SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - The Miele Guide to Asia's finest restaurants is written by food experts who know and love the region (www.mieleguide.com).
This is a list of the top 5 restaurants in India, where the cuisine is as varied and rich as the nation's history. It is not endorsed by Reuters.
1. Bukhara, New Delhi
Bukhara is, without a doubt, the most famous restaurant in India, and it has been visited by an untold number of celebrities and heads of state. Until recently, London-based Restaurant magazine considered it Asia's very best restaurant. Set up in 1977, the restaurant serves food from the North West Frontier province, a region known for its rugged terrain and simple but delicious cuisine. The food is mostly grilled and cooked with minimal spices. You are expected to eat with your fingers, though you can always ask for cutlery, and the restaurant will provide you with a lovely red-and-white apron to ensure that you don't mess up your clothes. Die-hard Bukhara fans return time and again for the Bukhara dahl, lentils cooked lovingly with tomatoes, spices and butter, and sikandari raan, a whole leg of baby lamb that has been marinated for hours with spices such as cumin and cinnamon before being grilled in the tandoor to perfection.
ITC Maurya, New Delhi Diplomatic Enclave
Sardar Patel Marg
2. Indigo, Mumbai
A host of international celebrities, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, have walked through the doors of Indigo, making it one of the hottest restaurants in the city. Housed in a lovely colonial bungalow, the restaurant and bar are as chic as its clientele, and the food is excellent. Owned by renowned restaurateur-chef Rahul Akerkar, Indigo serves creative modern European cuisine infused with Indian influences. Dishes to try include the celebrated lobster risotto with black olive tapenade, fenugreek-spiced tuna loin with shiraz and clove reduction, and the juniper berry-cured tandoori chicken with burned garlic oyster sauce. Dinner reservations are essential.
4 Mandlik Road, Colaba
3. Thai Pavilion, Mumbai
Its quietly plush and soothing decor topped by consistently impeccable service and food are all part of Thai Pavilion's draw. What this restaurant excels in are the staples like phad Thai, tom yum soup, raw papaya salad, and steamed fish. The pla rad prik (fish in chilli) is also a winner. Besides its list of classic Thai dishes, there is also a wide selection of vegetarian options to choose from. Reservations are recommended if you're angling for a table, but not necessary for the bar counter area.
Taj President Hotel
90 Cuffe Parade
4. Oh! Calcutta, Mumbai
With branches in Kolkata, New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore, Oh! Calcutta is all about reintroducing the nostalgic cuisine of Kolkata to diners. The Mumbai outlet is easy to spot, with an iconic hand-pulled rickshaw displayed outside the restaurant. Fresh seafood from Cochin and Mumbai, as well as river fish and crustaceans from Kolkata, are the main highlight here. Zoom in on the hilsa marinated in a robust mustard and green chilli paste then steamed in a banana leaf. Other stellar offerings include spiced crab cakes steamed in banana leaf, the coconut-based prawn malai curry, or any of the fried fish dishes.
Tulsiwadi Lane, Tardeo
5. Swagath, New Delhi
Its decor and ambience are unremarkable, but Swagath dishes up some of the best seafood in the city. It's certainly worth braving the grungy Defense Colony Market area for a taste of its specialty squid in butter pepper garlic or fish marinated in Mangalorian spices and cooked in a tamarind chilli paste. The tender pesawari barrah kebabs (tandoor lamb chops), spicy South Indian Chettinad curries and deep fried pomfret are good too. There is a Chinese menu as well, with chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetable dishes, as well as fried rice and noodles. But it's the Indian cuisine you'll want to wait in line for.
14 Defense Colony Market
Editing by Miral Fahmy