Les Parisiennes : a distinctly French accent in Delhi’s Shahpurjat

What a find !

Vintage clothing, accessories, jewellery, shoes, linen, decorative items and a café, all in one delightful ensemble in Shahpurjat.

You enter through a cute enclosed veranadah, and then wander ever deeper into a wonderful space, all elegantly done up in black and white.

The layout is such that you feel as though you are wandering through someone’s home, rather than through a shop.  There is a tiny corner kitchen and a menu offering classic café food –  salads, quiches, sandwiches, cakes.  Nothing fancy but perfect after a day of wandering.

And oh, the bathroom…Such is the nature of wandering around anywhere in Delhi (well, India really) & the deplorable state of loos, that one really is compelled to mention clean loos.  In this case, it is spotless.

Each time I visit Les Parisiennes, one of our party inevitably buys something, we always eat there, and everyone is very taken by the relaxed laid back feel to the place.  My latest visitor, a former old Delhi hand herself, was enchanted by the shop but rueful that it hadn’t been around during her time here.

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The kitchen corner (below)

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Browsing the racks of vintage clothes

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The charming little verandah entrance

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Charming and recommended.

Where to shop and eat in Delhi’s Shahpurjat

The urban village of Shahpurjat is changing fast.  Not quite as at-the-speed-of-light fast the way Hauz Khas Village is changing, but suffice it to say that every time I go for chai and chat with my friend Sonam Dubal in the village, it seems as though yet another boutique or yet another café has opened.

This week, three of us went for a walk through the village and discovered “The Wishing Chair”.

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It is utterly charming.  A cute gift shop and a café.  Actually it’s more than just cute, since it has both whimsical and funky things as well as serious statement pieces for sale.

A great place for gifts, especially unusual decorative pieces for the home.

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Lunch was perfectly nice.

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Tasty salad

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Clever mixed brown & white bread sandwiches

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Cute business card (with a map –  how sensible)

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Personally recommended.

Cocoberry now in Hauz Khas Village, Delhi

The ever-evolving Hauz Khas Village is an obvious choice for a new outlet of this popular FroYo chain.

Good location on the village main street.

Minsicule shop, with 2 tiny tables each seating 2, so I imagine most trade will be take-aways.

Charming service.

We got to taste before choosing, declined toppings, of which there were many on offer, and it was all very pleasant.

My green apple :

Anjulie’s Berryblast :

 

Menu

 

When I asked the staff whether I could go behind the counter to take a picture of the range of pretty-looking toppings, the answer was a polite but emphatic “No ma’am” – well done !

 

Pricing seemed absolutely fine.

Recommended.

I predict this will do well – although how they will fare in the heat of a Delhi summer, when people want something cool, but when there are only 4 seats, I’m none too sure.

Where to find Thai food in Hong Kong

The pretty restaurant “Rice Paper” in the ever-popular Harbour City was bustling and busy when we went for a late Saturday night dinner.

After a week of mainly Japanese food (because it was better then Chinese food for the strict vegetarian in our group) the Thai food in “Rice paper” was spicy and nicely different.  We had chosen the restaurant precisely because of its vegetarian options, and started with mango and beetroot rice rolls :

 

 

They were lovely to look at, an interesting mix of tastes, but a tad too big to eat comfortable and elegantly.  Lots of spilled beetroot and carrot.

The meat eaters had grilled pork neck as their starter and declared it delicious :

 

The vegetarian pad thai was described as good.  Good, not fabulous.

My seafood laksa was also good. Actually very good, and a huge, generous portion.

The duck curry (below) was fine, I understand.

 

And the raw beef noodle soup was also pronounced good, but not the best in the world.

 

All of us had to leave our dishes unfinshed, so generous were the portions.

Nice, friendly service.

Delicious wine.

All in all a nice dinner, but not earth-shattering.

I’d rate it 6.5/10.

 

We paid our own bill, and I did not tell them that I review restaurants.

Where can I find dimsum in Hong Kong ?

It was our first day in Hong Kong after many, many years, and our childrens’ first time there.

We were tired, having flown overnight.

But the first thing we did was to make the pilgrimage to the Apple store, hoping to buy the new iPhone 5.  (We didn’t, by the way.  Our names never came up in the lottery…)

And so, being hungry and jet-lagged, we opted for a dim sum lunch on a Sunday in Central, as a way of easing ourselves into Hong Kong.  We chose the Lei Garden (a) because it is in the same centre as the Apple store –  the impressive IFC.  And (b) because it was packed with local families.

The first thing that struck me was the extremely poor English of most of the staff, the surly manager included.  I had remembered better levels of spoken English from my previous visits there, but the staff at the Lei Garden had difficulty understanding anything we said, so there was a lot of pointing.

The service was deliciously offhand and borderline rude, just as I had remembered from old time Hong Kong.  To be fair, though, that was one of the few rude places we visited, and the rest of the week was a breeze, with excellent service everywhere.  (Though still pretty poor English skills)

Lots of things we wanted were unavailable, but we managed a pretty impressive and delicious spread all the same :

 

 

The spicy preserved vegetables (below) were fabulous :

Truly delicious steamed shrimp dumplings :

The big problem we encountered at our first meal, and one that would dog us throughout the trip, was the lack of vegetarian food for our daughter.  There was very little for her to eat, and the deep-fried vegetarian rolls with mushrooms (below) were deemed OK, but nothing more than that :

 

We decided not to be too adventurous :

 

So, conclusion ?

Good food.

Poor service.

I think it’s the kind of restaurant meant for Chinese and not for we non-Cantonese speaking gweilos.

 

 

 

We paid our bill, and I certainly didn’t tell them that I write reviews.  We could hardly order lunch, as it was, so chatting about blogs was out of the question !

 

Where can I find good Japanese food in Hong Kong ? Oh, and it must be vegetarian, by the way

Ours is not an easy family to feed.

– Husband is allergic to any form of seafood.

– Daughter dearest is vegetarian.

– I don’t eat meat.

Thank goodness for our son who eats everything.

Equally thank goodness for Tokio Joe in the buzzing  Lan Kwai Fong district of Central.

With a fabulous range of sushi and sashimi, including vegetarian sushi (praise The Lord) 3 out of the 4 of us were happy, and hubby had excellent meat both times we ate there.

We were introduced to Tokio Joe’s by our Hong Kong based friend, Malini, who took us there for dinner, mid-week, and it was jam-packed.  Then we went back for a weekend lunch and it was practically deserted.

Odd, but there you are.

Both times the food was excellent, and the service helpful and efficient.

Dinner first.

Delicious edamame beans to nibble, whilst deciding on the food :

 

The charming ritual of choosing a sake cup :

Our daughter had the vegetarian sushi, and pronounced it excellent. (She later had the same thing a second time, declaring it equally delicious) :

 

Malini and I had sushi and sashimi, and they were both utterly divine :

 

And hubby’s meat was declared excellent :

 

It may well seem unadventurous to repeat a restaurant in Hong Kong in less than 3 days, but our biggest problem all week was finding vegetarian food.  Having found good vegetarian food, back we went.

As I said, the place was pretty empty on a Saturday lunchtime, but perhaps it is more of an office, weekday hang-out.

The same delicious edamame whilst we decided what to eat :

The same nice ritual of choosing one’s sake cup :

 

And, if the truth be known, the same a la carte veg sushi option for our daughter :

 

Delicious genmaicha :

My sashimi was perfect.

Nothing else to add.

Just perfect :

The beef goma teriyaki was great, I am reliably informed :

But the award for the best value/presentation went to the regular lunch box :

We got fruit & lychee flavoured jelly this time :

Highly recommended, especially if you are vegetarian.  Hong Kong ain’t easy for you, I assure you, so places like this are to be treasured.

We paid our own bills, both times, and I did not tell them I review restaurants.

Zana Restaurant, New York City

On a recent holiday in New York, we decided to eat one night in the restaurant at street level, at the bottom of our hotel, the King & Grove.

What can I say ?

Indifferent service to the point of almost insolence.

Indifferent pizza, according to hubby.

My linguine were fine.

But it was the take-it-or-leave it attitude of our waiter that left a very poor impression.

Really wouldn’t bother eating here.

 

Benihana still going strong

There’s something about holidays that make you do nostalgic-y things.

We hadn’t been to the US in over 15 years, and so inevitably there was a certain amount of “oh, remember we did x, y or z with the children when we were last here.”

One of  “those things” had been lunch at Benihana, which our enthralled children adored.  All that catching of an egg in the chef hat stuff.

So we had lunch at Benihana, and you know what, it was fun.

Yes, it’s a tad touristy.

And yes, the chefs still catch eggs in their chef’s hat.

But the food was good, the service polite and friendly, so what’s not to like ?  And I freely admit, I enjoyed the show.  All that rapid chopping and making volcanoes out of onion rings :

 

I was on a scallops kick that week, and they were delicious.  And huge.

Hubby’s hitachi steak was delish, he said.

 

The only not so exciting thing, funnily enough was the dish of edamame which were, well, not very exciting.

 

 

 

Recommended.  And we (of course) paid our own bill.

 

 

Where can you find THE best ravioli in New York ?

2nd & 74th, according to our good friend and mega-foodie Vikram Tandon.

As an ex-New Yorker, he should know, and so, on a recent trip to New York after far too many years (but that’s another story) we met up for lunch at Zucchero and Pomodori to try these amazing ravioli.

Vodka ravioli to be precise.

And here they are :

But, being brutally honest, they were nice, but sadly not as brilliant as I had expected.  Whether it was the tomato sauce which sort of drowned them, I dunno.  My totally un-cooking-savvy instincts would have preferred a cream sauce, not tomato based, but though they were good, I honestly wouldn’t make a special trip to eat them.

Sorry Vikram.

Apparently hubby’s veal saltimbocca was delish.

The complimentary Caesar salad  –  courtesy of our hosts, who used to be regulars at Zuccero e Pomodoro – was excellent.  And that was a nice touch.

Nice, relaxed feel to the restaurant, that of a genuine, much-loved local place.

 

 

 

For the record, my cappuccino was so-so, but that was actually par for the course everywhere in the US.  Perhaps it’s a European thing after all.

 

 

 

Where to eat in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district

After a long hot morning of walking the streets of lower Manhattan and exploring the High Line, we were ready for lunch.  Excited by the whole revitalised Meatpacking District, which was new to us (visiting New York after far too long) we homed in in Pastis, which had an authentic French brasserie look and was reassuringly packed.

Despite the crowds, we managed a table outside – cramped, but then again, name a French bistro that doesn’t pack its diners in like sardines ?

I was on a moules kick that week, and these did not disappoint.  Excellent.

 

Loved the Belgian style frites mayonnaise :

Hubby declared his calf’s liver to be good, and it was cooked exactly as he had requested :

 

Nice thick all-encompassing table napkin :

Nice touches, like a wide range of European magazines and newspapers to read :

 

 

Enjoyed lunch, thoroughly recommended and we (of course) paid our own bill.