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Ismail Merchant honoured

June 20, 2003 12:17 IST

Ismail Merchant, producer of Oscar-winning films A Room With A View, Howards End and The Remains Of The Day, was honoured by Chor Bizarre, one of London's most popular Indian restaurants Thursday. He was adjudged its most regular guest over the last five years.

Writer Vikram Seth (Golden Gate, A Suitable Boy), model Nikki Bedi (wife of actor Kabir Bedi), singer Suchitra Krishnamoorthy (wife of director Shekhar Kapur) and Karan Billimoria (NRI manufacturer of the Indian beer Cobra), were among the select gathering present on the occasion at the newly refurbished restaurant at Mayfair.

Merchant, author of many books on Indian cuisine and recipient of the prestigious Fellowship of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, has entertained stars such as Vanessa Redgrave, Uma Thurman, Anthony Hopkins and Goldie Hawn at the restaurant. Incidentally Merchant's latest film Le Divorce, starring Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts and Glenn Close, will be shortly released.

To mark the occasion, Merchant also cooked some dishes and provided an intricate commentary about the nuances of preparing authentic Indian food.

Launching the restaurant's  new menu selection, Merchant said: "Walking into Chor Bizarre is like entering an Aladdin's Cave of culinary treasures. Everything about the restaurant, from the delightfully designed interiors to the courtesy of the staff and, not least, the exquisite food prepared by Deepinder Sondhi proclaims the best of good taste which is deservedly the pride of India."

Speaking on the occasion, Rohit Khattar, managing director, Chor Bizarre, said: "It is a matter of both joy and pride for us to have Ismail as our most regular guest. It assumes greater significance not only because of Ismail's multifarious achievements, but also because he is also a great chef and an endorsement from him means a lot to us.

"Chor Bizarre is not only about great Indian food, it's a whole Indian experience and it is our constant endeavour to provide our guests the very best from India. We are confident that our guests will find Ismail's selection hard to resist."

Charles Metcalfe, one of the Britain's foremost wine observers, who was present at the occasion, has also created a menu combining classic Indian dishes and wines from around the world. Charles paired each dish on the menu with two wines to complement the new menu.

On the heels of opening London's first Indian tea bar, Chai Bazaar, Chor Bizarre is now showcasing its tea-time savouries and sweets at the well known departmental store Harrods with the India Tea Board and India Tourism.

The menu includes a vast variety of teas, sweets and savouries such as Chicken Kathi Roll, Aloo Tikki Chaat, Pakoda Platter and Gulab Jamun, among others. The promotion will last till June 28, Khattar said.

Chor Bizarre catered at The Indian Evening at the Cannes International Film Festival in May and held a month-long food promotion at The Bar Vendome, The Ritz, in Paris in April this year.

H S Rao in London