Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Cobalt Designs- Beautiful Designs in Metal

A while back Valay Gada of Cobalt Designs reached out to me and invited me over to his studio for a cup of coffee and a chat about his work. Unfortunately I haven’t made it over to his studio as yet, but one look at their website & I fell in love with his studio’s work.

Founded in 2012, Cobalt Designs is a partnership between two young designers, Valay Gada & Michael Rodrigues. The studio works primarily in metal alloys like brass and copper. The pair is inspired by classical traditions and they are deeply passionate about preserving the tradition of Indian craftsmanship, bringing them relevance and adapting them to the modern aesthetic. They do this by engaging and working with local artisans and nurturing local talent.

Their product range is spread over a wide range of categories, from luxury furniture, lighting, bath accessories, mirrors, hardware and some costume jewelry too. They also work with architects and interior designers on customized pieces such as jalis and murals.

Their work is contemporary and edgy with an emphasis on a high level of finishing and is inspired by industrial design, Art Deco and traditional Indian crafts.

Here's a peek at some of their works...








More from Cobalt Designs here and here



[All images courtesy Cobalt Designs]














Monday, 21 April 2014

Dessert Heaven @ Tres

I don't do restaurant reviews on the blog too often. I've sort of always felt that since the blog is called 'All Things Nice', only the restaurants that completely blow me away with their food and service make it on here. Well the latest to make that cut is Tres in Lodhi Colony.

Here's a little something about our experience there...

Last Saturday afternoon the hubby & I made our way to Tres for lunch. Tres has been on my wish list for quite a while now and I was really excited about trying the food there. When we pulled up outside the restaurant, which has quite a nondescript frontage, my husband was convinced that we had come to the wrong place. In fact he was quite concerned and jokingly said that maybe this wasn't the best choice for lunch :)

Once we went inside though, it was a completely different story. Tres is a cosy, little restaurant that reminds me of a Parisian cafe or a Spanish tapas bar which is what Tres seems to be aiming for. Quaint black and white framed photos dotted the walls and some lovely Spanish music was playing in the back ground, only adding to the warmth of the ambiance. I quite liked the interiors, it was welcoming and the dark wood and light walls ensured that the small restaurant didn't feel too cramped. 

We were warmly welcomed by the head waiter and quickly shown to our seats and introduced to the waiter who would be serving us. We both ordered a glass of Jacob’s Creek bubbly, which we enjoyed along with their complimentary bread basket. The wine was cool and crisp and perfect for the warm afternoon. Things were off to a good start.






The bread was really good- fresh and soft. The bread was served with a herb butter and a tomato spread that only increased my anticipation over the food. 

Since we were there as part of the Citi Bank Restaurant week, we each got to order a starter, a main course and dessert. The hubby ordered the roasted goats cheese with salted beetroot and apple and walnut dressing. I ordered the tenderloin on a bed of greens with horseradish and yogurt dressing. The salad was really delicious, fresh, light and crisp- the perfect way to start a meal. My tenderloin was very good. The meat was tender, although I would have preferred it on the rarer side. I loved the horseradish and yogurt dressing. It worked so well with the tenderloin, and the shavings of Parmesan only made things better. Only downer was the bit of sinew which I found in one of the strips of tenderloin. This bit of hard sinew was inedible and took away slightly from a dish that would have otherwise been excellent.






For the mains I ordered the pork, chorizo and prawn pasta and the hubby ordered the vegetable pasta. Once again both were just delicious. I didn't try the vegetable pasta, but mine was perfectly cooked with just the right amount of garlic and chili flakes. The chorizo was spicy and delicious and worked so well with the sweetness of the prawns- a lovely main.






Finally came dessert I knew what I wanted... the orange cheesecake with the raspberry sorbet. The hubby ordered the caramel and banana tiramisu with lemon cream cannelloni. 






Dessert is such an important part of a meal. You can have the most fabulous meal, but if the dessert is not up to the mark, the entire meal is ruined. This is what happened to us recently at a restaurant in Cyber Hub, Gurgaon. But I was thrilled to say that Tres did not disappoint here. My cheesecake was absolutely divine! They really hit the ball out of the park with this one. One spoonful and I closed my eyes in happiness. I can honestly say that this is one of the best desserts I've ever, ever had! The sorbet was tart and light and really cut though the richness of the creamy cheesecake that had a delicate flavor of orange. The tiramisu was good, but frankly I've had better. I think there is some room for improvement with this one.

Another thing that made the meal enjoyable was the service. Our server was incredibly attentive, almost too attentive at times :) But he made sure we were well looked after. After every course the head waiter came over and checked how things were. I thought that was really impressive and a very nice touch. It's things like this that make customers feel they are valuable. I also noticed that he interacted with all the customers and did a great job in ensuring everyone was happy. It was clear that the management has trained their serving staff very well. This makes such a huge difference. 

At the end of the meal I filled in a feedback form, where I mentioned my disappointment over the sinew in my meat. We paid our bill and left. A few minutes later the head waiter came out and met us to enquire about the problem and apologize. Even though I mentioned that it was not a major issue he seemed genuinely concerned and very keen to learn areas where there could be improvement. This really impressed me because it shows that they care about their food and service.

I had a wonderful experience at Tres. It’s a little expensive, but the quality of food and great service justifies this. It’s a lovely place to celebrate a special occasion and I couldn't recommend this lovely little place enough.

OK, so I've really praised Tres a lot, but a small complaint that has nothing to do with the food... the interior designer in me was pained to see that there were a lot of issues when it came to finishing in the interiors. I noticed white paint drops and flakes on several wooden surfaces and edges of ply that seemed to be unfinished. I know I’m being overly critical, but this is one area they could look at for improvement. These tiny things show the importance given to detail and I believe they count.

Overall though, Tres is a place you must visit... if for nothing else, then just for that cheesecake, which was heaven on a plate! I drive all the way from Gurgaon to Lodhi Colony just for this delicious plate of yumminess!

My ratings overall- 4.5/5

Ambiance- 4/5
Food- 4.5/5
Service- 5/5
Value for money- 4/5


*Please note that we were not invited to review this restaurant, but visited as paying customers.

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