Chef Dharshan Munidasa
"We are opening Ministry of Crab and can't be more excited to open in the next food city of Asia!" said chef Dharshan Munidasa, the half Sri Lankan, half Japanese chef who has been ranked as one of Asia's 50 best in the prestigious San Pellegrino restaurant ratings, confirming his impending expansion to Bangkok later this year. Chef Dharshan is best known for his popular Colombo restaurant, The Ministry of Crab, which he set up with two Sri Lankan cricketers, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, and which is frequented often by Indian celebrities like Sanjay Dutt, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, and recently Shobhaa De.
Virat Kohli at The Ministry of Crab
"The three of us are partnering with a company from Bangkok for a franchise in Sukhumvit Soi 31. Changing the menu will be counter productive to authenticity and this will be an authentic experience," says the excited chef.
And what about the plans for an Indian outpost along with Virat Kohli, as reported in the media previously, we asked. But the tight-lipped chef said, "Let's wait and see". For now, at least Indians have another option close to home.
Rachel Wawn and Ashok Kurien
High five for Kurien!
For the past many months, our friend, the media guru and dashing man about town, Ashok Kurien, has been talking to us about all things menstruation and tampons. The last time we'd dropped into his office, he'd even presented a new-age sanitary napkin that would allow women in rural areas, and those who could not afford the commercially sold ones, to reclaim the five days that they otherwise lost due to their periods. For months, Kurien, encouraged by his wife Rachel Wawn, a UN-trained social worker, had toiled quietly on, pouring his decades of experience in media and philanthropy to come up with the best product. This week, word comes in that the campaign he initiated with L&K Saatchi and Saatchi — #GiveHer5, has bagged a Gold at the Cannes Lions 2017. Nice!
Bina Ramani at her home; (below) with late designer Rohit Khosla and Bina Ramani in the eighties
For the birds, and cows...
The sprawling home in Delhi's Mehrauli, which she shares with her daughter, the designer Malini Ramani, might be featured in a current glossy, but there is more to design entrepreneur and long standing gypsetter Bina Ramani than a bohemian rhapsody, however alluring its nooks, crannies, and distressed walls and old pichwais.
These days, the lady who has been known to put places on the map, has been fixated by an upscale senior living home deep in the Himalayas, and is waxing eloquent about its charms. This mellowing has resulted in some wistful reminiscences on social media too. 'My decades, my early years were filled with romantic distractions, later it was my little children, then came the adorable distractions of my grandsons, and now in my advanced years — Birds and Cows!" she posted this week. "Today I captured a sparrow romancing and this gorgeous black and white bird in search for romance. How beautiful life is."
A different kind of party animal altogether.
Madhulika and AmanâÂÂÂÂDhall
The fine wine couple
Madhulika Bhattacharya, better known as her social media handle 'Madame La Cave', is the glamorous wife of Aman Dhall , who is one of the largest importers of wine and beer in the country. The Delhi-based yummy mummy is an important player in her own right in the wine space, and will soon be bringing her upscale wine boutique to Mumbai. Together, they have come to be known as one of the country's formidable wine couples, often jet-setting to wine regions around the world and hosting celebrated wine growers at their dinners.
This week, the couple is once again away to one of France's most important wine regions, Bordeaux, to attend the Vinexpo 2017, an important gathering of wine influencers and enthusiasts from across the world. And we hear that Madhulika, who had set up a day packed with 14 back-to-back meetings and (a lot of wine in between) profoundly required some caffeine to make sure she gets through the day, and placed an order, only to be informed that the chateau she was staying at didn't have any coffee mugs, just wine glasses. These, she went ahead and made do with quite happily.
Just another day in wine country, we guess.
Things of beauty
The first time we set eyes on jewellery designer Sangeeta Khanna's wares, was when her cousin, restaurant critic Rashmi Uday Singh had introduced a swathe of ladies to them, over an afternoon brunch at the Vetro restaurant many moons ago. To say we were entranced would be putting it mildly. There are some women who buy serious jewellery as a bullion to hedge against inflation; we are not that kind of woman. To display the family wealth on the necks and arms of women always struck as a slightly primitive thought, and in any case, meant for those who could not dazzle with their intelligence or conversation. For us, it's got to be beads and baubles, coloured pieces of glass and stone, string and bone, above all fun, easy to buy, easy to wear. So Khanna's whimsical creations were an instant hit. More delightful was the actual act of their purchase. You climb up a graceful staircase in a leafy tucked away part of SoBo to her salon, and there, over cups of excellent cappuccino and whatever Khanna is busy whipping up in her kitchen (she's also the lady behind artisanal gourmet breads and dips), you delve through her treasures, one by one.
Over the years, Khanna, who hails from a family of successful Punjabi restaurateurs, has changed the style of her jewellery. Given the popularity of destination weddings and the all round YRF-KJO created penchant for traditional Indian, her repertoire has included more of jadau to enable women to travel without fear of losing millions if they misplace a pair of earrings or brooch, and these fly off the stalls at the numerous monster women's shopping extravaganzas all over the country.
What has not changed, of course, is their beauty or the quality of their craftsmanship. Khanna still employs the same master craftsmen from 20 years ago and they do not believe in cutting corners, regardless that the demand has risen so exponentially for the product.
This week, word comes in that for the first time ever, Khanna has decided to hold a week-long sale of her bespoke Destination Wedding pieces. Of course, this too is one of the city's best kept secrets. Appointments are strictly by invitation only and quite hard to come by. Can we resist? Oh well, we will drop in, just to taste some of that coffee at least…
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