For 7 seasons, the bastard son of Ned Stark went about his business with everybody telling him, “You know nothing, Jon Snow”. Imagine not knowing any better.
My food-loving pals across the globe will not know of this, but many moons back, when I started my radio career, we came across this joint in New Friends Colony market called Al Bake in New Delhi that used to make shawarmas. The term was as new as the recipe. It was a simple roll of flatbread with a spiced chicken filling; served with a dollop of sweet mayonnaise. My hungry pals and me took it as it was dished. Shawarma, they called it. But, we knew nothing, Jon Snow.
And then a 10-year stint in Dubai, Middle East, taught me better; from the unassuming shawarma served in Malabari cafeteria to posh pan Arab restaurants. Jon Snow finally knew it.
And so after 15 years, I decided to assault my taste buds on the pretext of nostalgia. The shawarmas arrived, looking exactly like they used to 15 years back. It was almost like they were on some anti-ageing formula. Not one to hesitate when there is food on the table, I bit generously into one. I must give it to the cook for consistency of taste; for it tasted exactly like what it used to way back then. Either they had perfected the ‘secret recipe’ for this Indian shawarma or my taste buds were on holiday. And so, they still didn’t taste like the shawarma they were supposed to be. Dracarys!
Pheidippides running on the wrapping tissue with a gyro in hand. Is this what led him to the Marathon?
Is this what Leonidas and his horde ate to get those hard 6-packs? If so, I am willing to go on a GoGyroz diet.
For the uninitiated, it will not take long to understand the food in question. It is the Greek equivalent of the shawarma. Vertical skewer meat stuffed on to a folded pita bread, with a choice of what you want it go with it – veggies and sauce. And then, sink your teeth into it, Greco style.
I was tabled on this very sparse (Spartan idea, maybe), Greek-blue-and-green themed small outlet by the very warm and cheery team, an array of gyros. Now the menu is as Spartan as it gets. Read, minimalist. 4 different gyros. Make your own gyro empire. And that is it. This where you take a breath. Less is more. Unwrap your warm gyro, close your eyes as you open your mouth wide as a dinosaur and chomp.
The Spartan (Greek) is a juicy sandwich filled with red onions, arugula leaves, chicken, tzatziki sauce along with a special GoGyroz seasoning. This one, I really liked.
The next one is the Babylonian Bite (Persian) that had a hint of sesame tahini, shredded chicken, tomato, parsley, pickles. After all, you need to survey who the Greeks are up against.
The third one was the Ottoman Odyssey. What? I didn’t have to run a marathon like Pheidippides. I had a car. So this one was the Arabian doner with a roast eggplant sauce. I like that.
The fourth, and I did not try this due to unavailability of space in my stomach is the Mayan Myth, which is the Mexican. Tortilla bread with chipotle and guacamole. Maybe next time.
I definitely recommend the Spartan and Babylonian. And while you are chomping it, imagine the hoplites fighting the Persians on the plains of Marathon.
Street walking was never fancier till one heard Michael Jackson release a song by that name. And then, the all-day-dining world restaurant Nine7One launched their Street Art Brunch last week.
The reception was colourful, breezy, street-artsy, guitar-strumming, thigh-high flashing, cycles and barrows where flip-flops and stilettos met over drool-worthy, lusty food. Here, we need to take in a moment. It is, perhaps, unfair to have so much food around that you will need 3 days to savour. So, starve yourself well or jog from the farthest Dubai corner to The Oberois, Business Bay for their vibrant Street Art Brunch.
Here, food does the talking. Right from the moment you step into the foyer, where a lavish charcuterie will hold your fascination while you sip on a chilled glass of prosecco. La dolce vita!
And now you can attack your gastronomic senses from the live Thai counter that simmers you a healthy ‘pulled’ broth of goodness that has everything of what you see in the picture.
Feast your eyes on the sushi boat and quietly populate your plate with one of every kind. Don’t make eye contact with anyone if you are embarrassed of the pile of food on the plate. Nobody will bother, because that is what all else is doing. Oh! and do not forget to easy on the wasabi. It is potent enough to blow your head off!
The Sexy Mexi (I call it that) counter is a live taco station where you can make the stuff of your drooly dreams. A young chef helped made me a sumptuous chicken that was finished off with chocolate, with the usual suspects – sour cream, cajun spice, guacamole, bell peppers and close your eyes when you pop it in your mouth. The only sounds that you will make are bedroom sounds.
I skipped the Indian table, although am told the salmon chat and gajar ka halwa was to die for.
What I savoured with relish, literally, was the burger. The fried chicken nestled with some fine emmental cheese, caramelised onions and sweet relish made me commit loyally till I had chomped off the last crumb of the sesame crusted burger bun! A small bucket of fish fingers and potato rings was plonked on each individual table. Then on, there was the Arabic section that emphasises SLOW cooking. To know more, read my post on SLOW food. Couldn’t say no to a crispy chicken shawarma that came wrapped like a love letter.
Two strapping young hostesses from Oyster Elite Co came by each table and offered oysters. They were quite the “Lady Rambos”, with the low strapped oyster buckets and armed with an oyster paring knife. They probably could do a cameo in the next Expendables!
If you are not driving, then you might as well dive straight into the fancy, music-laden bar that whisks up just about anything that your tongue fancies!
And then you have the expansive dessert tables. a fondue fountain with milk and white chocolates, marshmallows, meringues and what-have-yous! A molecular section played with textures and flavours like a white chocolate peach treat that melted in contact with another syrup. Or the guava (bomb) that took me back to my school summer holidays.
Must try the tiramisu that comes with a small dropper of coffee concentrate that you can squeeze to make your tiramisu squishy and wet. I think I should stop writing. It seems to be taking a rather decadent dip!
For all this and more, head to Nine7One. Street walkin’ baby!