A continental affair…one fine afternoon
Recently I and my blogging partner had the opportunity to go for the food tasting at le jardin, Oberoi , where the continental food festival is on and the chef Sumit Batra, is unaligned, unique and splendid when it comes to his space, which is food. He happens to be the alumnus of Oberoi center of learning and development and had worked in Oberoi chain all over world and then went to Nomad, New York, and now has come back with his seasoned and skilled self, with a lot of learning and exposure and his every recipe is a work of creation. The five course luncheon which me n Lucky had was a testimony to his expertise. Since he has done a judicious balance of vegetarian and meat, both of us went on to choose accordingly veg and non-veg respectively in each course.
The first course was the Carrot Tartare with sunflower seeds and multigrain crisp.
The carrot tartare, as it arrived, looked like “a little sunshine on my plate”, in the words of Pinky-The Communication Manager, who had invited us for the review. The novelty of the ideas of chef Sumit, the way he tried to incorporate the veggie options where tartare is usually beef or steak, and the kind of presentation and result, is appreciable. His international exposure reflected in everything that was served. The perfect marriage of western continental with the Indian fresh produce, the herbs and vegetables, the perfection which it was brought with, is an innovation, a creation .The julienned carrots with sunflower seeds thrown in gave it the crunch.
While my partner Lucky slurped on delicious Oysters with Mignonette Snow.
The oysters were served fresh and he totally sucked it up as soon as it was presented so that the taste won’t change, as the chef insisted. The snow which is a result of chef’s tryst with international flavours was like the cherry on top.
Sweet Pea Chiffonade with Pancetta, Onions and Parmesan made as the second course for Lucky.
The French chiffon refers to either a delicate silk or, more simply, to rags. Chiffonade literally means “made from rags”, a reference to the appearance of the herbs after they’ve been cut. And here he was served sweet pea chiffonade which gave it a sweet flavour and the fresh shoots so crisp, the cubed and cured pancetta with its salty flavour, the Italian Parmesan cheese which imparted a curious sharpness to the salad.
My second course was Tomato with greens, Burrata and rye.
The fresh burrata cheese and the unusual soft texture inside of it as you take it in your mouth, along with fresh summer cherry tomatoes, and freshly picked herbs, cilantro & basil was topped with the snow and glazed with balsamic seasoning.
We had not asked for this but Pinki made sure we try a little bit of Avocado gazpacho with scallops, cucumber, yoghurt and frost.This was a cold soup.
The addition of avocado makes this cold soup creamier than your average gazpacho, and the greens, cucumber and yogurt, make it, well, so cooling for the system, it’s got a serious kick that makes it anything but traditional. The hot, seared scallops were served in a bowl and as the cold gazpacho was poured over it, made for a delectable sight. The succulent scallops with the juices that were sealed in by searing, just burst into my mouth as I bit into it. With each spoon I could feel the various tastes it carried, from crunchy to sweet to creamy, the cold soup was a harmony of flavours, yet in balance.
Then came the champagne sorbet,with zest of lemon flavours which was supposed to be had as a palate cleanser, and I drank n ate it.
The main course was again a lavish and indulgent affair. So I had the
Chilean sea bass. It was a fresh catch and it was accompanied with Nori mushroom purée which had a balance in flavour, neither typical of the seaweed nor of mushroom and the green peas and basil nage made every morsel heavenly.
While I was delighted by the sea bass my partner Lucky was delving into the Lamb with squash, quinoa and carrot miso purée.The medium done meat was crisp outside while still retaining its soft texture inside and the grilled squash paired so well with it.
The quinoa was crunchy and definitely a novelty when coupled with the rich meat, the purée added the colour to the plate and solace to the palate.
The dessert was textures of espresso and it was subtle flavours of coffee on the bed of some chocolate, no over load of any of it which results in unnecessary sweetness overpowering the whole effect of the natural flavours of beautiful food we had relished, and which usually is the case with anything chocolate or espresso in it. It came along with the ice cream and honeycomb giving it the crispy tinge and voila, my day was made n tailored with gratification.
The novelty, of the luncheon we tasted, was the insistence on the crisp, fresh salads and the cooked to perfection meat and the inclusion of ingredients which are seasonal and regional; and, of course, without a doubt, the innovation that goes into making a recipe with this idea is much healthier and nourishing to the body. The choice of ingredients, the process of preparation and the recipes presented here were eclectic, totally not in line with the regular; and thus showcased an impeccable style that had gone in the preparation, yet so simple at heart. Every recipe that was served on the table was not flooded with a lot of ingredients, as I believe such mixing of many a things imparts chaos to the mind n taste buds and it was basic, simple, and at the same time, appeasing to the senses, nourishing to the mind and body, and soothing to the palate. The food was light and unlike other continental preparations wherein a lot of mashed potatoes or hash browns are used, this food was light and easy on digestion, leaving you with an overall feeling of well-being afterwards. I simply believe that the food we eat, and the after math of it which our body speaks, says a lot about what has gone in. The preparation methods, as are used make a whole lot of difference, and they must be such that our mind and body come in sync; and that is what defines the goodness and quality of food. The impact of it was an overall satiation coupled with nourishment. I had an extravagant affair with food, in the most amazing and vivacious company of our very knowledgeable hostess, Pinki, who had invited us for the food tasting and the superb experience, one of those which you remember. The eclectic choice of menu prepared by the chef Sumit who excels in precision without any tohubohu throws light on his expeditions with food internationally.
I would recommend that the continental food festival that is still on till Friday is something that one should not give a miss to.
Now, till the 24th of this month, would be a great time to check out Chef Sumit’s 5-course tasting menu at Le Jardin. It’s priced at INR 1,975++ per person and is available only for dinner from 7.30pm onwards. You can make reservations on 080 25585858.
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