pickles too.

Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi

Photo courtesy Rekha @ http://www.mytastycurry.com/

By the time we were done, we were ready to burst, yet Saby could have hypnotised us to eat another marathon round! He held us in good humour woven around the food and drinks, gently introducing each variety of olive oil used in the menu from batter fried asparagus shoots and basa fish, to the mind blowing apple & feta saladLeonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi… to moorishly beautiful fresh baked artisan skillet bread {close to the Indian pav something like I recently made, but up several notches} served with individual pestle and mortals to make your own olive oil dip {YUM} …Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi… melt in the mouth classical lasagna Bolognaise in a skillet, followed by black truffle porcini risotto {excellent was the word} …Black truffle porcini risotto … and then a variety of wood fire pizzasMarinara pizza; Asparagus, smoked Scarmoza cheese, walnuts, Parmesan, truffle oil; Spinach, sundried tomato, olives, feta; Pepperoni jalapeno; Olive’s signature Milano paper pizza … fresh from the rustic oven in the courtyard of this picturesque restaurant.Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiHe has us eating out of his hands, all this while his super efficient team set up the dessert counter and had us hopelessly distracted! I’m definitely a small eater but I was amazed at how far I stretched it. How could there possibly be so much deliciousness on a single day? I am proud to say I tasted everything, well almost  … Sizzling Gamba @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiI’ve never had a gamba before, not always food adventurous, but having it stirred under your nose does something to your taste buds. Mouthwatering and sizzling good, I loved the way it was served? Beautiful flavours, the undertones of olive oil marrying the ingredients so well, the freshness of the produce and the passion of the chef! {You an find the recipe at the bottom}Tiramisu @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiOlives signature tiramisu made with inhouse mascarpone had me swooning! It was delightful, as was the praline mud cake! I regret that I didn’t get as far as the apple & walnut crumble with the stunning spun sugar! Desserts @ Tiramisu @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiSaby or Chef Sabyasachi Gorai is the Executive Chef at Olive in Delhi. Launched in 2003 by AD Singh, Olive was immediately chosen as one of the world’s best new restaurants. One of Delhi’s must visit eat out places offering hand picked recipes from the Mediterranean, overlooking the romantic Qutab Minar, it is housed in an ancient Mughal mansion.Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhChic in every way -  the old world character beautifully blends with the rustic charm of old wood, vintage furniture, light furnishings, an open courtyard, indoor eating places, a terrace sit out overlooking the monument … and of course, the ancient banyan tree! {Thank you Sangeeta for clicking me clicking Olive}Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi My deep love for the vintage feel and distressed wood makes me love this place!  The Olive Bar and Kitchen is a rustic hideaway where good food, laughter, culture and conversation come together in a delightful Mediterranean melting pot. Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi Thank you Himani and Chandana for playing the perfect hosts on behalf of Leonardo, and for the generous goodie baskets!Leonardo Olive Oil Meet - Goodie basketsThank you Saby, Vaibhav and Astha for the outstanding food, warmth and fun you served up, and for the ‘bottle cakes‘ and chocolates …Bottle Cakes @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi …and thank you Sid for being the glue that binds the Delhi food bloggers together!

 

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Culinary Event |Recipe … The Singapore TakeOut {SPICE} & Recipe for Lacy Pancakes!

“1 mobile kitchen, 9 cities, 10 chefs and 15 food brands on a 365-day gastronomic journey.”
Singapore TakeOut

Singapore Take Out, New Delhi New Delhi marks the seventh stop for the Singapore Takeout on its nine-city world tour.  It has already delighted diners in London, Paris, Moscow, New York, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. I was glad to be part of this novel concept, a fun afternoon with live cooking and delicious food, made even more interesting with a good bunch of food bloggers from Delhi. In the picture below – Apeksha, Rituparna Chef Benjamin Seck, me, Parul, Rekha. Also met up with talented fun non-food bloggers like Purba and Prateik.

Photo courtesy Prateik @ Snow Leapards BlogPhoto courtesy Prateik @ Snow Leapards Blog

The event was an exclusive preview and luncheon for the media to a taste of sensational Singapore-inspired food from the Singapore Takeout, a mobile pop-up kitchen concept that unfoldsor should we say, transforms, from what looks like an ordinary shipping container.Singapore Take Out, New Delhi In each city, Singapore’s most innovative and internationally celebrated chefs work side-by-side a talent from each respective destination, whipping up dishes that are so unique, so special, and so incredibly delicious, you’ll be left speechless and wanting more! … Just what happened to me!Singapore Take Out, New Delhi From word go, from the time the container literally popped open with a state of the art kitchen fitted inside, it was a unique culinary experience, one that tantalised the palatte and left us wanting for more. It was an afternoon of inspired food, showcasing the best of Singapore celebrity Chef Benjamin Secks gastronomic expertise. He teamed up with two top chefs from ITC Hotels, Chef Manisha Bhasin and Chef Rajkamal Chopra, to serve up a mouth-watering selection of Singapore-inspired dishes. The result – delightful  renditions of Indian cuisine taken to delicious heights … fusion cooking at its best!Singapore Take Out, New DelhiChef Benjamin’s best-selling dish of Nyonya Prawn Curry with Roti Jalal (lacy pancakes) and his vegan rendition of Popiah Goreng (deep fried spring rolls) filled with cabbage and carrot, were excellent and left us longing for more. The sweet red chilli dip served alongside complimenting the spring rolls beautifully! The spiced prawn curry with the tender lacy pancakes were excellent, full of subtle flavours and spices. We were lucky to see a live demo of the pancakes, and I am happy to share the recipe below. Both dishes reflected the chefs Peranakan heritage and of the diverse cultures in Singapore.

Scampi and Lemongrass Ceviche & Chicken Tikka with NaanPhoto courtesy Prateik @ Snow Leapards Blog

Chef Manisha showcased Duet of Asian Inspired Antipasti, a dish featuring Scampi and Lemongrass Ceviche presented in a traditional methi dhania papdi shell. Accompanying it was ITC Maurya’s specialty Chicken Tikka marinated with Laksa paste to give it a Singapore twist and finished on a charcoal grill. Our tastebuds were screaming for more. The duet fabulous, one cold, one hot, the cold served with a piquant tamarind sauce while the warm tikka tender and moist; they made for a handsome bite indeed. The delicately flavoured tikka was served over a basil naan, the anitpasti plated by the chef herself with expertise that reflected her talent and passion. Laksa Pulao and Vegan Spring Rolls, Singapore take Out, New DelhiAs a flavourful finale, Chef Rajkamal recreated a vegetarian Laksa Pulao, which he showcased during the Singapore Takeout launch in Singapore in April 2011. I finished that bowl of pulao in a heartbeat. Even though I consider myself a small eater, I could have had another serving, it was that good. Each grain of rice separate, flavourful and in harmony with French beans tossed in a laksa curry paste. The touch of a seasoned chef came through in every bite, the spices light and endearing. The pulao was topped with a garlic raita and caramelised onions … a mouthwatering symphony of textures and flavours! Singapore Take Out, New Delhi

The Singapore Takeout is part of the Singapore International Culinary Exchange (SPICE) – an initiative helmed jointly by the International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and SPRING Singapore which champions Singapore’s cuisine, culinary talent and food products globally. “Singapore has come a long way in its culinary journey. The country is fast becoming a must-visit destination for all food lovers, providing inspiration for culinary talent and an environment which encourages fast and furious food innovation,” says Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board, “SPICE will spur this growth on through initiatives like the Singapore Takeout, where our local food and beverage talent will collaborate, exchange ideas, and network with their overseas counterparts.

Foodies can follow the Singapore Takeout journey on www.facebook.com/SingaporeEats.

 

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