A match made in culinary heaven
Atmospherics: I had visited this pleasant (if unexceptional) eatery a few months ago, little realizing that it was to be the classic case of the mouse that was about to roar. A month or so ago, celebrity Chef Hemant Oberoi joined hands with the management, and things have not been the same since. First of all, the cuisine has undergone a subtle shift: while it is still casual western and prices are still down-to-earth, but what a huge difference in the menu. To give just one example, Chef Oberoi is enormously impressed by Peruvian ingredients and has imported three chillies from that country for the restaurant. Each of them is subtle and though it gives its trademark punch, it is at the back of the throat that you feel the sting, rather than on the palate. Because the location is in Khan Market with its mixed crowd, there is nothing pretentious or over the top about the food which appeals to a wide demographic. As is usual in this market, the restaurant is on two floors: first and second, without a lift.
Table talk: Do not miss the star of this particular show: Brie and truffle soufflé, pepper brioche (Rs 795) one of the most expensive items on the menu (which shows you how reasonable it is, currently). The soufflé is like a large snowball – light as foam, flavourful and creamy with the delicate sauce in which it is immersed. Better still, place your order as soon as you are seated, as these souffles can disappear in a trice. The best part about the new menu is the plethora of gourmet dishes they have on the vegetarian section. Quinoa cake (Rs 450) is lightly flavoured and is great for weight-watchers; kabocha puree with coconut espuma (Rs 395) is one of the most subtly flavoured soups I have had in recent times. The Japanese pumpkin (kabocha) yields a superb orange hued soup and the trace of kaffir lime and coconut espuma make it a five star offering at astonishingly low prices. Hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanouj sampler (Rs 475) is the other dish I tried, made with considerable expertise.
Plus and Minus: service is slightly slow right now, as the staff gets used to a change in the kitchen. Chef Oberoi is currently in Delhi.
Must try: Portobello and tofu carpaccio; Bombay toastie; Peruvian lamb shank
Food: 4.00; Service: 3.75; Décor: 3.50
26 Khan Market Middle Lane
Phone: 011 47094903
Open from 11.30 am to 11.30 pm
Serves alcohol; accepts credit cards
Meal for two: Rs 2,000