#VocalForLocal: Culinary Treats to Book Your Holiday For

Do you know what Christmas is good for besides reflecting on the year that was and enjoying those inexplicable year-end vibes that feel like a warm hug? It’s booking that holiday that you’ve been planning to take just for the culinary adventures our favourite chefs promise.

Whether it’s the scenic beauty or the love and care poured onto your plate, a good holiday comprises of just this. Here are a few restaurants that deserve you taking a holiday just to enjoy them:

Chef Prateek Sadhu’s NAAR, Kasauli

Prateek Sadhu’s body of work speaks for itself. From Masque Mumbai fame, Sadhu has always been ingredient-driven with the food he puts on your plate. Taking inspiration from and going back to his roots, Sadhu opened NAAR at the foothills of the Himalayas just off Deepak Gupta’s Amaya. Everything at NAAR is a labour of love and a leap of faith. The food at NAAR is a culmination of Prateek Sadhu’s many trips across the Himalayas, from the east to the north. The meal itself unfolds as a three-hour experience celebrating the produce as well as the smoke from the evening fires. Born in the hills, Sadhu takes you on his personal journey back home with his food.

Malini and Amalia Akerkar’s Marāi, Goa

In Māori culture, the term 'Marāi' symbolises a ‘courtyard’ that functions as a hub for communal dining, cooperative work initiatives, and collective learning experiences. This is precisely the concept that Malini and her daughter, Amalia Akerkar, had in mind for their inaugural restaurant venture. Malini Akerkar along with chef Rishad Ginwalla (who heads the kitchen at Marāi) created a menu that would be an embodiment of the food Akerkar has always shared with her loved ones at home. She calls this the table of love. Marāi isn’t just a restaurant, they have a kitchen, bakery, deli, store, lab, and bar, that all converge around the courtyard. The Akerkars’ aim was to seamlessly blend their back-of-house facilities with the front-of-house areas, allowing the team and guests to fully embrace the dining experience together.

Amninder Sandhu’s Palaash, Nagpur

Among the first chefs to champion open-fire cooking, Amninder Sandhu has built quite a reputation for herself. Sandhu is sustainable in a way that actually makes a dent in culinary culture. And her new restaurant, Palaash, stands as a testament to that. Her dinner-only restaurant is snug amidst the flame of the forest in Tipai, the luxury resort in Tipeshwar forest (a 2.5-hour road trip from Nagpur). Palaash’s menu uses ingredients grown in their own backyard while Amninder Sandhu heads an all-women team comprising of local townsfolk that she herself has trained. As for the food, Sandhu’s menu comes in careful courses, plated beautifully, but not pretentiously.