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A mixed pot

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Table for Two Fashion designer David Abraham's food tastes range from Pan Asian to Keralite

Fashion designer David Abraham, of the Abraham & Thakore label, likes all kinds of food, by his own admission. So when we meet him for lunch at Sampan, the Pan Asian rooftop restaurant at Crowne Plaza in New Friends Colony, we find someone only willing to try out new things. (‘Sampan', literally translated to ‘three planks' in Cantonese, refers to the boats used by the rural folk in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Vietnam and other South East Asian nations for fishing and transportation.)

“I am half-Chinese and I grew up in Singapore before coming to India. So Chinese food (part of the menu at Sampan) is definitely something I'm familiar with,” says David over pineapple and beetroot salad and rojak buiah.

Quite obviously, the half-Malayali is also fond of Kerala food, listing a Kerala restaurant in Chennai as one of his favourites.

Not many know the designer already has a connection with the food business, having contributed to the interiors of the boutique hotel The Pod in Chennai.

Does his creativity extend from the clothes to the meals? “I enjoy food. I'm not much of a cook though. I can just put together a basic meal. But I watch food programmes on Discovery, normally on Saturday afternoons. I also read a lot of cookbooks; that's something I'm really getting interested in,” Abraham reveals, while trying the nori dusted panko crumbed prawn. “I love seafood,” he adds.

“I have a cook who's very good. We sometimes go to the INA market together to shop for ingredients. We occasionally even carry the cookbook along! I regularly follow Kylie Kwong's recipes on Discovery Travel & Living,” he smiles.

Any culinary disasters? “Not many. We never try out new dishes when there are guests. We do entertain a fair amount at home, so we stick to what we know,” says the designer.

Again, while he is no vegetarian, he's no fussy eater either. “I love Gujrati food. That was the only thing I used to get while studying at NID, Ahmedabad, It was completely vegetarian and I never had a problem,” he says, equally affable with the hoisin duck in steamed pok choi wrap and aromatic minced prawn on lemongrass stem in front of him.

“Every time I'm eating out I like to go to a new restaurant if possible. There's so much happening on the restaurant scene in the city.”

Street food? “I love the street food in Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Here in Delhi, I end up getting apprehensive about the hygiene aspect. So even if I'm having chaat, I go to these neat and clean places where people wear plastic gloves,” he admits.

Coming to fashion, Abraham & Thakore are getting ready for Autumn/ Winter 2010, now that the hoopla around Spring/Summer 2010 is over. “We work on two things simultaneously — the home line and the fashion line. So far, just the colour palette has been fixed. There's more colour in Autumn/ Winter. There are reds and browns. They are darker, richer, but in a slightly muddier version, which makes it very sophisticated,” Abraham reveals.

The waiter at Sampan offers us a choice of macha slice and organic broken wheat lychee pudding for dessert. Abraham, however, doesn't have much of a sweet tooth. “I avoid dessert, if possible,” he says.

SHALINI SHAH

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