Recently, while in Bangkok, we experienced food cooked by an Italian culinary artist, at a restaurant called La Bottega. The restaurant has won a number of awards, including Bangkok’s best Italian restaurant, however the food we experienced that evening reached out to borders beyond Thailand and represented the best seasonal Italian produce we had ever tasted in Asia.
There is no doubt that the city of Bangkok is at the top of its food game. In fact, in our opinion, the city now ranks in the top 5 of the world’s finest gourmet destinations along with New York, Paris, Rome and Barcelona. And helping Bangkok get to the top of the world’s Top 5 charts, are Chefs like the legendary Gaggan Anand and the Suhring twins, Mathias and Thomas.
Earlier this week, Laveena and I dined at Mihara Tofuten, a collaboration between Chef Mihara, Gaggan and Chef Gou. We watched in wonder as Chef Satoshi and his team expertly and precisely used their chopsticks and tweezers, to create a menu which seduced our tastebuds with their different nuances and textures, presenting us with a cross pollination of magical flavours at one of Bangkok’s boldest and most unique new restaurants.
Last evening we walked through the large wooden doors of a Haveli and into the colourful home of Ms Mohini Singh. It was like stepping into an enchanting, Indian culinary storybook and even though the fairytale had only just begun, it had all of our attention, as Ms Singh, mistress of the mansion, grand-daughter of a Bollywood actress, well-travelled, young and beautiful, welcomed us into her home.
Not only is Istanbul a city of magic and mystery from a historical, cultural and architectural point of view, but for a tourist, especially those who wish to immerse themselves fully in what life is like for the local Turkish people, food plays a pivotal role. And when we say food, we don’t just mean restaurants which feature high on Zomato and Tripadvisor, restaurants where you are more than likely to run into other tourists, may even be someone you met and conversed with at breakfast at your hotel in the morning. No! We are talking about hidden spots, which serve the most authentic, the most delicious and the most diverse array of local foods, any foodie will enjoy.
The company I founded in the late 90s, Polymerupdate, opened it’s first European office in Istanbul recently and what better time to visit and inaugurate the office, than during the auspicious time of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. Early November, Laveena and I boarded a Turkish Airlines flight from Mumbai, directly to Istanbul and for the first leg of our stay, we chose to stay at the often applauded Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul on the Bosphorus. This elegant hotel has been fashioned from a 19th century Ottoman palace and enjoys a magnificent location right on the Bosphorus, on the European side of the city.