>> Nice to chat with Kareena Kapoor at the lunch in honour of Valerie Trierweiler. We congratulate the actress about the speech she has just made to the assembled ladies to support the ‘Fight Hunger Foundation’. Thoughtful and measured it appears to be unrehearsed and sincere. Did her well read husband help her with it, we ask teasingly?
Valerie Trierweiler with Kareena Kapoor
“I’m usually so nervous about speaking in public,” says the star. “Yes, Saif is the well read one,” she says sportingly. “Whereas I read Harpers and Queen and Elle, he’ll have finished reading half a dozen broadsheets,” she adds with a palpable pride.
The Bandra-based actress who grew up in SoBo’s Napean Sea Road and attended Cathedral and Wellham’s boarding, says she loves coming, “In to town with Saif.”
What do you like doing here, we ask. “I love spending time at the Bombay Gym with Saif,” she replies. “I’m a member now, as his spouse.”
Any other SoBo favourites?
“Well, it’s tough for us to go without attracting attention to ourselves,” says the charming actress, a tiny frown appearing on her pretty face.
The memory of a high-profile spat at an upscale Japanese eatery passes unacknowledged between us, but we let it be.
The actress talks about her mandatory habit of picking up a car full of her favourite snacks, from her SoBo nutritionist when she drives in.
“I’ve got the famous Kapoor genes,” she says. “I love food! I can eat all day,” she says.
But when we glance at her plate we find no evidence to back up her statement. It’s as empty as she is lean.
We hope for her sake she gets to snack on the long car ride home to Bandra!
The diva in Jodhpur
>> And word comes in that the person who stole the show at the recently concluded wedding of Kavita and Jasjit Singh’s son Karan in Jodhpur was none other than Bollywood diva Rekha. Amidst a sea of emeralds, diamonds and designer threads, the actress is said to have stood out with her gold Kanjeeverams and traditional South Indian jewellery. And unlike the other guests who are reported to have spent most of their off duty hours hobnobbing, shopping or networking with each other, the actress, we’re told, opted for many pampering hours at the hotel’s spa.
“May be that accounted for her glow when she finally made it for the celebratory dinner,” said a guest.
Tata, bye bye to the grill
>> Many years ago, we happened to be the first journo to feature the newly launched Zodiac Grill in print.
We did so by persuading the dapper Ratan Tata to agree to be photographed seated under the restaurant’s famous Zodiac ceiling and roped in Atul Kasbekar to shoot the feature.
Ratan Tata seated under Zodiac’s famous ceiling
We recall the reserved ex-Chairman of the Tata group to be cooperative enough, though he had indicated that he felt a bit silly being made to pose sitting alone at a table made up for eight!
Be that as it may, it appears fitting that we are one of the first to write about the restaurant’s imminent closure.
Yes, though when contacted — hotel sources were tightlipped about the details, word has it that not only is the Zodiac Grill going to be closed down, there is talk of also putting to rest the Starboard bar located on the lobby level.
The coffee shop Shamiana is expected to occupy the free space the departure of these two will create. Of course, old timers will recall the coffee shops glory days at this locale when every party ended with a mandatory coffee at the ‘Shams’.
Cyrus Mistry. Pic/Atul Kasbekar
And what will replace the iconic Zodiac? There are murmurs of experimenting with a new South American cuisine restaurant that would be opened in the new wing.
So given a choice who would we feature to launch the new restaurant? The urbane and dapper Cyrus Mistry would be the most obvious choice — but he appears to be even more low-profile and media shy than his predecessor!
North by north south in Goa
>> “Sabs had told me that if I wanted Mariketty to agree to bring Goa’s famous Thalassa to Olive in Mumbai as a pop-up restaurant, I should ask her while seated facing north and she should be facing south,” laughs the ebullient restaurateur AD Singh, as he recounts his efforts to seduce the 48-year-old Mariketty Grana and his wife Sabina’s intervention towards the same.
We are seated at the pop-up Thalassa at Olive with Mariketty Grana as he narrates the story. Around us, the restaurants’ popular Friday Bar Night is beginning to coalesce, the Greek dancers (one of whom happens to be Mariketty’s son) have arrived and soon there will be much merry foot stomping, dancing, and plate throwing as is the Greek way.
Mariketty Grana with AD Singh
AD, a consummate storyteller orders another round of fresh watermelon with feta cocktails before resuming the story. “So there we were Sabs and I at the Goan Thalassa, trying desperately to place ourselves facing north, when Mariketty comes in and chooses a chair facing east — putting paid to our carefully constructed plans!” he says to much laughter.
“But we want her to say yes. So, very awkwardly, Sabs persuades her to move to the opposite chair saying she will have a much better view. Meanwhile, Sabs and I jam up in one corner as I pop the question,” he says .
“I had no idea what was going on,” laughs Mariketty. “But wondered why you were seated so strangely!”
Given that the Thalassa pop-up experience has become a mainstay of the Olive Racecourse success story — we can surmise that the Vaastu intervention worked after all!