Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Rangga is the brainchild of two friends - Aditi Roy and Chandreyee Ghosh. They are focused on mixing and matching bright colors, street funk and traditional designs to create some amazing stuff.

Chandreyee Ghosh and Aditi Roy
Although not formally out, the duo have started off quite nicely with their debut exhibition, which was impressive. I attended it, which was held on the 14th, and thankfully, I went in early. They had a huge collection of gorgeous jewellery, clothes, and bags. Stitched and cotton stoles, smart lungis, cool palazzos and sarees - the choices were many, and I looked around to my heart's content before making my selections. I was especially drawn to the bags and the junk jewellery section and bought a neck piece and a dressy bag in the end.

Here are a few pictures from the event.

Cool bell-neckpieces from Rannga
Dolon checking out Lungis.

Palazzos from Rangga

Smart Ethnic Neck Pieces. 
I actually bought a neck piece similar to the one on the left. Only, I wanted mine to be round, so got myself a round one. Don't you love the beads? Overall, I think Rangga is pretty reasonably priced. The neck pieces in the pictures above were priced at around 400/- to1200/- INR and the bag I got was an absolute steal too. Rangga can be found on Facebook here and their next exhibition is on the 25th of December, 2014, in Kolkata. Do check out their page for more details on their products.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Smoke House Deli, Quest Mall, Kolkata

Smoke House Deli was C's idea. This was a few days before she left for USA, and I miss her. She walked in, smiled at a server, and we were seated at a cosy corner table in no time. A menu landed on each of our laps, and inevitably, I received the one for booze and she got the one for food.

Decor at Smoke House Deli Kolkata
 The service at Smoke House Deli is pretty laid back, so we perused lavishly through the offerings. They have a number of nice combos - at the time we went, they were promoting unlimited Sangria/certain cocktails/Kingfisher beer for a very reasonable price. However, although I am not sure if that offer still exists, I do know that they have a smart express meal which is specifically designed for the people who end up in Quest to watch a movie and need to eat in a hurry.

Special Movie menu at Smoke House Deli
 The meals seemed to me to be pretty decent, and well, I am always up for good pasta. However, today was not that day. We contemplated for a while, and then ended up choosing two mains. We settled down with a glass of wine each, and made use of the sack of bread they serve complimentary.

Bread Basket at Smoke House Deli
The bread basket comprised of a number of soft white dinner rolls, some grissini sticks, and a few multigrain rolls for the health conscious. The multi-grained ones were more interesting, with earthy flavors, and the grains added a little crunch to it.  Spread with a bit of soft butter (I preferred the herbed one) they were lovely, but I wished they were not stone cold, and slightly warmed up rather. The herbed butter was excellent, but I thought it was too little. However, as I have observed, I have never considered butter to be my enemy, so well, more is always better in my case.

Sangria at Smoke House Deli Kolkata
 C wanted a glass of sangria, and it was an enormous glass filled generously with sweetened wine topped with fruits. I took a sip and realized it to be slightly too overwhelming for my taste, but C was pretty happy with her glass so I wasn't complaining.

Sula Late Harvest Chenin Blanc Wine by the Glass
I was making a faux pas if there was one by ordering a dessert wine to start my meal, but Sula Late Harvest Chenin Blanc is a little guilty pleasure, with a loud hit of sweetness to my tongue, and the fruity nose. Served way colder than other wines, this was absolutely refreshing after a trying day, and I finished my glass leisurely and anticipated our mains. Call me a philistine now!

Sauteed Tenderloin Strips, Shiitake, Herbed Mash, Sour Cream
 My main was the Sauteed Tenderloin Strips with Shiitake Mushrooms, Herbed Mash and Sour Cream. The strips held up their texture, were not fall-apart soft, cooked with a generous hit of brown gravy which worked out well with the steaks. Added to it was the umami quotient from the shiitake mushrooms (which remains my favorite mushroom in the world), the creamy mash, which was perfectly warm, and the slight tang from the sour cream, bringing everything together nicely, and there's something in every bite. The staff had replenished our bread basket (yes, we are notorious for filling up on bread), and I picked up the soft white roll to mop up the silken gravy.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken, Sausage Stuffing
C's main remains one of my favorites - the bacon wrapped chicken with sausage stuffing. Crisp bacon, chicken, sausages, mash - it's all there, and then there is a light drizzle of a mildly tangy jus, which is not as thick as a gravy, but that does not make it any less delicious. The sausages were store-bought, I assumed, but somehow I preferred it in this dish.

Our meal leave us super full, so, skipping dessert, we decided to drink another glass of wine before calling for the bill. Smoke House Deli offers a nice range of breakfast choices (all-day kind), and I do like their Eggs Benedict and Bangers and Mash, so I will be back here, I know.

Smoke House Deli
5th Floor, Quest Mall
15, Syed Amir Ali Avenue,
Park Circus Region
Kolkata - 700017
Phone: 033-4067-4001

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Why I would Love to Visit and Stay in Melbourne (And a little Question for my Readers)

My first true interaction with someone from Melbourne was actually with one Ellie Won, who runs this gorgeous food blog called Kitchen Wench. We were discussing my favorite topic - food, and she was explaining the details of Korean food (she is of Korean descent), and the beauty of Mandu and then we gravitated towards some of the events in Melbourne she had attended, and I was left drooling at her description (and also the amazing photographs she posted).

Over time, through Ellie, I got to read about the food scene of Melbourne (which sounded awesome, to be honest), and I found other amazing bloggers from Melbourne, and some of these are in my list of love in the blog. 

But food is not the only reason why I would want to go there and stay for a while too! There is also the matter of the unknown. Melbourne offers so much more than just great food - its a mish mash of cultures, and I will have the pleasure to know it in greater depth. Also, Melbourne is one of the biggest cities of the world which would offer me great opportunities to explore my career options as well as provide space for personal growth. Plus, it offers you thousands of things to do - from strawberry hunts to seal watching to penguin dance - the city is so alive!

But well, I think the among the huge choices of things to do, I would love to go to the amazing Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove. I went to the gorgeous Four Seasons Vineyard in February, 2014, and I must say, it was a fabulous place, and now I am hooked. To have around 1500 olive trees apart from the vineyard is just the icing on the cake (I will have the time of my life, I'm sure!). 

Not just that, check out this gorgeous video from the official website where you see Tanmay and Varun take on the Yarra Valley Vineyard and do a tasting. What I won't do to check out some of the great wines, and with an expert like Craig! 

The other place is definitely the Shrine of Remembrance, which is an iconic point remembering the Australian men and women who sacrificed their lives in the times of war and for peacekeeping. It is definitely going to be an extremely difficult choice for me to decide, so I would look more into this list

Anyway, for my readers, I have a question today. Answer it correctly, and you might win a voucher of INR 500/-. 

"Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?".

Winner will be decided by me, and the contest will end on the 1st of January, 2015, so check out the videos and give me your best answer.

Disclaimer: This post and contest is in association with indiblogger and Visit Melbourne. For more, check out the videos from them.  

Fear and Loathing of Spiders (And ways to overcome that)

I am not a very easily scared person. For example, many people have told me that my room is actually haunted, and apparently there's a ghost in there. I have always smiled and inclined my head, and well, I do have a very congenial relationship with my other worldly friend, to be very honest. 

My father runs like the devil is after him the moment he sees cockroaches.

My friend is afraid of butterflies. So, once when he was irritating me, I went outside, caught a pretty blue one, and threw it at him. He ran out of the room, out of the house, leaving a hot trail behind him, and called me from a pay phone booth two blocks away, demanding to “make sure that creature from hell does not stay there”.

On the other hand, my sister’s biggest fear is failure. She hates being critiqued, and is paranoid about people critiquing her. It actively gives her nightmares, and is one of the reasons why she is severely agarophobic (yes, that’s fear of crowds, as well as open spaces). It is one of the reasons she just does not like going out of the house without a very good reason for it.

So there! Fears are of all kinds, you see.

I have my fears too. But I have to say, nothing induces more fear, or more loathing, than one eight-legged freak.

That’s right.



Sorry, just writing about them make my toes curl up.

Agree with me? Raise your hands.

You don’t agree?

Wait till you find one on your unsuspecting shoulder. I curse you with the power of Greyskull.

It is one of the reasons I don’t want to go to Cambodia. Apparently they eat fried tarantulas there.

Which means there are many many many many of them there.


But then, I had to overcome it, I told myself. I could not let fear rule my life. I could not let myself be scared, every time I saw a millimetre long little pest running across the length of the door, or just hang around, or just look at me with an evil glint on their face and tell me that they are watching me.

So I started reading up on them. Of course, that made me even more afraid, but then, I realized a few amazing facts about spiders.

  •         Spiders are found everywhere except Antarctica (Which makes it an excellent place to stay)

  •          There are over 40,000 different species of them (Oh god, 40,000????)
  •           Spiders are mostly harmless to humans, except a few (like the Black Widow), which can poison people
  •          Spiders are not insects, they are arachnids, and so, they have eight legs, not six

So, after reading, I realized that most spiders can’t harm me, and most of those bugs which spins those long webs are females. I have to say, that made me feel marginally better.

And yes, I just looked at a spider a few minutes back, huddled in a corner of my bathroom, and I did not scream and run away.

Which I think is a definite improvement.

For those who want to overcome fear, make sure you face it today, and not wait for it. When you stop fearing it, you start winning, mostly to yourself. 

Check out the Video from Mountain Dew and tell me about what scares you.

Disclaimer: This post was written in association with Indiblogger and Mountain Dew.

Friday, December 12, 2014

L'Oreal Professionel Indian Hairdressing Awards, Kolkata (Eastern Region)

The most awaited hairdressing event in India comes to Kolkata

After four successful years of the Colour Trophy, L'Oréal Professionnel has upped the ante by re-christening their mega hairdressing event - the Indian Hairdressing Awards. The Colour Trophy has been the benchmark in hairdressing, raising the standards of creativity and innovation with each passing year, and this year has been no exception! The Indian Hairdressing Awards 2014-15 witnessed exemplary talent and outstanding creativity that will inspire new trends in the hairdressing industry.

In August this year, hairdressers across the country were invited by L’Oréal Professionnel to send in their entries – photographs of the looks they created – in a category of their choice. The categories included Colour Trophy, Cut & Style, Men’s Image and Young Colourist.  “We received more than 1000 entries this year! It is overwhelming to see the number of entries multiply with each edition of the IHA and the quality keeps getting better and better.” said Sussan Verghese GM Marketing, L’Oréal Professionnel.

The live competitions kick-started in the SOUTH, followed by the WEST regionals and then the EAST regional rounds in Kolkata, where the audience witnessed quite a spectacular show.  Entries were received from all over the east region from Kolkata, Mizoram, Cuttack, Jamshedpur etc. The 34 Regional Finalists at the EAST event worked hard to recreate their looks on the morning of the event for a panel of judges which included a mix of experts from the fashion and beauty industry. The judges included photographer Somnath Roy, makeup artist Stafford Braganza and fashion director Ekta Rajani.

The evening saw the main event – starting with a ramp walk of each of the teams with their models proudly showing off their looks for the audience of 300. The L’Oréal Professionnel Dream Team (6 hairstylists handpicked by L’Oréal Professionnel from across the country who are known for their exceptional artistic skill), then enthralled guests with a live hair-show themed – ‘Tribes’. The 20 minute perfectly curated show, displayed some of the most exotic hairdos depicting Tribes as communities who come together with a common purpose. The outfits creat34 ed by Designer Gavin Miguel had his signature style of detail and sophistication to set the right tone for the evening. The night ended with the announcement of the National Finalists.

Ekta Rajani
Talking about the awards, Mr. Aseem Kaushik, Director, L'Oréal Professional Products Division said, “We are excited to commence the 5th edition of the Indian Hair Dressing Awards. Since the launch of L’Oréal Professionnel in India in 1997, we have worked to professionalise the industry through training and provide them with artistic inspiration. This event is our endeavor to create a national platform to recognize excellence in not only the art but also the business of hairdressing.”
After the awards ceremony, celebrations continued with attendees dancing the night away! This evening was indeed an event to remember for the industry.

Below is the list of national finalists from the East Regional rounds:

The Colour trophy Award:
Winner: Mukesh Kumar Thakur, Head Turners, Guwahati
First Runner-Up: S.K.Imran, EyeCatchers salon, Kolkata
Second Runner-Up: C. Lalkhumtira, KT Hair Studio, Mizoram

The Cut and Style Award:
Winner: Sudipta Dey, Kris Beauty Parlour, Kolkata
First Runner-Up: Kashi Kumar Sapkota, Head Turners, Kolkata
Runner-Up: C Lallianmawii, KT Hair Studio, Mizoram

The Men's Image Award:
Winner: Roshan Kumar Lama, Eyecatchers salon, Guwahati
Runner-Up: Mahboob Alam, Oxyzen Professionnel Family Salon & Spa, Kolkata
The Young Colorist Award:
Winner: Suraj, Hair n Face Academy, Jamshedpur
Runner-Up: Asang Lemtur, AN John, Kolkata

After East the last leg of the regional competitions will be held in New Delhi, culminating into the magnificent Grand Finale scheduled to be held in Goa in February 2015.

the winners of loreal professionel hairdressing awards Eastern Zone
About L’Oréal Professionnel
Since its creation, L’Oréal Professionnel has always been committed to providing salon professionals with only the best in art, technique and technology. The company strives to provide new development opportunities for Indian hairstylists through superior products, innovative marketing, advanced education and access to a worldwide network of leading hairdressers.

Born in Paris, the capital of fashion and artistic inspiration, L’Oréal Professionnel has always kept its pace and rhythm in tune with the artistic community. Each season, the world’s top hairdressers work closely with designers to create the inspirational hairstyles that will grace the catwalks, setting the hair trends of tomorrow.

Education is a crucial part of success for L’Oréal Professionnel. From the company’s academies, to in-salon and on-location training, the company offers the professional salon community technical expertise, artistic inspiration and business building skills that bring self-improvement to individuals and empowerment to salon staff.

About the L’Oréal Professionnel Dream Team
The L’Oréal Professionnel Dream Team is a group of six of the country’s most artistic hairdressers. They together represent L’Oréal Professionnel by showcasing their talent at the brand’s various events, master classes and hair shows. The Dream Team works closely with the L’Oréal Professionnel Artistic Team continuously keeping themselves abreast of global trends and the latest in fashion.

  • Sachin Dakoji, Creative Head, Mane’a Salons, Hyderabad: With over 20 years of hair dressing experience, Sachin is well known in South Indian Film Industry, and a favourite of many celebrities. Famed for his brilliant makeovers and exotic styles, he is a senior member of the L’Oréal Professionnel Dream Team, and a member of the International Haute Coiffure Française.
  • Walter Dorairaj, Celebrity Hairstylist: Walter has worked on many Bollywood films and commercial campaigns for various brands. He frequently works on photo shoots for editorials of leading magazines. Walter won the Men’s Image Runner-up Award and the Man’s World Award at the L’Oréal Professionnel Colour Trophy 2011.
  • Dhruv Abichandani, Artistic Director, Drama Salon, Mumbai: One of the youngest members of the prestigious Haute Coiffure Française, Dhruv represented young Indian hairdressing with the beautiful ‘India Show’ at Haute Coiffure Française, Paris in 2011. He’s the creative force guiding the team at the Drama Salon.
  • Raman Bhardwaj, A.N John Salons, Kolkata: A member of the prestigious Haute Coiffure Française and a senior member of the L’Oréal Professionnel Dream Team, Raman has worked on hairstyles for the Kingfisher Calendar Girls in 2007. With 14 years of hair styling experience, he is known for his exotic and breathtaking work.
  • Akshata Honawar, Creative Director, Runah Salon, Mumbai: Member of the Haute Coiffure Française, Akshata was also part of the team that presented the ‘India Show’ at Haute Coiffure Française, Paris in 2011. She has been a part of the Creative Hairdressers’ Forum (CHF) for many years and has brought her expertise into styling for various fashion shows and for many magazine photo shoots.
  • Carole Robequin, Senior Manager (Training) & Head Creative, Jean-Claude Biguine, India: With over 27 years of experience in hairstyling as a colourist, Carole has a beautifully refined language of hairdressing. She has managed salons across the fashion capitals of the world including New York, Singapore, Paris and Beijing. For the last 8 years she has been sharing her expertise through training hairdressers and building strong creative teams, and is often called upon for fashion shoots of various magazines.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to the L'Oreal Professionel Indian Hairdressing Award by L'Oreal Professionel.

Niine by Niine Celebrates Third Anniversary with the Launch of New Ethnicwear Collection

I was invited to the Niine by Niine flagship store, Ekdalia, where I found a lovely range of stuff in their store. The three storied studio epitomizes the latest and the best in fashion and style. It promises to deliver a combination of beautiful fabrics and sleek cuts with vibrant hues in its new collection. Divulging the details on the inspiration behind the collection, proud owner and in house designer Sonia Kripalani said, “I am very happy to launch my new collection which is all about a blend of varied cultures, techniques and a heady concoction of materials, fabrics and trimmings. It aims to showcase individuality with panache and comprises of straight long kurtas and palazzos with minimum embroidery in bright colours.”

I was talking to Sonia about the kind of clothes that she has on offer - the three floors contains three different kinds of clothing. The ground floor is all about affordable Indian ethnic wear where prices start around 1200/- INR. I checked out some of them, and they were quite nice.

The first floor was all about party wear, and I saw some really nice clothes for men as well. I was quite enchanted by what Lisha Sharma ended up wearing - a lovely red and gold suit, what I assumed was a semi-patiala. 

Rukmini Maitra on the other hand wore a gorgeous flaring creation which did justice to her wand-slim figure to the tee. She later changed into a cute pink dress later, and with high heels and a gold cuff, looked every inch the socialite.

However, Lisha's blue dress was extremely well-fitted, and with the heavy statement neck piece, it was a really flamboyant affair. The store contained all the jewellery, clothes, shoes and other accessories, and Rukmini laughingly claimed that it was a one-stop shop for clothing, accessories and shoes. 

Niine by Niine's collection definitely has some really lovely pieces, and is worth checking out. Currently, their flagship store is at 9/9 Ekdalia Road, Kolkata.

Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to the Niine by Niine store event.