• 03 Feb - 09 Feb, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • High Life

Luxe Retreat

Belmond Hotel Splendido Portofino, Liguria, Italy

Portofino is a theatrically pretty fishing village on the Ligurian Riviera. Lording over this tripperish scene is the indisputably splendid Belmond Hotel Splendido, set high on a hillside, with a glorious wisteria-cloaked façade, terraced gardens with infinity pool, and an abiding sense that this really is one of the great hotels of Italy. Life here is all about a lazy lunch on the panoramic terrace, with its lemon trees and views over Portofino Bay, as genial, long-serving staff in café-crème jackets deliver dreamy dishes such as ravioli with walnut sauce and baked sea bream. The emphasis is on fish at the hotel's sophisticated Chuflay restaurant. Diners may find here regional specialities such as pesto alla Genovese among other delights. Hotel Splendido oozes elegance, style and charm. The building was a family home for much of the 19th century and the décor is reminiscent of that time. The 67 charming rooms and suites are spread over five floors. Most have a balcony and sea view – perfect for throwing open the shutters on a sunny morning and feeling in love with life.

Table To Book

Pan Asia

This delivery service in Karachi, that promises Asian fusion, Thai and Chinese cuisine, offers an extensive menu – from salads, soups and main course to chicken, beef and sea food – pretty much every thing is available in diverse flavours. Pan Asia’s service is immaculate. The operations manager, Hasham, is helpful and makes sure the customer is left with no complains – he helps choose the dishes, and follows up to ensure timely delivery and that the entire experience is smooth. Unfortunately, the food has to standout ultimately or the good service will not cut it for long. I ordered from them Chung King Chilli Chicken – crispy chicken tossed with red chillies and spring onions, Cantonese-style Prawn Noodles – crispy stir-fried noodles served with prawns, Pan Asia Wok-fried Chicken – tender julienned chicken tossed with red and green chillies and spring onions, and beef with black pepper sauce – sliced beef tossed in gound black pepper sauce with bell peppers and onions. To some up my experience, I’d say the vegetables were all fresh, juicy and crunchy, and added a good texture to the dishes. As far as the gravies are concerned, they were thick and glossy, and absolutely appetising. But the food was massively deceiving; fatally high salt content, blandness of the prawn noodles and some meat being undercooked, were all huge factors that can’t be ignored and were the let down. They had even managed to deliver unimpressive rice with no fragrance, no flavour and no appeal. In my book, you have to be a really bad cook to mess up something as basic as egg fried rice.

The concerns were immediately forwarded to the team and they were adressed with the same speed, too. Hasham was apologetic and promised another serving of food. The following night, I received Volcano Prawns – batter-fried prawns with spicy mayo sauce, Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce and Beef with Green Chillies – sliced beef tossed in oyester sauce with green chillies. Sadly, I faced pretty much the same issue with the rest of the two dishes, though prawns came through. The sauce on them is the spicier sister of the acidic dynamite sauce but tastes just as delicious. The prawn balls were huge and the serving size is quite satisfying. Hopefully, Pan Asia can resolve whatever issues they are facing in terms of delivering balanced flavours because the eatery shows some potential and could run a long way. – SK

What’s in the menu?

Bunny Chow

Bunny chow, often referred to as a bunny, is a South African fast food dish consisting of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry. It originated in the Durban Indian community. The precise origins of the food are disputed, although its creation has been dated to the 1940s. Stories of its origin date as far back as the migrant Indian workers arrival in South Africa, but most accounts coincide in that the bread served as a more convenient way of carrying the curry and could replace the traditional roti as the latter was not suitable for takeaway because it would break apart. Initially, a vegetarian curry accompanied the bread, the meat-based filling came later. The traditional recipe today uses mutton or lamb, chicken, bean and chips with curry gravy. Bunny chows are often served with a side portion of grated carrot, chilli and onion salad, commonly known as sambals. They come in quarter, half and full loaves, and are mainly eaten using the fingers. A typical serving of bunny chow provides approximately 355 calories; 23.8g fat, 22g of protein, 9g of carbohydrates, 84.8mg of cholestrol, 172mg of sodium and 406mg of potassium.