Inside out, delicious all the way
"I love Chinese, Thai and Oriental spicy food. Besides salads and soups are always there to keep me in shape."
Alpana Gujral savours special delicacies at The Orientall Lounge in Gurgaon.
IT IS always risky when somebody offers to choose for you on table but when Alpana offers to select the fare for you, it is chivalry of a different order. "I love doing it and at Orientall Lounge it seldom turns wrong," says Alpana Gujral, a proclaimed fussy person in matters concerning food. "When it comes to food one should be able to add one's distinct flavour. And this place - in Gurgaon - has an advantage of consistency, which is hard to find these days." She considers herself so perfect at the art that she can't recall even a single goof up. "I am doing it for so long that there are hardly any chances. And my father is such a light eater that you just put his simple daal and he is happy. When he goes abroad he is very happy with his pizzas."
Starting off with herb-marinated fish pieces fried in banana leaves, Alpana maintains she generally keeps off the fried food. "That's why I love Chinese, Thai and Oriental spicy food. Besides salads and soups are always there to keep me in shape."
Always striving to put her efficiency before the esteem of her genes, Alpana is busy these days with her jewellery exhibition scheduled to start this Monday. "This time I am concentrating on just earrings. Meant for different occasions the emphasis is on less elaborate work with both traditional and contemporary designs making their presence." Known for her Kundan work Alpana feels that though a lot depends on individual preferences when it comes to jewellery, people have had enough of white metal and diamonds and gold is making a comeback.
Ayam Panggang, chicken on skewers, makes an appearance and an opportunity to take Alpana back in time. Why not painting? "You require a different kind of creativity and imagination to be a painter. I don't think, I have it," says Alpana, a staid look takes over and soon the raison d'κtre follows, "I didn't want to be the second best."
Time to turn to main course with Alpana's favourite Ikan Chabey Merah which is a crisp whole red snapper with Indonesian chilli paste to add the requisite spice that the Indians love. Alpana concurs that we are good at giving every foreign delicacy an Indian touch. "I first tasted the Chinese food when I was 15 at Kolkata and found it very bland. But today I love it. Also our exposure to exotic food has increased manifold. My kids ask for Continental and Oriental every other day. And they are ready to experiment with different cuisine."
On the trend of changing flavour of foreign food in India, Alpana says, "Whether it is pizzas or burger people are trying to make it suit the Indian palette. The kind of things they put in burger, you can't even think of them in Europe. And the effect is whenever you go out of the country, not to talk about Indian food, you start detesting even their food."
With Alpana's vegetarian pick Braised zucchini, carrots and black mushrooms and spicy Indonesian style noodles managing to strike the right buds, it's time to ask about the interiors, her second forte. Famous for restoring a shikarghar near Jaipur for the Taj group, Alpana asserts that in interior designing trends take decades to change. "Though the minimalist look is in vogue, it depends on individual choices with people going for different styles in different rooms. I try to arrive at a common meeting ground. For instance, I advise to have an earthy flavour in the bedroom to give a calm effect and vibrant shades in other rooms."
Avoiding dessert for fitness, Alpana is ready to decide for the dessert menu as well, but sweet preferences are too personal to be followed. No doubting her talent however.
Photos: Anu Pushkarna.
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