Signature sensations: Seven of the world’s best restaurants
KISHORE AND SMITA IYENGAR live up the fine signature gourmet creations and innovative international flavors at some of the world’s premium fine dining outposts.
BOTTICINO – The Trident Bandra Kurla Mumbai, India
At this contemporary super swish, world class Italian fine dining icon with a ceiling to floor Enoteca and suspended gallery covers, the epicurean excitement begins with innovative Chef Sivakumar’s delightful ‘Ricotta strangolapreti (butter-soft Gnocchi) -Asparagus, sweet peppers, saffron cream, an enchanting palate teaser . It synergizes with a fine, aromatic and floral Sauvignon Blanc, Vina Tarapacca from Maipo Valley- Chile. The very creative and off-beat ‘Botticino summer salad -mixed greens, pineapple, melon, lemon mint dressing creates seamless summery thrills matched with a fabulous, very peachy-floral Chinkara Chardonnay white wine with lime zest and grapefruit flavors, from Victoria –Australia.
The marvel of the mains has a fine innovative creation by Chef Sivakumar, -Burrata Ravioli – Lobster, white asparagus, herb emulsion all reflecting amazing individual flavors, balanced with a full-bodied, plumy and truffle-scented Escudo Rojo Cabernet Sauvignon, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Chile. The crispness of ingredients blend effortlessly with the intrinsic aromas of the fine red wine.
Another pedigree combo was heightened with an award winning red wine beluga -Grover La Reserve, boasting full bodied verve in Cuban cigar, cinnamon and blackcurrant flavors, matched with a superb ‘21 days aged duck breast, Red cabbage, sweet potato, liquorice sauce’. Succulent, tender on the palate, the lightly astringent flavors just enticing the taste buds!
The fine wining and dining romance is capped by another outstanding red wine, a Merlot from the Benziger Family Winery, Sonoma County, California, USA with the very interesting Homemade ‘Buccatini Pomodoro – Cherry tomato,, basil, Burrata cheese’. More Italian than you can think, the flavors are crisp and delightfully herbal. Scoring a hundred on our scales, the ‘San Daniele Proscuitto and wine poached pear, homemade ricotta, celery, Piatini bread’ brought out the homemade magic of Italian fare perfected to contemporary finesse. We’d recommend a full bodied ‘The Laughing Maggie Shiraz Viognier, D’Arenberg red number from Australia, a superlative wine to complement this creative dish.
The Italian cuisine here surpasses any other dining address with creativity honed to culinary perfection in synergizing authentic ingredients in calibrated measures. Their signature sense sweetener ‘Tiramisu with Espresso, mascarpone cheese’ has a top notch wine match, -a distinguished French Mouton Cadet Sauternes, Baron Philippe de Rothschild….Bellisimo, Salute!
TIN LUNG HEEN – The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, China
This is Hong Kong city’s most distinguished and eclectic Michelin Starred Chinese fine dining outpost at the highest hotel in the world. It’s stunning Oriental-contemporary décor invites gourmands to it’s finest Cantonese dining fare presented by experienced and innovative Michelin Starred Chef de Cuisine Paul Lau Ping Lui. His expertise is matched by Assistant Manager, seasoned Sommelier and wine guru Benson Yan.
The splendid world wines and-seven course cuisine menu pairings are a privilege to experience. Chef Paul stirs up his creative instincts with upper crust nuggets like ‘ Steamed Crab Claw with Egg White and Hua Diao Wine’, a mouth-melting culinary masterpiece par excellence. The softness and subtle finesse stands out as sensory memory, the combination of home-grown cooking with international fusion is an accomplishment. The mild-natured yet keenly effusive Chef Paul goes on further to wow us with his ‘Double Boiled Chicken soup with fish Maw in Baby coconut’ which reflects the thrilling combo of coconut’s sweetness with the feather soft ingredients.
His double waltz extends into a wonderful vegetarian marvel, ‘Braised Bamboo Fungus with Spinach and Black Truffle’ with its light and ‘green’ flavors. On ths same crerative anvil is our ‘Stir-fried White Asparagus with Japanese Gingko Nut’ –also light, crispy and lingering, -a Michelin jewel indeed!
RESIDENZ HEINZ WINKLER – Aschau am Chiemgau, Bavaria, Germany
Spearheaded by one of the world’s most celebrated 3-Michelin Star chefs –Heinz Winkler, this grand Venetian-themed landmark in picture postcard village Aschau is a living tribute to its’ creator’s passion for Cuisine Vitale. Chef Heinz Winkler commands his signature creations with singular finesse, entertaining A-listed global luminaries as his guests , -Jean Paul Belmondo, Brooke Shields, Former German President Walter Scheel, FIAT Chief Gianni Agnelli, John Rockefeller and Pia Zadora.
His ‘GebrateneEntenbrust – Rote Beete’ -Roast duck breast, beet root, Quinoa, horseradish in balsamic jus’ is a hot favorite with diners who swear by its succulent, Bavarian flavors. Another masterpiece , – ‘Gebeizter Coho Wildlachs’– Wasabi, marinated wild Coho salmon with Wasabi, sour cream, potato and egg is his path- breaking innovation in Nouvelle cuisine, the Salmon and Wasabi playing diverse waltzes on taste buds. Chef Heinz’s next jewel rates superlative too! ‘Lauwarmes Saiblings filet–Spargel’ -Tepid char on asparagus with white balsamic is light and invoking, the asparagus melting away in an exciting vanishing act!
Capping his symphony of culinary melodies, Chef Heinz scores a high with a sweet number, ‘ Crêpes gefüllt‘ – Grand-Marnier-SchaumCrêpes filled with Grand-Marnier-Foam and orange filets paired with the finest Franconian aromatic Sylvaner and Spaetburgunder Trocken vintage wines.
FIJIANA – LIKULIKU RESORT – Malolo Island, Fiji, South Pacific
The sun orchestrates a grand celestial spectacle by evening as we trot up the walkway, admiring the changing mauve-to-peach-to-deep crimson moods with a finely chilled 2009 Yarra Valley Australian Chardonnay in our hands. The ocean sways in tandem to greet the magic on the horizon, the villas twinkle with soft amber glows and the scene is set for fine wining and dining on the Lagoon’s fringes. Table for romantic two is under a tree on a platform overlooking a deep Prussian night. The meticulous creator, Likuliku Lagoon Resort’s Executive Chef Ihaka Peri offers his passionate best as fine wines create culinary seduction of another kind.
It was a grand menu of culinary magic for us, – ‘Grilled King Prawn, smoked coral trout kedgeree, crayfish foam chervil and baby coriander’ matching a fine Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough –New Zealand while ‘marinated pork cutlet, Kim Chi, Baby cos lettuce, Sushi rice and soy and sesame dressing’ pair with a crisp Yalumba The ‘Y’ Series Viognier, Barossa Valley-Australia. The light-n-crispy shaven ice cream in chocolate cream sauce was heavenly!
Out on our remote Bure ocean deck as we sipped our night cap –a 2008 Noble One Botrytis Semillon, a light dessert wine from New South Wales – Australia, we catch the wispy nocturnal contrasts of an invoking sunset, the gentle lapping of reef waters bidding a soft Bon Nuit.
JYRAN – Sofitel BKC Mumbai, India
It is inspiration from the great Northwest Indian Frontier where warriors, poets and balladeers glorified this intimidating territory.
In this art deco setting with unique suspended hand blown, spherical tinted glass light bowls and avant garde art motifs, -gourmet cuisine is heightened by signature marvels.
The menu captures the robust and delicate among dishes that claim legacy from that wind blown land of contrasts. Our journey commenced with irresistible starters like ‘Anar Badam Aloo – potato with almond and fresh pomegranate’ cooked in a clay oven, ‘Chukandar Ki Tikki –pan-seared, roasted and pureed beetrootcke marinated with hung curd and Indian spices and ‘Murgh Gilafi Seekh –chicken mince skewers coated with bell peppers and onions cooked in a clay oven. Splendidly grilled sensations, those. A well chilled, bouncy Vina Tarapaca Sauvignon Blanc from Chile matched with citrusy and pear flavors.
This signature fine dining landmark lives up it’s culinary USP in manifold incarnations with light, yet sumptuously delicious ‘Paneer Lababdar –cottage cheese cooked in tomato and onion gravy.
Renowned Indian Master Chef Shadab Qureshi spares no efforts in whipping up exotic fare fit for the royals. Unique flavors of authentic northwestern spices implore you to relish clay oven marvels like ‘Raan Changezi –aromatic and succulent leg of baby lamb gently massaged with a compound of Mughal spices, pot-roast braised and finished in a tandoor.
The signature highlight ‘Nahari Al Subho’ –Chef’s secret recipe of curry with lamb shanks, cooked with exotic spices is an all-time signature favorite. As our outstanding ‘Kofta Subz Bahar’ arrived, we savored the vegetables and cottage cheese dumplings in cashew nut, onion and tomato gravy, the tantalizing aromas revved up our appetites into first gear, matched with an award winning, handpicked Chilean Shiraz-Concha Y Toro Frontera. The ‘Dal –Al – Jyran’ enlivened the repast with surprisingly light and velvety palate, the myriad flavors of black lentils cooked overnight with cream and butter caressing our senses.
To commemorate our fine tandoor dining here, the superb ‘Vegetarian Biryani’, a saffron-flavored exotic Basmati preparation with eclectic flavors and aromas uplifted the dining sojourn. Even for the modestly frugal eater, the desserts here are decided must-haves. ‘Tabhakh Jamun’ –stuffed cottage cheese dumplings stewed in sugar syrup, topped with honey and dry fruits is absolutely delicious, while the royal Indian ice creams- ‘Kulfi with Falooda and Suza’-flavored either with sweet beetel leaf and spices or ‘Kesar Kulfi’ with saffron, concludes with its lingering seduction.
AT.MOSPHERE – The Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
The world’s highest altitude fine wining and dining address on level 122 of the world’s tallest tower –The Burj Khalifa, boasts breathtaking frames of the dazzling Dubai skyline and its iconic architecture, the world’s highest musical fountain, calm water bodies, green spaces and miles beyond into the Arabian Gulf, The Palm and islands of ‘The World’.
It’s eclectically swish, the ultra chic gleaming mahogany interiors, buff steel frames and diffused glows with extra wide floor-to-ceiling glass frames opening out to the awe-inspiring panoramas outside.
Dining here at this haloed shrine to premium dining is a spiritual experience as the signature dishes and the grand views silence you into a meditative mood. A pinnacle of signature fare line up with a fine Rose Champagne –Bollinger, going onto ‘Heirloom tomatoes with buffalo Mozzarella’ with a fine Dog Point New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. As the views envelop you, ‘Gnocchi with cauliflower Crips’ pairs with an Australian Bush Vine Yalumba Granache red and ‘Cocote’ with a French Chateau Batailley. The signature number ‘At.mosphere surf and turf-Beef Tartare with caviar’ needs to be experienced! The cheese platter and the signature ‘Sphere’ dessert married with a thrilling Italian Araldica Moscato signs off an unforgettable experience.
EUROPEA – Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Jerome Ferrer Executive Chef of Europea, -one of Montreal’s most celebrated dining beacons makes waves with his absolutely remarkable gourmet wonders that blend his immaculate French flavors with modern Quebecois presentations.
The cuisine is fascinating and evocative. Chef Jerome’s signature repertoire spans several firsts, – Our ‘Pan-Seared Scallops’ and ‘Lobster Cappucino’ brought out the refreshingly light palates in an enchanting way, the scallops soft and silky with the greens adding zing. The marvelous Lobster Cappucino is mesmerizing on the tongue, the creation left us wondering how magical the flavors were….The other remarkable creation we savored like ‘Cavatelli Cream cheese, Stanstead rabbit confit Yuzu, Gremolata fresh Thyme and lemon peel’ uplifts with very subtle yet invoking flavors. Chef Jerome’s other nuggets are prize winners in their own right…His ‘Fillet of Mignon Beef aged 45 days, crispy potatoes, gravy and béarnaise have a fusion touch with Quebecois accents, while ‘Paw Alaska Crab gratin with sweet garlic’ hinted a familiar Provencal feel. C’est Magnifique !