15 November 2018

Meet South Africa - The Cities

In this first of a three-part series documenting my recent visit to the Rainbow Nation - South Africa, I'll take you on a trip to two of South Africa's largest cities - Johannesburg and Durban.


The sun was just setting as I got off the plane at OR Tambo International Airport, and as I left the airport it was pitch dark. Even in the darkness as we drove down, as I got glimpses of Johannesburg and the lights in the distance, I knew I was falling in love. Falling in love with South Africa's many vibrant colours, falling in love with the misty fragrance in the air, and most importantly falling in love with the warm and smiling faces of the people who make up this beautiful country. Over the next ten days, as I explored South Africa's Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga regions, the love affair intensified further.

Even though Johannesburg (or Jo'burg, as it's affectionately called) serves as a major point of entry into the country, most tourists bypass the city for favour of the wilderness. If Joburg is glitzy and commercial, Durban on the other hand exudes a far more subdued charm, but it's worth a visit for the strong Indian connect it holds. Both cities can be explored in fairly short amounts of time, if your itinerary doesn't permit a longer stay. Here is my 24 hour guide to Johannesburg and Durban respectively.

10 October 2018

Tips and Tricks for that Perfect Taj Mahal Experience

The Taj Mahal - one of the seven wonders of the world. This stunning monument features on every traveler's bucket list, no matter where in the world they are from. And rightfully so - the beauty of the Taj is unparalleled to anything else I've seen. Nothing in the world prepares you for the first time you see the Taj Mahal in person. She is breathtakingly beautiful, standing there tall and proud, her white marble glistening in the sunlight, while silently reminding us of the power of love.

Though beautiful and magical, a visit to the Taj Mahal can be an extremely daunting experience owing to how crowded it can get. No matter what day of the week you're visiting, or what time of the day, there really is no 'off season' when you're visiting the Taj. Which is why it's important to plan your visit beforehand, and also keep certain pointers in mind while you're there for that perfect Taj Mahal experience. Here are some tips and tricks from my recent visit to the Taj, stuff that I wish someone had told me earlier -


6 October 2018

Five of Instagram's Most Popular Food Accounts Share Their September Favourites

I decided to change things up a bit this month, and instead of bringing to you a roundup of my monthly favourite restaurants, bars and eateries, I urged a few friends to help me out. These are some of the most popular food accounts on Instagram, who eat out on a regular basis, risking juvenile diabetes and cholesterol, only so that they can present to you the best of the city's food scene. In a completely random order here's a roundup of some of my favourite Instagram food accounts, and their favourites for the month of September.

1.  Food Of Mumbai aka Saloni Kukreja:


Saloni has been diligently highlighting the best of the city's food scene via 'Food Of Mumbai' since the past four years now. Food of Mumbai is my one stop shop for updates on what's new in the food space coupled with street food recommendations and Saloni's travel escapades. #GirlLove

Food Of Mumbai Recommends: Foo, Lower Parel, Mumbai

"Foo is attempting to do something different by introducing the small plates or 'tapas' concept to pan Asian food," Saloni explains. She also loves that the food is modern yet simple and hearty, with an emphasis on Cantonese and Japanese style of cooking. The decor is stunning, the food is presented beautifully and their signature cocktails deserve a mention as well.

Must Haves: Peruvian Lobster Sushi where the lobster is cured just like you'd find in a ceviche; Foo Butter Japanese Fried Blue Rice; and highly Instagrammable Black Marble Sesame Cheese Cake.

27 September 2018

Maggi Kitchen Journeys - Celebrating Women and their Love for Cooking

When I think of Maggi, memories come gushing back to me: memories of that hostel-wala Maggi while last minute cramming for exams late into the night; memories of those long drives in the mountains and stopping by the dhaaba for a bowl of steaming soupy Maggi noodles; but most importantly, Maggi brings back memories of my mother whipping up a quick bowl of noodles for me as an after-school snack. Innumerable women across the globe, just like my mom, continue to resort to Nestle's various products, including, but not limited to, Maggi to ease their kitchen duties. It is these everyday women that Maggi wishes to celebrate via their show Maggi Kitchen Journeys that airs on ZeeTV. Maggi Kitchen Journeys portrays women armed with determination, zest and an extensive love for food; who decided to build their own destiny. 

We journeyed all the way to Vadodara to meet one such lovely lady - the enterprising Charmi Dave. Charmi's story is special because at the young age of 28, she is the founder of the Maggevala chain of eateries. Maggevala celebrates Maggi noodles in all its glory, with an extensive and innovative menu keeping the humble noodles at the heart of it all. Maggevala is now a chain of eateries with eight branches across the country - three in Vadodara, one in Rajkot, one in Surat and three in Chennai. We sat down with Charmi at the original Maggevala outlet in Fatehgunj, a tiny yet warm eatery complete with rustic ambiance, for a tête-à-tête. Over bowls of signature Maggevala noodles Charmi gave us a glimpse of her story and her brand. 


17 September 2018

Three Reasons to Consider Bintan, Indonesia for your Next Vacation

Bintan Island in Indonesia may be overshadowed by it's larger, more popular cousin Bali when it comes to tourism. But what Bintan lacks in terms of popularity, it makes up for with it's pristine beaches and laid back island life. Not to mention planning a Bintan getaway is a lot more easier as you can completely skip visa hassles, and you club a visit to Bintan with another larger destination such as Singapore. 

I recently visited Bintan Island roughly three months ago on a whim, clubbing it with our Singapore vacation, not knowing what to expect. Bintan blew me over with it's serenity and beauty, not to mention how easy it was for us to plan this quick Indonesian sojourn. Read on for why I think you too should consider a trip to Bintan, Indonesia for your next holiday -



1. No Visa Required For Indian Passports -
As of March 2016, Indonesia permits special Short-Stay Visa-Free facilities to residents of 169 nationalities including India for upto a  month's stay in Bintan. What this means is that you do not have to procure a visa beforehand to visit Bintan as a tourist, nor do you have to pay any sort of visa fee on arrival at any of the ferry terminals in Bintan. What this also means is that you'll be in a long queue at immigration on arrival with a host of other tourists from countries all across the globe. The lines can vary anywhere between 15-30 minutes depending on the tourist season, followed by one quick stamp from the immigration authorities and you're good to go. In my opinion, this is a short price to pay for traveling without the stress of obtaining a visa beforehand, nor do you have to shell out any hefty visa fee. This is what enabled is to plan a quick getaway to Bintan during our Singapore holiday.

13 August 2018

My First Impressions of Armenia

'Why Armenia?', 'What do you get there?, 'What are you going to see?' Most people echoed these words when I told them I was leaving for a quick getaway to this Eurasian country. Honestly, I had zero expectations myself, and had this not been a work trip, I'd never have voluntarily picked an offbeat destination such as Armenia to travel to. The only knowledge I had about this country that papa Kardashian hailed from here, and I remember seeing some pictures on Kim's Instagram page. #KeepingUp
I guess sometimes travelling with a  clean slate of mind helps. It helped me discover this beautiful country with no predisposed notions about what was in store for me. And ohh, I was in for a beautiful surprise!



21 May 2018

Brunch Diaries: The Clearing House

A visit to The Clearing House (TCH) - a swanky dining space in Ballard Estate - had eluded me all this while, until recently. I finally decided to make good use of that one precious Sunday and trekked all the way to 'town' for TCH's special weekend brunch. TCH does brunch a bit differently - for starters their brunch menu is ala carte and brought right to your table. Which in my opinion is a welcome change from the boring ol' buffets where the food turns cold and insipid after lying out for so long. Their brunch menu is available on both Saturday and Sunday - because why should the joy of brunch be restricted to just one day in the week?


TCH opens into a cheerful and bright section that allows plenty of sunlight to be streamed through because of the glass panels on one side. If you're brunching, you need to be seated here - the chess board flooring and comfy blue seats radiate a cheery vibe. The inside section is comparatively darker and glamorous, and would appeal to diners during the evening.

4 May 2018

A Canopy of Comfort - Shamiana, Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Shamiana at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai is synonymous with all day dining, being one of the first to launch this concept in the city way back in 1973. Ask any uncle or aunty and they'll all have a story to share about this iconic eatery. They revamped, refurbished and relaunched the entire space in August last year after a small break and I've been meaning to go dine at Shamiana ever since. 

The entire space exudes 'Tajness' and welcomes you like an old friend with open arms. The white canopies on the ceiling above your table pays homage to the restaurant's name, with the entire space done up in a minimal chic style. The outdoor section with it's intricate jaali work can get stifling hot during the day, but is perfect for a balmy winter evening. (Wish Mumbai had more of those. Sigh!)

The menu covers all day dining options, a 'Bombay' section featuring the city's best, a nostalgic Shamiana section featuring old school dishes and comfort mains. What deserves a mention is their Taj Autograph Collection featuring signature dishes curated by Taj chefs across the globe. 



18 March 2018

Bye Bye Bhookh with Saffola Active Soups

I recently took to Instagram lamenting about my unhealthy post-work snacking schedule. Thankfully, Saffola Active came up with a solution.


Extremely long working hours and erratic lunch timings had led me to resort to snacking on junk food at the end of a working day. These unhealthy habits were really taking a toll on my body; I would end up feeling bloated and guilty, not to mention my dinner schedule would go for a toss as well. How much of street side samosas and vada paos can one have? I was fed up! And then Saffola reached out to me like a knight in shining armor and attempted to provide a solution to a problem that we all face day in and day out – to find a snack option that is filling, inexpensive and healthy all at the same time.

That very same evening my doorbell rang, just as I was about to reach for a packet of chips, and there stood Mumbai's pride – our very own dabbawalas  with a glistening red dabba from Saffola. The dabba contained three Saffola Active soup packets, a funky yellow mug and a leaflet introducing the soups. I put the packet of chips aside, quickly heated up some water and made myself a steaming hot cup of Saffola Active soup to help curb those hunger pangs a couple of hours before dinner time. Here are my thoughts about this latest entrant into the Saffola family:



14 February 2018

Fab New Restaurants I Tried and Loved - #BrandedBawiRecommends

Mumbai's ever evolving dining out scene has restaurants coming and going like a forgotten suitcase at an airport conveyor belt. 2018 brought with it a host of new restaurant and bar launches, dotting the city's landscape. However, the restaurants below left me super impressed with what they had to offer. Trust me, they are keepers! Read on to know more - 

1. Keiba, Mahalaxmi
Keiba is translated to 'horse racing' in Japanese, which is apt because this swanky new Oriental restaurant is located within Mahalaxmi racecourse. The inside section of the restaurant has large glass windows on one side, looking out to the stables of the racecourse's resident horses, enabling you to share a drink with an equestrian friend. The outside lounge section has a Cherry Blossom theme running through, and is the perfect spot to grab a leisurely drink during Mumbai's short-lived and mild winters.


25 January 2018

My Favourite New York City Eats

Most honeymoon-ing couples spend their time at exotic and secluded locales, snuggled under blankets, away from the crowds. My husband and I are an absolutely different breed. We put ourselves through one of the most hectic holidays of our lives through the East Coast of USA, filled to the brim with activity, exploring the streets, chatting up the locals, and of course eating up all the delicious food New York City has to offer.

This post is an ode to all that wonderfully sinful food we devoured while in NYC, but in no means is a listicle or a guide to NYC eats. This list is the microscopic pointed end that sits atop the tip of an iceberg, because you see, NYC is a food lover's paradise. Here you'll find hot dog and pretzel carts at every street corner, the best of street food doled out of food trucks, and cuisines from the world over. In NYC will you see a fast food chain, a small mom and pop eatery and a Michelin starred gourmet restaurant all sitting comfortably side-by-side. 

Here's a list of our favourites from our week long NYC sojourn: