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An appetising affair

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED Chicken kulcha   | Photo Credit: 11dmc Chicken kulcha

Every time I visit the M-block market in Greater Kailash Part I, it is a little different, a little more crowded, and well, maybe a little more chaotic. Every time, I wonder at a new shop or a new restaurant or a new bar that has popped up, trying (and usually failing), to recall what it replaced.

One of the relatively new places to join the crush is Gastronomica by Sumit Goyal. Replete with rustic wood and brick interiors, high and low plush leather seating and kitschy wall art that works with broken bottles, Gastronomica’s second floor expanse uses space well.

It is the food, though that really helps this place stand out. An impressively long menu that literally offers you dishes from the world over (Indian, Continental, Italian, European, Asian and more), Gastronomica ensures that nothing is served in the usual, expected way. There is bhelpuri with quinoa, samosas with teriyaki sauce, kadhi chawal with parmesan cheese, gourmet kulchas with some very interesting combinations (bacon, cheddar and cilantro, jalapenos, corn, olives and parmesan, to name a few), and desserts that sound sinfully delicious – Ferrero rocher gulab jamuns, for example!

So clearly, we take a long time to choose, and to pass that time, get ourselves a round of whiskey sour nimbu ka achaar. The first taste of the cocktail assures us that Gastronomica delivers what it promises, at least as far as its bar menu is concerned. The sour, intense flavour of the nimbu achaar is almost overwhelming, but works very well with the base taste of the whiskey sour — not for those who like their food and drinks mild, but a drink that would work for the more adventurous diner.

The first round of dishes to appears on the table include a plate of bruschetta, chicken samoka teriyaki and the fisherman’s bhelpuri. Everything is presented well, and the plating is minimalistic but beautiful. We begin with the bruschetta, that comes with three different toppings — feta and orange, ricotta and walnut cream, and zucchini pate. All three have their own distinct flavours, and the experience is a pretty well-rounded one, as far as this dish is concerned. There is the tartness of the feta and orange, the richness of the ricotta, and the depth of the zucchini. Of course, it is the shiny, teriyaki covered samosas that we look at next, the glaze calling our name most persistently. At first bite, this becomes our favourite starter. One wouldn’t expect the traditional Japanese flavour to sit so well with the fried goodness of the samosa, but it does. That the samosas are covered with the sauce instead of filled with it makes all the difference, and allows both tastes to emerge, instead of overwhelming each other.

If anything disappoints us, it’s our next dish, the fisherman’s bhelpuri. The idea works very well, and the quinoa bhelpuri is actually a great healthy alternative, but our portion is a little flat and one sided, with the main taste being sour. Usually, a chaat works well because it balances several different tastes and textures, and unfortunately, this one doesn’t check that box. That said, the fish it uses is fresh and well cooked, and the concept itself is interesting.

The service is prompt, and very courteous, and before we know it, our main course has been placed on the table. There’s the ricotta makai palak and the olive, parmesan and jalapenos kulcha, the baby back pork ribs with homemade barbeque sauce, and the veal steak with creamy mushroom and port wine sauce. We also have a butter chicken kulcha on the table, which really does look like the most divine desi pizza, with a huge dollop of butter melting at its centre.

We dig in, and realise that Gastronomica really does work with food as its USP. The pork ribs might be the best ones we have tasted in a while, and the creamy, thick, delicious makai palak is excellent. My steak is a bit on the rare side, and a little tough, but tastes great with the sauce. The kulchas, though, are the real winners, a complex blend of rich, buttery bread and the toppings coming together to make them an entire meal by themselves.

Finally, its time for dessert, and while we might no longer have any space left, we certainly do want a bite of that gulab jamun. When it appears on the table, its sheer beauty is something to behold — the gulab jamuns drenched in chocolate and covered with white, sugary flakes. We take a bite each, and realise that this is perhaps the perfect dessert for someone with a massive sweet tooth. Chocolate and sugar syrup make for a pretty intense combination, so venture only if you dare!

Address: 2nd Floor, M-55, M Block Market,Greater Kailash (GK) 1, New Delhi

Meal for two: Rs.1400 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 5:45:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/An-appetising-affair/article14562219.ece

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