Monday, December 17, 2012

Arola with Chef Sergi Arola

So every once in a while, the sun shines on me, JW Marriott has brought Arola Restaurant & Bar to life by converting a corner of their hotel into a pretty snazzy eatery. The lights are dim, the space comfortable and the bar stools impossibly high.

The concept is of Spanish/Tapas style individual dishes to be shared by the table, more appetizers then courses, mostly Catalan/Spanish but not strictly limited to the area. The Marriott already had 3 restaurants, a humongous coffee shop, a bar and a night club. To add a relatively risky proposition  like this is laudable. Pity they are in Juhu.

I had the opportunity to dine with Sergi Arola himself and its not everyday that one gets to hang with a Michelin Star chef (although its my fourth 'star' meal and second time 
hanging with a star chef in the last twelve months)  the man speaks his mind and is passionate about his food.

Not to judge a book by its cover but Sergi has a vibe that is more of a rock n roll biker than two star Michelin chef.  Even more interestingly the man has trained and worked with both Ferran Adria & Pierre Gagnaire which is the equivalent of being mates with Superman & Batman.  

While I waited for the rest to troop in i sipped on a delicious Sangria and noshed on even more awesome olives.

In no time at all the party had accumulated, my fellow diners were a fun food and booze loving bunch.  @CulinaryMuse1 @nikhil_merchant @MissShwe @Manvi22 @romibites, @shweta_m89.

Interestingly enough, one of the first things brought out was a bunch of Naan's served with salsa, salt, olive oil and cloves of garlic & no instructions of what to do. Sergi mischievously kept deflecting when asked how to go about it.

There really is only one way, you rub the oil, then the garlic, sprinkle some salt and then salsa on to taste. Frankly, i couldn't stop, i just kept going after them Naan's. Its a great way of being faithful to the concept yet incorporating local dishes/ideas/produce.

The salad was tomato, onion, olives with olive oil, the dish was all about freshness, frozen ingredients and it would die pretty quickly.

The eggplant carpaccio was okay, a little bland but not bad overall.  

The Patata Bravas were deranged, sauce and cheese and potato.. bite sized little babies would do all kinds of wonderful things when popped into your mouth. Impossible to stop at one.

The desserts again were okay, the lemon sorbet was uneven and much too hard, the chocolate looking thing was actually possibly tamarind based which was weirdly good an the chocolate souffl√© thingy was on the money. 

Overall, the place has a very nice ambiance, the drinks are great, especially their Gin bar and the decadent gin and tonic served in a huge goblet with a burnt orange peel. That thing will shake the sadness out of you. The food is interesting, I didn't get a chance to look at their regular menu but from what we were served the dishes are middle of th road.  The flavour profile is relatively weaker and I think the Indian palate will struggle and find them bland.  On the one hand i think Indians need to up their game and accept newer flavours like they have for Teppan and Sushi but from the restaurant point of view, some dishes might need a tweak as well.

Without a doubt it is worth a look. 


Rajvi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rajvi said...

Do they serve main course as well? how does the veg fare look?

Gaurav said...

hey, they have some dishes one can construe as main courses but the concept mostly is on the appetizers.. dont let it detract you though.

there is certainly plenty of veggie stuff there.

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