Thursday, November 22, 2012

eating out and healthy at Cheri one ; is it possible to enjoy the food if you eat out?

I would say yes. I was myself a person who rarely ate out, more because of the severe illness of my late daughter but when I started going out for outstation travels and to have a good meal within Delhi too, I felt we can choose food with ease if we are aware of what is healthy for us. I am not talking about the kind of calorie calculation some people do, consider naans and plain rice or pasta low calorie and eat pizza without the cheese. Then have ice cream for dessert and have a diet cola for a drink. Don't you find it funny. I expect you do if you are a regular reader of my blog.

I have been getting numerous queries on how to eat out and still stick to our choices if following a specific regime. While I wont comment on the numerous types of regimes and diets in vogue, I would definitely talk about how to make the meal not causing a glucose spike and then an insulin peak in your blood,the first step of hormonal imbalance to make you feel horrible. If you are successful in choosing the food that releases glucose slowly in the blood, the number of calories you consume would not be of consequence as much as a junk meal with the same number of calories causing an energy crash within a couple of hours after a sudden spike in insulin and you would end up craving for some more food (read junk) again.

So if you are looking forward to enjoy a weekend meal with family and worrying about how you would manage to eat healthy, a few suggestions might help you. Chuck off any bread or naan or roti that comes your way and choose all the lentils, meats and loads of vegetables. All salads with dressing are welcome in large quantities, all kababs and tikkas are good as long as you have a generous helping of green salads with them. Grilled fish or chicken is great and a salad would suffice as an accompaniment, no rumali rotis to wrap a tikka or kabab.. I would show you how I recently chose food that kept me full for the rest of the day and we had just a light soup that was coconut milk based for dinner. We are talking about food that satiates you and doesn't make you binge and crave for more food.

Chef Raman from Cheri one-Qutub, invited me to sample their Sunday Brunch and I accepted readily because I remembered the place from my last visit, and how they do most of their food the healthy way, just if you are a little careful in choosing wisely. I Asked Chef Raman about the options for a person who might have unusual choices or dietary restrictions, he was glad to introduce me to the vibrant salads, elegantly presented detailed Antipasti tables, the Risotto and pasta counter, stews and grills and a nice mediterranian Kabobs counter where everything was kept marinated and was being grilled fresh. I was one contented soul just photographing all the variety on offer. There was a lot of Italian and mediterranian food to choose from, I strongly recommend the place even if you are on a restricted regime. You would be able to stick to your guns.


A pleasant Al fresco brunch on a winter's day in Delhi has all the capability to perk up sagging spirits, a perfect setting for a relaxed Sunday. Especially a couple of bloggers friends are also coming. Sushmita and Anupama were also invited and we were a good bunch for a brunch. Greenery at Cheri, some birds and the affable serving staff would make you feel very comfortable. Though being out in the open amidst greenery means some mosquitoes too but there was enough arrangement to keep them away with various devices. Interiors at Cheri are also very cozy and airy, very romantic with those modern chic glass chandeliers and table settings..


The brunch was a huge spread. Sampling each and every dish was impossible, more because of the things I normally avoid, but I must say there is more than enough variety if you are looking for good proteins, good fats and some complex carbs for yourself (without much bothering for them), good taste being guaranteed all this while.

Antipasti layouts are the most vibrant and intriguing for me personally as I find the most flavorful of colors in those vegetables, greens and herbs that are normally a part of presentation but I fill my plate with them. Yes, the cheeses, the preserves, the dressed up seafood, the crackers, fruits and the cold cuts all are liked and enjoyed..I found them all really nice at Cheri.


I liked the Smoked Salmon with papaya chilly salsa with an extra helping of Chipotle mixed peppers salsa, the pickled vegetables, the Poached Mussels (green lipped), Garlic and chilly Prawns with apple Remoulade were all really good.


Arvind liked the Chicken Liver Pate served on green apple slices and Chicken hearts served on Bruschetta too. I am not too fond of Bacon or Ham wrapped fruits so the melon balls wrapped with ham was not my thing.

But this Calamari salad on a bed of mixed salsa was very much my thing. Very flavorful.


All kinds of cold cuts were there to choose from, I had very little just to taste and it was good. I liked a Artichoke dressed with Balsamic, the feta stuffed peppers and preserved Lychee and the fresh and moist green lipped Mussels.


Look at the dips and vibrant salads they had on display. That Chipotle peppers salsa in a jar, Babaganoush, Hummus and Tzaziki, all very flavorful and very healthy options to choose from the spread. I loved the Mushroom pate as well, drowned in Extra virgin olive oil and smeared on very thin, crisp crackers.


 I couldn't help but taste all the salads and ALL of them were absolutely yummy as they are supposed be. Fresh crunchy ingredients and flavorful dressing. The cheese stuffed tomatoes were really nice and so were all the pickled vegetables.

But a very attractive looking Broccoli pate disappointed me. This when I love Broccoli very much and was quite intrigued by it. Certainly was a real stunner in it's appearance..well, for a Broccoli lover like me :-)


What I loved the most in this section, was a dip of hung curd topped with Passion fruit puree. I hade two helpings of it. Lovely tangy flavors and the crunch of Passion fruit seeds.


You would realise I always get stuck in the antipasti counter. But I'll pull myself and you too to the various counters they had in the open courtyard.

Pasta and Risotto being prepped up to your taste in small quantities. I loved the three mushrooms Risotto, perfectly creamy and glutinous..A few bits of pasta was tasted, that was good too. Asparagus and walnut Vol-au-vent was way better than my expectation. Loved the topping and a bit of flaky crisp pastry.


 Asparagus and walnut Vol-au-vent was way better than my expectation. Loved the topping and a bit of flaky crisp pastry.


The Aubergine thin crust pizza baked in wood fired oven we ordered for our table was okay, not very good. Few bites wont harm.

This grill station was a good choice if you are avoiding too much carbs. The puff pastry covered country style pie would lure you much when there are much flavorful options on the same counter.


Roasted leg of tender lamb, perfectly shredded, nice and succulent. A very nice creamy chicken Fricasse, nice delicate stew that would make you want more.  In a classic French Fricasse chicken pieces are first sauteed and then stewed with wine and herbs in a white sauce, this was delicately flavored and well rounded flavors for me, I wouldn't bother if it was authentic or not.

That red gravy in the collage above is a nice refreshing Moroccan vegetable Tagine, a great choice of vegetarians.

The baby potatoes were really nice as well. The new winter baby potatoes, perfectly roasted, succulent and nicely infused with herbs. This was my friend Sushmita's favorite thing there.


On the mediterranian Kabob counter I didn't like the vegetarian option when I took a bite of Falafel. But the beef kabob was really tender and succulent, very flavorful too. The pita bread that comes with such kabobs is something you would like to avoid though, for restricting your processed carbs intake, not because they made it bad. It was made well. Didn't take any pictures of that.

Now have a look at the desserts counter. Very diverse and a few really nice desserts to choose from. I liked a small serving of the warm Apple pudding and a bowl of baked yogurt.

Baked yogurt is actually a really good choice for you if you are on a restrictive diet. Lightly sweetened and really creamy absolutely yummy.


I tried the beautifully presented Poached pear in red wine too, it was good but something was missing. May be a dollop if whipped cream on it. Drunken Tiramisu was good, a very lemony Lemon meringue Tart, a Key lime pannacotta, a Basil brulee, a Jamaican chocolate mousse and a Vanilla Bavaroise.


 It was this Baked yogurt all the way for me, absolutely perfect. Took a few bites of Poached pear and Drunken Tiramisu. You can't have these many desserts right?

Vanilla Bavarois (a cream dessert that is softer than a panna cotta and firmer than a mousse) with raspberry was nice as Arvind reported.

A wood fired oven is a permanent fixture in their compound and a pancakes counter was set up for the Sunday brunch. You might enjoy those too, but not if minding your food.

We went for a walk to Qutub minar after the brunch with Sushmita and her husband and a Sunday was enjoyed to the hilt. It was a last minute decision to go for this brunch that proved to be really great. I would suggest this place for all those who struggle with 'oily fried food to kill ingredients if it is tasty' and 'bland food if it is healthy' options. This place has promise.

After all you want to enjoy the eating out experience more than stuffing yourself with empty calories right? Treat yourself with the best options I would say.

The cost of the brunch is INR 2095 per head, with unlimited drinks. It was an invited brunch for us.

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