The black garlic experiential at Vivanta by Taj adds a dash of exotic to the humble and healthful clove

A black garlic experiential sounded suitably exotic and since I had never visited the Vivanta by Taj at Whitefield, it seemed as good a time as any to make that trip. From the centre of town, one kind of blithely assumes that Whitefield is a million miles away and the commute would be gruelling. However, maybe because of the time, the journey was not particularly arduous.

Vivanta by Taj has this cool funky vibe integrating elements of stone, grass, and sky in all its structures. We were having lunch al fresco and the sun very kindly hid behind clouds. “I fixed that,” said Executive Chef Arzooman Irani with a laugh. Over a refreshing gazpacho with pepper-scented cucumber pearls, Chef spoke of his experiments with black garlic.

“I am constantly reading and innovating. When I read about the black garlic I was fascinated. The colour is due to fermenting whole bulbs at high temperature.” Originally used in Korea, the black garlic gained popularity across the world and since we Bangaloreans are always game to try anything new, here it comes! Though Chef tried to make the garlic here, he says: “I was not successful. The process is too long and needs constant care.” For starters we had a salad of winter vegetables with black garlic dressing lending a tangy and sweetish flavour. My non-vegetarian companion had scallops rubbed with black garlic accompanied by a pipette (hadn’t seen them since chemistry class in school!) with maple brandy emulsion and orange froth.

The sorbet — tomato and black garlic sorbet with extra virgin olive oil capsules and crushed pepper took me straight back to Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree stories.

The EVOO capsules were delicate bubbles of blown sugar. As you bit into the bubble, your mouth was filled with a gush of olive oil. That’s where the Faraway Tree memory came from — of pop biscuits filled with honey that fills your mouth with it as you took a bite.

As conversation flitted between the gripping Meluha trilogy and the deconstruction style of cooking, the main course appeared, which was vegetables laced with black garlic in phyllo pouches with tomato extract and a silky black garlic and wild mushroom risotto.

Deconstruction, chef said, is a style where the components are broken up and served differently — and till now I thought deconstruction was to do with literary theory!

“Take for example a tiramisu. In the deconstructed way you are still having tiramisu but it is presented in a deconstructed form. The coffee liquor is in a cup instead of being soaked with the finger cookies. The finger cookies are arranged attractively on the plate and the flavoured Mascarpone cheese is presented as quenelles. All the parts of this dish have been deconstructed, but when you have them together, you are still eating a tiramisu!”

Talk of tiramisu and can dessert be far behind? One of the fascinating properties of black garlic is its versatility. Its taste and texture easily lends it to all courses — the black garlic and vanilla pod pannacotta was emphatic proof of precisely that quality! A meal for two will cost Rs. 1,700 plus tax. The black garlic experiential is available for lunch and dinner. Call 6693 3333. Vivanta by Taj is at ITPB, Whitefield.

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