There are moments in a food bloggers life which can be termed as nirvana moments. Last week when I received an invite to the chef’s table to showcase a special menu created by the Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna for Shiro, I thought I had hit that moment. To top it all, my colleague from Delhi chapter of Indian Food Freak was also to go to the same event at Shiro Delhi outlet a day before and we were to share notes on the food we tried. However, the food gods had something else in mind and the so-called Nirvana was left for some other day.
I have always loved Shiro for its oriental cuisine and the invite mentioned that the menu of the night was a special “Twist of Taste” menu which was a fusion of oriental tastes with Indian elements, so obviously my interest was piqued. The menu which shall be available to everyone till 16th Feb’14 had several items which sounded quite crazy and interesting. I was personally looking forward to try the Coconut and Lemon grass soup (their version of Tom KhaGai) with rasam powder, and the Lemon fried rice with peanuts and pineapples.
We started off with a Crispy Tofu with Tamarind Chutney in Paper baskets. Interesting pastry cups with a tamarind sauce at the bottom topped with tiny pieces of crispy fried tofu. Though I found the tofu pieces to be too tiny, I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy crunchy tofu with its sweet and sour sauce as well as the crunchy side of raw papaya salad.
After these amuse bouche, we were served the Panko-crusted Prawn Rawa fry style and the Xacuti masala grilled chicken rice paper roll. Though the description on the prawn dish mentioned marination in ginger, garlic, black pepper and lime juice, but due to the heavy panko crust, all I could feel was the crispy crunchy prawn. This was served along with a Thai sweet chilli sauce which added dimension to the dish and the combined taste was quite delectable. The Xacuti masala grilled chicken on the other hand, had used lettuce instead of the rice paper for their roll. Despite the chicken pieces being quite flavourful, the dish fell flat due to the lettuce being quite soggy.
With the starters having made their presence felt, we moved on to the soup and were served the Coconut and lemon grass soup with rasam powder. It was a perfect Tom Kha soup with potent flavours of kafir lime and galangal with an interesting tempering of rasam powder and spices. Somehow the fusion of these two elements brought the dish to a totally different tangent and the table unanimously agreed upon it being the best dish to have been served so far.
Thereon, we moved to the mains where we were served a Steam fish in lotus leaf with Malabar curry spice and a Kerala style prawn curry with Thai red curry paste. This was served with the side of Lemon fried rice with peanuts and pineapple. The steam fish was a bit of a let-down as the Malabar spices totally overpowered the soft basa and the lotus leaf had not added any flavour to the fish as it had not been steamed in it. The prawn curry was much better in comparison as the marriage of red thai curry with the turmeric and mustard seed heavy flavours from Kerala worked quite well, I did find the prawns to be a bit tough though. The lemon fried rice was quite an interesting twist as they had used Sushi rice instead of regular rice. But then interesting here didn’t mean delicious as the rice was quite clumpy in places and lacked the lemony punch which is iconic in the regular Lemon rice. Even the pineapples were absent in the dish.
Finally the dessert which was not part of the chefs special menu, was brought to the table. Tiny petit portions of Chocolates, the most outstanding of which was a chocolate sushi with white and dark chocolate mousse rolled in a marbled chocolate case. This was most certainly the second best dish of the evening.
Coming from the stables of the Michelin Starred Vikas Khanna, the menu so far had failed to sweep us off our feet. Only one dish (The coconut soup) had stood out worthy of a Michelin chef and the heart was craving for more. However with a few hits and a few misses, the overall evening was quite enjoyable in the fun company of fellow bloggers. In retrospect I wouldn’t term the menu as bad had the name of Chef Khanna wasn’t associated with it. I guess it’s the name that takes our expectations sky high and at times we ourselves tend to fall down from the high standards of our own expectations. I would recommend our readers to please go and give the menu a try not for Chef Khanna, but for the innovative fusion of Indian meets Far East.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 3.0 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 3.5 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for two: Rs.2500 – Rs.3000 (Without Alcohol)| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timing: 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, 7 PM to 01:30 AM
Address: Bombay Dyeing Mill Compound, P Budhkar Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai | Tel: 022 266511207/022 66511208