Oops, we did it again.
For the second time round, Komeeda and 29. teamed up to create a unique Brooklyn picnic flanked with a stupendous skyline, a mystical sunset, fabulous company and a seasonal, picnic & Indian-inspired tasting menu.Read More
It's been a while since I wrote about an event. I must be busy.
Someone asked me today whether my events are getting easier [and better] as I host more and more of them. It got me thinking about my first popup just a year ago. And boy (if I may say so myself), have I improved. From struggling to fill 10 seats, to 20 spots going off in a flash within 48 hours, I am inclined to think I must be doing something right. And learning. Still learning.Read More
The idea was born, the time came, and just as quickly, it was all over. But not for nothing.
Two months of hard work paid off last night, when 29. hosted it's first ever Supperclub dinner inside the West Elm Chelsea home-store in New York! 15 guests were treated to, apart from my non-stop banter, a tasting menu inspired by Indian cuisine. The story behind it all? What is 'home' to me. Oh, and if it's not already hard enough playing host + chef, I was also trying to be the event photographer!Read More
Last month, while soaking up some sun in Cape Town, I set out to explore some recommended local dining options. The Pot Luck Club by award winning Chef Luke-Dale Roberts was definitely the highlight, followed by other great culinary finds in the mother city.Read More
It's the 29th! What better a date than this to recap the 29. endeavors in 2014.
2014 was a special year for me. I completed my first full year as a chef. Yay! Swapping careers took a while, and despite the many times when I questioned the decision, I am happy to report that I am indeed exhilarated. This year was about growth, learning, accomplishments, partnerships and tiny milestones that mean a lot, yet keep me humble. The only drawback of being your own boss is that there is no team to throw a holiday party with! But I'd like to believe that I'm in part celebrating with hundreds of new friends I made in 2014. Wherever in the world they might be. (Are you listening folks?)Read More
'Tis the season to drink wine. Red wine. And while we're at it, we may as well get creative (read cheap) and soak in DIY ideas that shout festive. Here are 3 of my favorite ideas created in the 29. Kitchen this holiday season. All they need is 1 part skill, and 2 parts love.Read More
"It's September! see what a season brings, a cooling breeze, and your heart does sing
Changes to the plate, and that sullen mood, it's time to reconnect with your food
Take a gamble, give a new cuisine a try, perhaps a spiced fritter in lieu of that french fry?
Whatever you dare, it'll be oh-so neat, for there will be new storytellers you'll meet
There is magic on a table that shares, moments of unparalleled freedom from worldly cares
So eat, smile, give a compliment or two...nothing like happiness from a taste new!
When you're done, take a look around, count the new friends you just found
Wasn't this as simple as just being you? and that my friends, is a dining experience true!"
You know those weeks when you wake up everyday and something seems to go wrong? This, is definitely NOT it. This week I feel elated, accomplished and pretty exhausted. Go on, ask me why.
On Wednesday, in a collaboration with Komeeda NYC, I hosted a popup picnic dinner under the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges. The setting was perfect, the wind was on our side, the sunset gleaned brighter than usual and along with my wonderful co-host, the guests were just the kind of bunch you want to spend a random NYC Wednesday evening with. In short, it was magical. And I was so glad to be a part of creating it all.
In a true 29. style, the meal consisted of a 5-course indian inspired menu. The guests were welcomed with mini spicy rice frittata bites smothered in mint yogurt and curried eggplant toasties. Not a bad way to begin eh? While they said their hellos, got to know each other, and prepared for the surprise that awaited, we lit some candles, spread out the cushions and worked our way to the highlight of the day - the dinner.
As the sun set over the Brooklyn & Manhattan bridges, our popup came to life. The courses, seasonal, balanced and apparently scrumptious (duh!), started with a raw Chilled Green Grape Soup with with mint, ginger & spices. A roasted Chickpea Chaat in a tangy tamarind vinaigrette colored the plates next. Then came the Fishcake Sliders - my personal favorite - and complementing it was a little game to keep our guests in the spirit (and occupied while I plated the next course!). The fourth and final savory course was a trio of Turmeric Pilaf, Masala Chicken & Spiced Lentil Broth. I had to respect the carrot season so the dessert was one of my regulars, Carrot Halwa drizzled with gooey homemade burnt sugar caramel & coconut dust. (Mmm, I might have some leftovers as I type..)
Needless to say I had fun. And as I leave with you with a more visuals of an event that we would've loved to meet you at, a BIG shout out to all those who came! Especially my collaborator-in-crime and the brain behind Komeeda, Jabber, and our shutter-eye for the evening, Felix, who's photos reflect the very essence of the event! (Check out his photography at Cooperfield Weddings)
Oh, and there is much more where this came from. 'Nuff said. Watch this space!
Every summer has a story. Mine is soaked in spice, color & laughter.
Yes, it may not be over, but the end of warm months is nigh. And before I go on holiday, I want to leave you with glimpses of some of my past dinners. The flowers, berries, sunny days and sweet compliments sure inspired me to roll out one event after another. And with that came many a new dish. Some good, some amazing and those that just got by. But each plate was a learning experience.
"It starts with the lists, grueling with many a slip...
On to the little wins, that welcome the guests as they step in...
I might be the host of the night, but it's the food that steals the show at every bite
And sometimes I am caught in a moment deep, or a note that makes me weep!
And when the sweet does come into sight, you gotta see the guest's plight!
Hopeful, happy or just hungry, whatever your emotional yearning may be
Don't wait for a friend or two, come join my table already will you!"
"On the nineteenth day of June, we played it chic
In a space downtown, neat & slick
The table was laid, candles lit
Smiles were in, and frowns didn't fit
People twelve, came for 29.
Foodies at heart, and souls so fine,
They talked & laughed, over courses five
Left happy, with a little bag of spice
The night that started 2 months ago
Ended with pride, and much more
And after all the gratitude & love
All I want now, is to "pop" my feet up!"
The first of 29.'s PopUp dinners was a huge success! 12 people, 5 courses, and an experience that you can't put a number on.
The preps were grueling (specially for a single pair of hands!)
But the outcome? Well worth it all...
I did some rummaging around NYC for fresh off-the-tree (literally) berries & flowers, and I think the love showed on the plates! The food, bearing the usual 29. style, was well received by all the hungry guests. Phew...
Thank you to all who came, trusted me with their meal, and left with a smile that made me believe in myself just a little bit more. Here's to much more PopUp fun in the days to come!
Bunny Chow at The Grove, Chatsworth Centre: Bunny chow! Where do I even start. Legend has it when Indians first migrated to South Africa, as laborers in the sugarcane plantations, they required a meal that was not only wholesome & flavorful (yes, we Indians have very strict palates), but also easy enough to carry to the field. Think grains, meat, bread etc. That's when the ladies decided to hollow a loaf of bread, and package the curry inside for them to carry. Pretty brilliant if you ask me. And definitely delicious! Anyway, Bunny Chow is somewhat of a culture in Durban. With each spot vouching to serve the 'hottest curry in town', there are a handful that the locals love. The Grove, situated in the old Indian area of Durban, is one such place. Don't expect an ambience when you go here. Walk in, take your pick from the extensive menu, wait with bated breath for it to arrive and then devour it with all your might. You might need a few bottles of water and a handful of wet wipes on the side. But the feeling in the end of it all will make you float. Spice lovers, your satisfaction is guaranteed.
1. Nude Espresso
19 Soho Square, W1; nudeespresso.com
2. Tap Soho
4. Flat White