Splashes of Colour with Peppermill at Al wahda, Abudhabi.


Dreams are life. I’m a dreamer, no really I am! I have vivid dreams, and sometimes spend days recollecting them. I realised I’m a total dreamer when Zaara asked me why I spent time staring at her and Aaira, I was taken aback by her question, but I realised it was true. I told her I was trying to capture every moment of their lives in my mind as beautiful memories, because they were just growing up so fast! And wanted to be dreaming of them all the time!  She seemed content with my answer and went on about with her drawing.


Then again, I also dream through the day about my projects. In my mind I’m never happy with whatever I do, I always want that extra minute to do more, detail more, think more, more and more.So when we have a project complete, and everyone says they love it, I bicker in my mind about the small things I would’ve done differently and sometimes its conflicting as the client would’ve loved it nevertheless! But then, I still love it like my baby, defending and protecting what I have achieved in my mind. Its like a 3d coming out of your head, You imagine it and the various colours, finishes,fabrics and flooring makes it what you dreamt! Imagine touching your dream! That’s what i felt when I walked into peppermill days before its opening. Running my hand through each groove, each table and upholstery, I felt proud.



A few days after it opened its doors to some rave reviews( their food is awesome) and a mention here and there on its decor,I got an email from someone who visited the restaurant. Peppermill is a colonial Indian restaurant. It has the colonial richness of the time where the Raja’s were giving up their powers to the British and the cuisine revolves around that period.We have no shortage of Indian restaurants in Dubai or Abudhabi(where the new Peppermill is located) But I would be proud to say that this is the ONLY colonial Indian restaurant.Hence we waiver from tradition with colours and prints- as you may see in the images.

Coming back to the email- This is what was written, I’m sharing the entire text as I received it, I read it every time I feel im shoved to a corner,or I cant get someone to see something as I see it-

Here Goes –

Hello Dina,

My head is bursting after seeing Peppermill. I couldn’t just leave a comment on instagram and i had to tell you how much I loved the space! I’m an interior design by study and just graduated 3 years ago so sitting there waiting for my biriyani was actually a field trip

To achieve harmony with all the elements has to be appreciated. My eye was drawn to so many patterns and colors. I had quite a few favourites  the backlit jali screens especially on the columns, the circular patterned mirrored on the ceiling and floor, that pop of color bursting on the upholstered chair and the tufted ceiling, I could go on! The semi-private dining space was regal without looking garish. And the lighting. So often I’ve dined at restaurants that are too dimly-lit or the menacing spot-lights overhead. It was the perfect balance and set the ambience. Honestly, hats off to your brilliant design. Would love to see more of your work

Have a good day!

I thought It was amazing to have someone write to you about your work. Trust me when I say that It doesn’t happen often.And I’m so thankful!No I don’t think I’m the best designer, But in my mind, I have a dream and each project takes me closer to that. On that particular day, I was feeling a little low, and overwhelmed, and this message came to me just before bed. I was so thankful it did, It made each day better and I jut felt that I was doing the right thing.

Peppermill is conceived as a bright colourful colonial dining restaurant. The entrance is adorned by a lattice with an antique mirror,its an entrance element which works as a little peephole for the restaurant to the world.It had to have Indian elements with copious amounts of colours and grandeur. We had to feel palatial,and the height helped us. At a staggering height of 4.5mtrs, we had to have chandeliers on extensions to make them look at a human scale. We faced our own set of challenges, from getting the floor done with rustic tiles, to getting fabrics and curtains with prints that work at these heights.The colours bring in memories of holi- the blues, purples and the fuscia, its like you have ran over a palace with colours in your hands, playing with your family, smearing each other in colour.I would love to hear from everyone who has visited. Would be an honour to hear from you.



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Chocolate and More….

I am in india now! Im supposed to be on holiday but still working. I don’t think I really will switch off till Mr Z joins us.its been meeting the family and friends during the day and working late into the night.
Past few months have been eventful. There was celebrations hence lots of cakes..we all including Aaira turned a year older. But we also lost a dear uncle and saw some quiet evenings where we would sit around feeling so helplessly human . Then again life goes on.we puck up where we left and move ahead.

I’ve had a lot to blog..from my designs to recipe’s. I’m hoping to catch up on them while on this working holiday. Also remind myself that I need to capture every frame of my kids growing up.its so quick that I’m unable to catch. Aaira is walking and talking .She’s a huge fan of her sister and is showing a lot of interest in dance and music. Zaara has been the perfect older sister and mama’s little helper . She’s off to grade one in a month’s time and I’m in denial.She will be 5 in October but already thinks her mother has a lot of catching up to do fashion wise.
Today I’m sharing with you my all time favourite chocolate cake.simple and basically mafe with whatever I have home..no butter and so soft and chocolaty

One pot chocolate cake



  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water with 2 tsp coffee
  1. Heat oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a cake baking pan.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Serve hot with a dollop ice cream.



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Double ka meetha

2013 is here. Everybody has hopes and aspirations for the future. I pray all your dreams come true! Personally I feel,this is the year of being content. Being happy with what God has given and  being satisfied with our achievements. It may not be great in the eyes of others but we all have our own battles to win..our own little mountains to climb.


A lot of exciting things are coming my way this year. A new store in india, new projects around the city to name a few. Most importantly, Aaira turns one in May. Seems unbelievable! She completes us as a family. This reminds me-though I barely ever mention Mr Z in my blog, he’s my biggest critique! He’s the best thing thats happened in my life. And to think that we being together at one point wouldve been one the strangest things that could ever be!

Which brings me today’s recipe. I’m typing this post using my samsung note and have taken pics using the phone camera. Do let me know what you think. The phone is a gift from the mister, and as always I forced him to buy one himself! He’s settled in for the S3.

We dine out once or twice a week, and try to uncover a few hidden gems.predominantly flavours from asia. In one such adventure, we ventured into golconda paradise-a hyderabadi restaurant. The menu there had the usual suspects – biriyani, haleem, kebabs etc. But what caught Mr Z’s eye was the dessert Double ka meetha. I must admit I have not heard of this delicacy ever. He explained and it seemed like a indianised bread pudding or umm ali. When the dish arrived, it looked mediocre but strangely had the taste of gulab jamun.

This is when he promised me that he would make amma’s version. This is one of the easiest desserts to cook. So here goes.


Unsalted rusk 10 pieces
Oil to deep fry

For the sugar syrup
Water 1 1/2 cup
Sugar 1 cup
Cardamom 3-4 pods

For the garnish
Milkmaid -small tin 90gms
Pistachios, raisins, pinenuts for garnish

In a thick bottom pan dissolve water, sugar with cardamom and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and wait till mixture thickens to form syrup. Let it cool.
In a separate  pan fry the rusks in oil.
Place the fried rusks into the sugar syrup. Please note that the syrup must not be too hot.
Pour milkmaid in strings when cooled to room temperature
Garnish this with pistachios, raisins and pinenuts.
serve warm or cold.


Filed under cooking, dessert, food, me, Uncategorized