Food

Fresh from the farm

Sustainable spread: Chef Deepankar Khosla; and (right) Prawn on the Rocks.

Sustainable spread: Chef Deepankar Khosla; and (right) Prawn on the Rocks.  

Bangkok based, Deepankar Khosla’s sustainable eatery, Haoma will pop-up in the city for two nights

Deepanker Khosla, back in Mumbai after seven years, is now cooking at the Four Seasons instead of ITC Maratha. The chef, who grew up in Allahabad co-owns Bangkok’s Haoma, which, he describes as, “Asia’s first urban farm restaurant”. There he serves nine and 13-course tasting menus that includes dishes like golgappa with puffed wheat, tamarind and yogurt alongside prawns on the rock with tamarind, lime foam and peanut and eggplant relish with tomato chutney and batti (a twist on the litti chokka). Khosla wants to evoke memories from Indian childhood meals, “Food is about taking you, the diner, back to one memory.” It’s no surprise then, that his food has found favour with Indian visitors and the Indian diaspora that call the Thai capital home.

Farming and Sustainability

After quitting his job at a Bangkok, Khosla, decided to set up a roving food truck, which broke down for 18 days outside of the capital in the midst of the Thai countryside. While waiting for replacement parts to come from India (the truck was made by Tata), Khosla managed to spend time on the surrounding farms daily and it made an impact. When it was time to decide on his new chapter, Khosla wondered, “How do I transport this entire farm to the restaurant?”

The restaurant, Haoma’s philosophy translates into both big and small touches:

The entirely closed aquaponic system is fed with rainwater, which in turn gives the plants and vegetables water to grow. Khosla doesn’t hand out visiting cards but instead uses QR codes for those that want to keep in touch. At the end of the meal, all guests are given seeds to plant at home so that they can feel connected with the food that they eat. Khosla firmly believes in the sustainable ecosystem that reminds him of his Allahabad home, where dinner was prepared with freshly harvested vegetables from the garden and there was a connection with the seasons and the soil. The restaurant has been open for two years, beating the wave of sustainable fine-dining that’s taken over Europe and is trickling into other geographies. Khosla looks at sustainability as a tradition instead of a trend, citing, “It as the way that our fathers and our forefathers ate. They didn’t eat food with chemicals and they didn’t eat genetically modified stuff. What we need to educate diners about is that this is a way of being.”

No homecoming is complete without asking about where Khosla plans to go while in Mumbai. The chef has already managed to eat at Trishna on his first night in the city and he’s now looking forward to paying a visit to Swati Snacks and Bade Miyan next. Like all taste-based memories, the Mumbai meals will probably spark some ideas for the next menu change at Haoma.

The Haoma pop-up is taking place at the Four Seasons, Worli today and tomorrow; call 2481 8333 for more details

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:01:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/fresh-from-the-farm/article29727445.ece

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