Effortless excellence in this chef-led restaurant
Atmospherics: A bar with high chairs around it, a private dining room, an open-air enclosure near a tree, regular tables, chairs and sofas – and all this is on the ground floor. The music – Spanish and Portuguese ageless classics – and the fact that at least two of the three chefs that jointly operate Tres: Julia, Jatin, Jamshed, are present at any given time, are some of the reasons why this eatery is so popular. It formerly operated a few doors down the same market. This version is a new, improved one, with a far more imaginative menu, making use of a greater variety of ingredients. The non-alcoholic beverage menu too is much more exhaustive than any comparable eatery. Every element of the food has been thought through: nothing here is plonked on the table just because it is in vogue at the moment. The artistic wooden bread bowl has smoked butter, tomato and chilli jam and bread made from four kinds of grain.
Table talk: Point to just about anything on this brilliant menu and it will take your breath away with flavour or innovation. However, shrimp and crabmeat croquettes with sweet corn cream and fish roe (Rs 600) are nuggets of flavour and originality in our inland city. The crunchy exterior gives way to a soft melange of flavours that one does not see paired together very often. Chicken liver ice-cream, caramelized shallot tart tatin, preserved walnut apple dressing (Rs 650) is the one dish I always order here. Instead of the classic chicken liver pate piped from a nozzle and served on a toast point, this version is churned, frozen and served instantly. My companion could not get her head around the concept of a frozen savoury, but I loved the ‘ice-cream’ as well as the beautifully caramelized shallot tart with its crisp base: a perfect marriage of cold and warm. Pan-fried ricotta gnudi, truffled corn custard, perilla leaf butter, sweet potato crumbs (Rs 750) comes together in bite-sized morsels that are rather like gnocchi except that these are just ricotta and semolina; no potato. Light as air with the burst of buttery goodness every now and then, it is a great dish, whether you are vegetarian or not.
Plus and minus: amidst the cornucopia of flavours, the wine list is an apology.
Food: 4.00, Service: 3.75, Decor: 3.75
Must try: baked artichoke hearts; pancetta wrapped chicken; matcha and lemon
23, Lodi Colony Market
Open from 12 noon to 3 pm; 6.30 pm to 11.30 pm
Credit cards accepted; alcohol served
Meal for two: Rs 2,800