Review: Indian Accent (Fine dining- Modern Indian)
The Manor Hotel, G/F Building No. 77, Friends Colony West, Delhi. Ph # +91- 11-43235151
Indian Accent located in the lush greens of the Friend’s Colony, is by far the best I’ve experienced in fine luxury dining in the genre of Modern Indian food in Delhi, it simply stands apart. The menu designed by the celebrity Chef Manish Mehrotra (who needs no introcution) is an intricate union of the modern and traditional Indian food; it’s both commendable and inspiring to see how adventurous the chef gets with our Indian food and yet manages to keep the flavours true to its traditional roots. The food at Indian Accent is a journey for the palate, a celebration of Indian food with pride in the city’s contemporary and cutting-age dining scenario.
As I sat down to write my review of this awesome dinner at the much acclaimed ‘Indian Accent’ restaurant last night, I wonder what was the occasion that I went out all so- lavish on myself yesterday. You’ll know what I mean by ‘lavish’ once you read through the end of the post, but then being a foodie I need no special occasion to celebrate food and the food at ‘Indian Accent’ was no less than a celebration.
The first impression is perhaps the only thing that might put you at doubt on a busy day at the restaurant, if only for a fraction of second but it does appear to be a little crunched on space. The space is definitely an issue for some tables are set a little too close to each other making it almost impossible for a conversation to flow without interrupting the guest on the adjoining tables. Although it’s a frivolous issue viz a viz the experience that one is set up for, after all when you are best at what you do (read food here) you pretty much need not make a fuss about anything else.
The ambiance is quite inviting nonetheless, tall ‘Samai’ (Oil lamp), a touch of traditional velvet upholstery infused with spic –white table linen, fresh marigold flowers teamed up with modern lighting does create just the right kind of fine dining magic. The outdoor seating facing a lush green garden might be great for a day-evening dining, and I am looking forward to that in my next visit. The restaurant also has something called as the ‘private dining’ or ‘the chef’s table’, a niche concept that is fast catching up in India, here one can expect the Chef himself plays the host and cater to one’s taste buds, all that comes for a price tag though (someday maybe).
The staff dressed in Indian attire are well trained and courteous, the manger Sam came across as a great help in getting us our table on arrival and did check with us on regular interval if we needed something. Infact the humble chef de cuisine Shantanu Mehrothra did personally check with us if we were enjoying our meal. These little gestures and the sheer promptness with which we were attended through the evening was noteworthy.
Finnaly we arrive to the most important section of my review and while I may be re-iterating, I’s still have to begin by telling that it was outstanding. They have two menus, an Al a Carte and a 6 course Chef’s special tasting menu and since it was our first visit to the restaurant we did decide to go by the later and have the chef take us through his culinary helm. As we contemplated on whether to go for the wine pairings, in the interim arrived the complimentary tiny blue cheese naan which was soft, perfectly baked bite size naans with little cheese oozing out through its centre. Having chosen to go full house with the wine pairings we eagerly awaited for what would follow next and we were immediately served the soup of the day in a shot size cups, the ‘Carrot Shorba’, a stock of creamy , smooth deliciousness. With the bar set quite high already our trip down the chef’s culinary covet set in motion with the first course that arrived in style with a chilled glass of a brute champagne from France. The first course had a two dishes, the first being the potato sphere chaat with white pea ragda, a delicious lipsmacking incarnation of the Indian chat, it was a sort of crispy potato baskets inverted over a bed of white pea ragda, topped with some curd, chutneys and a fresh slice of watermelon. Part two was a serve of shredded kolhapuri chicken salad over an avocado koshimbir, spicy and hot as you’d expect the kolhapuri style to be, the avocado koshimbir (chopped salad) added a nice crunch but then the heat was on a little higher side for our palate but the perfectly paired glass of brut offered a quick relief.
The second course was baked fish with amritsari masala butter and whitebait papad, the dish by the look of it had an absolute International appeal and the baked basa fillet was delicious. It tasted great with the butter masala spices and the crackle of the thin whitebait papad won my non-fish eating Husband’s heart and he almost decided to start on fishes if I could manage to cook it even half as close to the recipe, phew that’s quite a challenge up my sleeve now. Anyhow the baked fish was paired with a fine half a goblet of Corte giara, pinot grigio, 2011, Veneto from Italy and it made our eys sparkle with a subtle smile. Then arrived the third course, the meetha achaar Chilean spare ribs with sun dried mango & toasted kalonji seeds and a glass of Peter Lehmen Shiraz from Australia. The tender meat simply melted in our mouth, the peculiar combination of spices and a nice caramelised skin was gorgeous. Thought Mr H felt that the sweetened (meetha achar) sauce over spare ribs was just a little wired for his palate, well to each his own what else can I say. In our excitement however, or were we high on spirits (pun intended), we almost forgot to click a pic of the Ribs and ratahar we just cut loose over it as soon as it was served.
We then arrived to the fourth and the amusing course, since we had reached halfway through the long dinner, it was time for palate cleansing with a delicious house Sorbet. What was absolutely amusing besides the sorbet being delicious was how it was served in a small rot iron press (take a look at the picture). The sorbet reminded us of the flavours of the candy ‘pan pasand’ from our school days, refreshing nostalgia.
The 5th course was the mains, and the non-veg menu has an option to choose between a prawn main versus a mutton main, so I went with prawn and my partner choose the gosht. What arrived next was my Black Pepper Prawn with some kundru bhaji & sago papad, paired with my favourite glass of wine, a Lamplighter, Claifornian Chardonnay; and what a treat it was – delicious, period. Mr. H’s Indian Accent’s signature dal gosht was quite comforting too with a paring of Piccini chianti riserva docg, 2008, tuscany, Italy. Our mains were served alongside a portion of wasabi-cucumber raita, signature balck dairy dal and some signature kulcha each. The dal that was the house’s take on the slow cooked makhani was delicious and the small kulchas stuffed with applewood smoked bacon and chilli hoisin duck were both a knockout. We devoured on the mains and almost licked off our plates clean without a word but breaking only to smile in affirmation in between our bites.
It was then time for desserts and it arrived on a platter, a serve of each a kesar pista brulee with the perfect crackle of caramalised sugar on top and rich creaminess of the kesar pista custard beneath; second was the Misti Doi Cannoli, a great imagination put on plate that brought a bit of India and Itlay together in a tasty incarnation; the third and the last was the Dodha Barfi tart topped with the sitapahal and ginger candy Icecream and this was certainly our favourite of the trio. The richness of dodha barfi was simply smothered out by the chilled creaminess of the icecream in tandem; what a treat indeed ! Oh and all of this was paired with a great desert wine Torres floralis Muscatel oro Catalunya from Spain, to raise our final toast to a great evening. By the end of this lavish foodfare we were running late for a midnight birthday bash so we called for a quick check and in our hurry missed on the ‘the charpoy of School memory’ that’s a collection of sugar coated candies served as the mouth freshener at the end, so that’s left to our next visit.
It isn’t the longest ever reviews I have written for no reason and much as I’d like to hit it as often as I can but alas, one needs to be warned, it’s expensive. Like most other good things this one comes for a price too, our bill for two Chef’s Tasting (non-veg) Menu and a bottle of mineral steeped to Rs. 7106 including the taxes, plus Rs.5417 for the wine parings for two.
But if you can manage, it’s one place you have to experience, its unique offerings would become a part of your food memories forever. I am definitely eating here again and might go Al a carte next time (anticipating to restrict a bill of Rs 4 k and upwards for two).
It may also be important to note that as the place gains popularity by the day the restaurant is usually overbooked. So, book in advance at least 3-4 days for a weekend booking and a day or 2 on weekdays even.