A celebration of India and its food
Atmospherics: If you ignore the odd name, the space is huge and colourful with swirling Indian colours. Making a distinct statement against the current trend of serving modified Indian food in international surroundings, Kheer celebrates Indian design and the trademark ‘a little bit of everything’ to perfection: there is exuberance everywhere, including the ceiling, but because it is so superbly done by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Tokyo, it makes a style statement. In fact, the whole effect is of a modern temple. There is a bar at the back and a chaat counter in the front; there is an open kitchen, a hundred glass jars filled with spices adorning the walls and ethnic fabric on the seats. You can start your meal at the chaat counter, where personnel from famous chaat stalls in Bikaner make the chaat of your choice. You can choose a bottle of wine from some of the labels the restaurant offers, and you can continue with traditional choices from the menu or a sprinkling of superbly crafted dishes by the uber talented Executive Chef Anooj Wadhawan that you will find nowhere else.
Table talk: Start with machhalee: a tian of chunks of tuna with a curry patta mayo and a tempering of curry patta leaves in mustard oil that counterpoint tomato, onion and tuna. It is a superb fusion creation between Japanese and Indian elements. Murgh tikka (Rs 1300) is actually anything but: an unfamiliar slice of a terrine in which chunks of Delhi’s national bird are fused together by a novel technique with a hung curd dip and pickled onion, both in an unfamiliar avatar. The tandoor section is where Kheer has parked some of their vegetarian delights: chukandar chilgoze ki tikki (Rs 1000) and hare matar ki tikki (Rs 850) are on the list for my next visit. Japan seems to be the flavour of the season in Kheer: there even is a robata section on the menu, featuring fish, prawns and vegetables. The lentil and curry section (which could do with a more felicitous heading) has jungli maas (Rs 2200) in an unusual avatar. The gravy had a bit of onion in it (which is not in the original, royal, version) but the lamb was New Zealand chops, so the flavour was luscious and the texture firm but not chewy.
Plus and minus: The lighting is too dim to read the fine print of the menu by (I used my cell phone torch)
Must try: Murgh Kohlapuri, Malabar Prawn, Khumb Khichadi
Food: 4.00; Service: 4.00; Décor: 4.00
Roseate Hotel, Asset 10, Hospitality District, Aerocity
Open from 7 pm to 11.30 pm
Credit cards accepted; alcohol served
Meal for two: Rs 4,500