Options, option and more options. We sure have a lot of choices to pick from, be it where to eat at, what to watch, what to wear and the list goes on and on. To make your life a bit easier, here’s what you should check out this month.

Actor

WAMIQA GABBI

She’s not a newbie on screen, but she is currently ruling the OTT space. Wamiqa Gabbi is in the news for all the right reasons. She has worked across industries — Punjabi, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu— and was last seen on the big screen in 83, but her OTT roles in Grahan, as Mai’s Supriya, and the most recent— as Megha in one of the best episodes of Amazon Prime Video’s Modern Love: Mumbai, the Vishal Bhardwaj-directed ‘Mumbai Dragon’ — make us look forward to seeing her more often.

Wine and Dine

ELEPHANT & CO. GOA

Pune’s popular Elephant & Co. has made it to Goa, and we’re here for it. An earthy space located in a not-so-noisy corner of Anjuna, ECO is warm, welcoming, and carries forward its relaxed vibe from its Pune outpost. Yes, it’s Goa, yes, we all indulge in our cocktails, but the food here has me (not denying that the cocktails do too). Indulge in the mushroom patê with Melba toast — a smooth, creamy patê that comes with a side of rocket orange salad that cuts through the creaminess with its tang.

You might want to experiment with the mains, but the comfort of a good Goan prawn curry with poee is unbeatable; so if you’re into comfort food like me, this is your go-to order. Drink up the elderflower spritzer, a cocktail made with blue pea flower gin, elderflower, and tonic, and if you’re in the mood for something tropical, the Pineapple Express — coconut fat washed rum with pineapple juice — could be your lunch buddy.

PISCO BY THE BEACH, GOA

Goa has been booming, but cutting through a lot of hype is the centrally located Pisco By The Beach, overlooking a part of small Anjuna. First and foremost, I respect that the restaurant doesn’t take advantage of the fact that since the view is so Instagrammable, people will come even if the food isn’t up to the mark. All their cocktails are well thought out and cater to different tastes; but if you have to pick one, go with the Pisco Sour — with pomegranate, egg white, and lime juice.

It’s tarty and doesn’t let the alcohol overpower, and is refreshing. I tried the lunch menu (they do a different one for dinner), and I suggest starting with the best: sambal olek stuffed and baked mud crabs — the crispy, crunchy crab meat mixed in Asian seasoning will blow your mind. If you’re not into crabs, the mussels in white wine are the next best choice. Pick the juicy, tangy red snapper flavoured with lemongrass and fresh red chilies for your mains, and end the meal with Peruvian tres leches. You’re going to need a long nap after this one, I promise.

Travel and Relax

RADISSON BLU HOTEL & SPA, NASHIK

Spa weekend where the wine flows free? Yes please. Radisson’s spa, Atman, is their focal point at the Nashik property, and has been designed in keeping with the caves around the property — dim-lit, surrounded by calming elements. From long spa treatments to a quick facial, pick your idea of chilling, enjoy your massage, and wrap up the weekend with a glass of whatever drink floats your boat.

CONRAD BENGALURU

Only two of Hilton’s luxury Conrad properties are in India right now, one of which is Conrad Bengaluru. The Conrad Spa has some unmissable treatments, but a special one would be the intuitive Vinotherapy, where they use rose and grapeseed oil to destress the body. Follow it up with the French Vino Body Scrub before you head to the steam and sauna (they are still maintaining Covid norms for the spa, which makes you feel safer as you relax), and end the treatment with the ice fountain to tighten your pores. Couples can opt for the couple spa treatments too, in case you’re looking for a romantic time.

HILTON SHILLIM ESTATE RETREAT & SPA

One doesn’t need to hard sell Hilton Shillim, and it is a respite for the Mumbai crowd. From acupressure, reiki, pranic healing, and hydrotherapy to multi-day wellness programs, Hilton Shillim is where you go to take a complete breather from the clutter of city life. What’s even better is trying their fusions of South Asian traditions with contemporary techniques, and the 17 treatment suites that feature private gardens with al fresco showers. Luxury at its best.

HYATT REGENCY DEHRADUN

Uttarakhand just got its first Hyatt property, which features a luxurious spa with six treatment rooms. Calm ambience invites you in to pick a treatment, and I recommend the Almore — an almond scrub with lavender essential oil — a 90-minute treatment. Using real crushed almonds, a full body scrub is followed by a deep tissue massage, leaving you with exfoliated, supple skin as well as relaxed muscles. Sounds like the right way to take a break.

DELLA SPA & SALON

This is for the “won’t drive beyond Lonavala” crowd. Della Spa, which is open 24 hours to in-house guests and also walk-ins, has seven treatment suites. From Thai Poultice Therapy, which is all about releasing blocked energy, to the 20 Fingers Synchronized Therapy that focuses on an intense state of calm, deep relaxation, and stress reduction, they have therapies beyond the usual spa offerings, including a Bamboo massage therapy — which uses warm bamboo and rattan tools to give you deep tissue relaxation.

Screen Time

Watch

Forgive me if your favourite show didn’t make it to this list, but for me, this month was a mix of bittersweet endings, well-made debut shows, and much anticipated new seasons. Amazon Prime Video released Modern Love: Mumbai, inspired by The New York Times column (two seasons of which are already out there), which explores six love stories, and a million emotions, all in the city that never sleeps. I loved the first-ever Modern Love season, and as I approached the Indianised version a bit warily, I’m impressed, happy, and taken. From self-love, the love in food, same-sex love, love that grounds you, to love that makes you feel alive, this one has it all.

Speaking of love, This Is Us watchers, who are you sending your therapy bills to? Wrapping up six years, this is a show about three generations of a family that takes us through the many roller coasters and dysfunctionalities of generational trauma, racial differences, constantly reminding us that parents are human too, and how everything that we go through makes us who we are. The show aired its final season this month, and it is every bit the tearjerker we expected it to be.

After this sob fest, there’s nothing I like more than a good courtroom drama (No, not Suits). The latest drop in the genre is The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix. Mickey Haller, played by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, is a defence attorney who hasn’t been in practice for over a year due to an accident, followed by an addiction to oxy. Haller is now handed over the practice of another lawyer who was shot dead, which brings with it its own set of complications. Based on The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly, The Lincoln Lawyer is a smooth-sailing, high-on-energy drama, totally binge-worthy, with a solid cliffhanger that’ll get you back for the second season. 

Speaking of seasons, the much-awaited fourth season (volume 1) of Stranger Things is finally out, awaiting its second volume in July. Let’s just say we’re glad the show has been renewed for a fifth and final season as well. Exciting, Upside Down times ahead.

The first season of Panchayat had us hooked, and the second has done exactly that too. The second season takes forward city boy Abhishek (Jitendra Kumar)’s journey in Phulera, retaining the show’s simplicity, slow village life theme with its exemplary characters, quite literally. The first two episodes take their own time, but the show picks up, and makes for a great weekend watch.