Modern Twist for North Indian Foodby Opinion Express May 24, 2019 0 comments
Baar Baar’s amalgamation of north Indian food with a modern twist has some hits as well misses, says Chahak Mittal
The posh lanes of Khan Market are somewhat akin to a food lover’s paradise. And it is here that I headed to Baar Baar, a dine-in restaurant, as a writer and food lover could indulge in her love for fusion dishes as the place offers Indian food with a modern twist. And was I in for a surprise and a change of view towards the way an authentic Indian dish could taste.
The ambience, replete with colours like magenta and teal, peppered with brass and wooden decor, sets the tone for experimentation. It makes you reconsider how Indian dishes could be prepared with a new outlook.
The first. I bit into the papad-like sweet potato, yam and banana kadak naan and chaat corn roti, served with sweet corn mousse and tomato sea buckthorn chutney. The taste was such that it would remind one of hummus and pita bread but at the same time, forget it as this has a distinct flavour. The chopped cashews, sprinkled on the top, added flavour to the ‘perfectly bland’ yet the most tasteful mousse.
My confidence about the curations by New York chef Sujan Sarkar went up a notch further with the potato tikki which was served next. It was nothing like the ones found at the street side chaat thela (vendor). The crispiest tikki, in the centre was surrounded by battered and deep-fried kale and spinach tempura and had a sweet and sour yoghurt mousse poured over its top. The taste could make one wish that every thela should prepare the tikki that way. But uniqueness was presumably the drill, here. The next ensemble made it very apparent.
Served with an ulta tawa parantha at its bottom, the cylindrical duck seekh kebab was topped with mixed berry chutney and housemade pickles. The kebab didn’t have the overtly non-vegetarian taste yet was perfectly meaty. A special alert for vegetarians. This one might just make you want to reconsider your food orientation.
While I was still gorging on the duck kebabs, sous chef Hitesh Lohat was keen on serving the best under his domain. The beetroot and peanut chops were served with garlic, apricot and chilli chutney, greens and pickles. It reminded me of a crazy ball-sized coconut, brown, hard and crispy on the outside, softer inside. Only the colour was different— maroon instead of white.
Pairing beer with the meal is usually seen as the most viable option, however, one can’t help but look at the menu when it has a wide range of cocktails to choose from. I went for Calcutta Cup. The drink was an amalgamation of bourbon and Islay single malt whiskey infused with flavours of mango ginger, honey syrup and citrus. The cocktail, however, made only a little impact to my already impressed tastebuds as I felt the flavours could have been stronger.
As I continued with the food, the baked truffle fries made their way to my plate. These were topped with cheese fondue and fried in truffle oil but the idea was not executed to perfection as these appeared and tasted more like potato wedges. The dried cheese didn’t make too much of an impact.
With two disappointments in a row, I looked up to the next dish, which was Malai broccoli and pumpkin, crispy lentil cake and parmesan mousse mixed in a salad bowl. A vegetable lover like me would absolutely drool even at the very names of its ingredients, but the dish failed to meet my gastronomic expectations.
Next up was the chicken malai tikka, topped with cheese fondue and walnut crumbs. Ideally, a perfect example of fusion.
As I neared a saturation, the last dish in line was the yoghurt apricot kofta served in dum gravy and with sea buckthorn papad-like breads and pickled apple. The kofta, soft as cotton, could be an appropriate replacement for paneer (cottage cheese) or usual koftas — finally, a perfect fusion.
The speed of the service was not uniform. But I was lucky to get my desserts a bit late as after all the food that I had, it took time for me to make some space. But desserts were worth the wait. The first one was the Thandai cassata, served with bits of tutty-fruity pistachios and black pepper meringue. The crispy waffers on top melted in my mouth like cream. The cassata had my heart.
The second dessert was the Cashew cake, served with milk ice cream and apricot gel. Even as the ice cream was a perfect replacement to the vanilla, the cake could have had balanced its sweetness, which was a tad bit too much.
Writer: Chahak Mittal
Courtesy: The Pioneer