My mantra when it comes to food- be open, be prepared to try something new, it could be a dish, it could be a vegetable or meat, sauce, anything… Once you get to this point, life is nothing but awesome..
This is probably why last evening was special, no doubt about that~! When Chef Vikram calls and invites you over for dinner, you go with a big grin on your face and excitement bubbling within- that is the reaction he & his food evoke in us.. And these evenings are where I realise how much I have changed over the years, in terms of food- palate, preferences, being open to new flavours/textures,etc…
Last evening was simply fabulous, romantic even… actually I am constantly looking for new adjectives- no no , not being cliched or any such, it is truly magical. Chef Vikram always has a story to tell, he talks about using art from various parts of the world, uses local produce [can transform a humble lauki into something fancy] and believes in giving the guests a truly WOW experience. This dinner was all about “The Drop”- the essence, the trees of life where it all begins, falls on concrete & splatters, lands on Earth, moves towards water, and so on… Each course had a story to tell, each element on the plate had a role to play and the flavours simply play with your senses not to forget the surprise as you pop it into your mouth.
Here is the journey we took through dinner, the 10 courses…
The drop – lychee bubble served on a betel leaf- we were asked to lift the leaf with the drop, pop the drop in our mouth and then take a bite of the leaf. It was accompanied with celery smoke.. He stood next to us, waited for us to try and asked us what we thought of it with a gleam in his eyes…
Pumpkin soup in a bulb, with a splash of chilli oil combined with truffle pate.. The minute you unscrewed the top, the truffle flavour hits you. It was served alongside a chinese bun coated in pumpkin powder. Soup was super spicy while the bun was fun to nibble on.
I took a glug of the soup straight from the bulb and nearly burnt my tongue, but it was fun, I paused but continued while my friend drank out of his spoon. Chef came over and asked us if we had used the spoon, almost in a reprimand tone.. Now these little bits are what makes him so special..
The tree of life- A quinoa salad [almost like a risotto] served with mushrooms, brazilnut pesto, drops of sauces -beetroot,carrot and few others… and there was also these circles made with melted cheese.. Dont ask me for details, every spoonful was heavenly-creamy, rich, flavour packed…
The drop splatters- My favourite dish of the evening… I had three croquets of sorts made with onion shell that had miso & few other ingredients mixed together sitting on a black bean sauce served on top of cabbage mash and a dehydrated Chinese cabbage leaf. Oh my, don’t ask me how it was- you have to taste it to understand it..
And the drop spreads as it splatters- This dish was a mystery- the bottom layer resembled radish, yet tasted different, above it were more veggie layers topped with sauce and burnt leek ask around for bitterness. Chef told us the art form in this was Coded graffiti that Hitler had used to send out messages.
The drop slowly moves towards water- the crab sand [art form from Orissa- the sand was made with Japanese fermented chilli paste and olives- it was sweet yet super hot], a base of onion mash, with a serving of wasabi with few other elements and a dehydrated orange slice. We bit into the orange first and then moved to the other elements. Once again, every spoonful was fabulous.
Basil Sorbet- to give our palates some relief.. Boy oh boy, was this fun to eat, sitting pretty in a bowl made of ice, with some dry ice adding to the smokey effect, we had fun playing with it.
Main course- Corn steak, the sauce smeared on the plate was Wow, there was also a dehydrated powder made with pineapple and something else [can’t remember for the life of me what that was]
Lasagna – Pumpkin sheets with tofu mash in-between, slices of beetroot and little circles of betel leaf on the side. It was served along side a sauce that was strong, had Thai flavours and was quite a power packed dish. We had jasmine rice to go with this. Loved every spoonful of it. Infact, I was able to have only half of this, was beyond filling.
Drum rolls please… Here comes the show stopper- The dessert- A plate arrived on the table, Chef then handed me a rose, I could hear music in the background, it was so beautiful, my mind was slowly drifting away till I heard his voice telling us to smell it and then smash it on the plate. What smash, yes he replied giving a nod asking me to do it. I dint do a great job, he took the rose and smashed it all over my plate… Egads… wait, this was beautiful.. Art in its truest form. There was dark chocolate, cranberry, cherry, cool ice cream, the sweet rose petals, oh the elements were playing games with my head, leaving me dizzy….
What more can I say? If you are ever curious about food that looks and tastes like this, you should head over to Pan Asian and try out the food there. And don’t go with the familiar dishes, ask the Chef for his recommendations- you will be in for a special treat~!
As for me, I sure am glad to have connected with Chefs of this calibre, and those who truly madly enjoy food.. All they want is for their guests to love their creations, relish the dishes and come back for more.. A meal like this costs around Rs2250/- [but then it this is not something you will find on their menu, lemme tell you that!]