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Thursday, Sep 25, 2003

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Grilled and gourmet

Flavours from across the globe tease the tastebuds at the Roast and Grill Festival

THE LONGER I stared at the Deutschland duck on my plate the more uncomfortable I became. Blame it on the Cancun meet and the media attention it got. That morning, I had just read that a cow in the European Union gets $2.20 subsidy a day from its Government when people in the other half of the world get by with less than $2. So what if the duck was making more than me?

It was The Patio, Taj Coromandel that flew down the `rich' duck and rest of the distinguished company, Norwegian pink salmon and Australian king scallops and American pork chops. Coming back to the duck on the plate, the herb crusted roast duckling with port and orange sauce was delectable. At the first bite into the soft, succulent flesh, my heart went out to our own sinewy, stringy `vaath.' But the socialist leanings disappeared easily as one earnestly started to appreciate the results of the duck's privileged lifestyle. I escaped further damage to self-esteem and comparison of earning power as the meat for the bacon encased mignon was from Bangalore. And how well it fared amidst the foreign competition! Chef Kiran's onion confit cooked in wine was a perfect foil.

It is said that Napoleon named Camembert after the Norman village where a farmer's wife first served it to him. It takes a genius to recognise geniusThe chef showcased this creamy cow's milk cheese in his Filo wrapped Camembert on herb croute. The three layers of textures, crumbly filo pastry, melting cheesy interior and the crisped bread base, married well.

Going back to the beginning, the appetisers could be improved on. The bacon wrapped grilled quail was chewy and the faintly sweet sauce on the grilled harissa rubbed vegetable sashlik was a bit confusing. It tasted more like a plum-barbecue sauce than the hot Tunisian original. Nevertheless, the sashlik was tasty.

I recommend roasted hazelnut and Kahlua mousse for a sweet ending. It was a confection of chocolate mousse liberally laced with the coffee liqueur, Kahlua, and layered with almost ethereal hazelnut biscuits. For those not keen on desserts, there is the Patio special, Snake coffee. This is dinner theatre at best. The whole production of making the coffee at the table and the experience of sipping flambéed lemon flavoured hot coffee through a layer of cold cream with caramel coated glass rim teasing your tongue is dramatic.

Of course, exclusive things come at exclusive prices.

The Roast and Grill Festival, The Patio, Taj Coromandel on till month-end, For reservations: 28272827


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