Although I’m quite a traditionalist when it comes to my cravings for (Indian) comfort food, I’m not averse to experimenting at times.
Case-in-point. My lunch yesterday comprised pakoras stuffed with mac n cheese, naans slathered with the margarita sauce you’d typically find on a pizza, and a “pav bhaji ratatouille” served with heaps of focaccia bread on the side.
The mish-mash of culinary traditions was surprisingly spot-on, not to mention it had that certain X factor which elevated our meal to more exciting proportions! And it was just one of several innovative fusion-cuisines I’ve enjoyed in recent times…
Indian Accent, Delhi/ New York
Heralded as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015, dinner at Indian Accent is reason alone to draw me back to Delhi – or hopefully New York next time, where Chef Manish Mehrotra recently opened his first international outpost!
Under his creative direction, the East meets West in a vibrant explosion of flavours and well-balanced textures.
Think beetroot and peanut-butter tikkis; a soft and savoury burrata papdi chaat; and puffy kulchas smoothly enveloping wild mushrooms, roast pumpkin and a very creamy combination of camembert and potato. As for dessert, English classics such as a warm treacle tart receive an Indian Accent with the scrumptious hint of doda burfi (best described as Indian fudge)!
Full review, here.
Farzi Cafe, Delhi/ Mumbai
And then there’s Farzi, with its quirky take on Indian classics served up with much fanfare in restaurants across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and even Dubai. If you’ve been #Farzified before, you’ll likely recognise that I was alluding to lunch here at the very start of this post!
During the day, the pace is a leisurely one with lively chatter from the nearby office-going crowd and ladies-who-lunch, alike. Whilst dinner is a more boisterous affair with show-stopping cocktails, headbangingly-loud tunes and a lounge-like vibe (which I’d choose over clubbing any day of the week).
As with all of Zorawar Kalra’s other restaurants, an element of theatrics is on display too, with cloudy wisps of dry ice emanating from the dishes, and trucks and treasure chests swapped for plates and bowls!
The experience here may be a bit over-the-top, but ultimately the food is satisfyingly hearty and packed with versatile yet comforting flavours, making Farzi an altogether attractive destination for a fun meal out!
Meanwhile over in London, there’s a new eatery in Fitzrovia taking its cue from the historic Spice Trail.
From all the different culinary inspirations at work here, the Indian influence is the most distinctive with many-a-familiar ingredient or concept sharpened and executed with creative flair… Such as with these spiced sweet potato fritters in a lusty saffron coconut curry, which offered a rich lift to the classic Bombay street-eat, vadas.
Other draws include the cracking cocktails (featuring a heady mix of Indian spices) and the dynamic open-plan kitchen with a surrounding dining counter that puts you right into the heat of things!
Full review here.
The Palomar, London
On the subject of fusion fare in London, the Palomar is never far off the radar (incidentally it’s where Mitz Vora of Foley’s was previously sous-chef!)
Rooted in the food of modern-day Jerusalem, this tiny Soho-based eatery dishes up a cultural melting pot of a menu reflecting elements from all over – the Mediterranean to North Africa and the Levant. As head chef Tomer Amedi, explained to me at Taste of London last year – “comfort (food) is comfort (food)”, whichever cuisine you look at!
Full review, here.
And last but not least, is one of the most beguiling culinary experiences I’ve had to date…
Spread over 13,000 square feet, the stunning restaurant in Dubai’s Wafi Mall offers a modern day telling of an Arabian Nights story, complete with floating carpets and a bewitching play on lights and shadows that left us mesmerised…
In case you’re wondering (I know I was), Qbara is essentially the word Arabic, back to front. It’s a fitting name for a restaurant rooted in traditional Middle Eastern fare and culture, albeit with a unique contemporary twist.
Our evening here was a sumptuous and rather decadent one spanning a twelve-course tasting menu followed by dessert(s), including this scrummy baklawa smash. Traditional Lebanese sweets crumbled with walnuts and dark chocolate, surrounded by a swirling necklace of honey and a smooth dollop of camel milk ice cream on top for good measure!
Full review, here.
Have you experimented with fusion-food?