In celebration of BBC GoodFood Magazine India’s 1 Year Anniversary and GoodFood Day, GoodFood Magazine India held a global tasting event at the ITC Grand Central, Lower Parel. The tasting included dishes made by some of Mumbai’s finest Chefs; Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee of Indigo Deli, Chef Viraf Patel of Café Zoe, Chef Gresham Fernandes of Smoke House Room (Delhi), Pastry Chef Pooja Dhingra of Le 15 Patisserie, Chef Nitin Tandon of Lemongrass, Chef Nikhil Chib of Busaba, Chef Yang Jiayu of Shanghai Club, and ITC’s very own Chefs Kulsum Begam and Haji Mohammed Farooqui.
These Chefs were asked to contribute to creating an eight-course lunch tasting for one of three different types of cuisines – a Pan Asian meal served at the Shanghai Club, an Indian meal served at Kebabs & Kurries and a Modern European meal served at Hornby’s Pavilion. While we would have loved to try all three, we attended the tasting at Hornby’s Pavilion.
We had the pleasure of sitting with Chef Cooper, executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, and Nikhil Merchant, who runs The Food Centric and a F&B focused blog nonchalantgourmand.com. It was fascinating sitting with fellow foodies who contributed wonderful insight. Also spotted during our meal were Aneesh Bhasin (award winning photographer, Wine & Spirits connoisseur, Co-Founder of @indianwinelist), Bhakti Mehta (Owner & chef of The Little Food Co.), Purva Mehra (Features writer for MumbaiBoss and self-confessed lover of food), Vicky Ratnan (the Chef behind Aurus), Rachna Sharma and Babso Kanwar from ASK For Food.
Now on to the food! We began our meal with Chef Fernandes’s Bloody Mary meets Gazpacho. It was well presented in an amuse bouche style shot glass and a nice refreshing start to the meal. The second course, also by Chef Fernandes, was a Roasted Beet, Chevre and Raspberry Salad. I’m a big fan of beet and goat cheese salads, and I was a bit disappointed by this dish. They presented a similar non-veg salad that included pieces of roast duck. It seems that this was an afterthought and the duck didn’t really go well with the salad, and in some cases was undercooked. The veg salad had delicious roast beets but the chevre had been creamed and lacked the tartness that goes so well with the sweetness of beets.
Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee created the third and fourth courses. Course 3 was a Tart of Roasted Tomato and Sherry Shallots. This tart was oozing with flavor. The roasted tomato melded beautifully with roasted garlic, melted mozzarella and bites of sour olives. The only issue was the pastry was not properly cooked and it was difficult to cut through. Course 4 was Lasagna of Wild Mushrooms and grilled Artichoke. The lasagna was perfectly cooked and the mushroom flavor really shined through each layer.
Course 5, by Chef Patel, included a veg and non-veg option. The veg option was Couscous with Ratatouille Vegetables and the non-veg option was Jerk Spiced Roast Chicken with Couscous. I enjoyed the curried flavor and texture of the couscous alongside well roasted, tender vegetables. The Jerk Spiced Chicken was nicely spiced and juicy, though it wasn’t necessarily an authentic Jerk seasoning. Chef Patel’s next course also included a veg and non-veg option. The veg option was Risotto Milanese with Vegetables and the non-veg option was Salmon Fillet with Risotto Milanese. The risotto had a beautiful creamy saffron flavor and went well with the crunch from the vegetables. Unfortunately, the salmon lacked flavor and the soft texture did not pair well with the risotto. It was also somewhat lacking in visual appeal.
Finally, the last course was dessert. This was, by far, my favorite of all the courses. Chef Pooja Dhingra created a collection of mini tarts and two cakes (eggless option in each). The eggless cake included layers of Vanilla Genoise, Caramelized Bananas and Milk Chocolate Ganache. I can only describe this as heaven. Everyone at the table agreed that this was the best of all the courses. The salty caramel with the sweet bananas and smooth creamy chocolate went magically together. Even though I was incredibly full by this point, I couldn’t stop eating it. The other cake, Pistachio Opera, was beautifully layered and very tasty. The mini tarts included a Caramel & Chocolate, Lemon, Passion Fruit, Dark Chocolate & Orange, Fresh Strawberry and finally Coffee & Caramel. They were all delicious and a perfect ending to the meal.
Happy 1 Year Anniversary GoodFood Magazine India! Maybe next year they can celebrate GoodFood Week, and I can sample all three tastings! ;)