Monday, November 29, 2010
Pride,Poppadum and Olive
Went for Gay Pride yesterday, was fun. Gay parties in Delhi are awfully boring compared to Bombay. Seriously. Compare Olive to Bollywood Mischief. At Olive, you kiss the air and you pretend to touch.
Also, of great interest to me is the number of fancy sounding restaurants that open in Delhi every now and then. It's About Us wanted Utthapam to marry Lasagne. Ambrosia had Greek Curry. Chalchitra had a trying so hard to be funny Bollywood theme. All of the above are foodwise extremely mediocre.
The thing is if you promise to serve world food and have Paneer Shashlik or Rocket Salad on your menu, it doesn't really mean anything. I recently went to this place called Banyan GRill tucked away behind the grime, dirt and asbestos opposite select city walk. Under a banyan tree, white walls, quaint cabinets and flower pots hanging like it is the South of France. (the visitor comments claimed this place transported them to
above mentioned coveted corner of the world.) Thing is I don't fit this profile of well travelled Indian. All my knowledge of food comes from spending too much time with well travelled people. So judge my opinions keeping that in mind. Total country bumpkin.
So yesterday , we went to Poppadum. As soon as I entered, they enquired if I actually wanted to go to Thai High. I assured them that I actually wanted to thulp one proper Andhra Thali and not pick at Phad Thai.
The place was completely empty and apparently my friend was asked the same question last time around.
Anyway Poppadum with its new temple bells and paintings of babas by Israeli travellers in Pushkar was a far cry from the Andhra Mess of my dreams. I was determined to hate the food and offended when the waiters said things like Baingan Pulusu or Pumpkin Kadi.The food didn't disappoint. Sure, it was spicy like
the war won't end. The dal was slightly thinner than preferable. The pacchadis were gorgeous- beetroot, peanut, spicy-sourthing. And also, the cabbage peanuty dry vegetable was notable.The diversity of flavours, the sour faintly spicy gongura , all of this was heady. Overall, each piece was a gem. But in order for me to taste anything I had to isolate each ingredient and eat it with the strong, neutral and ever loved curd rice. An assault of too many flavours.
So, yeah the point is why doesn't this restaurant work. Is the food too spicy for a Delhi audience? Andhra Food too new? Fine Dining and South Indian very niche?
Well, atleast the food is good. Which I can't say about any of the other ambitious places I listed above.
(I am so screwed right now, I almost ended this mail with (and am now)..