Rest : Indian AccentMeal : Lunch
Loc : The Manor Hotel, Friends Colony
Chef Mehrotra of Indian Accent is one of the few chefs worldwide changing the way Indian cuisine is createD, perceived and presented (the others being Gaggan Anand of Gaggan in Bangkok & Vinit Bhatia of Rasoi etc)
My free time in Delhi was spent trying to get to Indian Accent and after a few false starts i was able to make it a few hours before my flight back to Bombay. Two of my close mates (who don't know each other) were both at Indian Accent at the same time last week and i was beginning to feel pretty left out.
IA, is hard to find, its located in a quiet corner of Friends Colony (not the NEW Friends Colony) where The Manor Hotel stands. The property is small but pleasant and the perfect place to be on a sunny winter day.
Pleasantly lit, with light Indian touches and like most great restaurants IA is fairly small with limited seating (40 covers)
we chose the Tasting Menu which was roughly 8 courses with an amuse bouche and palate cleanser
the first thing they brought out was the little naan niblets with bleu cheese. total victory this one. you cannot go wrong by putting cheese in a naan.
A quick shot of a thick and incredibly delicious mushroom soup served as an espresso with a mushroom biscotti. My first reaction on finishing this was wanting more
the next thing that came in was a churan ka karela which didn't taste a lot like karela to me. served in quite a interesting contraption, it was a little hard to reach but other than that no problem. i probably wouldn't order this again though.
the potato sphere chaat looked like anything but a chaat. tasted just about perfect though. the texture of the crunchy sphere was a marked difference to a regular puri.
the baighan bharta cornetto with goat cheese butter was terrific. eaten just like an ice cream cone, the over whelming taste of the cheese went well with the inherently Indian, sweetish taste of the bharta. we then munched on the daal.
kashmiri morel musallam, again, pretty terrific. a very dry little dish, with lots of mushroom flavour.
the pomengranate and churan kulfi again was pretty terrific, served in a miniature pressure cooker, i loved it.
the first of the mains was a sarson ka saag, a malai corn and makkai bread. Terrific. No other word for this. was just sublime.
their take on the obligatory paneer was fabulou as well. melt in your mouth cubes of paneer in a traditional tomato gravy. luscious flavours.
the satoo paratha, which i was told is a popular Bihari bread was served with a tomato salsa. very different, worked well though.
believe it or not, this is their take on the Khandvi with some pine nuts and delicious cherry tomato.
terrific dal makhani and a sweetish anar and avocado raita although i didn't quite notice the avocado.
got the pumpkin kulcha which was kinda weird but the mushroom naan was just out of this world, good enough to eat on its own.
overwhelming trifecta of desserts, the daulat ki chaat, comes on a bed of fake 100 Rs notes, a light milk foam, slightly sweet, sprinkled with dry fruits and terrific to taste. The mishit doi cannoli was a tad sweet but enjoayble. The doda barfi treacle tart tasted like walnut fudge very good but i thought the daulat ki chat was tops.
a charpoy of school memories was digestives to remind one of their school days.
The man himself !
Overall, Chef Mehrotra has found his niche with the cuisine and the method. The dishes are inherently Indian and work well together. There are playful touches as well as sophisticated idea but underneath it all there is finesse, which is required to do what are mostly traditional dishes most diners are familiar with. Very little margin for error there.
Its truly a tasting menu and the portions are the right size.They have worked out their mains to be in keeping with the style and theme of the rest of their meal unlike Masala Library which while i enjoyed as well, switches to a completely traditional format post their first few courses, which is a total cop out and a major short coming.
My only criticisms would ideally be the lack of a rice preparation on the tasting courses and no real Southern touches (a Rasam or a Stew would have been super interesting) Other than that, it was a stupendous meal and something to experience when the menu changes again in Summer.
Chef Mehrotra was a joy to talk to for the brief moments we could catch him, unfortunately, i am not allowed to discuss any of the things we talked about, but the man despite all his success is super down to earth which in my book is more important than the food he cooks up.
While Gaggan is a great deal more experimental, Rasoi is more European. Indian Accent is the most Indian with dishes you would find in small towns and far corners. The presentation, the accompaniments, the layering (salsa, goat cheese) is where the twist of modernity lies. The dishes are creatively imagined and expertly executed but the fact that Indian Accent successfully offers pre-plated non sharing dishes with a tasting menu makes it all the more remarkable.
Service : 9/10
Damage : 7000 for 2 without drinks (yeah, its not cheap)