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Deconstructing tradition and tiramisu

Sumptuous salmon: The fillet has a crispy skin

Sumptuous salmon: The fillet has a crispy skin   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A cosy place with cheery atmosphere, Tres is a good option to have a nice meal with close friends. Well, almost

I may not be a great one for tradition, but there is one practice that I follow – and very eagerly at that. Every year, sometime in autumn, our two friends take us out to dinner to a place that they recommend, or one that we want to go to. This time we were late in keeping our date – thanks to my own preoccupations. But then, a few nights ago, we met at a restaurant they suggested – Tres in the Lodhi Colony Market – and had a good time together.

Tres opened up some years ago and there was a time when everyone was talking about it. But this and that happened, and somehow I never went there. I was disappointed when I heard that it had shut down. Then, some weeks ago, it opened again – much to my joy.

It is a cosy place, with the right kind of lights, though perhaps not the right kind of chairs. Their servers are cheerful and eager to help. The prices are on the higher side (a meal for two should cost about ₹ 3,000) but the menu is interesting. For starters, we asked for king prawn and kalamari with radish cucumber salad, smoked duck breast with peppered barley kimchi and Josper-baked Camembert with red grape and pepper preserve and grilled sourdough.

For mains, our friends had the tenderloin steak with a baked potato mash, wilted greens and sautéed mushroom, my wife asked for the pork belly (from the small plates section) and I, the crispy skin salmon fillet. For dessert, there was tiramisu.

The starters were superb. I am not allowed to eat much cheese, but Camembert is one of my favourites, so I had a bit of that, and sang that old Hindi film song, ‘Tu cheez badi hai mast mast’ to myself. A Josper oven is a grill-cum-oven, and helps professional chefs control temperatures to a t. The cheese was just right, I thought – neither too melty, nor too hard. The red grape and pepper preserve added to the taste, as did the grilled sourdough.

Crunchy and tangy

The prawns and calamari were crunchy and tangy, and had been tossed with a lime chilli drizzle. I liked the smoked duck breast, too. The salty taste was balanced by a ginger plum gel and herbed salad.

My salmon fillet with a crispy skin was excellent. It came with dill risotto and charred morning glory, but I concentrated solely on the fish. The fish had been cooked just right – so it was neither flaky, nor rubbery. The pork belly, I am told, was delicious. I am not allowed red meat yet (I am still trying to convince my doctors that in some quarters, pork is not considered red) so I could only look at it with sad eyes. It was served with a vegetable marmalade, which complemented the taste of the pork belly while the pickled mustard seeds gave it a nice and sweet kick (or so I was told).

What was really disappointing was the tenderloin that my two friends were so looking forward to. They wanted the steak medium rare, but it was pretty tough and they had to struggle with their steak knives. I tried a piece and found it much too chewy. To top it, they charged extra for the truffle oil that the steak came with. That, I thought, was rather mean.

The deconstructed tiramisu – mascarpone mousse, Kahlua jelly, coffee soaked savoiardi sponge and chocolate crisps – was okay. I am not much into tiramisus, and I would have preferred it constructed rather than deconstructed.

But on the plus side, we were together, and I was dining out after a while. The steak apart, it was a nice meal, and it was good to be with close friends. There is something to be said about tradition, after all.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 4:01:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/deconstructing-tradition-and-tiramisu/article25752203.ece

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