Taste of Potrero

Now after having had the grand privilege of attending Taste of London in 2009, and Taste of Mumbai, why would i leave a chance to make it a Trilogy of Tastes!

Knowing me i very well could, given how #firstworldproblem even writing a blog becomes, because for that you have to open your laptop, coz who blogs on mobile when you can tick mark all the pics on camera and it will auto-broadcast on three other platforms in less than a minute! Ok ok.. before i get carried away..

I must state that I may pass out at any point of time because of the self induced food comatose that I have got myself in after a long.. long… l.o.n.g. time. I was almost fed up of food so much that I have taken up to two meals a day and some random snacks in between (i know.. thats the loophole). A good meal here and there, and my soul was fed.

And then to think of this evening, when i was actually debating whether to go for it or not. After all it was coinciding with my dance class and i knew i would unnecessarily keep stuffing myself if i saw something interesting, which of course i DID! But of course it wasn’t just random stuff that only looked interesting, it was the shit! The stuff that i wouldn’t even imagine in my dreams, and by the way I do dream of food..that too quite often.

I’ll start with the most ordinary unexceptional homemade nachos with guac and sumac cheese! O dear lord i just realised how difficult writing this blog is going to get considering all the ingredients that i’d never heard of before today! So to make it easier i’ll just go with my own way of describing it and we can correct it on the way as we go. Ok!

So i’ll start with the ravishing stall Rooh, where I saw all the meaty delicacies lying at three levels, only to be emptied and refilled one after another before i could finish the word “Oh! this place is so windy!” Sorry that was a sentence.. but you get the drift!

So i moved on to my own search and found these jewels by the end of an hour search of stuffing my face and being mind boggled every 15 minutes!

  1. Coconut air sprayed bombs from this place on coconut flattened cookie, was like the best combination of what creaminess stuffed with riddles on top of crispiness can do to your palate.
  2. Pearl pasta from this place was a welcome change in terms of shape and texture that we usually associate with heavy carb ridden italian home meal.
  3. Savoury profit roles made of cheese and strawberry ones from this lady on the middle of the hall facing august 15 ‘s stall..were divine to say the least!
  4. Now Am a pescatarian, so you can imagine my wonder and surprise when i asked for an octopus puff with caviar form this place because it looked so damn innocent and delectable.
  5. That wasn’t it, I also had a sea urchin toast which was next to this stall that was selling my next favourite thing in this list..
  6. Cucumber gazpacho as shots was such a refreshing novel and healthy idea that i wish to stick to for the whole of summers here.
  7. Now this stall made me reverse jump with pure JOY and i can not wait to go to them for a full fledged lunch with truffle quiche followed by beautiful beefy brownies!
  8. Good thing, its almost summer time and i know this place thats going to be my go-to for deliciousness in a cup every now and then. Not just can i explore flavours that are sinful but also harmful without feeling a tinge of guilt. Now is this genius or what!
  9. There was this another station for little flavourful oils, jams and jelly that they were serving with goat cheese. I bet you would’ve never tasted goat cheese this delicious!

Now coming to what i didn’t like as much and believe a bit of twist may do wonders : is the mushroom cones with cranberry and white chocolate topped with edible flowers.

Even though every ingredient in there is a personal favourite but somehow the combination didn’t feel right, as much as it should have given what it consists of. But i’d remember them for thinking wild, and creating something brave.

Now if only someone could fill in the blanks for me. This was such a great experience and totally challenged the foodie out of me. I used my highest appetite and capacity to get to know each one of the dishes that i could digest and know more about its origins.

Please hit me up if you’d like me to do a deep dive into any of this. I’d be happy to oblige.

 

Gaggan

Kuh-ggannn, is how our cab driver read it to us. I was excited for we had planned this for sometime. The moment the cab stopped, I thought we were entering someone’s residence. Someone posh, someone classy and elegant. As we usher in, I get the feeling of being at the right place at the right time.

Subtle noises, clinking of glasses and hushed laughter fill in the room, along with the black bus boys meandering in the middle. We are seated on the extreme left end on a corner table –  nice for us to have our conversation, away from everyone else, until another couple joins in soon to sit to the far right end of the corner.

We settle for the most elaborate, between 14-16 course Best of Gaggan Tasting Menu, not wanting to miss out on anything. Vegetarian for me and non-vegetarian for him. Once we choose the fancy drinks, we sit back, ready to be lured and get on the gastronomic journey that Gaggan promises.

The drinks, I have to admit floored me at once. I forgot what it was called, but it came in a coconut shell with all of its smoky flavour AND the smoke, little like Pina colada to sip on. Ah! The jazz that it started with, i was loving it already. And believe you me, it happens so rare!

It will turn out to be a very long post if i go on describing each course, and will totally lose the point. So i’ll stick to what held my sway and what swayed off.

Starting with a bunch of mini-bites that kept coming in the span of half an hour had me on a roll. The white-chocolate golgappas were definitely innovative for me, what with that edible packet of nuts on the side and a yoghurt bubble that bursts in the mouth. Beautifully decorative and deliciously textured bites were in the order, and I could hardly keep my hands off it. At one point it was hard to differentiate between the presentation platter and the food that was served on it. To have a sneak-peek you can always go to their page and drool over.

Next up was the soup. I mean who can ever fall in love with a soup? Sure they can fall in soup. but this .. here.. was.. sheer.. orgasm. The truffle soup, the way it came, the way it smelled, the way it smoked, it was love at first sight, smell and taste. I could hold on to that little rock and make love to it while I sipped little sips of it so it goes on forever and ever. This was my nirvana. And I did not want it to get over. I moaned unapologetically.

That was the highest point of my entire meal. The charcoal, although exquisitely presented couldn’t have possibly kept up with the truffle soup. And it was not meant to either. Subtle, gooey, it was the surprise element that it was supposed to be. Later, followed by other familiar flavours and textures, I was beginning to get full but the presentation kept alluring me no matter what. I ordered another drink that I remember the name of. Sexy Poison was served in a glass with a cat tail, and tasted like an elixir. There was a certain fun element that most of the dishes and drinks flaunted. The way it was written, presented or tasted, it was sort of a tease throughout. A bit of this with a bit of that seemed easy to pursue.

Meanwhile we spotted a loner ordering shorter version of Tasting Menu. He would nod at himself while eating, a little too often. Like he was justifying that he has come for the sole pleasure of eating and nothing else. Like its not a social place but a place where they serve your taste buds only. He had to be a banker, I at once thought; an investment banker to be precise. Who comes alone in a destination restaurant that is currently at no.3 and pitted to be the no.1 restaurant in Asia?

Well, the story doesn’t end here. He’s then seated on the table that’s between the two couples which is us. Did I mention, we’d got talking to the other couple discussing the food and drinks and restaurants, and life and it had become quite a group affair, until the gentleman butted right in. I saw him enjoying his chhole chawal with a lot of chaw (interest). All awkward, he decides to strike a conversation with the other couple. Seemingly disinterested, they give in out of courtesy, while we all slyly wait for him to leave. His dessert is now over, and the waiter signals for him to leave. Whats funny was how shocked he appeared and sorry he felt to be leaving the table that he had just interrupted with.

I was only glad with the way waiters use their discretion at such places. Thats one of the things that makes this place such top-notch. Not to my surprise, he confirmed that he works at Morgan Stanley, Hongkong before leaving us to get back to our merrymaking and dessert courses.

With some ostentatious dehydrated miso look, the desserts looked very Japanese except the Lollipops that were crumbly on the outside and yummy on the inside. I felt like complaining how this could be Indian, but then again, just a thought later I knew how diversified India truly is. So no matter how far away you go from making Indian, or variate it on multiple levels, it could still somehow easily belong to atleast one of our states, or city.

Indian Accent

It been over a month and a half that I went to this restaurant. I can’t claim for my memories to be fresh that I still remember the taste. However what I do remember is that it was different in a way that Indian cuisine isn’t supposed to be. Not greasy yet fulfilling, light yet varied, Indian yet had an European touch. None of those elaborate saucy-curry like spreads or a mix of all that you can’t tell what has gone in. Simplicity of flavours intact along with complexity of textures, is what makes Indian cuisine. The way it’s presented in mind-boggling forms makes it modern.

Now that we have defined roughly what modern Indian cuisine is, I wonder whats the market viability of such a restaurant within the Indian market. Like someone recently said, people don’t buy a Louis Vuitton everyday, but sure they will go splurge on the street almost daily without a second thought. So is there truly any business value and sustainability in an instance like this? Well.. i don’t know. But I’d sure like to see where it goes and how.

Everyone craves temple food once in a while but would they appreciate it as much if they had it everyday? I had similar thoughts after I’d had my pig-out session with my sisters with the tasting menu last month. The restaurant is known for its classic twist and top-notch clientage, not to forget the celebrated chef whose first-mover advantage in this segment in the country has gone to make it the acclaimed restaurant that it is today. So i have a mixed bag of a story to tell.

A three-hour traffic barely goes for a good opening to any evening, and would usually end up in a brawl in Delhi, except in this case where it was a determined drive to explore this restaurant no-matter-what. In a place that is hard to find, nestled in some corner of a colony that makes you walk and wonder if all this trouble is worth the effort. I was making mental notes to trash the restaurant for all the inconvenience it caused me even before i dined there.

Gladly, it’s not going to be that. All the doubts are soon put to rest once you set foot inside the club like environment and see families happily enjoying some classical music with their food and few hi-flying executives equally engrossed with their phones and plates alone. It’s not unusual, but not a usual feel as you enter an Indian restaurant in a five-star hotel. This one is bustling in a continental way. And i forget all about my traffic woes immediately.

It’s difficult to not appreciate the exceptionally well curated courses and pin down the quirks in the ingredients used. Just to summarise, I loved the blue cheese naan-lets for starters and beetroot tikkis with wasabi chutney. The potion control through little shapes and sizes is just whats needed where you can’t decide when to stop. The khandvi ravioli with cheese arbi mash, and the potato sphere chaat was nicely deviant while the baingan bharta cornetto.. left me quite offbeat and curious throughout.

The dessert platter was another playground of all the distinguished flavours and textures that round off the meal on another queer high. Am still contemplating if its time to go back and mull in a familiar yet a contrast of taste, that only Indian Accent can justify.

Le Bistro du Parc

Recently FoodTalkIndia organised a vegetarian dinner…wait for it.. at a french Bistro!
Considering this time of the year, the festivity during Navratras and the abstinence few people force upon themselves to feel less guilty, was probably reason enough. But when was french cuisine known for its vegetarianism? To me, it was an irony of sorts. I wondered about my last authentic french dinner which had gooey memories of cheese and sauce and indigestion cause of too much lactose. So I was left intrigued about this one.

Since I couldn’t make it for the dinner, I didn’t wait long enough either and went for a luncheon the very next day with a girlfriend. Please note it was still hot outside, and winters far away in sight.

We sauntered in through a shady looking market to this place and the transformation from menial to major happened in a step or two. I pushed the glass door open to enter. A mental window clicked open too. I blame the french monsieur who greeted me with a wide smile and ‘Hello’. My immediate reaction was to blush and run upstairs to hide myself. Il etait le ‘coup de foudre’!

Settling after breaking a wine glass to face the beautiful park, we ordered some Chenin Blanc to calm our nerves down. Noticing only women around for brunches in groups actually made perfect sense now. They all want to open a french window in their head.

Who said men can’t figure out what women want. They probably haven’t visited this bistro yet. It wasn’t for nothing a kiss was named after these people. Anyway without wondering much we begin with a Parisienne salad and some sour bread to go. I feel the new flavours that could be very well mediterranean if it didn’t have the french twist. I savour it all and wipe the dressing off the plate with some loaf.

Next up our main course was made of thin pastry, called the Chou Farci with Vegetable Flan & Beurre Blanc, while the girlfriend ordered Potato & Brie Gratin with Green Salad & Apple. Seldom do french food look this healthy, light, colourful and delicious especially when its vegetarian. The green surroundings absolutely in harmony with the dishes; helps calming our nerves further down. Looking at the park, its so easy to open all your windows of the mind. The food definitely takes it to another level. Dare I add, a french niveaux is hard to keep up with as it is.

Without further a do we were raring to try more and order the Valrhona Chocolate Rocher. I figure to really test a place, you’ve got to taste the kind of chocolate they serve. The name had got us drooling.. like we weren’t already. The first spoon.. God.. was it orgasmic! We literally moaned for minutes. Everything was set to pleasure your senses. Right from the food, the mood and the good..ness! We were left craving for more… and it wasn’t just the food.

The product is the only truth, said Chef Alain Ducasse. And I say seldom does the truth gratify so instantly.

Yappy -by I

I never thought I’d ever warm up to Sushi. Or anything remotely Japanese ever! My earliest memory of having it is of the corner Sushi bar down the road to the DLR station off South Quays, when I’d just accompanied a colleague on a lunch break. Then I swallowed it all thinking how bland it was. But then I remember I couldn’t own up how uninitiated I felt even with my eyes welling up for the strong taste of Wasabi and soy. Well.. that was me then. I thought Sushi is not for the faint hearted.

Fast forward to the present. Even though it can be an acquired taste. With this raging introduction of the vegetarian Sushi in the recent times, it doesn’t have to be that daunting anymore. Once ventured into its hard not to be addicted, and leaves you craving for more. My rendezvous with it has only gone from good to great. The first time I really fell in love with Sushi was at Teppan Sushi bar in Bangalore. I have to say that was what made me raring to go and look further to see what Japanese cuisine has in store for a vegetarian like moi! Another sushi-bar worth a mention here is the Kylin closer home. OK. Now that am all warmed up, lets proceed to the main topic of this blog.

A visit to Guppy by Ai was much-anticipated since my arrival here in Delhi. Good things take time. So one fine evening, I drove down all the way and found it after few rounds of Khanna market, only to realise that it was so easy to miss the first time. Located as a part of an old style mall, it has that old world charm with no such pretensions. Until you enter from the lane side, and it takes only few seconds to be transformed before you begin to feel like you are in Japan. With frangipani tree in the courtyard, a bright color scheme as a backdrop, it gets better when you finally enter the dining.  Animé murals with the hint of a play school, you automatically get into the fun mode. And then there’s origami paper for you to try while you wait for the food! Now enough about the surroundings, I’ve got to get on the food. But I swear I was so taken aback by the place that it deserves all this mention. The kid in me was jumping to come out and play.

So while I was busy folding the paper to make a heart, my amuse-bouche appeared. It looked so pretty, I gulped it down without a thought, with some soup along with it. And bam! Everything else had to stop right there. The food had all my attention. I requested another portion, for I needed to spend some more time with it, devouring. I was almost coming to my seventh senses. Ha.. guess that!

Obviously from there we decided to settle for the tasting menu. How cruel to decide not to have something off this fantastic menu? At least I am not capable of such crime. So we let the Chef reel us in by doling out what later made me (dare i say) a very happy woman.

To start with I’ve had vegetarian Maki before but a vegetarian Nigiri, Sashimi, and Temaki was a first! For once I thought absolute justice has been done to me. Usually the non-vegetarians always have more options to try, that I envy. Here there was variety and how. Absolutely loved the bell pepper and thin omlet sushi. That rolling definitely calls for some dexterity and talent. Did I mention about the fresh wasabi? It’s like a green stem that’s grated on shark skin.. how exquisite is that!

Then came the varied starters, which turned out a nice experiment with tofu, miso and some more brand new set of flavours bustling in my mouth. It was fairly building up my appetite towards main course. Now I like to play safe by being a vegetarian. But I thank the stars that day which made me try the Cod! Is it the god of fish or what? It definitely had a royal entry seething on a stone and tasted absolutely heavenly. Who’d believe it’s coming from me, a vegetarian? Well I have decided now to turn a pesceterian. I can’t afford to miss out on such oh-so-yummy delicacies anymore.

God.. the Black Cod blew my mind. I was on the seventh heaven after this. I did not want to get rid of it’s taste so soon. Nope not even for desserts. The charred- smoky flavour was something that had me enthralled. I was bordering delirium. I had to calm down.

So came the dessert platter with its tidbits, that is probably there just so people do calm down and come back to reality. You can’t have a high after another high. It could be maddening you know! No one endorses such danger.

Anyway I just couldn’t get over the scene around me. It subtly engulfed me to believe like I was lazing in a cafe in Nakano Ward, perhaps. It was easy to drift off and mull over Murakami. The restaurant had cast such a spell. A shot of Limoncillo, got me back to India.