Saturday, 29 November 2014

A Contemporary, Hip Cafe with a Rustic Soul

"Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me"

Ever since I stepped into Caffe Tonino yesterday this verse from the Julie Gold song has been buzzing in my head. I think it's because I can imagine this restaurant in the morning with the gentle winter sun filtering in through the windows. An image that's as romantic and dreamy as this song. I don't know... or maybe it's because I can picture myself sitting here by myself, immersed in a book and listening to this song playing dreamily in the background...

It's rare that you get a chance to step into a restaurant that looks like one of those lovely restaurant interiors that that you wistfully look at on Pinterest. You know the ones I mean right? I end up pinning them up on boards titled 'dreamy spaces' or 'my kind of space', etc :) 

I was lucky enough yesterday, to visit the newly opened Caffe Tonino, in Connaught Place and was so blown away by the interiors. To say it was 'my kind of space' would be a complete understatement. It was almost as though someone had read my mind and created a space with so many elements that I love, from the white painted exposed brick walls, the chevron cement tiled flooring and bar, the parquet wooden floors and the vintage pendant lamps that cast a warm glow over the tables.

I was told that the interiors were conceptualised by owner Simran Sawhney. In fact it was a great pleasure talking with Simran about how she wanted to create a space for this restaurant, serving Italian cafe food with a slight continental influence. She explained that what she wanted was a hip and contemporary space, but still very rustic at heart. A space for the young Delhi crowd to chill over coffee or a drink and some good food. I think they have done a smashing job with this. 

Of course I enjoyed some great food while I was there as well and I'll be covering that in a later post that will be up soon. Till then take a look and enjoy the eye candy that is Caffe Tonino. 

[All images clicked by Shalini Pereira- Please do not use without prior written permission]

Thursday, 20 November 2014

When it Rains, it Pours... and I'm Drowning!

So the last few weeks I've been very sporadic when it comes to posting on the blog. Everything's good at my end, but I've been drowning in a pile of work! Don't get me wrong, work is always welcome, but the last 10 days were especially tough. 

It's always tough when a new project comes along, there is a sense of excitement about the conceptualising, but most clients are interested in getting the site started, which means slogging over boring old electrical, false ceiling and civil drawings :(  before the good stuff starts. 

Been doing a lot of this lately... not fun at all!

But in between all that boring drafting and checking and numbering switch boards, I've been doodling and coming up with ideas for different spaces... as a break from the mind numbing monotony of making electrical drawings. 

A welcome break... sketching out concepts

A point was reached a few days ago when I noticed I had started gorging on nutella slathered toast and coffee... chocolate and coffee means I'm stressed and overworked! Lol. Today though, things have eased up, and I got in some time to clean the house and re-arrange a few things. And I decided to relax and click a few pics. Feels good to hold onto a camera instead of a mouse :)

Hopefully the weekend should be quiet and relaxed with no crazy running around. X'mas is coming and I need to get organised :) 

[All images by Shalini Pereira- Please do not use without prior written permission]

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Things to be Grateful For

The last year has been quite a roller coaster ride in so many ways. Close friends will know what I'm talking about. And in the midst of all the drama and disappointments, it was quite easy to lose track of how blessed I was and am. It's the little things that make you happy, bring you joy and a sense of satisfaction. And sometimes you over look them or take them for granted.

The blog has definitely been one source of immense satisfaction and joy. I have learned so much, grown so much and made so many interesting and incredible friends through this tiny little piece of myself that I share with all of you. I started this blog around 3 years ago as a sort of timepass :) Because I loved writing and ranting and raving, and to a lot of people's amusement, talking endlessly about myself :) But I'm happy to say that this little blog of mine has come a long way in these 3 years. Still more to learn though, and bigger hills to climb, but in the meantime I would like to say a big 'thank you' to all of you who have supported All Things Nice, written in with feedback, followed, liked and appreciated. THANK YOU! You have no idea how invaluable your comments and encouragement have been and continue to be.

Recognition from the media is also another big encouragement. It lets me know I'm on the right track, and encourages me to aim higher. Last month I was part of the Diwali feature of GoodHomes Magazine, India. This month I'm thrilled to be included in an Hindustan Times Estates feature on India's Top Interior Decor Blogs, along with some of my favourite bloggers. Big shout out to the guys at HT estates for the recognition. 

If you would like to have a look at the feature click here, select the Mumbai issue, select the date of 15th November and then select estates (its not as complicated as it sounds).

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Di Ghent Cafe & Boulangerie

There are some days when you just want to pamper yourself. You want to get away from everything, escape and spend some quality time with yourself… ‘me time’. Every once in a while I think a little me time does us all a lot of good. And there is one place where I go again and again… my favorite café, possibly in the world, (okay I may be exaggerating just a tiny bit), but definitely my favorite café in NCR- Di Ghent Café and Boulangerie. I know I speak of them like they are one and the same; they are in fact two individual dining areas on the 2nd floor of Cross Point Mall, in DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon.

My love affair with Di Ghent started over a year ago, when my close friend, Priya suggested the hubby and I try this place. I dragged him there the next day for breakfast. It was really really good! Ever since that day I have been hooked. I’ve been there so many times I’ve lost count. For breakfast, lunch, and even afternoon coffee & cake (yup folks that’s the 'me time' I’m referring to). Also let me add that none of these visits were paid visits or invites… I was just another customer (just in case you folks think I'm going a little overboard with my praise).

Di Ghent is my go to place when I need a caffeine boost and some pastry pampering :)  So, why do I love this place so much? Well most importantly I have never had a bad experience there. I know! It sounds ridiculous, but it's absolutely true! Never! Not once in about a Zillion visits (ok exaggerating again). Their service is brisk and attentive and they take care of you well and always with a smile. Their food, which is a mostly of Italian inspired, is just excellent. There’s no bar, but who cares because they make some really good mocktails, some decadent shakes and some good cappuccino (however if you’re like me and you like your cappuccino extra strong… ask for it to be made strong or you will be disappointed). And their desserts and pastries… bliss.

If you're a cheesecake lover then you must try their blueberry cheesecake. For me one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had, second only to a cheesecake dessert I had at Tres in Lodhi Colony, Delhi. If you love your lemon tarts then their lemon meringue tart is a thing of joy. Thin, crispy, buttery tart shell with silky smooth lemon curd filling topped with a meringue, one bite and all my troubles evaporate :)

Lemon Meringue Tart- before

Lemon Meringue Tart- during :)

Blueberry Cheesecake 

It’s also perfect for a quick lunch, they do some really nice salads, my favorite being the Klokke Roeland which has rocket, green apple, goats cheese and parma ham. They also do excellent sandwiches, and since all the bread is baked in house, you know you are getting fresh bread… what could be better than that? And if it’s rich, hearty fare you are after then the Kanaal, a lasagna with lamb Bolognese is something that is sure to put a big smile on your face.

Klokke Roeland

Grilled Aubergine Panini 

Happy, satisfied people :)

For me, Di Ghent has now become a place to escape and unwind. I love its casual, laid back ambiance , where I can sit in a quiet corner, listen to the soothing voice of Norah Jones and read a book or a newspaper, all the while sipping on a hot, strong cappuccino and scoffing down their beautiful lemon meringue tarts… on those afternoons the world is a lovely, shiny, happy place :)

[All images by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use without prior written permission]

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