36 Oak & Barley: Simple ambience, Amazing food

The interiors

The biggest difference, in my experience as a food addict, between the quality of preparations in a fine dining restaurant and a regular joint is how you feel, 30 minutes after your meal. Think of how your stomach feels after consuming half a plate of oily biryani from a road side joint. Most would say, stuffed and heavy, like they’ve had enough for the next two days!! Food well prepared doesn’t make you feel like that. The tummy is satiated with the food levels gradually filling you up. The soul is nourished.
36 Oak & Barley, at Kemps Corner, gets full marks for that pleasant after feeling, even though you may have just hogged on 8-10 dishes. My friends and I had that many dishes (of course, we shared each preparation), and most dishes were generous with butter and olive oil in them.

Roasted Beets, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad Orange Dressing

I won’t get into ‘must-try’ dishes here. That, I believe, depends on individual tastes. But I will testify to the fact that dishes served had succulent chicken chunks, fresh Basa and silky Goat’s cheese in them. When the key ingredients are impressive, you can’t help but take a liking to the food, can you? Chef Nachiket Shetye, the man behind the dishes is known for mix-n-match styles; combining unlikely ingredients to come up with preparations with a twist.
The Chicken Dumplings come with Spiced Thai Coconut Broth and the 36 O&B Signature Tomato and Basil Soup is served with a lump of orange sorbet. An unusual combination, you can taste spice and the fruity sorbet distinctly with each spoonful. The Ravioli, traditional Italian filled pasta, was floating in olive oil, and I soaked each square some more in the fragrant oil before gulping them down. Heaven.

Vanilla and Berry Panna Cotta

The dessert menu has a lot of options with chocolate in them, but we went with Nachiket’s recommendation and had the Vanilla and Berry Panna Cotta. A die hard chocolate fan, it takes a lot for me to praise desserts without any chocolate in them. But I’ll admit that this one offers balance to the taste buds, the vanilla Panna Cotta comes alive with the berry mush as an accompaniment. A rocker, indeed!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 Enjoy

Address: 36 Oak and Barley, 76 Nidhi, August Kranti Marg, Off Kemps Corner, Cumballa Hill, Mumbai: 400036.
Call: 022 2381 1010

36 OB Food Menu Full

Bikinis and more: James Ferreira rocks IRFW 2012

A model flaunting a dangerously cut bikini by James Ferreira at the IRFW 2012

Resort wear is a tricky business. Everyone thinks it’s the easiest thing to design in the world but there really are only a few whose creations catch your attention and fewer still whose designs make their way into your dreams, keeping you up all night. As I browsed through pictures of what was paraded on the runway on Day One of the ongoing India Resort Fashion Week, in Goa, I didn’t feel the need to stop and spend more than 5 seconds exploring a creations… at least not for the right reasons. That some of the models flaunted uninspiring body frames, didn’t help either. Then I stumbled upon fashion designer James Ferreira’s creations for IRFW. The show seemed like it was a hit, and James, as always, looked like he was having fun. The outfits were simple, flowy and most importantly, functional. There were reversible shorts in cotton crepe, languid dresses for swimwear covers, dresses and jumpsuits for women. The male models strutted in black cowl jumpsuits, swim trunks and white sheer trousers and shirts. We’ll leave the pictures to do the rest of the talking…

A model in James Ferreira resort wear for IRFW 2012

A male model wearing shorts and a sheer shirt designed by James Ferreira for IRFW 2012

James Ferreira (centre) flanked by Isha Sharvani and models in his creations at IRFW 2012

SAKS in the City. Spa review

The festive season is here and I see everyone in a mad rush to get designer clothes, beautify their homes and keep mithai and gifts ready to distribute. But none of these will matter if you feel tired and worn out on the festival days itself. All the prep-ing can bog you down, snatching away that glow from your face. How do you get it back? Steal some ‘ME’ time in all this madness and head straight to a spa. Better still, head to Saks Salon and Day Spa, which has just opened its second outlet in Andheri, Link Road. The first one is in Bandra. You’ll be surprised at how just entering a serene space like a spa can calm your tired nerves. The biggest advantage that Saks has is its gigantic space. A lavish 6,000 sq ft area, the Andheri outlet is segregated into manicures and pedicures areas, facial rooms, hair treatments and the like. The first floor is for face and body related treatments, while hair care is restricted to the ground level. The second floor is for administrative staff.
Stark white interiors invite you to further calm your senses and indulge yourself. The spa and facial rooms have an attached steam room, so unlike in most other spas, you don’t have to parade around wrapped in a towel till you reach a common steam room, located in another corner of the spa!
Saks also gets full marks when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene. One normally assumes that international salons follow high standards of hygiene but it is not always the case. If I had a dime for every time my friends and I saw dirty towels lying around or almost threw up seeing masseurs rinsing used mixing bowls.
Saks, UK’s leading hair and beauty salon, thankfully, lives up to its reputation. The face tissues used are disposed off and the towels touching your face are warm, freshly steamed. Hygiene is a big concern with me and I avoid going to spas and salons that use cold towels and have equipment just lying around. I didn’t find myself worrying about nitty-gritties like these at Saks and that is a good sign.
The menu is crisp and designed keeping in mind what men and women want out of a spa outing. There is a separate section for Kerastase Rituals, which will take care of all your hair related worries, with their volumising and purifying rituals. The 90 minute Kerastase Rituals are priced at Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000. Next on the menu are youth specials, a variety of high performance facials and body wraps to rejuvenate tired senses.
I went for the Luminous C and Sea high performance facial. Its aim is to provide absolute radiance, reduce lines and strengthen elasticity. It also provides relief for sun damaged skin, Vitamin C and freeze dried sea weed are clubbed to give a smooth complexion and luminous glow… just what I needed to sail me through Diwali festivities.
The expert wasted no time in showing me to the facial room, adjusted the air-condition cooling to my comfort and started right away. A cleanse and then the faciaI, I could feel her hands swirling my cheeks, oddly in rhythm with the mellow sound of the music in the background.
A 75 minute ritual, the facial lasts till the very last minute. The spa therapist told me not to wash my face till the next morning, to allow the ingredients to work their magic on my skin. I abided and to be honest, there was a visible glow on my face the next morning. I guess the technicians at Saks know what they’re doing, after all. And I’m all set for a glowing start to Diwali celebrations.

Saks Salon and Spa menu and rates:
SAKS Salon and Day Spa Menu

Exclusive pics: Supermodels Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and actor Demi Moore don outfits by Indian designers at Jodhpur bash

Naomi Campbell and Indian designer Manav Gangwani. Naomi is wearing an Indian outfit from Manav’s collection

You must, by now, know that British supermodel Naomi Campbell and her Russian boyfriend Vladimir Doronin are in Jodhpur, celebrating the latter’s birthday. We know that Naomi is 42 years of age, but Vladimir’s age is not as known as his famous girlfriends. We wonder if the number of candles on his birthday cake were the equivalent of his age and if anyone bothered to count. Anyway, what’s important is that the high profile couple decided to party with their famous friends in the land of royalty – Jodhpur as they stay in the stunning Umaid Bhavan Palace. Sources from Jodhpur, however, say that they don’t understand the hype surrounding these ‘celebrity firangs’.

Kate Moss wearing a design by Indian designer Manish Malhotra in Jodhpur

Most in the hospitality sector in Jodhpur have no clue who Naomi Campbell is or Kate Moss, for that matter. “Some firang actor or model,” they divulge. But being experts in the hospitality business, they know how to take care of VVIP guests, whether or not they recognise them. The most recognised by the staff, however, was designer Manish Malhotra and they loved him. Rolling Stones legend Mick Jagger performed for the couple and guests present. Naomi and her model friends, Kate Moss, Karolina Kurkova, Hollywood actor Demi Moore and others donned creations by Indian designer Manish Malhotra. Naomi even wore a colourful Indian ghagra choli by Manav Gangwani and a white ensemble from Manish’s Mijwan collection for a brunch do. Here are some pics yours truly managed to lay hands on…

Supermodel Karolina Kurkova in a Manish Malhotra sari in Jodhpur

Naomi Campbell in a white Indian outfit from designer Manish Malhotra’s Mijwan collection, in Jodhpur

The world’s most sought after cougar – Demi Moore in a Manish Malhotra outfit, during her stay in Jodhpur, India

Ritu Beri opens up on criticism for her opulent designs, the most expensive book authored by her and more…

Based in New Delhi, Indian fashion designer Ritu Beri is the first Asian designer to head the French fashion brand, Scherrer. We caught up with the style guru when she came to Mumbai to promote her festive collection for the season. She discusses her new line, future plans and one of the most expensive books, authored by her…

In conversation with Ritu Beri…

Model Lisa Haydon in a Ritu Beri design

Your appearances in Indian fashion events are far few and in between. Why do you keep your fans here waiting so long to catch a glimpse of your work and you?
Ritu Beri: Firstly I love Mumbai, so I am always happy to be here. My schedule has kept me very busy and I have been away travelling, hence I have not been available in the past and I’m now showcasing in Mumbai.

You wanted to start lifestyle stores. What’s the update on that?

Ritu Beri: I intend to establish “Cultural Embassies” representing the Exotic, Mystical and Magical aspects of Asia in Various Forms. The affinity between various cultures culminates in a miracle of perfection and I want to show this to the world.

Whose style sense impresses you — in Bollywood and Hollywood. Why?
Ritu Beri:
Amongst the Indian celebrities, Rekha is who I admire as a person and her charismatic and sophisticated style. Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness is another favourite.

Your designs have sometimes met with criticism, that they’re too opulent or over the top. Your take…
Ritu Beri:
I love to explore the impossibilities and work in an inspired mode while mostly designing to satisfy myself. I love to work with rich brocades, jacquards, chiffon and georgettes, fabrics that lend sensuality to any look. I try to blend the old world charm of traditional embroideries with modern day patterns and shapes to create interesting textures that allure any look.

You are showing your festive wear line in Kimaya. Can you please describe your line, your inspirations, target audience, etc…
Ritu Beri:
The collection is inspired by our rich culture and heritage. The line comprises of opulent and elaborate silhouettes. The spirit is intrinsically feminine, romantic but flamboyant; the collection is about rich, artistic hand work modelled into contemporary silhouettes with subtle details of embroidery to enhance the soft feminine appeal. Our brand has the same spirit ‘The essence of art meets the divinity of designer couture’ and our target audience is the same.

You wrote and published the most expensive book till date — Firefly – A Fairytale. Any plans to unleash the author in you again?
Ritu Beri:
Firefly is about my experiences in the fashion industry. It is not an autobiography and I prefer to call it a fairy tale. I enjoy exploring the impossibilities and like to work in an inspired mode only to satisfy myself and my passions. I love doing homes and furniture. I dream of writing many inspirational books and more than anything else I keep on doing my charity.

If you don’t mind me asking — why was the book so highly priced (Rs 1 lakh each)?
Ritu Beri:
Firefly was a limited edition of 100 copies. The book release was a great success. It sold out in hours and we went in to print the second edition the very next day.

Ritu Beri

Sridevi shines in coral: The grand return of pop hues

Bollywood actor Sridevi with daughters Jhanavi (in beige) and Khushi

It’s official. Pop colours are back. Designers have been harping about pop shades, bright candy hues and fluorescent tones staging a comeback for a year now; almost every brand worth its salt has introduced slim fit pants in a variety of colours – but when it was when I saw Sridevi attend the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour in Mumbai, with her two daughters in tow, dressed to kill in a flowy coral hued strappy Nandita Mahtani gown, that I realized color was here to stay for quite some time.
Mandira Wirk, Nandita Mahtani, Vikram Phadnis – the designers unleashed colour heavy lines on the runway. And the tones had a fluorescent edge to them.

Mandira Wirk’s collection, inspired by London, had bold cuts and shades that would make the person donning it make heads turn on a summery day, lending depth to the pleasant, soft sun rays.

Model wearing Mandira Wirk

Nandita Mahtani’s creations had glamour, and an indulgent trait to them, thanks to the fluorescent hues.

Model wearing Nandita Mahtani outfit

Vikram Phadnis’ line had Indian clothes, with strong Turkish influences. He teamed muted kurtas with netted skirts in bright peach and bubbly butterfly greens. I can already see the trend being a rage with the swish set, soon trickling down to the masses as well. Bring it on!

Finally! Aishwarya Rai Bachchan shows off her daughter Aaradhya to the world as she receives the award of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government

Aishwarya with daughter Aaradhya

A visibly emotional Aishwarya Rai Bachchan flaunted her daughter Aaradhya at a French event held in Mumbai to honour her. Finally! Here’s taking a good look at Baby B and Ash’s speech at the event which coincided with her birthday, November 1. Her family and friends were present to cheer for her:

Over to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan:
“Good evening and thank you to the French Ambassador Francois Richier, Eminent dignitaries, respected members of the media, my dear family and friends, ladies and gentlemen….
I must begin by sincerely thanking the French Government, for honouring me with this award of Knight of the Order of Arts and letters, the 2nd highest civilian award, for my humble contribution to the world of cinema over the years. To be conferred with this distinction is truly overwhelming. And given the fine company of distinguished Indian personalities from the fields of cinema, art, literature as well as those conferred with this honour internationally, this is treasured.

FRANCE has been quite the symbol of the celebration of ART and CULTURE globally…much like India…and immensely contributed to and influenced the ever-evolving world of cinema, theatre, literature, music, architecture and fashion. Mention PARIS and you witness this very celebration in its FULL GLORY and its magnetic romantic CHARM. Mention CANNES and you recognize one of the World’s most glamorous celebrated films festivals experienced
Ten years ago, I had the privilege of representing an Indian film for the 1st time here with DEVDAS being screened at the PALAIS at Cannes. And, what a memorable reception it was an Indian horse carriage,……….a standing ovation…overwhelming. To experience an Indian film being celebrated with such fanfare in France was immensely special. Personally speaking, it was thereon, that International media and the world of cinema recognized my work in Indian Cinema…and for this, I will always thank you sincerely, for the immense love and appreciation I received first from the people of
FRANCE, on a global platform. To be invited back again as jury member of this festival, a 1st for a member of the Indian Film Industry gave me much pride, at being given the responsibility of representing MY INDIAN FILM INDUSTRY, in France, internationally.

From thereon…. till date…. opportunities and experiences have been aplenty…. Each one memorable and cherished… occasions strengthening creative ties etween France and India and therein our beautiful countries…both so rich in ART, HERITAGE & CULTURE. I could go on and on, because of so many beautiful memories but I’ll end, by thanking the French Government once again for this overwhelming honour and your patience with me at conferring it. I also thank EVERY PROFESSIONAL (Directors, actors, technicians, crew and my personal staff) I’ve worked with throughout my career in this wonderful and glorious family of the Indian Film Industry. My ever-loving audience in India and the world over, for your unconditional love, acceptance, appreciation, prayers and blessings. Members of the media and critics for all your support and most importantly, and most precious my family, my father-in-law and mother-in-law for their blessing. Thank you PA for coming here today. It’s extremely important for me to dedicate today’s honour to the unconditional love, support, sacrifice and prayers/blessings of my mother, father and brother. And to the love of my life, my husband Abhishek and our Aaradhya.”

FAMILY TIES: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (in pink) flanked to her right by husband Abhishek Bachchan, and to her left by father Krishnaraj Rai, father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan, French official, mother Vrinda Rai and brother Aditya Rai

Don’t let stretch marks bother you. Learn from actor Zareen Khan

Zareen Khan

The intention of this post is not to embarrass the lady in the picture, Bollywood actor Zareen Khan, but to show scores of commoners that actors are ‘real’ people too, facing problems like any of us would. Bollywood, especially, is full of stories of actors who weighed 100 kgs before they shed more than half of that to join the movies. The best part is that they make it sound so easy! Actors like Sonam Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Jackie Bhagnani, they all talk of how overweight they were before they decided to lose it all, and seduce the camera. But somehow, one always tends to imagine that actors have it easy. It probably has to do with the fact that they camouflage their weaknesses well. Silky tresses, perfect pout, silky skin with porcelain texture to it, actors are every man and woman’s envy.
Actor Zareen Khan was one of those who no actor would imagine to carry in his arms and dance around trees, thanks to her weight. But her new found figure has not come without its share of hidden hazards.
Look carefully, and you’ll see her bosom and arms covered in stretch marks. Luckily, Zareen has a fair complexion which makes these marks go unnoticed initially.
I know dozens of people, both fat and thin, struggling with stretch marks on various parts of their bodies. Most of them sulk and blame these stretch marks for their lack of confidence and low self esteem.
I say, hats off to Zareen, who always puts her best foot forward, despite having to bear with these much-dreaded stretch marks.