Eating in Udaipur- India

From Jaipur, it was a boring eight hour drive to Udaipur and the only stop we made was one bathroom break by the highway……..

Udaipur is known for its beautiful city palace by the lake.  I was a tad disappointed that this lake is man-made….  This is also where they filmed the James Bond movie, Octopussy.City Palace

Jag Mandir Palace

We wanted to find a place for dinner with a view found Upre, the rooftop restaurant of Lake Pichola Hotel.unobstructed view! We got there early to watch sunset!

mango lassi……

papadum (chips) and chutney…

garlic naan…..

At this point, I’ve forgotten what I’ve ordered….. but it should be more butter chicken and curry!

In Udaipur, we stayed at Trident again, and the service was superbe as well.

For breakfast, there’s a omelette station, buffet and made-to-order dishes. put together the most unhealthy cereal combination: flakes, nuts and chocolate!

chocolate- drizzled pancakes….

We also ate at the restaurant for dinner….

mango lassi…… this was the best ever because there’s herbs sprinkled on top… it looks good and tastes good also!

papadum (chips) and chutney…

garlic naan…. sooooooooo buttery and flavourful!

From top left clockwise: Chicken curry / gobhi adraki (cauliflower tossed with spices and ginger) / palak makkai (corn kernels and spinach cooked with cumin seeds and garlic)/ murgh tikka makhani (chicken in mild tomato gravy) …… delicious food even though it was spicy……

We ate at the hotel’s restaurant again the night we flew to Mumbai.  We were supposed to leave the hotel by 6pm but wanted to eat something before heading to the airport.  We wouldn’t be able to eat because lunch service ends at 3pm and dinner service begins at 7pm; however, the restaurant staff was nice enough to open for us at 5pm.  This was bend-over-backwards service!

Because they couldn’t make naan during off hours (I guess no one was manning the oven), they made paratha instead.  Paratha is another type of flatbread but it’s finished by shallow frying…

I was so impressed with our stays at Trident and would not hesitate to stay with them again!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Upre

Lake Pichola Hotel, Roof Top, Outside Chand Pole, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India

Phone:+91 294 243 1197

Trident Udaipur

Near Lake Pichola, Haridasjiki Magri, Mullah Talai, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India

Phone:+91 294 243 2200

A variety of meals in Jaipur – India

From Agra, we drove to Fatehpur Sikri, the capital of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. I have read about the many tour guide scams at this place so I was kind of iffy when our driver picked a random man off the streets to be our guide.

 

However.. this was clearly a case of “don’t judge the book by its cover.”  Our guide turned out to be extremely intelligent and apparently teaches French at the local university.

From Fatehpur Sikri, we continued onto Jaipur, where we also stayed at Trident.

Our room over looked the lake and could see Jal Mahal (Lake Palace) in the distance… The entire front yard of the hotel was set up for the MANDATORY Christmas Eve buffet dinner.  I did not like the mandatory dinner and it was 80 USD and the quality was sub par…… For that price I would assume they would be seafood but nooooooo….. It’s just regular western food and Indian food….

The only interesting thing was they had grilled steak! The one and only time I saw beef in India.

freshly made roti and naan….

I tried this interesting milk and herbs.. It was very rich but also very sweet….

The next day, we had a day touring Jaipur… elephant ride up to Amber fort…

Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace)….. This building looks extremely out of place because it’s located on a busy main street with normal looking buildings around it…

Jaipur is also called the “pink city” as their buildings are pinkish in colour….

We had a very late lunch at another restaurant catered to tours and again the naan and butter were delicious!

For dinner, we had a lovely home-cooked meal at the house of Sabu, the tour company’s owner.   It was a very traditional meal.. .we even sat on the floor to eat!  His wife prepared vegetable curry, briyani and naan… delicious, but a bit spicy!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Trident Hotel Jaipur

 Amber Fort Road, Opposite Jal Mahal, Gujarghati, Parasrampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002, India

Phone:+91 141 267 0101

Trident Agra Hotel – Agra, India

From Delhi, we drove to Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located.

The first glimpse of Taj was surreal…. which was why everyone stood at at entrance to take photos…

After that, we also visited Agra Fort…..

While in India, I wanted to visit one of Mother Teresa’s  Missionaries of Charity orphanages.  I went to a Catholic elementary school where we learned all about Mother Teresa’s work so it was so uplifting to visit the orphanage in Agra.

While in Agra, we stayed at the Trident hotel, where the hospitality surpassed all of the international luxury 5 star hotels.  

We had dinner at the hotel restaurant and there was a choice between buffet and à la carte.  We decided to order from the menu because we could order Indian dishes.papadum (chips) and chutney (condiments)….  The chips were peppery and a bit spicy…

dumplings in yogurt…..  this wasn’t spicy!!! but I didn’t like the dumplings, which basically was a ball of tasteless dough….

Methi aloo gobhi (stir fried potatoes and cauliflower with fresh fenugreek leaves)

Chicken tikka masala……

chicken curry

Murgh makhanwala (chicken tikka in tomato and ginger gravy with fenugreek)….

Chicken briyani (basmati rice with spices cooked in clay pot)……

When we ordered, we requested the food to be not spicy… but I still found it to be spicy!  The staff was so accommodating and even gave me Thai coconut soup because that was definitely non-spicy.  The head chef even came out to apologize, even though it was totally my problem!

thai coconut soup….

The server felt sorry for me so he told me to get dessert from the buffet.  I felt kinda bad because it was my fault for ordering Indian dishes instead of ordering safer non-spicy dishes…I ended up just getting a slice of cake only.

However, the server brought over some coconut dessert…..so nice of him! But this was reallllllllllllllllly sweet….

For breakfast, apart from omelettes, we also tried the Indian breakfast, dosa.  It’s spiced potatoes wrapped in thin crepe… the crepe was thin and cripsy!  Didn’t like the stuffing because it was spicy….

We were so amazed by the hospitality and thoughtfulness of the staff at the Trident Hotel as they went over the top trying to make our stay as pleasant as possible.  They also gave each of us a gift, wrapped and with a personal note! This was probably the most memorable hotel stay ever,  considering we often stay at other luxury hotels…..

FAIM? OUI OUI!!!

Trident Hotel Agra

 Next to TDI Mall, Fatehabad Rd, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India
Phone:+91 562 223 5000

Punjabi by Nature and other Delhi Eats – India

I can finally cross India off my bucket-list!!!!  Our family spent last year’s Christmas holidays in India and it was an incredible experience. We started off in Delhi, then drove down to Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur before flying down to Mumbai.  We found a tour agency that organized a private tour with a driver, guides at each city and hotels…. so I didn’t have to plan anything!

Our first stop was Delhi ….spice market @ Chandni Chowk

I actually felt a bit unease because mom and I were one of the few females on the street so everyone was staring at us….. It was a shocking first morning for sure…

Our tour guide took us to a touristy restaurant for lunch but the food was really good.. better than at home.fresh buttery naan

chicken tikka

chicken biryani

Because I can’t eat anything spicy, we asked for the food to be non-spicy.. but it was still flaming hot!  After lunch, we also visited the other famous monuments…India Gate..

Red Fort…

Gandhi Memorial….

Qutab Minar……

After seeing these monuments in real life, I feel like I have an affinity with Delhi.. especially when on the flight home, I watched an Indian movie called Kick and I was excitedly pointing out the places I’ve been.

For dinner, a lot of people on Chowhound recommended Punjabi by Nature, a chain of fine dining restaurants specializing in Punjab cuisine that is supposedly one of the best and most famous restaurants in Delhi.  My brother’s friend even took Arnold  Schwarzenegger there to eat when he was in Delhi so it should be good….Most of the locations are outside the touristy centre so we went to the closest location in Ambience mall.

The decor is a mix between European style and a sports bar!

mango lassi….

the best garlic naan of our whole trip…..

butter naan….

Murgh makhani also known as butter chicken….. I guess butter chicken is an North American term for this because this name doesn’t show up in any of the menus in India!

The specialty: raan-e-punjab (whole leg of baby lamb braised in the marinade of malt vinegar and smoked with Indian spices)….. We don’t normally in lamb but ordered this because it was their most famous dish and my brother’s friend highly recommended this .  Surprisingly, this was pretty good! Very tender meat and didn’t have the gamey taste…..

Masala vegetables with okra……

Even though I requested for the food to not be spicy, it was still very hot!  This was a very expensive meal (even more expensive than Indian food at home) but I guess you pay a premium for such an environment.

FAIM? OUI OUI!!!!

Punjabi by Nature

305, 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

 

Guy Savoy – Paris, France

The GRAND FINALE meal of this trip was lunch at Guy Savoy, one of Paris’ most famous restaurant.

The restaurant recently relocated to the top floor of Monnaie de Paris, with views of the Seine.  I actually thought a lot about whether or not to eat at Savoy since I had a plane to catch right after.  I didn’t want to pay an exorbitant and felt rushed to leave.. but I was so glad I ended up lunching at Savoy.

I made my reservation a month in advance and requested the “internet special,” a special 3 course meal for 110 euros that is offered for one table during lunchtime. That is such a deal because Savoy doesn’t have any lunch menu option, so a typical meal is over 300 euros.   From the menu, I could choose an appetizer, main and dessert and menu had a lot of options (5 appetizers, 9 entrees and 9 dessert)!

Unlike other celebrity chef restaurant I’ve been too, the chef was there greeting every table! I was star-struck when I saw Guy Savoy!

Amuse-bouche: foie gras terrine and toast…..

Amuse-bouche: vegetable soup with…..

  Celery mousse tart….

Amuse-bouche: radish butter and crispy tart flake???….

close up.. it had a heavy radish taste…

bread….

For the appetizer, they offered me two choices, with half a portion each… which I preferred because I get to taste more dishes!

Tout petit pois: myriad of young peas..

This dish is pretty simple, peas and egg, but it looks so pretty!

 It also came with a piece of toast…

and the second appetizer…. Artichoke and black truffle soup, layered brioche with mushrooms and truffles

This is one of Savoy’s most famous dish…. It was pretty good but nothing too amazing.. it just had a lot of truffle taste to it…

however, the brioche was so good… warm, buttery and there’s truffle!!!

For the main course, I picked Chef’s choice of fish recipe: John Dory fish with green curry, shrimps, strawberries…  Both flavour and texture were very light… The strawberry was an interesting addition and it tasted like pineapples instead…

When I ordered, I mentioned that I had a plane to catch and they said I could finish the meal in under 2 hours and could leave by 2pm. However, by 1:45pm the dessert still hasn’t come…. I ended up having to finish the dessert in record time…

 

Mille-feuille pastry with vanilla pod made to order…. By the time dessert came along, I was stuffed.  I have never been that stuffed before.. to the point when I didn’t want to finish the dessert.  The pastry was so buttery and crispy..and the custard was so vanilla-y and not too sweet, I ended up finishing it.

extra custard!

But that’s not the end of it….Floating island with citrus sauce and hazenut praline…..

earl grey sorbet…. I think this was supposed to be the palate cleanser before the dessert but for some reason, this came out later than the dessert….

Afterwards, I got a tour of the kitchen and took a picture with Guy Savoy himeself!

Because I had no time to spare, I missed out on the famous dessert cart and just grabbed a macaron…..

There was also a take away snack! apricot brioche????? It was still very good after a 15 hour flight!

I think the internet special is a really good deal and there’s so much food! The service was top notch and not pretentious.  I would definitely return next time when I don’t have to catch a flight!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Guy Savoy

Monnaie de Paris, 11 Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris, France

Phone:+33 1 43 80 40 61

Au Passage – Paris, France

It was so hard to pick a place for our grand finale dinner because it was on a Monday.  We ended up going to Au Passage due to the many positive reviews on Chowhound, blogs, Paris by Mouth and Anthony Bourdain.

I unfortunately made a reservation for the wrong day and they said they were fully booked.  We were offered a seat at the bar but luckily, there was a cancellation and we got moved to a table.  The menu of the day is written on the chalkboard (in French only!) and changes daily.  We got there early and heard the head chef (He’s British) explain the dishes to the French  servers in English.  Good translation!  With high expectations, we ordered 5 dishes to share….

Crabe, saucornes, poireaux… this isn’t a picture of the salad half-eaten.. this was the entire portion! so small.. anyways.. you couldn’t taste the crab.. the salad dressing overtakes the taste…

Soupe de choufleu, foie gras… this was probably my favourite dish of the night…. decent cream soup but the foie gras was kind of small compared to Le Petit Gourmand…

Salt cod, aïoli au safran, roquette... another really small dish…  I like this aïoli more because there’s less mustard but the cod was extremely salty…..

Cochon, oreille, blackbean… another passable dish…The pork wasn’t tender enough and the skin was soggy instead of crispy.  There’s also pork ear… which I didn’t touch…

Asperges, bacon, oeuf… very simple dish but was pretty good… I think this is a very easy dish to attempt at home…

I really don’t understand the hype at Au Passage… the food wasn’t spectacular (although the prices were decent) and there were mostly tourists eating there…

Au Passage

1bis Passage Saint-Sébastien, 75011 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 43 55 07 52

David Toutain – Paris, France

One of my most anticipated meals was lunch at Paris’ hottest restaurant, David Toutain.   Toutain had trained in many famous kitchens and had made a name for himself at Agapé Substance.  In 2013, Toutain opened his eponymous restaurant and has already earned one Michelin star.

The dining area is bright and airy, with a modern yet earthy decor..

I got seated upstairs beside a bookshelf filled with biographies and cookbooks of famous chefs.  Throughout the meal, I read David Toutain’s book to learn about how he came about with opening his own restaurant.  I felt like all meals should be accompanied by the chef’s autobiography!

the menu….. I picked the lunch menu at 45 euros..

Toutain’s own bottled water….

amuse-bouche: crispy tube made of beetroot and stuffed with beetroot cream…  very interesting… I took one bite of the crispy outside layer and out bursted the smoky beetroot cream… I wonder how they make this….

another amuse-bouche duo….

Poached egg ,onion, lemon verbena…. very light dish, both in flavour and texture-wise… reminds me of spring time…

Lemon verbena sponge cake…. to pair with the egg.. this was also very light..

bread… very interesting presentation…. it feels very nature-y…

White asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan sauce…..  Because there’s so many different flavours in this dish, it feels like you’re eating more than just 2 asparagus.                                                                                                                                                  Cod with Macadamia nuts, potato and leek, beans, onions , mint……. it looks a bit bland but surprising wasn’t…. and the cod was extremely tender…

more bread…

White chocolate, cauliflower, coconut ice-cream…. this was soooooooo good… very rich, creamy, refreshing… and healthy too (cauliflower!).. there is a slight cauliflower taste mixed with coconut… very inventive!

Citron tart with meringue and marjoram ice-cream…. the plating is so interesting….a modern take on the classic citron tart….

petit four.. there’s a piece of chocolate in the “soil”…. I actually dug around looking for more chocolate.. but sadly no..

how fitting… I saw this on their chalkboard when leaving.. The phrase, which means I’m hungry, is also a phrase on my blog!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

David Toutain

29 Rue Surcouf, 75007 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 45 50 11 10