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After watching 7 seasons of Masterchef Australia, and loving it, all you can dream of is ever getting to wear that apron and be in a professional kitchen and have these amazing chefs help you learn and live around the thing that you are most passionate about, FOOD. And Sheraton helps you live this dream of yours. I don’t think I have ever been this awestruck ever in my life and I am forever grateful to the amazing team of Sheraton for making it possible.

Sheraton Culinary Academy (16)

Sheraton Culinary Academy (15)

Sheraton Culinary Academy (5)
But first let’s cut to a scene….
You’re in an awesome, fancy restaurant with perfect decor and set up (Bene), wearing your very own chef’s apron and hat with your notepad and pencil. Sitting on one of the three small tables facing one big kitchen counter, which is full of all kinds of Italian pastas and every other ingredient in small white bowls, very cookery show like, lit stove, knife holders and all. Behind the counter is standing Bene’s very own Italian chef, Giusseppe Lioce.

There you have it.. Your Masterclass, Sheraton style!

Sheraton Culinary Academy (3)

Sheraton Culinary Academy (4)

Sheraton Culinary Academy (9)

The very friendly, very interactive chef demonstrated to us his three signature dishes.

Firstly he started off with making the dough, the base and most important part of most dishes. The ingredients and techniques involved in making the deceptively simple looking dough perfect. Simple and fabulous..
We got to try our hand at making Pasta.. Basil and pesto.

Sheraton Culinary Academy (8)

Sheraton Culinary Academy (7)

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Again simple and lip-smackingly delicious. Everyone almost licked their plates clean off. Third was a dessert.. Almond cookies . Equal parts almond flour and sugar, little bit of almond essence and butter. Bake for 20mins at 160degrees and you have your cookies.

Sheraton Culinary Academy (14)

Sheraton Culinary Academy (10)

As if these weren’t enough, the chef invited is to join him and his friends on the poolside and have some amuse-bouches along with drinks. And that turned out to be one of the best parts of evening. Not only the food tasted like little bits of heaven and the drinks were just right, we had one of best views of the city. Perfectly lit buildings and metro passing through frequently, but quiet. It was one of those perfect set ups to just laugh, have some drinks and delicious food and unwind with your friends. The end to the evening couldn’t have been written any better.

Sheraton Culinary Academy (1)

And I can’t thank Sheraton and team, for another perfect evening. I don’t pick favorites but they are making it really hard not to.You must visit them.. Not just for the perfect decor of their restaurants or the delicious food they serve or even the ever attentive staff or because they have the best view in the city.. But because if you decide on spending an evening with them , they make sure it is remarkable and they give you enough reasons to remember it always!

Sheraton Culinary Academy

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There is a beautiful underlying statement to the ongoing Festa Della Sensa food festival at Bene, the Italian specialty at Sheraton Bangalore. For a country sandwiched between the Mediterranean in the south and the beautiful Alps in the north, it’s hard to not be influenced by your geographical identity in your cuisine. The menu which has been curated by Chef Guiseppe Lioce of Westin, Pune focuses on simplicity. Hearing the chef explain his intention of serving food which is close to his heart with greater focus on quality was invigorating.

Chef Guiseppe Lioce

The terrace setting which had been laid out was beautiful overlooking a crystal clear calmness of blue. A sense of relaxed atmosphere you’ll want to lean back with a glass of wine in hand and be ready to experience Italian at it’s best. That’s the astounding feeling which overcame me as I stepped into Bene for the Festa Della Sensa. The original Festa Della Sensa festival at Venice also commemorates the Marriage of Sea Ceremony.

Bene Ambience

Going back to his Italian roots, Chef Guiseppe had curated a menu which signified the marriage between land and sea. Little were we to expect as to how exquisitely every dish symbolized the elemental theme. Leaning back with a subtly prepared Mistletoe Mocktail in hand, I was ready for to be overcome with what the menu had in store.

Mistletoe Mocktail

The menu was 6 course and the night began with an ingenious Amuse Bouche. The Pettole Pugliese was deep fried pizza dough flavored with Italian herbs, rosemary on a bed of Mediterranean Bell Pepper sauce. This Amuse Bouche in particular was an interactive session with the chef taking his time to explain the procedure to have this fine dish. Along with the plate, brought to us were the dropper injections with additional sauces. You are supposed to take a piece, dip it in the sauce in the plate take a bite and then immediately press the dropper inside your mouth (similarity to having tequila).

Pettole Pugliese (Amuse Bouche)

The Antipasti had two each from Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian like most courses on the menu. Keeping the theme of menu in mind, most of the dishes on menu are largely a sea-food lover’s delight. The Carpaccio di Funghi which is thinly sliced mushroom marinated in lemons and Lavender vinaigrette was outstanding. It had a nice tangy taste to it and had been beautifully served on the plate, garnished with mint and shaved parmesan.

Carpaccio di Funghi

It is an art and takes a delicate touch of a chef’s knife to thinly slice through Tuna to make the exquisite Carpaccio di Tonno. The Capesante Mare e Manti was such a thought-provoking dish in which each element on plate held importance. The scallops (representing the Mediterranean Sea), wild mushrooms (representing the Alps), pumpkin puree and Parma Ham (representing fertile Po Valley) was a delicate combination polished with truffle honey which came alive together on the plate.

Carpaccio di Tonno

The Zuppas (soups) was delicate and played with intricate flavors in a bowl. The Zuppa di Pesce was a delight playing along with the complex flavors of the cockle shellfish, squid and prawns all cooked in a gob-smacking sea-food stock. For the vegetarians was the Zuppa Di Fagioli, a thick parmesan and cannellini bean based soup served with Focaccia bread.

Zuppa di Pesce

The next course of pastas had all been handcrafted charmingly with burst of simplistic flavors bursting with earthy undertones. Every dish in the main course were stand-outs. Hitting all the right notes was the Branzino Livornese, a delightfully cooked sea bass baked in tomato sauce, anchovies, and capers, topped with fried polenta and spinach. The Stracotto Di Agnello was the stand-out of the night. This North Italian preparation is boneless Australian lamb shanks slow cooked slow cooked for nearly 9 hours served with rosemary and red wine sauce. The meat was so succulent and fall of the bone and literally one of the best meat preparations I had in a long time.

Starcotto di Agnello

The last course for me was the most awaited with me being a desert-lover. The Millefoglie is the Chef’s take on the classic French Mille Feuille. It is a warm puff pastry served with Italian custard, blueberries and vanilla ice-cream.

Mellifoglie

The other dessert on menu was the Pasticciotto, a warm Italian short bread filled with Italian custard, Nutella and goes very well with a spoon of the vanilla ice-cream served along-with.

Pasticcioto

The Festa Della Sensa Italian food festival at Bene isn’t just about food. It’s about experiencing culture, true heritage and beliefs through food. The food festival is on from 15th -24th May, 2015.

The entire set of photos from the Food Festival at Bene can be found here at Flickr.

Address: Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway,
26/1, Dr.Rajkumar Road, Rajajinagar,
Malleshwaram, Bangalore

Telephone : 080 42521000

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 To describe my experience at Shivaji Military Hotel I would have to go back to a conversation. When filming for an episode of FoodMad in Hyderabad with Rocky and Mayur we were between shoot as usual hung up on a food conversation. That’s when Rocky tells me of the amazing Biryani he had at Shivaji Miltary hotel when long back he had been shooting for HOMP. I told myself then “Take a mental note, this is one hotel to visit when in Bangalore.”
Shivaji Military Hotel 1

But the thought seemed to have been long lost in my memories when I hadn’t visited Bangalore for quite sometime. During my recent visit, soon as I landed I headed over to a friend’s house. Though tired off the bus journey and his home being in Old Airport Road, he suggested that for lunch that we go to Shivaji Military Hotel. That’s when I got excited and remembered the promise to myself I had taken a long time back to visit this establishment.

Shivaji Military Hotel

So off we were on the bike criss-crossing through the traffic all the way to Jayanagar to get our fix off the Donne Biryani. Now even though we too had to use the maps and still did find it a little difficult to locate but the easiest is to look for the Indian Oil Petrol Pump and the lane with Shivaji Military Hotel is right opposite that. Now the crowd wasn’t immense as expected and we were guided to our table shortly. So first orders off the single page pamphlet-like menu was for the Mutton Fry and a Chicken Donne Biryani.

Served On Dry Leaf Paper Plates

The table had been cleaned from the before customers leftovers neatly and a new leaf had been set for us to partake. A service waiter walks around handing out cups and filling with Rasam for the Biryani. The ‘Rasam’ served is mostly Chicken and Mutton Stock and goes extremely well with the Donne Biryani. The Mutton Dry arrived in no time and was the best goddamn Mutton Dry I had in a long time. We both were left munching on the gorgeous succulent mutton and forgot about taking a break in between altogether.

Mutton Dry

The Chicken Biryani was full of flavors and the aroma of it all hit my nostrils soon as the ‘donna’ was placed in front of me. “Donne” means big sized cups /bowls made from areca nut palm leaf . These are eco friendly disposable plates and cups. As Biryani is served on these plates/bowls it is popularly known as “Donne Biryani”. Unlike authentic biryani’s, this biryani is not layered nor cooked in dum. This is very similar to preparing any Pulao but its cooked with mutton/chicken stock. But all the flavors envelope every single grain of rice. The best taste actually turned out to be mixing the Biryani with the rasam and a squeeze of the lemon wedge given along with.

Mutton Donne Biryani

Now what we ordered wasn’t enough obviously and so we called out to the waiter to get another donne of the Mutton Biryani and Chicken Dry. The Chicken Dry was lip-smacking good. With loads of the curry leaves, it had a nice tangy south-Indianish flavor to it. The Mutton Biryani seemed to have been just cooked and was piping hot while served. The flavors hadn’t penetrated enough yet and the mutton still required some time to soak in the stock.

Chicken Fry

I wouldn’t classify what I had at Shivaji Military Hotel to be Biryani but more leaning towards Pulao. But to have not gone to Shivaji would be a missing out on some great stuff that they be serving out to the people from the time of the Military Cantonments to the common man. Dining at Shivaji Military Hotel is an experience. The recipes are a close guarded secret and only passed on thorough generations in the family. I still salivate thinking of the amazing Mutton Dry I had in Shivaji Military Hotel and will go back no matter the distance to have another piece of it.

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It’s the time of festivities all around the country. We welcome the festival of Baisakh in our special way around this time. Many festivals culminate on this day with the Tamils and Bengalis have their New Year, the Odias have their Pana Sankarathi, Assamese with their Bohag Bihu and Punjabis have the Baishakhi. Keeping up with traditions, Sheraton Bangalore has come up with a unique and traditional menu to celebrate Baisakhi this year.

The Baisakhi spread at Sheraton is at their specialty restaurant, Feast. And let me tell you personally this is one feast you’ll never forget. It’s humongous that you can’t try all the dishes in one visit. There are so many options laid out that even a foodie like me had a hard time choosing what to eat next. This was a Feast in the truest sense.

Feast

As soon as we entered into the dining area we were welcomed with a welcome drink in Beer bottles. The hatke twist was the beer bottles filled in a charming and innovative way and had Salted Lassi. The Baisakhi festivities now were on, that we had our sip of lassi, “shan se.” This definitely laid a good expectation and I wasn’t disappointed as to what followed after.

Welcome Drinks

As we took our seats at the table the manager introduced us to the Chef Qureshi and Chef Maqsood Mohammed who have curated the entire spread. During the tête-à-tête with the chefs they explained, that they have 2 different menu that is alternated every other day. This gives guests variety and also opportunity to sample different items with every visit.

In Conversation With The Chefs

The environment had been pumped up just to feel the true Punjabi flavor and the Baisakhi spirit. The staff had donned the brightest colours and put on the traditional attire. After a brief walk around the huge spread I finally settled at the table and started off with some vegetarian for a change. The Tandoori Gobi had been perfectly marinated before going into the tandoor. It tasted really good but the best among the vegetarian starters was the Bharwan de Paneer Tikka. And inside the Bharwan de Paneer Tikka, the exquisiteness was in their stuffing that made it unique. A delicate stuffing of dry fruits felt like an explosion of flavours once in the mouth. The Rajma de Tikki was nice but following up after the Paneer Tikka it was hard replacing the goodness that I had moments before.

Starter Menu

The flavour of most of the dishes that I had on my plate were truly authentic. And it was time to finally move on towards the non-vegetarians component of the starters. The Bhatti de Kukkad which was actually made by warriors and rediscovered in the bylanes of Amritsar is the perfect example of good things come in small packages. The kebab was succulent, juicy and spicy in the right proportions. The Mutton Seekh Kebab was very pleasing with the ground spices in the minced meat done perfectly.

Starters At The Table

The main course spread laid out at Sheraton Bangalore is one meant for kings. I couldn’t have much from the main course because I was partially filled up from the starters that night. Steamed Rice went good with Rara de Meat and Bhuna de Kukkad. The meats was so perfectly cooked that they were almost falling off the bone, so juicy and that made the meal so much more enjoyable.

Rara de Meat

Now to the specialities that I thoroughly enjoyed at Feast. And that was the live station which served the Sarson ki Saag with Makai and Bajra ki Roti. Now Bajra ki Roti has never really been my thing. I find it too hard to chew but the one served that night were actually thin and much better. The sarson ka saag though needs a little bit of work to elevate it.

Live Counters

The dessert spread was huge. They had something for everyone. Started off with the Suji de Katli and made my way to the star of the night, the Fruit Phirni. I have had my fair share of phirnis but the one I had right in front of me that night at Sheraton was splendid. Desserts are my best part of the meal and my sweet tooth was enjoying it all. The Jalebi and Rabri was fabulous but with such an enormous dessert menu it was hard to get through them all. So to end it all I grabbed my cold stone ice-cream creation of my choice to end it all.

Fruit Phirnis

The Baisakhi festival in on at Sheraton Bangalore from 10th-19th April 2015. They sum up the tagline ‘Come relive Punjab with us’ in the perfect sense. Including the Baisakhi Festival menu, there also is the regular Continental and Chinese dishes part of the buffet too.

Baisakhi

Address:

Sheraton Bangalore Hotel
Brigade Gateway, 26/1, Dr.Rajkumar Road, Rajajinagar, Malleshwaram
Ph: 080 42521000 / 9008302545

Photo Credit By FD Team : Subhasis Jethy

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The person who uttered the wise words “There’s always something happening over a glass of beer” was right on so many levels. The feeling of having a glass of crisp, freshly-brewed beer in your hands, smashingly delicious finger food in front of you and conversations to get you going glass after glass is a feeling like no other.

Conversations Over Beer

So what gets a Microbrewery culture going in Bangalore with many breweries being set up across the Garden City? It’s more of the experience, the combination of food with freshly crafted frothy liquid goldenness which makes it appetizing. The IT Capital is slowly turning out to be the unofficial Beer Capital of India what with thanks to various microbreweries.

Dishing Out The Cool Music

Here’s our look at the beer culture that Bangalore has revolutionized onto. Mad over beer lovers that we are, makes us want to do a trip down to this beautiful city just for the excuse of visiting the various breweries. Yes, the microbrewery uprising might have started out at The Biere Club which has very a good selection of fresh beers but we settle for two others which have become our regular favorite guzzling grounds.

Toit Interiors

Toit – The moment you enter through Toit doors the atmosphere breathes energy and the music gets to your feet at the very instant. The microbrewery in Indiranagar boasts of a regular customer with us to be counted among them with more focus on their beers like first love. Interiors done in an English pub setting with a very good selection of rock numbers playing in the background this place has the most amazing craft beers.

Chicken Lasagna At Toit

Six of the craft beers being the Dark Knight, Colonial Toit, Basmati Blonde, Toit Red, Tintin Toit and Toit Weiss being regulars on the menu they have seasonal flavors as well. We loved the Litchi and Apple Cider ones the last time we visited from their festive menu.

Beer Samplers - Toit

The best part is a visit to the Mocktails page which actually might give you a good laugh with quirky drinks like The G-String and Indian Doctor’s Prescription drinks on the menu.

Mocktails

The food is least to be disappointed about with the Baked Mac and Cheese and Prawns on Fire being the absolute standouts.

Baked Mac 'N' Cheese - Toit

Our Picks: Colonial Toit, Tintin Toit, Toit Weiss, Apple Cider and the Hefeiweizen. Dark Knight with it’s black coffee flavors isn’t for everyone. Recommended to try the beer platter before settling for the best one as per tastes.

Prawns On Fire - Toit

Toit
298, 100 Ft Road,
Indira Nagar II Stage
Contact: +91 901 971 3388, +91 901 981 3388

Website: http://toit.in/
Arbor Brewing Company – Old school wooden benches and light bulbs overhanging and the lovely sound of beer fizz as it escapes the tall glass. What more could Beer Aficionados ask for? Overlooking the Garuda Mall in bustling Brigade Road, ABC Brewpub, the Indian cousin of the famous Arbor Brewpub in Ann Arbor can be a bit hard to find if going the first time.

Arbor Beer Samplers

It’s on the 3rd floor of the complex and as soon as you enter and notice the huge vats of beer being brewed, you know you stepped into Beer Heaven. It’s India’s first American Craft brewery with the concept of pairing food and beer together.

Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich At ABC

Having up to eight regular flavors on the menu with other beautifully crafted varietals being a regular, it boasts of a beer menu like no other. The Food Menu is also vast as the beer selections. The Spicy Fried Calamari and Flaming Chicken Wings are not to be missed.

Chicken Wings -  ABC

Our Picks: Raging Elephant, Phat Abbot, Spiced Ale, Pilsner and IPA

Heavenly Drumsticks -  ABC

Arbor Brewing Company
8, 3rd Floor, Allied Grande Plaza, Opposite Home Stop,
Magrath Road, Brigade Road
Contact:
080 50 144477

Website: www.arborbrewing.com

The other notable Beer places around town are Prost Brewpub, Barleyz and Windmills Craftworks. Reservation is a must on weekends for most of the breweries.

So before we do end up with a case Cenosillicaphobia, let’s be ordering another round of drinks for our tables and there’s the “Cheers”. Drink responsibly and do give share some gyaan once a bit high with your fellow mates.

The Right Lady For You, Eh

Photos By: Abhishek Mishra and FD

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