Tag Archives: French

Bruschetta

BurpAndBelch Bruschetta
BurpAndBelch Bruschetta

Not the greatest of things to make and then announce it to the universe (via social media) but that child-like joy of getting something right the first time, with an itsy-bitsy twist to it; then it would be a shame to curb the surging heart. This is to the handsome bruschetta!

Picked up a good quality French baguette (with this, Italian purists would want to puree me) and cut those into roundels. Gave all those a good glug of good quality olive oil, a good lick of garlic and grilled them off lightly, to just heighten the crunch of the crusty bread.

Meanwhile, chopped some fine tomatoes. The trick is to get slightly thick tomatoes, maybe 2 notches lower than the ‘beef’ variety. I usually pick up tomatoes judging them on their suppleness and skin. Add a dash of cracked pepper and a light dust of oregano. I skipped the salt. Just wanted to focus on the mild flavours. Spooned the tomatoes over the bread and added finely chopped dil over them. I decided to forgo basil and use dil instead and it worked just fine for me.

With a perfect bruschetta, you realise that there is nothing that a good tomato cannot do!

Buon apetito!

Parisienne Brunch at La Cantine du Fauborg

La Cantine du Fauborg at Emirates Towers
La Cantine du Fauborg at Emirates Towers

Will take time to get this name on your tongue. Meanwhile La Cantine du Fauborg is trying to put Paris closer to your tongue, for you fine connoisseurs.

Brush up on your French when you go here, specially since they boast of a Française brunch (the zillionth brunch in Dubai). Reservations preferred. And despite how you may want to roll over for a brunch, this one will need dressing up. Caution there.

The joie de vivre is the cheese platter. It was like paying hommage to frômmage! From Blue to Gouda to Goat and several encrusted cheese were accompanied by fruits, chocolate chips, crusty bread et al. A few were direct lifts from the supermarket, although I would have preferred some rustic French stuff.

The airy, roomy lounge at La Cantine
The airy, roomy lounge at La Cantine

The other offerings were cold cuts, salads, gateaux and ah, yes, the delightful french toast!

Sit down, get pampered by the team there. Sip a chilled rosé (or the wine of your choice), nibble on your cheese and enjoy the live music. If you want some more food, ask for eggs done your style. The benedict was very fine.

Want more food? Upgrade your brunch for a few dirhams more and enjoy main course.

#BurpAndBelch meter: 4 classy rot (burp in French)
#5WordFoodReview: C’est La Vie, Ma Cherie

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The restaurant is open 7 days a week: weekdays from noon to 2am
and weekends from noon to 3am. For bookings, call: + 971 43 527 105 or write to book@lacantine.ae .
La Cantine du Faubourg
Emirates Towers Hotel
P.O. Box 504904
Dubai – UAE

Très Chic Trèsind!

Tresind Interiors
Tresind Interiors

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.

Zaatar Pav and Hummos
Zaatar Pav and Hummos

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:

Deconstructed GolGappa: burst of flavours
Deconstructed GolGappa: burst of flavours

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.

Brewing creativity: Mushroom 'Tea'
Brewing creativity: Mushroom ‘Tea’

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.

Chaat Art
Chaat Art

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!

Signature dish: Aam Papad Lamb Chop
Signature dish: Aam Papad Lamb Chop

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.

The gorgeous Tresind Interior
The gorgeous Tresind Interior

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!

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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.

Taste of Music, Sound of Food

I am not really in favour of restaurants with live music.

I have my reasons for not liking the mix of hot food and live music. First and perhaps, the foremost, I feel that music is being degraded by presenting it to a bunch of people who are more interested in what is on their plates than on the singer’s lips. There is an automatic curtain that we draw in our heads trying to separate the live performers and food. Music, when presented live, requires some amount of attention. Respect for the craft and the craftsman completely flies out of the window when one walks into a ‘restaurant with live music’. I start detesting the idea when fine dining restaurants have live performers. How am I supposed to concentrate on the food, then?

Second, if I need to have entertainment in front of my eyes while I eat, I usually switch on the TV. At least I can change channels as opposed to stuck with singers who I might not fancy.

I do not see the point of having singers who put on a show as if they were applying for American Idol. Singing while people eat will not guarantee music loving audiences.

It is a conversation killer. How am I supposed to talk to my co-chair when some Johnny or Jenny is trying to wrench all their emotions in a song that is blaring across the restaurant? Excuse me, I want to talk. I want to discuss the food. I want to share how my day went. I want to know what is happening in my friend’s life. I do not want to practise sign language with a knife and fork in hand and look like a complete retard. Pardon my French.

Besides, the quality of music (or sometimes dance) is not good, most times. It takes away from the taste of my plate when the music that is dished out is below standard.  Like Instagram has made photographers out of everybody, karaoke has made everybody singers. I recently walked into a karaoke restaurant, not knowing that it was a karaoke night, and I cursed my decision all throughout the evening. As if the restaurant singers were not enough, there were other customers, who decided to sing a love-lorn sing in between starters and main course. You have no idea, what I went through that night.

Does one not find it weird when strange pairs of eyes keep looking at you and your dinner ridden plate for compliments or clappings? Does one not find it weird to eat with somebody looking at you? I do. Neither do I like the idea of customers staring brazenly at the singer (God bless, if you are a woman)!

All in all, I find the idea, rather futile and infertile. If music be the food, then play some music softly, like most restaurants do. Let there be good conversations and mirth, let people enjoy the food, savour it with their eyes and taste buds. Let the multitudes in the food and beverage industry learn to respect food and music separately. One can be the other’s inspiration but both hold different positions. Let us not take it away from them.