Either the chefs we spoke to are models of political correctness, or they really do love to cook! We asked each of them where they’d take their sweetheart out on Valentine’s Day, and here’s what they had to say:
Ranveer Brar travels so frenetically that he may actually be travelling the 14th itself. However, that doesn’t stop him from fantasizing. “I’d take her to Farzi Café for sure; she would totally get the Punjabi vibe, surrounded as she is with Punjabi-ness at home. That would be for lunch though. For dinner,” he continues with a hint of shyness, “I’d like to cook her a great meal myself.”
Sandeep Kalra of Trident Hotel Gurgaon, however, isn’t in the mood for cooking. “I’d take her out to Indian Accent. I would order scallops or chicken; she would get imaginative vegetarian food, minus the usual paneer. The atmosphere is great, the food is great: it’s the ideal place.”
Vikram Khatri of Guppy by ai initially tried to evade our question. While he loves his Japanese food, his wife’s not too keen on anything unfamiliar. Besides, if they did go out for a romantic meal, who’d look after the baby? We told him that we could arrange a genie who would organize a baby sitter, whereupon he wanted to scoot off to Mount Abu “to surround himself and his Valentine with nature”. The genie would also have to be in charge of creating an open kitchen, so that Khatri can prepare a meal for the love of his life “because only I know what she likes and you can’t get it in any restaurant”.
Rohit Gambhir of The Oberoi New Delhi has it down pat. “I never get to see my wife before midnight, so a dinner on Valentine’s Day would be a treat. I’d bring her to Travertino at my hotel for the simple reason that I never get to linger over a meal there – or anywhere else. I even know what I’d order: a parmesan tortellini for myself and a poached egg with white asparagus with taleggio fonduta for her. She’d love it. It’s from our new menu.”
The one unromantic soul turned out to be the only bachelor of the group, Manu Chandra. “What! Leave my kitchen on Valentine’s Day when we have the busiest service in the entire year!” he thundered over the phone. “I would ask her into the kitchen. She could bark orders and ensure that service is streamlined. We would do some bonding over that.”
Appearing incognito is The Phantom's style, so we are keeping this identity under wraps. What we can tell you is that this is one food critic that has earned the respect of restaurateurs and foodies alike. With an astute palate and an adventurous spirit, the Phantom Critic has more than 20 years of experience writing about food and reviewing restaurants