My Favourite Travel Secrets: Samir Kuckreja

From his favourite restaurants to his coffee secret.

Food & travel secrets from Samir Kuckreja, restaurant consultant and former CEO of the iconic food chains Nirula’s. Here’s what he shared with us:

Indian fusion food. People want something beyond the regular biryani and tandoori chicken. That’s why, restaurants such as Indian Accent, Bombay Canteen, Soda Bottle Openerwala, and Farzi Cafe are doing well.

Favorite restaurants in the city:

Indian Accent and Diva Café at the Italian Cultural Centre.

A Must-Read Book for Food Lovers:

1000 restaurants You Must Experience Before You Die. I like it for the range of cuisines and types of restaurants that it covers, from high-end experiences to roadside food.

Favourite Meal Memory:

KU DE TA is a beachfront restaurant and bar in Seminyak, Bali. We started the evening early, just hanging out and swimming. Watched a brilliant sunset. The weather was great and the vibe utterly romantic. To cap it all, the food was absolutely amazing. It was more than a memorable meal; I’d say it was the perfect vacation evening experience.

Why KU DE TA is one of Bali's best beach clubs... | Honeycombers Bali - Samir Kuckreja
KU TE DA, Bali

My pick for city meetings:

Starbucks and Coffee Bean. They have good service, are well designed and have good coffee. I like how Starbucks has innovated with its ambience in India using local materials and people. Their chalkboard specials on panels gives a homely feel. In the QSR space, some brands do their menu boards well – Carl’s Jr. and Burger king.

Chefs I like:

In India, Ritu Dalmia and Manish Mehrotra. Abroad: Wolfgang Puck and Gaggan Anand.

Chef Ritu Dalmia

One Offbeat Restaurant I’d Recommend:

A cave hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey. It had a lovely outdoor bar on a balcony. the music was soft, the view was beautiful and yes the food was delicious. I also loved Gusto’s Pizza in Florence, Italy. Basic interiors with the large pizza-making area being the “hero”. Great buzz with amazing thin-crust pizzas and always packed! I must also recommend the Turkish Philharmonic Orchestra live: it was an incredible travel experience in Cappadocia. The show was set against the sand and sky and was lit up magnificently. It’s unique and unforgettable.

10 Most Beautiful Cave Hotels in Cappadocia (with Map & Photos) - Touropia - Samir Kuckreja

If I had to be locked up in one world city for a year

it would be a toss-up between Rome and Istanbul. Both boast an abundance of culture, art and architecture, with great food for good measure.

My coffee secret:

Di Bella, Mumbai. Hands down the best coffee!

Coffee by Di Bella targets 100 stores in India over the next 3-5 years - Samir Kuckreja
Di Bella in Mumbai

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