Stadshuskallaren City Hall, Stockholm Phone: +46(0)8-506 322 00
Cuisine: Scandinavian, famous for serving Nobel banquet menus
Cost: Three-course fixed price dinner 455-645 SEK (without alcohol)
Honestly, I do not travel for food, but I'd go miles seeking intellect. And in Stockholm, I knew where to find it--in Stadshuskallaren, the restaurant in Stockholm's City Hall that offers all the Nobel menus that have been offered since 1901.
Stadshuskallaren is a two-in-one restaurant: Skanken, a lunch-only restaurant, and Stora Matsalen where you can eat what the Nobel Prize winners ate. Leafing through the menu of 111 years can be quite daunting, but history always throws in a dash of fun. Think of it, the Nobel Banquet that began as a smallish dinner for 118 gentlemen who paid 15 Swedish kroner each has now grown into such an elaborate affair that months before the actual dinner, there is a trial dinner in autumn and the menu is kept secret until 4 pm on the Nobel Day.
Before you order, remember, Nobel menus have always been an unfussy three-course affair of appetizer, main course, dessert. If you love Scandinavian cuisine, hop beyond the 1960s. You can also get jingoistic: choose from a Rabindranath Tagore, VS Naipaul, Amartya Sen. Hargobind Khurana menu. In 1913, Tagore had a mock turtle soup for starter; fillet of turbot, fattened hen with marrow stuffed artichokes, green beans and potatoes, chaud-froid of quail with salad as main dish and praline ice cream for dessert. Amartya Sen had marinated artichoke heart stuffed with prawn, crayfish and fresh fennel on his plate while Subramanyan Chandrashekhar dug his fork into mousse of snow grouse with cream sauce.
Too many menus can get tricky and tedious. So, if you are in Stockholm in autumn, order the shellfish buffet; around Christmas, stick to the traditional julbord (Christmas buffet). As for me, I'll happily settle for a Naipaul dessert: vanilla ice cream and black currant parfait on a thin meringue base served with a dainty caramel biscuit.
In Stadshuskallaren, it is not about the herbs in the dish, it is about the Nobel laureates who dined on them.
--Preeti Verma Lal
If Nobel laureates--or Nobel banquet menus--do not fascinate you, order the traditional Swedish julbord. A three-course meal, julbord (literally, Christmas table) begins with pickled herring and cured salmon, followed by liver pate, beet salad, bread, ham and cheese. It concludes with warm dishes like meatballs, pork ribs, sausages, cabbage and/or Janssons frestelse (Swedish casserole made of onions, potatoes, cream, anchovies).
183 Waterfield Road, Bandra West Mumbai Tel: (022) 6736 9900
Cuisine: Eclectic International cuisine whipping up American diner and bistro regulars.
Cost: For two Rs. 1,200-1,500 (without alcohol)
Wheelchair Access: No
If you were wondering what happened to Bandra's iconic hangout Zenzi, it has been reincarnated as Lagerbay, fusing the best of an American diner and an English pub. Considering how space is a luxury in Mumbai, Lagerbay doesn't scrimp.
That apart, the decibel level of the music is just right and you can't go wrong with retro rock. Funky lights, graphics and quirky props from the streets of Bangkok and Patpong Weekend Market spruce up the walls while a small handcrafted vintage metal motorbike is parked on the bar counter.
After placing our order for a bucket of Carlsberg with fish and chips with tartar sauce, we were invited to try out a new range of Indus Pride Premium Indian Lager brewed with spices--Fiery Ciinnamon emerged the favoured brew over Citrusy Cardamom, Citrusy Coriander and Spicy Fennel.
If it wasn't the beer, it was certainly the food that floored us. Platters of Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta with Pesto Drizzle, Lamb Kibbe, Chicken Quesadilla, bowl of chicken wings in barbeque sauce and hint of tabasco, were wiped out in minutes. Then came the crispy Beer Battered Prawns with the perfect bite of wasabe mayo. The main course was a well done juicy beef steak with broccoli and a Parmesan Crusted Grilled Chicken.
With Comedy Central's stand up acts as entertainment on their Sunday brunch menu, we're definitely coming back.
--By Anurag Mallick
Corporate Inn, T14/9 DLF Phase 3 Tel: (0124) 4211 111
Cuisine: Multi cuisine
Cost: For two Rs. 1,800 (without alcohol)
Reservations: Optional (open 24 hours)
Wheelchair access: Yes
I walked into Martin Brown's hoping to enjoy a lazy lunch. As first impressions go, the warm yet classy decor upped my expectations. We dived into the menu and found ourselves in the midst of some very tempting dishes. The menu is pretty exhaustive, perhaps not in quantity, but in terms of variety.
We started with a Virgin Mohito and a Virgin Mary, both quite refreshing. For starters, we chose Minced Rampuri, a version of the popular Seekh Kebab, and Mushroom Kurkure, highly recommended by the chef. The deep fried mushrooms, stuffed with cheese, capsicum, and tomato, delicately spiced and crunchy, definitely lived up to the promise. The staff was courteous and more than happy to share their insights on what we should opt for. So we decided to go for some Thai fare for the main course. The Chicken Red Thai Curry, standard and simple as it may sound, must be just perfect to appeal to a discerning Thai palate. Much to my pleasure, the flavours danced on my tongue and quite honestly, it was one of the best renditions I have eaten in a long time. But we were a tad disappointed later because some of the sinful desserts on the menu were not available. It's easy to talk about world cuisine but not as easy to plan and carry it off. At Martin Brown's they can do it well!
Lobby level, The Ashok, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri Tel: (011) 2412 3593, 2467 2384
Cuisine: Speciality Restaurant that offers a good combination of Jain and Marwari cuisine.
Cost: Meal for two Rs. 1,500 (without alcohol)
Reservation: Not mandatory.
Wheelchair access: Available
Having first gone to Rajasthan just two years ago, I haven't stopped going back ever since and I could very easily travel over 600 km from Delhi to Udaipur just for the taste of some authentic Dal Bati Churma. But Alas! I think my trips to the desert state as renowned for its food as for its palaces might have been cut short--with the opening of Shraman, a Jain and Marwari restaurant in the heart of the capital.
Launched by the group that brought us Sagar Ratna, Shraman has tried to capture the ambience of the Rajputana state replete with white marble, antique furniture, table tops with Meena work and extensive use of peacock motif. Alright, feels like Rajasthan--now bring on the food please. We get started with some Kalmi Vada and Jodhpuri Mirchi Ka Pakora. Soon you are treated to a whole assortment of Jain and Marwari cuisine ranging from the delicious Bhindi Kurkuri, Rajasthani Papad Aur Mangori Ki Subji, Dal Panchrattan, Dhingri Badam and ofcourse the signature Dal Bati Churma. While it is true that Delhi's food scene is bursting from the seams, Shraman is an interesting addition. The food is undoubtedly authentic, though a tad rich. But it sure saves a trip to Rajasthan.