Luxury Hotels

Food, food, glorious food

Kacchi Haldi Gobhi ki Subzi, above, is a Royal Rajasthani dish that apparently is also A HEALTH BOOSTER. Thank goodness for Puneet Chhatwal, boss of Taj parent IHCL: he has not only introduced, to Taj, INNERGISE, food that energisers one’s insides, but he has appointed a business-like head of food and drink, Akshay Tripathi, who spent years with Four Seasons.  Tripathi explained to Girlahead how INNERGISE has adapted Rajasthan’s heritage dish, full of turmeric and other spices, to new-look, above. Vegetable and turmeric curry in is held between sheets of phyllo baked with clarified butter, turmeric powder, and Ajwain (Carom, Caraway, Bishop’s weed), and a swirl of spiced balsamic reduction complements slight bitterness of raw turmeric. Both trad and new need 55 minutes’ total preparation: food costs are about the same – and contemporary is 20% lower calorie, per portion. GO FOR THE NEW, urges Girlahead (and, for the record, its selling price is 600Rps, but the traditional, which does serve two, is 950Rps, be it for you alone or you with a pal). This dish will be launched at the two Chambers Clubs in Taj’s Mumbai hotels next month.

Cura, just inside the front door of Four Seasons Lisbon The Ritz SEEMS LIKE A CLUB. Locals come into the 22-seat casual eating spot to see and be seen and to order such Pedro Oena Bastos dishes as grilled lettuce hearts with pollen, sunflower seeds and orange blossom (no, that’s not enough for a growing girl, go on to TAGLIATELLE WITH OSCIETRA). This is a hotel with A FINE AND LONG LOCAL TRADITION FOR ITS FOOD. Current GM Guillheme Costa continues to consider locals as did such predecessors as Portuguese-globalist José Silva • YESTERDAY GIRLAHEAD LUNCHED OFF HOME-MADE RIGATONI, with truffle – Marco Colenzo at Al-Mare, London. This is the neighbourhood restaurant on the ground floor of Carlton Tower, London. Yes, IT IS JUMEIRAH – whose CEO is José Silva, who still famously stresses the importance of emotion to food (listen to him on Podcast, below). Like so many local Chelsea-ite locals also relishing REAL ITALIAN FOOD WITH LOVE, Girlahead smiled throughout her Al-Mare lunch: the menu opens with a Salvatore Quasimodo quote ‘an echo of memory, like this dark murmur of the sea’.

Talking of the ocean, the two-year old Steigenberger Alsik Hotel & Spa in Sønderborg, South Jutland, overlooks The Alssund Strait, which links the Als Fjord with the Outer Flensburg Firth: its Syttende Restaurant, on the 17th floor, has just garnered A MICHELIN STAR for Jesper Koch, 47. But where are his fish dishes?  Best-sellers, Girlahead is told, are Strawberry & Batak pepper; Jerusalem artichoke & finger lime, and Kefir & pine. Is Jesper Koch short of ingredients, or careful of his time or is he on a diet?


In these days of shortage of chefs, DIVERT ATTENTION TO DECOR so at least customers have something to read, listen to or look at while wondering if whoever is left in the kitchen has flown to Perigord to find a pig to find a truffle.  Not all restaurants can see quite a lot of Denmark from their windows, as is possible from Amazónico restaurants seem to do just that, although it does look, sometimes, as if the ceiling decorations might fall down at any moment.  AMAZONICO DUBAI, designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, has a 250-kg chandelier composed of 22 living plants. Is it true Turkish entrepreneur Dogus has taken a stake in the Amazonico brand?

And finally, here comes José Silva: