Gutted by Love
Oh mi amour I tried to love you, you beckoned me with you cascading white fabrics, your sweeping terrace enticed me further, I looked through your eyes and saw a beautiful view; as I sat snug and secure in your cane fittings, just for a moment I was transported to somewhere beautiful . . .
My friends and I ordered a feast thinking the best of you. I knew I should have been suspicious when you neglected me. We waited and waited to be served. 15 minutes later when we hoped the food should start arriving four pieces of focaccia arrived. The excess olive oil choked the bread and I was worried. . . Were you about to let me down...?
This was just the beginning of some very weak service. I don't blame the waiters. One man was running around unable to keep up. Considering the al fresco was barely half full and the inside empty, there is no excuse for slow service. At some point I asked the manager if they could please clear a couple of plates, he nods politely and leaves, 5 minutes later a waiter comes and picks it up. I was shocked, even a manager at the Taj would not have qualms about picking up a plate. That is what the hospitality industry is about. Since he wasn't much help at the table nor any good at managing his staff I am wondering what he really does there. . .
- Tribeca Cheese Souffle - Blue cheese, goat cheese and parmesan - I wasn't a fan of the presentation, looked like a big mess than a fancy sweep. With the selection of cheeses, flavour is one thing that was not lacking. And a sauce on the side was definitely not needed. Besides it not adding anything to the souffle, it tasted like... how do I describe it... a lemony gutter water. I wish I could have phrased it better but that was my first reaction. Lastly the souffle; the blue cheese definitely over powered everything but I didn't mind so much. The problem was it wasn't really a souffle texturally. A souffle should be airy, light, fluffy, like a cushion for a sweet angel's tush. This was lumpy, overly wet, I don't know quite what it was to be honest. A souffle is not an easy task for any amateur cook. But for a "star chef" it should be a basic. Tasted good but perhaps call it something else ... cheese pudding?
- Pumpkin Soup - The colour alone should have been a warning. Where is that vibrancy of a beautiful pumpkin soup? If not a rich orange then a bright yellow? Anything but this depressing brown please. The sweet taste of pumpkin was completely drowned in the depths of this overly spiced liquid.
- Marble Foie Gras and Duck Ballottine - w/ La Greque Vegetables and Black Truffle from Alba Italy - Hold on I'm trying to figure out where to start... Hmmm... Lets start with the safest thing on the plate the "phooey gra" - Ok it wasn't my waiters fault who has never had to pronounce such a thing in his entire 30 years of existence. What was at fault (again not his entirely) is when I pointed to the scary bull's testicle looking thing and I said "what's that" he told me "its phooey gra"... We were talking about the ballotine. I didn't ask to test him, I genuinely didn't know what the entire dish that had been ordered by my table was. Food is about a lot of things and one is educating people about new and unfamiliar techniques and ingredients. You won't really succeed if you haven't managed to teach your staff first. Or yourself for that matter... The duck ballotine was a disaster and worth scrapping off entirely. It was dry, chewy and just all together unpleasant. The sauce was weak, like a cheap marmelade. And the truffles? Dios mio! Something so fragrant and dominating as a truffle cannot be so bland! I little shaving goes a long way. And here I was biting in to it and still could not taste a thing? Just to be fair I made everyone on our table do the same. Reaction was unanimous. Like I said its about educating people not misleading them. Don't tell me these truffles are from Alba when they taste of nothing. Truffles from Alba mind you are the most expensive in the world which is for good reason. And the truffles that are most renowned and worth mentioning from Alba are the white truffles. Forgive me sir but these insipid things are either much too stale ti be served or from some province in China. And yes the Grecque vegetables are the julienne peppers.
- Diavola Pizza - Salami and we got some rocket added. The pizzas are probably the best things here, which may not mean much. Just to be able to soak in the ambiance I would order just this and a stiff drink.
- Roasted French Quail in Mixed Fruit Vinaigrette - Quail meat prepared w/ pancetta, prune glaze and maronglasse (i.e marron glace!) - Its all very well putting together a fancy sounding dish but if you do not know what you are doing it becomes known very fast. Firstly, I don't understand this obsession with the extra sauce on the side with everything. So far neither of the dishes required that bowl to be there including this one. More than enough sauce under and on top of that tiny bird. The quail meat itself was too dry. The mixed fruit vinaigrette tasted like some very artificial mixed fruit concoction. And the syrupy apples and grapes in cinnamon? I may have liked it with the quail if that sauce wasn't there, but at the moment I didn't see its purpose. Still wondering where the marron glace (marrons are a type of chestnut and marron glace are candied versions of it) were or was this another misleading thing they threw in on paper but had no plans of delivering? A very amateur dish with no one thing shining through.
- Prawns Espetada - From the Grill - They give you a choice of sides - we picked zucchini but got all anyway, which by this point was not even a concern. There was at least less wrong with this dish. The prawns and vegetables (minus the carrot that was too raw on the inside) were cooked about right. The marinade however was quite tasteless and left you feeling a little frustrated.
- Scandinavian Smoked - Tagliatelle w/ Norwegian Smoked Salmon in Almond Cream - This really was just the nail on my coffin! Up until this dish arrived I had still convinced everyone to give dessert a try. I honestly should not even have to say much the picture speaks a 1000 words. Insipid, gloopy mush! No flavour of almond cream rather it tasted like any generically painful "white sauce". I do believe I would have got the same results if I just opened a packet of Maggi Pazzta!
What frustrates me is one, the waste of a beautiful space and I refer to the outside because the inside makes no sense to me. And two is restaurants trying to be something they are not. Go simpler, take out the ballotines and sauces you cannot deliver! Do not mislead your customer. Eventually, someone is going to know the difference between what is said on paper and what is finally on their plate. And lastly what really gets to me like a rusty nail on a chalk board, is this hype about a foreign chef. Is every Indian chef worth something amazing when put in an Indian restaurant? Then why must I hear "Oh you know babe they have an Italian chef". One of the best Italian meals I have had in the country was under Chef Ravi Saxena's watch at San Gimignano. Its about the chef and his expertise not his passport.
Budget: Approx. meal for two - no drinks - Rs. 2500
12:30 p.m to 12 a.m
30 Hauz Khas Village
Labels: Hauz Khas Village, Italian, Mediterranean, Outdoor Seating