Parsi food is slowly catching up in Delhi and NCR as the hardcore Punjabi palate of the city is opening up for new flavors or may be the establishments are becoming more experimental with providing a good mix of everything. Whatever the reason, Delhi is spoilt for choices if you see the sheer variety of food and cuisines offered by the city. Sodabottleopenerwala is one Parsi cafe style restaurant that we have been raving about and now The Oberoi Gurgaon is hosting a Zoroastrian Rhapsody at Amaranta, the Indian coastal cuisine restaurant on the 3rd floor of the hotel.
A few of us Delhi bloggers got together at The Piano Bar of the hotel before moving on to have Parsi lunch at Amaranta. This sculpture at the entrance of the bar is a conversation piece.
Created using pocket watches, bronze and copper this sculpture depicts Dabbawalas of Bombay. The stomachs are hung over the bicycle like lunch boxes making a bold statement. The sculptor is a Bombay based artist Valay Shende and the art piece is sold already. Great concept of exhibiting art this way.
Amaranta is a classic example of Indian soul in a modern garb, a tastefully done fine dining restaurant that surprises you with a mojito sorbet on a platter of Indian starters. Where the meal starts with house made salts mixed with olive oil to be smeared onto curry patta flavoured ciabatta. I liked this fusion that takes the dining experience to a new level.
The restaurant is known for being the only one serving Indian coastal cuisine among Oberoi properties. And they do it in their own class, the fish is flown in every day to be served fresh, true luxury in landlocked Delhi NCR.
The fresh fish of the day is displayed in a chamber open towards the restaurant. The overall decor and presentation of food is such that you can smell the sea with all your senses.
The Parsi food is brought together by a sweet couple from Bombay Tehmtan and Shernaz Dumasia who run a very successful catering company back home and have come here to floor the city with their magic.
The Amuse bouche was a coastal signature and contained three elements. Coconut water infused with curry patta in a shot glass, a small cube of pickled melon and a small paniyaram served with pineapple chutney. This was one burst of flavours.
Amaranta serves a variety of home made salts from different coastal regions with roasted papads, curry flavoured ciabattas and potato stuffed rolls etc. We all loved the salts and kept trying different combinations for a while. The salts, the pickles and chutneys served on the table are something you will remember for a long time.
Tehmtan and Shernaz had prepared a carrot and dates pickle that was polished off within minutes. Very good flavours depicting khattu-mithu (sweet and sour) mood of the Parsi cuisine.
The Parsi starters came in the form of Parsi Lamb (brain) cutlet and chicken Farcha. The platter came with a small bowl of mojito sorbet that was a breath of fresh air. The cutlet and farcha were average, although the homely feel was unmistakable and I appreciate that.
Ginger ale at Amaranta is really good as fresh slivers of ginger kept their promise. Many of us had seconds.
The vegetarian starters were great. I liked the Chutney Pattice more but the Vegetable cutlet was good too.
In the main course we were surprised to see Dhansak pulav being served in tajines. The lamb in a lentil gravy was good along with the brown pulav, browned with caramelised sugar, topped with kababs. Very homely food served elegantly. Shernaz is a shy lady who cooks passionately and her husband Tehmtan is more comfortable with entertaining guests, both of them rely on fresh ingredients to cook Parsi meals every single day.
The Patrani machhi was nice too, just as it is when it is home cooked and that is the USP of Dumasia couple. Jerdalu salli murgi was nice, the gravy sweet and sour with apricots and Kolah's vinegar that is quintessential in Parsi meals.
Among the vegetarian choices, I tasted the Patrani paneer and it did not impress at all. Bhindi masala was great and I wish it was served for the nonveg platter too.
I don't understand why vegetables are not served with non veg meals any more. I need loads of vegetables in my meal but I guess no one else does.
A Champagne sorbet had been served in between and we all loved the sips. Summertime surprises can't be better than this.
Desserts were really well done. The Lagan nu custard was well done, caramelized taste of custard with reduced milk that creates a classic. But the show stopper for me was this Coconut and elaichi ice cream. I rarely eat ice creams and this one was polished off to the last drop. So refreshing, so clean flavours that linger on for some time. Loved it.
Amaranta is one charming place for seafood lovers.