Ziya’s New Rustic style Menu – by Chef Vineet Bhatia of Michelin Star Indian Restaurant, Rasoi

 

 

 

I had never imagined that Indian food could look so good, until I saw this.

 

I grew up eating mom’s mouth-watering dal kachoris with raswale aloo, gulabjamuns with kulfi and matar paneer with aloo parathas. While Indian food is etched in my memory as the best food there is, I have always imagined it to be presented in a rustic fashion. There is a certain appeal in eating kachoris in patras (bowls made with dried leaves) or gulabjamun and kulfi in mitti kulhads (earthen bowls). Even so, it isn’t how I would ever imagine Indian food to be presented at a world-class restaurant to Diplomats, Princes or Rockstars.

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It is a rare talent to preserve the essence of a cuisine, to allow the flavours in a plate to reflect its origin and yet, plate it like a piece of art. Chef Vineet Bhatia is an inventor and also, a researcher whose work has helped me, and several other young professionals look at Indian food in a new light. His association with the Oberoi Hotels and Ziya, in particular is very long. If you look at the Ziya menu over the years you will see the evolution of Indian cuisine in their plates.

As styles of presenting food evolve over time, you can see the reflection of popular global food trends in the way Ziya offers its menu. What I loved about the menu that was introduced recently by Chef Vineet at Ziya, was the echo of our roots in every plate. While he has always kept the integrity of the cuisine intact in his creations, he also manages to add Oomph! in his dishes. Whether it is serving curry leaf tempered prawns in an uneven coconut shell, or the theatrics of sprinkling burnt onion powder on a pumpkin seekh kebab entre or even his signature childhood memories sweets platter, his plates always manage to take your breath away.

The secret is his deep understanding of the local food and techniques that he has built by traveling and researching Indian food over the years from great cooks scattered in remote areas across the country. His culinary vision of Indian food has resulted in the growth and evolution of the cuisine. Many have taken inspiration, many have tried to ape him blindly, but each time he puts food on your table, you can’t help being in awe.

The rustic style of Ziya’s new menu appealed more to me because it brings that same sense of contentment as when I ate those patras of Kachori & Aloo or those Kulhads with hot gheewale gulabjamuns with ice cold malai kulfi. My favourites on Ziya’s new menu

Grilled Curry Leaf Prawn with fried idli & coconut chutney

1

[Vegetarian Fried Cauliflower]

2

Macadamia nuts crusted Aubergine with peas upma and kokum chutney

[Non Vegetarian Chilean Sea Bass]

3

Sesame crusted Chicken Tikka on a bed of Chowpatty Bhaji with fried Idiyappams and edible flowers

[Vegetarian Paneer Tikka]

7

 

Pumpkin Dill Seekh with edamame & red pepper Koshimbir and chickpea spring onion tava pulao sprinkled with Burnt Onion Powder

5

[Chilli Burnt Butter Lobster]

6

 

Achari Bharwan Lauki with raiwale aloo and vegetarian spinach Galouti kebab with saunf ki makhni

8

[Non Vegetarian Achari Tandoori Lamb]

9

 

Coffee Halwa with Gulabjamun

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Sweet Platter with Chhena Rabdi, Banana Bread Donut, Orange & Chocolate Panacotta, Chocolate dipped Mysore Pak, Cashewnut Kulfi and Bitter Chocolate.

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Reaching For The Michelin Star; How to Cook Like these 10 Michelin Starred Indian Restaurants

A decade ago, you and I had no idea what a Michelin starred restaurant was, and honestly I did not even care. We were happy with our good old Dal Makhani and Chicken Tikka Masala serving restaurants in the neighbourhood, and what Mrs. Sharma or Mrs. Verma said would decide the next weekends dinner plan. As a child I understood that eating at a restaurant in a luxury 5 star Hotel was, and has been a big deal, people would also get excited to eat in dimpled Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s restaurants in smaller towns across India. In Mumbai, Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra was among the first few Indian restaurants that were identified by the name of the Chef, until two years ago.

I think the first time my mother ever heard the word Michelin star must’ve been during the introduction of Chef Vikas Khanna in Masterchef India. He became a household name in India and after that other Chefs who have earned this honour slowly started becoming popular. Now Indian Chefs like Vikas Khanna or Vineet Bhatia have entered our living rooms & TV sets. We are now getting to know more about them and the concept of a Michelin Star restaurant.

So, What is a Michelin Star?

Michelin is in fact a tire company! The Michelin star was introduced over a hundred years ago as a guide to encourage road trips in France. At the time, one Michelin star meant that it was safe to eat in that place without having to take digestion pills, two Michelin stars meant it was a good place to eat at, if you were passing by and three Michelin stars meant that the place was so good, “it’s worth adding an 20 extra miles to your trip and take a diversion for it”.

Now, the Michelin Star inspectors and the criteria restaurants must fill is a big hush! Hush! Thing. Michelin Inspectors are the he-who-must-not-be-named people of the restaurant industry around the world, they have a set of rules and framework that they work within. There are few selected cities around the world that come under the Michelin radar, while Shanghai and HongKong are in the Michelin radar, restaurants in India are yet to make their place.

Indian Restaurants Around The World That Have Earned a Michelin Star.

Restaurants in India might not have made a mark in the Michelin world yet but Indian restaurants studded across the globe certainly have. Here are 10 restaurants from around the world that have earned a Michelin star for their Indian Food.

United Kingdom

Tamarind

In 2001, under Chef Aul Kochhar Tamarind earned its first Michelin star. Tamarind has maintained its Michelin star, now under Chef Alfred Prasad who features traditional Moghul Cuisine and tandoor cooking along with contemporary creations.

Some specialities the Tamarind selection carries.

Benaras

A fine Indian fine-dining restaurant since 2003, Benaras earned its Michelin star after four years in 2007. Chef Atul Kochhar’s Benaras restaurant features traditional preparations from his motherland with a modern twist. I’ve been to Benaras a few years ago for an interview I had conducted with Chef Atul Kochhar. I still have pictures and glimpses of that menu which featured venison and quail delicacies, otherwise unheard of on an Indian restaurant menu.

Here are few dishes they feature.

Rasoi

When it comes to Indian food, Chef Vineet Bhatia is Midas. Everything he touches turns to Michelin! Rasoi in Chelsea has held a Michelin star since 2009. The items that feature are Global Indian, such as a Stilton lamb tikki and goat cheese samosa.

Here are some Rasoi delicacies.


Quilon

After nine years of hard work, Chef Sriram Aylur earned the first Michelin star for Quilon in 2008 which features western coastal food from Kerala and Goa.

Check out some great dishes

Amaya

Is an Indian grill with Tapas-Style food by Chef Karunesh Khanna, it has held a Michelin star since 2006.

Have a look at what they serve!

Lobster at Amaya

Lobster at Amaya

Trishna

This sister of the Mumbai seafood restaurant Trishna, that has patrons from around the world, earned its Michelin star under Chef Karam Sethi who was earlier working in Rasoi. The famous King crab among other delicacies are worth a mention.

Zaika

Earned a Michelin star in 2001, when Vineet Bhatia was Head Chef here for producing dishes that changed the perception of Indian food globally.

New York

Junoon

Chef Vikas Khanna’s restaurant Junoon earned a Michelin star for the third time in a row. While this Masterchef India’s adorable and humble judge (P.S. for him I would work on that show again for free!) needs no further introduction, he has won accolades for his books and research on Indian cuisine. He also earned the oppurtunity to prepare an Indian feast for US President Barack Obama.

Have a Look at what earns a Restaurant a Michelin Star

Tulsi

An Indian menu created by Chef Hemant Mathur features street food as well as Tandoori cooking. See what they serve.

Geneva

Rasoi

You might have realised by now that every restayrat that is touched by Vineet Bhatia gets a Michelin star. Well, here is another feather in his hat. Rasoi in Geneva also earned its Michelin star soon after it opened it’s golden gate. Well, what should I say, some Chefs just know how to cook to impress!

How to Cook like a Michelin Starred Indian Restaurant? Changing the Perception

Know Where to Stop; Masala is not Master

There are Curry Houses across London and around the rest of the world that serve run-of-the-mill Indian food. Chef Atul Kochhar said in an interview I conducted few years ago, that people don’t understand the use of spices and flavours in Indian food. In a Chicken Tikka Masala they add tomato chutney and coconut milk, they don’t know where to stop. The flavour of the ingredient itself should not be masked by the loud masala which is heavily loaded with spices. The flavours should be clean and balanced.

Importance of Presentation

The pictures you have seen must have made it evident that the food presentation should adhere to global standards of food presentation.  Colours should be clean, the layout neat and the assembly creative.

Out of the Box Dishes & Ideas 

Creativity and imagination in adding that X-factor to the food is of utmost importance. Modern techniques are often used to re-create Indian classics. The different elements of flavours and texture come together on the plate and distinct flavour of the elements are well pronounced.

Food from Michelin Star Indian restaurants is inspiring. In an Exclusive ‘Q n A’ with Mr. Zorawar Kalra, Managing Director and Founder of Massive Restaurants, he talks about Indian Cuisine Version 2.0 and how he would like to earn a Michelin Star for his new brand Masala Library. Read on to know his aims and strategy as he journeys forward towards a Michelin Star. Will the food of Masala Library match up to Michelin Starred Indian restaurants around the world.

Zorawar Kalra

Zorawar Kalra

 

1)     Why did you decide to go with an unconventional way of presenting      Indian food?

  1.      Indian food has been represented the same way for decades now. When you      visit any Indian restaurant across the country or even most of the renowned addresses internationally, you expect to see the food served exactly the same way like it has been for years now.
  2. Our intent with Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra is to take Indian cuisine to the next level, which we have termed as Indian Cuisine – Version 2.0 and showcase it in a more international manner, while retaining the traditional flavours and method of preparation, yet adding a sense of surprise for the diner into the fray.

2)     How do you plan on taking this concept further.

  1. After launching Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra in Mumbai last week, we plan to have one in Delhi as well.

    Our aim is to get a Michelin star and hence would be looking at some international locations in the coming year.

3)     Do you think it will be well received by Indians who have developed a comfort zone with the way their food is presented?

  1. Like I said earlier, Indian food has been represented the same way for decades and it is time for us to take it to the next level. It is our cuisine, which has a rich heritage, and we are extremely proud of it. It is up to us to present it in the right manner to the rest of the world including our own patrons; no outsider is going to come to do that.

It’s just been a few days since the launch and we have received extraordinary feedback from all, the guests, media, food enthusiasts and connoisseurs, and we are absolutely confident that this is going to continue for a long time.

4)     What is the one dish your Chef is most confident about in your menu?

  1. We have spent over 8 months in working on the nuances of every single dish listed on the menu at Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra. It will be very difficult to pick out one dish from the menu. We are extremely confident that all the dishes on offer are going to bring in a unique culinary experience for our guests.

5)     Could you please mail me a copy of your menu card and the list of dishes that were featured yesterday?

  1. The list of the dishes served at the Indian Food Bloggers Awards 2013 preview party last week is listed below. (Find at the Bottom of this Article).

6)     Also, I wanted to check with you if some of these dishes like the duck or lamb are also available in larger portions, and if they are then are they are always served like a canapé?

  1. The dishes served at the Indian Food Bloggers Awards 2013 preview party were all specifically done as bite size portions for the evening. In actuality, all the dishes are served in larger portions, including the Duck and Lamb, however in case of the Lamb, we serve Lamb shanks instead of Lamb boti which was served during the course of the evening. We also have Lamb boti served with the Galawat Kebab

Although there are other grading systems for restaurants around the world, such as Hatted restaurants in Australia, since Indian food has earned a name in the Michelin world, diners tend to identify more with the pride that comes from earning a Michelin. It is believed that Michelin inspectors are only a handful  and Indian cities have still not come in the radar. There has been a little progress with the Mumbai based seafood restaurant Trishna earning a Michelin star for its London based counterpart but there is still a long way to go for Indian Restaurants. I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed, hoping that one of our favourite restaurants manages to catch the attention of the star watchers real soon!

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Masala Library Canapé menu

for

Indian Food Bloggers Awards 2013 Preview Party

Vegetarian

maska bun

pesto kabab, tandoori tomato, parmesan papad

yogurt spheres, papdi chaat

chole kulcha, chukki mirch, carrot pickle

sarson ka saag quesadilla, butter milk cream

kadhai paneer tarts, san marzano makhni

papad sampler

corn and fenugreek kulcha, sunflower seeds

guchchi naan, truffle oil

Non vegetarian

duck khurchan, chilli hoisin tarts

chettinad prawns, roasted coconut flakes

chicken tikka, hickory wood smoke, habanero raita

boti kabab tacos, blue cheese cream

soft shell crab 65, cherry tomato chutney

anda kulcha

prawn balchao kulcha, ‘xo’ butter

Desserts

jalebi caviar, saffron glaze, pistachio rabri

ghewar mithai cheesecake

masala library lollipops – mishti doi

paan pasand candy floss

 

 

Interesting Reads on Michelin Star Restaurants

What Does it Take to Earn a Michelin Star? – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/what-does-it-take-to-earn_b_2204599.html

How To Get a Michelin Star – http://www.hindustantimes.com/Entertainment/Food/How-to-get-a-Michelin-star/Article1-494741.aspx

Missing Michelin in India – http://www.financialexpress.com/news/missing-michelin-in-india/746577

Rasoi, Vineet Bhatia, London – http://www.viamichelin.com/web/Gastronomy-magazine/London-_-Rasoi_Vineet_Bhatia_London-b2a05ca46fb8c8b84b0ffaa9e7a6b31b-155291

Indian Michelin Star Chefs – http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/articles/restaurant-guides/indian-michelin-star-chefs