Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Chor Bizarre Pop Up at Drift Epicenter till 30th September

The Chor Bizarre is a restaurant located in the Broadway Hotel in Old Delhi. While it's menu covers food from all over India, it specializes in Kashmiri food. The highlight of Kashmiri food is the Wazwaan, a multicourse meal (36 courses to be exact) consisting of a lot of meat preparations. The food is served on a large, ornamental metal platter called ‘Tarami’ and is meant to be shared communally. This gem of a restaurant has been in the capital for 25 years and is a bit of an icon. I can't believe I've never visited! Just shows you what a novice I am when it comes to food :)

To commemorate their 25th year, Chor Bizarre has organized a Pop up in Drift, in Epicenter, Gurgaon, (running for a limited time, until 30th September) and I was lucky enough to be invited to sample some of the delicious fare on offer. The Pop up was curated by Mr Rajiv Kumar Malhotra , executive Chef at Old World Hospitality and an expert in understanding the minor nuances that differentiate  the Kashmiri Pandit and Kashimiri Muslim styles of cooking.  The food celebrates the culinary traditions of both the Pandit and Muslim communities of Kashmir.

I am not at all knowledgeable about Kashmiri food, so for me the chance to get even a small understanding of this style of food was an incredible experience and one that I will cherish for quite a while.

Nadru Churma or crispy fried lotus stem

For starters we were served Nadru Churma or crispy fried lotus stem with a mooli (raddish), yogurt and walnut chutney called Munj Chatin. I normally despise mooli, but I loved this dip where the mooli was so subtle and the walnuts added a nice crunch and richness. We also had some Kashmiri mutton sheekh kebab which just melted in the mouth, and was one of the highlights of the meal.

Kashmiri Mutton Sheekh Kebabs and Nimbu Murg Tikka flavoured with lemon grass

After a few more starters, we were presented with a traditional Kashmiri Thali or Tarami. Courses included haaq (a green leafy vegetable from the mustard/cabbage family), Gushtaba (hand pounded meat balls), Roganjosh, Rajma, Tabakmaaz (style grilled lamb ribs that are so tender they fall of the bone), Nadru Yakhni (lotus stem cooked in a thin yogurt gravy with mild spices like cardamom, ginger and clove and dried mint), Dum aloo, Khatte Baingan and Mutton Yakhni. The platter consists of a few of the courses all served on a bed of fragrant, steaming rice and covered with an ornate dome shaped metal lid. Other courses are served as the meal progresses which ensure that one gets to savour the meal and each course slowly.While I enjoyed the flavors of the delicious food in front of me, I remembered a meal I had years ago in a home of a Kashmiri friend of mine. One of the best things about good food is that just a tiny mouthful can take you back in time to a moment in the past and it seems like you are experiencing that moment all over again.

The Tarami

The meal is quite filling so you must go on an empty stomach, and remember to keep some space for some traditional Kashmiri dessert and Kahwa tea, a traditional Kashmiri tea flavoured with saffron and almonds.

Shoofta, Phirni & Kulfi 

Kahwa tea

The Chor Bizarre Pop up is at Drift, Epicenter until the end of September and you must visit to experience some of their signature dishes and to get a taste of Kashmir. Enjoy the delicious, simple food, that is subtly spiced and flavored and cooked with lots of love and attention. 

[All images by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use without prior written permission]

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Fatty Bao is Finally in Delhi!

The Fatty Bao has finally come to Delhi! Yay! Ever since it opened in Bangalore, I would have to hear from my Bangalore friends how awesome it is and how ‘I didn’t know what I was missing’. Well, no more! The brainchild of Chef Manu Chandra and restaurateur AD Singh, this much loved Bangalore restaurant, hailing from the same F&B family as Monkey Bar, is now here in Delhi.

Housed in the swanky Sangam Courtyard in R.K. Puram, this restaurant with a Panda for its mascot, serves up delicious Pan-Asian delicacies that leave you wanting more. Or so I’d heard. Well, when you consistently keep hearing such glowing reviews of a restaurant, you just have to visit when said restaurant finally comes to your city. And so a plan was made and some fellow foodies and I decided to head there for lunch with stomachs empty and expectations sky high :)

On arrival, we were quickly seated and ordered some Bira beer and a plate of California rolls from the Sushi section, as well as some Baos (you can't go to The Fatty Bao and not order the Baos).While we waited for the food to arrive, we took in the ambience. I have to say I love the way this restaurant is done up. Colorful walls dotted with quirky graphics, custom made lamps and multicolored chairs gave the place a playful, yet chic vibe.

California Roll with crab meat

 First to arrive was the Sushi. The California roll (with crab meat) was good, but not exceptional. I was a little worried. Was I going to be disappointed? You usually tend to be when you visit a restaurant with such high expectations. The after a short wait, the Baos arrived. We had ordered the Char Siu and the Tenderloin Bulgogi. I bit into the Char Siu and it was love at first bite, a foodgasm for all three of us. The pork belly in the Bao was the best pork belly I have ever had! It was juicy, tender & melt-in-the-mouth and worked so well with the green apple kimchi. WOW! With a glass of chilled beer and a plate of Char Siu and I’m pretty sure the problems of the world could be solved :) Admittedly the Char Siu is a hard act to follow, and sadly we made the mistake of trying the tenderloin Bao after it. All three of us were a little disappointed. The let down for me were the strips of tenderloin, which I felt weren't tender enough.

The Char Siu

The Tenderloin Bulgogi

On the advice of the manger, we ordered the Pan seared scallops with Fujiko Butter and The Fatty Bao PB&J from the Small Plates section of the menu. Once again we were very impressed with the quality of the pork in the PB&J which was delicious, and the scallops which were plump and succulent, literally melted in the mouth.

The Fatty Bao PB&J

Pan seared Scallops with Fujiko Butter

With just enough space left for dessert, we settled for the Zen Forest, which is a Yuzu Parfait (Yuzu is a citrus fruit that has a lemony flavour), with a black sesame seed sponge, beetroot ice cream and sesame nougatine. When the dessert was placed in front of us, we were floored by how beautiful it was- almost like a little forest on the plate. And it tasted as good as it looked, with the exception of the black sesame sponge which I found to be very dry. The lemony parfait was refreshing without being too tart. And I loved the earthy taste of the beetroot ice cream.

The Zen Forest

Overall, The Fatty Bao met all my expectations and exceeded them too with a few dishes. It is a little pricey, but understandable considering the quality of the ingredients used. Aside from the taste, every item was beautifully presented and I was very impressed with their attention to detail. I definitely plan to visit again. I plan to try some of their signature cocktails as well as the dim sums among other things.

The Fatty Bao is definitely worth a visit or two or three :) It’s not just the food that’s great, but the entire dining experience, from the d├ęcor, the service and the presentation of the food. I would give it a 4/5. The highlights for me were the Char Siu Bao, the Pan Seared Scallops and the Zen Forest dessert. Keep up the great work guys!

*Disclaimer: All Things Nice reviewed this meal anonymously and paid for the meal

[All images clicked by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use without prior written permission]

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