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When Italians go vegetarian

If it doesn’t smell good, it doesn’t taste good.. Rajat Kapoor tells Reema Gehi as they share a table at Andheri's Little Italy.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2007 20:21 IST

When I call actor-director Rajat Kapoor (not to be mistaken for Rajit Kapur), for the Star Review, he wants to get just one thing clear, “I need to have my lunch before two pm, otherwise I start getting a headache.”

I agree and fix up a 1 pm lunch date at Little Italy, Andheri. Traffic tries playing dampener but I manage to get there just 20 minutes behind schedule. My guest is all smiles.. thankfully, there are no signs of migraine, yet. We seat ourselves on the first level where Kapoor quickly browses through the menu and orders up a crostinni assorti (Rs 300).

As he devours them with obvious enjoyment, Kapoor admits being a complete home-food per son: “I rarely visit restaurants.. maybe twice a year on my wife’s or my birthday.” No meat? Veggies, it is Though the restaurant doesn’t offer non-vegetarian fare, Kapoor, a hard-core non-vegetarian, is not discouraged.

The actor, who has travelled half the globe, likes to experiment with food, something he owes to his dad.

As he puts it, “My father used to be a very strict eater who ate only north Indian food so I’ve made a conscious decision not to be that way.” Next, we call for salads: Conatadina (Rs.210) and Corleone (Rs.235), both of which earn a two thumbs up from him.

As he munches on his crisp and fresh greens, Kapoor reveals some of his culinary quirks: “The food that I am eating must smell good.. if it doesn’t then I can’t relish it.” The Mixed Doubles actor-director cooks as well, though rarely. “I can make good tuar and urad ki dal. I also make sheera with lots and lots of ghee, ” he boasts.

While sprinkling parmesan cheese over his al pesto Genovese (Rs.275), Kapoor is suddenly overtaken by nostalgia and starts talking of his days as a student back in FTII in Pune.

The days of yore Apparently, he was a voracious eater then. “I could consume almost 10 chappatis at a time.” He also remembers the excellent coffee in Taj Hotel, Delhi: “In 1982, we used to get coffee with unlimited refill for only Rs 8. I used to discuss all my theatre projects there.” Finally, it’s time to end the meal on a sweet note and Kapoor beams. “I can eat unlimited north Indian and Bengali sweets. I also love gelatos and tiramisu, though I am not a big fan of chocolates,” he says, choosing tiramisu, which he thoroughly enjoys.

I’d have preferred a catnap after all that food, but Kapoor opts for some strong espresso while telling me that he was a tea person till sometime back: “I was a complete chai person three years back and now I have 15-20 cups of coffee a day.” And with that, my guest gulps down his hot dose of caffeine, thanks me and rushes off.