Indian Accent was voted the best restaurant in India in the 2015 edition of Asia’s 50 best restaurant awards held in Singapore on 9th March, and it was pure serendipity that I happened to experience the place on the 10th evening. Brainchild of Manish Mehrotra a chef acclaimed for his culinary prowess and also deemed responsible for putting the stand-alone restaurant scene in India on the global culinary map with the opening of Indian Accent in 2009. Would have loved to meet a fellow alumnus of Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai but Chef Mehrotra was in Singapore for the awards and also his social media presence mentioned of him exploring food and thus more ideas I would easily assume. Can we see Sea Urchin on the Indian Accent menu, only the chef can tell!!!
Housed in the Manor a boutique hotel, the passage leading to the restaurant is adorned with Marigold flowers. As one enters is the pre/post meal drinks area with comfortable couch seating and seating by the bar. We headed to the dining room; the table was bedecked in a classic French style cover, with a marble conch and marigold flower as the centerpiece. The Chef’s vegetarian tasting menu (Rs 2695) was ordered and the culinary journey began. I chose to skip the wines (Rs 2595 for six 75 ml pours) which are paired course-wise,whilst Marigold; a spiced rum concoction and Smoky Mountain; a heady mix of Tennessee and Ricard kept me company in the interim. The latter was a perfect aperitif, the aniseed from the Ricard got my palate ready and to add to it were bite-size blue cheese naans, a mainstay on the menu.
The menu descriptions had only made me impatient to see what was in store, the dishes kept coming one by one and my curiosity to know more about the next whilst enjoying the one in front of me was the peak of the experience and these peaks showed up till the end of my meal. Pumpkin and coconut shorba was redolent of flavours from a Karwari household, the potato sphere chaat was a mélange of flavours and textures, the sphere was made of crispy potato ‘vermicelli’, the soft ragda and the piece of watermelon gave it the culinary high. The baingan bharta cornetto was all smoked up and the garlic raita complemented well. Just half way through the meal and I knew why it was the best restaurant in India!!
The Tofu Coriander Vadai with peanut gun powder and lime leaf tadka, came with a Thai touch. The philosophy of the kitchen in my opinion was very simple; combine two or three simple flavours in a way that results in something extraordinary and it was very much evident in the beetroot and peanut butter tikki with wasabi chutney, all the flavours showed up in a harmony. The next one was a very smart take on ravioli, the Khandvi ravioli with goat’s cheese and pine nuts was spectacular and so was their popular Gucchi Musallam with walnuts and parmesan papad. The Churan and Anar sorbet on a stick was a much-needed palate cleanser before we went to the main course.
It was gourmet exuberance so far and then there was more, the Dal Moradabadi with Chur Chur paratha, the classic Sarson da Saag with a twist of polenta crusted Malai corn, the wild mushroom kulcha and the pumpkin & cheddar kulcha. The ‘Chowpatty in a bowl’ a take on Mumbai’s pav bhaji did not satisfy my Mumbaiyya palate much though. The warm doda barfi and treacle tart, the Mishti Doi Cannoli, the Daulat ki Chaat and the Besan Laddoo tart with Mithai cheese cake were all sublime; so much that one could specifically go there for some night caps and desserts.
Overall a scintillating experience with food par excellence, the cocktails guardians however have a job to do and match up to the food in terms of aesthetics and presentation. So people go and try, it will be worth every penny you spend!!
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