Tag Archives: Indian cuisine

Rasoi Ghar – serve me food, not English!

Rasoi Ghar in Karama is a veggie haven, focussing on Western Indian cuisine. It seems they are aiming to place themselves as a fine dine, experiential restaurant. There are traditional and modern gimmicks like finger-wash and menu-on-tablet that can regale the customer. Truth is that it will be the food and service that will remain key.

Warm staff but I did not, for the life of me, understand why did they have to speak in English even when spoken to in Hindi? Performance pressure? Or does food taste better if spoken to in English? And I am not talking grammar, here.

Food is served fresh and clean but here’s my take:

Food Temperature: should be constant. Seconds served should not have a change in temperature. If you are aiming to be a different beat, then these finer points need to be incorporated.

Repetition: Too many staff members, crowding on a table to serve and repeat the name of a dish. My food experience gets ‘nervy’ seeing so many people focussing on one table. But when you ask why Kolhapuri Paneer is tasting like Kadhai Paneer, there isn’t an answer!

Serving Etiquette: A server, mistakenly, poured the wrong dal in my bowl. He should have changed the bowl but didn’t. Why should my sweet dal taste of kadhi?

Recipe compatibility: I am not sure I have been served Dal Khichdi and Veg Biryani together, in India. Ever. is this not trying too hard?

Overall good food but not great. I could easily forget the 7 – 8 dishes I ate. Liked the corn halwa (didn’t mind it soaked in ghee).

#BurpAndBelch meter: 2.5

#5WordFoodReview: Do Something Memorable With Food

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Rasoi Ghar
Call: +971 4 5509119

Zainal Mohebi Plaza, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road, Opposite Centrepoint, Al Karama, Dubai
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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.

Chicken a-la TheCalmDev

I have never really blogged about the food I make. I never aimed for having a food blog. I usually try to replicate my mom’s recipes, since she is a superlative cook or I look up stuff on the net and add a dash of me as the recipe progresses on the burner. But since today I made something totally unscripted and by the grace of the gourmet god, it turned out pretty awesome did I decide (read dare) to publish it in my blog.

Chicken a la CalmDev

First of all, I did not have tomatoes at home. No puree either. Too lazy to go out to the grocery to get some, I decided to make chicken without any tomatoes. Here goes:

Chunk up the chicken breasts and marinate them in some fresh curd, with salt and pepper. I prefer the chicken chunks to be bite sized and not bigger.

Chop up 2 medium size onions.

Blanch some almonds. Chop them up roughly.

Use an entire bunch of coriander. Get them all finely chopped. Ah, love the smell of fresh coriander!

Take 3 pods of garlic and finely chop them. Take about an inch of ginger and do the same that you did with the garlic. Keep aside.

Now in a pan, heat up some oil; about 3 tablespoons. I usually work on eye-estimation. Throw in about 4-5 cloves. Remember to take off the heads. When the oil is infused with the cloves, put in a bay leaf. No panic, if you don’t have any at home. Then just do so without it. Throw in a small teaspoon of cummin seeds and see them spluttering. Add in 2 dried red chillies. Let the garlic and ginger say hello. Add in the chopped onions and allow it to introduce itself. Sweat them in the pan. I prefer the onions a little brownish pink, so keep stirring in and use your eyes. Add the almonds. Mix it well. Once done, and you will know that from the wonderful aroma, it is time for the masalas. One teaspoon of fenugreek powder and a half of cumin powder, if you don’t have the seeds. Do not add turmeric. One thing that I do not like about Indian food is the use of turmeric in just about everything. In about a minute, slide in the coriander. Let everything say hello to all else in the pan. And then add in the chicken and the marinade as well. Coat the chicken with the onion bed. Give it about a minute or so. Mix in some water; enough to cover the chicken, just about. A pinch of salt. Remember, you used salt while marinating the chicken, so go easy. Cover your pot and let it slow cook for 30 minutes.

Take off heat. Check gravy consistency. Check chicken if ready.

Spoon over some rice or pulao!

Bon appetit!