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Celestial meal

CATHERINE RHEA ROY
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EATING OUT At the Mediterranean restaurant, Azure, Chef Rimaud ladles out bite-size pieces of heaven

try them allMuhamara, stuffed vine leaves, spiced labneh, tabouleh and hindbeh
try them allMuhamara, stuffed vine leaves, spiced labneh, tabouleh and hindbeh

“Azure refers to the colour of the sea, which is inspired by the Mediterranean theme of the restaurant,” a nameless face explained, as she set down elegant crockery with pretty blue motifs playing their part in transporting you to a place far away, a thousand leagues across the oceans.

If you are lunching at Azure, Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwanthpur, it is best that you follow the lead of chef Rimaud. He knows his tahini, his hummus and the difference between the two. We begin the meal with a bowl of light, creamy, chick peas paste, with generous doses of olive oil and olives.

Everything has been thought of, so if you need a sharper flavour to accompany your hummus, you don't need to ask before little jars of black olive chutney and some imported chilli, are brought in front of you.

The generous kitchen sends us bite-sized portions of the abundant Mezze platter, which featured muhamara, stuffed vine leaves, spiced labneh, tabouleh and hindbeh and other Mediterranean favourites. If you are confused and still trying to wrap your tongue around the words before you can place your order, there is a solution. Draw lots, you cannot go wrong.

Soup was a splendid affair. A flat bowl was brought before me with little lamb balls, and in an accompanying Turkish jar, or may be it was a Grecian urn, came the warm, soup. Together they become the lamb and leek soup.

It's a Mediterranean meal, you cannot escape the falafel — chick peas ground and deep fried — with an assortment of condiments and pita bread. The time had now come to bring my belt down a notch, breathe easier and settle into my seat. A request to the chef to go easy with the main course, was rejected with no airs. “I have to do my job, you have to do yours,” he smiled. So we ate shawarmas, and succulent Syrian lamb dumplings with pine nut rice and chicken rotisserie, and the chef was still not done.

Cartaccio or the Baked John Dory was fish wrapped in parchment paper, cut open to display a fine sliver of perfectly baked fish with an assortment of seasonal vegetables to pretty up the plate. Dessert was warm chocolate fallen cake with organic vanilla ice cream and it does not matter that you have olive oil coming out of your pores - everything is adjusted to make some space. Warm, with just a dash of chocolate that melts carelessly onto the cake. Spoon it with the ice cream soaked into the cake and in that moment Azure is not the blue of the Mediterranean, but the blue of the celestial skies. Visit Azure at the Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwanthpur. For details call 66900111.

CATHERINE RHEA ROY

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