Little black book Padma Coram, the managing partner at The Talent Brokers in Dubai, talks food and travel.
'I wish I had done more train travel'
Padma Coram is the managing partner at The Talent Brokers in Dubai.
I'm constantly travelling because of work, and you're likely to find me wherever there's a Four Seasons (@email:www.fourseasons.com). I like the little touches, like the way they bring your laundry. The W Hotels (www.whotels.com) are also quite a lot of fun. Where there is no Four Seasons I'll stay at a Kempinski (www.kempinski.com) or Ritz-Carlton (www.ritz-carlton.com). I like surprises, but not when it comes to accommodation, and I'll be the first to admit I love my creature comforts. I just like beautiful and clean things around me, and of course, gorgeous spas. These hotels guarantee that, as well as a sense of familiarity, which is important when you're travelling.
Speaking of travel, I recently went to Europe and to Capri. There's the most wonderful hotel there called the Capri Palace (+39 081 9780111, @email:www.capripalace.com). I highly recommended it for laid-back island living, plus the service is impeccable. For holidays, the One & Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives is fantastic. It's just the most beautiful place, with private villas, beaches and the friendliest five star service.
I have family in India so I go there too. In Bangalore I love the Cinnamon Boutique off Lavelle Road (+80 222 9794). It's a villa with coffee shops and clothes; it's a kind of lifestyle place. In Delhi, I like to eat at the city's oldest restaurant. It's called the House of Ming (+800 4 588 1 825, @email:www.tajhotels.com) and is undoubtedly the best Chinese food in the world. If you're a regular customer there you get a set of gold chopsticks with your name engraved on them.
New York is my favourite city any day. And in New York, my favourite restaurant is Tamarind (+1 212 674 7400, @email:www.tamarinde22.com), over on East 22nd. It does the most incredible Indian food outside India. Clothes-wise, I have always loved Norma Kamali (www.normacamlicollection.com) as she makes great clothes for travellers. She's a fashion icon and her store makes you feel like a film star; it's all white walls, mirrors, and rows of beautiful garments.
There are two Indian restaurants that I adore in Dubai. One is the Mumbai Chowpatty in Lamcy Plaza (+971 4 305 9419). It's inexpensive and unassuming, but it's great fast food. The second is Nina's at the Royal Mirage (+971 4 399 9999, @email:www.oneandonlyresorts.com). It's my absolute favourite. The ambience and service are really good. It's a fusion of Arab, Indian and Far Eastern food. I don't go there just on special occasions; but I feel special whenever I go there. I've also just discovered Steam Sum Dim Sum (+971 800 78326) at Dubai Festival City. They do fantastic dim sums and it's a great, quick place to go and eat.
Now, when I'm in London I stock up on Prescriptives products (@email:www.prescriptives.com). Sadly, you can't get them in the UAE yet and they're a little luxury I don't like to live without. I also miss the Hale Clinic (+44 20 7631 0156, www.haleclinic.com) for all alternative treatments from London. A must for me when I'm there.
Everyone says it, but The Ivy (+44 783 6 475, the-ivy.co.uk) in London is still the best place to eat. I'm also a member of the Groucho Club. It's still the best members club in the city.
I also really miss the vibe you get in the bookshops like Foyles (+44 20 7437 5660, @email:www.foyles.co.uk) over there; it's just not the same here. No trip is complete without a trip to the west end and bookshops. It is an absolute must.
I have to say though, that after returning from Europe I have great respect for the Mall of the Emirates (+971 4 409 9000, www.malloftheemirates.com) to have everything under one roof. It makes shopping so much more stress free. Five Green (+971 4 336 4100, www.fivegreen.com) is also good. It's not run of the mill; it's for people who are a bit "in the know". It's not a serious place, you know. I think some people take it too seriously, but I think it brings a fun element into life. The Meena Bazaar area is a lot of fun for kitsch Indian items, though my husband and son insist that I am more at Prada (www.prada.com) than anywhere else.
I did train travel properly for the first time this year. It is so much fun. We travelled from Italy to Germany on an overnight train (www.italiarail.com). We had a shower, clean towels, duvets and a full breakfast, all on the train. We loved it. I wish I had done more train travel before if it is as comfortable as the one we went on.