Metrowatch Delhi Bali-Ho!
July 9, 2009
Posh Mayfair restaurant Taman Gang comes to India.
It means Park Lane in Balinese, but Taman Gang, the ultra-hip London restaurant, now boasts a brand new, not-any-less-posh address: DLF Place in Delhi, already home to a clutch of fine dining restaurants. Is this one any different?
Perhaps not as ostentatious in décor as its Mayfair counterpart, the ambience of
Taman Gang is nevertheless striking. Dim red lighting and Asian imagery are the norm in most Pan-Asian restaurants, but Taman Gang doesn’t go overboard. The subtle lighting and lanterns and the exquisite wooden décor in the private dining areas, even the restrooms, look sophisticated and formal. The 110 cover restaurant is spread across three spaces—the al-fresco section, the restaurant with two private dining sections, and the lounge bar.
The food tastes great and there’s a lot more than just Chinese. The menu, designed by celebrity chef Ricky Pang, sticks strictly to the Pan-Asian theme, and between Malay, Indonesian and Balinese, there’s plenty to choose from. Try their Sizzling Mix Vegetables in Sambal (a condiment unique to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore), and the Lamb Skewers—minced lamb marinated with exotic Pan-Asian spices grilled with lemon grass sticks. For a wholesome mix, the lunchtime Bento Box Specials are highly recommended. They include spring rolls, dumplings, cucumber maki, tofu salad, noodles and soup of the day, and along with the chef’s specials, change every fortnight.
The lack of a liquor licence was the sore point when I went visiting, and that’s what restrains the place from becoming the hot spot it’s famous as in London. I’m told that’ll be a thing of the past, come July. For now, they’re keeping diners happy with souvenirs—a complimentary box of chocolates and clicking pictures of all guests on their way out.
•Address: 315, First Floor, DLF Place, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
•Open: 12 p.m.-3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
•Meal for two: Rs 2,400 (without drinks)
•Must try: Sizzling Mix Vegetables in Sambal, Lamb Skewers, Angus Beef Steak on Hot Rocks, Champagne Teriyaki
Kolkata undivided delight
The five rivers promises to be a hit with a cuisine as expansive as Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s empire.
Take the goodwill of a 79-year-old tea house that was once a hangout of Netaji and leaders of the Gaddar movement, get a veteran foodie to hunt for items from undivided Punjab and Kashmir, rope in chefs from those regions and, on the face of it, The Five Rivers seems to have just the right flavour for success.
Co-promoter Manish Singh, whose family runs Balwant Singh’s Eating House, says The Five Rivers, done up to resemble the dining hall of a grand palace, is ready to take on five-star restaurants as well as stand alones with its unique menu. Dishes from Afghanistan, a part of which was annexed by Ranjit Singh, will be added soon.
Jiggs Kalra, the “Kolkata manush” who grew up in the city at a time when it was still India’s fine-dining capital, has worked out the menu as food consultant to the restaurant and is betting on the Bengali palate. “Having lost its sheen to Mumbai and much later to Delhi, Calcutta is rising again,” says Kalra, now Delhi-based. “Babu Moshai had to come back to fine dining—they started it!”
While true to its origins, the menu makes concessions for the local palate. So it has trout from Kashmir, as well as the local bhekti. The non-veg kebab section will have goat meat, while sheep will be there only in Kashmiri dishes.
And, by the way, don’t just drop in—try and book your table the day before unless you want to hang out in the mall for an hour or downgrade to the ground floor for a Big Mac. (The wait is worth it, though).
•Address: Mani Square, 4th Floor, 4 Maniktala Main Road, Kolkata
•Contact: 033-32021790/ 91
•Open: 12:30-3:30 p.m. (Lunch), 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. (Dinner).
•Meal for two: Rs 1,500 (Four Course) without bread, and Rs 1,650 with bread
•Must try: Nadar Ka Ghostaba (Veg), Ghostaba or meatballs from leg of mutton cooked in curd and assorted spices, Aloobukhara Kofta, Badaam Kokur, Yakhni Pulao, Seb Ka Halwa. And of course, Anantnagi Baqarkhani, a formed bread from the Valley, loaded with nuts and chopped dry fruits.
Mumbai All italia
Soft background music, dim lighting from chandeliers bouncing off gold walls, and a wonderful meal. That’s Penne for you.
Tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood of Juhu, Penne offers a complete Italian experience. The restaurant’s enclosed seating arrangement lends itself to an elegant evening while the outdoor open air seating is akin to an Italian town’s roadside café. And the food is divinely Italian. Chef Bill Marchetti of Spaghetti Kitchen fame has been putting together a menu for a weekday power lunch, a sumptuous dinner and a large spread for Penne’s Sunday brunch buffet.
The meal begins with a choice of soups and pizzas. Their thin crust Tutto Carne pizza is topped with chicken, ham, salami, chorizo and jalapenos, and follows perfectly the soup, chicken consommé “stracciatella” with a parmesan eggdrop. Penne also has a live barbeque station that has some surprise options like Sweetcorn in a Butter Garlic crust and Chermoullah Crusted Chicken Thighs with Hot Mango Salsa. For those who prefer roasts to grills, the roast chicken with bread, sage, parmesan stuffing and gravy as well as the Rosemary and Garlic Marinated Australian
Lamb Leg can only be described as “heavenly”.
•Address: 14-Silver Beach Estate, AB Nair Road, Juhu
•Contact: 022-26255713, 26255706
•Open: 12:30-3 p.m. & 7 p.m.-1 a.m.
•Meal for two: Rs 4,000 (excludes wine)
•Sunday brunch: Rs 1,200 plus taxes (per person)
•Must try: Eggs Benedict, Tutto Carne (thin crust pizza), Chermoullah Crusted Chicken Thighs with Hot Mango Salsa.