Having redefined the concept of India’s cool café society with Wild Garden at Amethyst in Chennai, Kiran Rao is having a similar effect with her latest opening at Maison Rose in Pondicherry. The beautifully restored, pink-walled and white-colonnaded colonial villa has a palm-filled courtyard that’s just the spot for a curry-leaf Martini at dusk. Spicy Bay of Bengal tiger prawns, either poached in white wine with courgette and crispy rice or Creole style with fresh basil, are standout seafood dishes; the homemade fettuccine is served with deliciously buttery mushrooms; and the vegan cashew-pumpkin curry is spiced with vadouvan, the French version of garam masala. This charming place has introduced a welcome touch of urban smarts to the sleepy town.

Condé Nast Traveller Magazine