If there's a way to predict holiday trends amongst sybarites, one has only to track Lalit Modi's recent travel itinerary: where the flamboyant lotus-eater goes, the rest follow. Of course, it used to be his fellow economic exile and London neighbour Vijay Mallya's - who was a beacon for the high-rolling set (but now we hear that only name-calling follows in his wake). Be that as it may, Mumbai glam girl Kavita Lakhani, the former fashion director of a glossy mag and alumnus of NYC's Fashion Institute of Technology, appears to have followed in Modi's footsteps and made her way to Montenegro a few months after him. She's obviously taken to it like a duck to water, going by this picture she's posted. Seated like a boss on a shimmering yacht, she appears to the manor-born. Billowy white shirt with collar? Check. Mile-long legs tanned to perfection? Check. Just the right amount of bling around the neck? Check. All this on a summer vacation that included hotspots in Austria and Italy. Of course when you're a celebrity stylist yourself, dressing up or down comes easy.
An Indian Accent in London?
Word comes in that London's popular Kashmiri-influenced Indian restaurant, Chor Bizarre in Mayfair, is set to close down. The Rohit Khattar-owned establishment had recently posted a communique that read, "After 20 years, Chor Bizarre is going to be closed for refurbishment, and we are selling some of our original & unique furniture and bric-a-brac at attractive prices." The communication might be disingenuous, as the iconic eatery, one of Khattar's firsts, is in fact going to be closed not for refurbishment but for good, according to sources.
Chef Manish Mehrotra
This is because, sources say, the same space is going to be turned into an outpost of the group's far more famous offering, its modern Indian restaurant, Indian Accent, also owned by Khattar, with chef Manish Mehrotra at the helm. Accent had opened its second outpost in New York last year to favourable reviews, and there was even talk that in line was a coveted Michelin star. And now, word comes in that plans for the third outpost of Indian Accent, set to open this October in London, are underway. That would be a hat-trick of sorts for Khattar and Mehrotra.
The 'don't you know who I am?' syndrome
Come school vacation time, guess what the season brings? A fair share of hysterical mothers at airports, or onboard flights, screaming their heads off like banshees at hapless airline staff. A few years ago, we along with a planeload of holidaymakers had been traumatised by a well-heeled SoBo socialite, who held up a flight because a few members of her family had been offloaded and placed on a later one to Goa. We have not been able to erase the scene of the high-handed hysterical tantrum she'd thrown replete with "Do you know who I am," and "Do you know who I know?" at the cowering staff. This week too, we hear, the trend continues, and various socialites have been throwing god-awful fits of fury screaming, "I know the owner of your airline very well. I demand an apology!" Incidentally, the finest response to the 'do you know who I am' question is to say sweetly to the enquirer, "Oh dear, have you forgotten your name?"
Kalyani Chawla with Rana Daggubati
A Capital rant
Mumbaikars are not the only ones who despair about their city. Even denizens of relatively cleaner and greener Delhi reach a tipping point. The Capital's notorious lack of infrastructure and civic amenities saw fashionista and digital entrepreneur Kalyani Chawla, a card-holding member of its beautiful set, take to social media recently to rant about its dug-up roads and lack of traffic sense.
"This city is the pits... What are we paying taxes for?" she said, referring to the situation as that of a 'banana republic'. Of course, once the rant was done, there were more serious suggestions from the former India head of an international fashion house, who recently launched a hip ecommerce fashion site of her own. "NDTV should start a programme... for the citizens of this country, and have relevant civil servants as part of the panel discussion," she said. "Someone needs to do something... I do pay my taxes... and I have no idea where that money is going... We don't have our basic amenities in place ... It's beyond ridiculous." Wonder what she'd say if she saw the condition Mumbai is in...
AD and Sabina Singh with Rashmi UdayâÂÂÂÂSingh and friends
Birds of a feather dine together
It is a mystery, which few have been able to solve - why is it that Indians visiting London, ostensibly to get away from all things Indian, spend their limited time catching up with other visiting Indians while they are there? And in this grand tradition of birds of a feather flocking together, word comes in that restaurateur AD Singh along with his family has finally bitten the London bug and got himself an apartment for the summer months, in what is known as the food capital of the world.
This week, AD and designer wife Sabina caught up with food writer and world traveller Rashmi Uday Singh over a meal at Bar Boulud, the French bistro at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge, one of the outposts of Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud. And though we do not know what they ate, the food lovers were joined by other Mumbai friends for this epicurean repast. Of course, given that sources swear that AD is all set to open his first London eatery by the end of the year, his interest could be more than academic. Business with pleasure, as they say.
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