It’s an art exhibition. Tresind is. Only difference is that you can eat the art exhibits. That makes Tresind a must-visit place for culinary art lovers. Nestled in Radisson Hotel, on Sheikh Zayed Road, Tresind rustles up some superlative Indian dishes in a progressive, modernist fine dine approach.
Let me explain what I mean, when I said ‘superlative’. It is not an adjective I use because the food on my plate was so good-looking that I made peace with the taste. No. It is superlative because of the strong loyalty towards the right taste of the Indian dish. And superlative plating style that could have you suspecting a Monet’ signed on the plate. The sign that one doesn’t see is that of Executive Head Chef Himanshu Saini who has developed the wonderful menu.
My wife and I tried the recommended Chef’s Tasting Menu. It is good to submit to the chef and see what taste route they want you to take. We sat by the window, enjoying some hand-picked English retro music when the handsome chef Angad walked in to take us through the sapid journey.
Then on, it was almost like a scene out of Satyajit Ray’s “Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne” where food appears, relentlessly, on the table and food so delicious that you could eat your finger and not miss it (until you sign your credit card slip).
Here’s my highlights from the Chef Tasting Menu:
The deconstructed Gol Gappe: the true deconstruct of this street food favourite, it was served in a china ladle with ‘boondi’ or chickpea flour globules. Those sat around a sci-fi looking roundel of green mint chutney and red tamarind chutney, together. So when you slide in the entire spoonful in your mouth, you get the exact flavour burst of “Gol Gappe” like you would expect.
The Mushroom ‘Tea’: Now that would be out-of-the-box. I couldn’t, for the life of me, comprehend what it would taste like. Now that is part of the ‘building anticipation’ game. A mushroom soup came in a transparent tea-pot along with some fancy tea china ware. A few thin slices of dehydrated mushrooms were thrown into the cup, with a small spoon of truffle powder and the hot mushroom broth filled up to the brim. The hot liquid hydrated the mushrooms and the truffle added to the taste. A sip of it and I was sitting as gleefully as a child with his favourite toy in hand.
The Chaat Trolley: A dapper, young Chef Tarun wheeled in a trolley with a huge tray covered with butter paper. It is like a personalised cooking demo of a ‘chaat’. The crumbly crisps were laid out and the special chutneys and yoghurt artistically spilled over. The ‘dhokla’ was lowered into the sinister looking liquid nitrogen chamber; taken out after sometime and crushed over the chaat. It felt like the famous scene from Terminator 2 Judgement Day when where James Patrick freezes and crumbles after being dunked in liquid nitrogen. The crushed ‘dhokla’ was hydrated with some curry leaves butter milk. Seeds of pomegranate were sprinkled on and voila! Like a canvas soaking up fresh paint, our street chaat was ready. You will notice it to have the same taste that you get from your local street vendor but in a funky new packaging!
This preparation took my breath away. ‘Aam-papad’ Lamb Chops! Mango fruit leather melted down into a gooey, Indian BBQ sauce-like coating, stuck to the juicy lamb chops. It was a delight to my taste buds. While I was surprised at how beautifully Chef Himanshu used a sweet condiment as a marinade for lamb chops, I was also admiring the taste profile of both ingredients. By golly, it was a non-vegetarian lolly!
Special mention of the palette cleanser ‘dahi-bhalley’ ice cream that out-did my wildest culinary dream! If that is one flavour that my local grocery store would stock, I’d buy a tub every week!
We had to ask the service to stop feeding us. The plates never stop coming and the food doesn’t stop surprising you. I strongly recommend the Chef Tasting Menu if you don’t want the hassle of reading a menu and ordering a dish.
Going double or in a party, Tresind will get you going with its immaculate service and fine flavours. I guarantee the food will get your liking for Indian cuisine hiked up; not so sure about the French though.
Get fed like a bull!
Dev J Haldar is the program director of South Asian radio station Suno1024, an academic and a food critic. Follow his weekly column on Masala.com.