INDIAN ACCENT, Delhi – Where the Accent is on YOU

The Manor, New Delhi.Paeans have been sung about the food at Indian Accent – fusion of flavours at its best, path-breaking contemporary Indian menu, immaculate presentation, etc., etc. However, what struck me the most is the fact that the restaurant has embraced the basic tenet of Indian hospitality- “Athithi Devo Bhava” meaning guest is God.

Vivek Rana, Executive Chef, Indian AccentRarely have I been served in restaurants in India by such personable, knowledgeable, well-trained staff – a staff which does not tire of changing your cutlery umpteen number of times without you asking and refills your empty water glass without your beckoning; a down-to-earth chef Vivek Rana who, despite his wizardry with food delightfully presented, still appears before you with an earnest demeanour seeking your feedback…..and so on and so forth. This is what had stood out during my visit to the restaurant last week to sample their summer tasting menu.

Indian Accent 1Before you start looking askance at me for the seemingly sweeping statements above on service during an “invited” visit, please rest assured that on an earlier occasion while on a personal visit, I was struck by the same thing. Whether you are invited or you invite yourself, service standards are the same at Indian Accent.

Smoked Masala Marwari Papad
Smoked Masala Marwari Papad

A jar filled with diced something piqued my interest. Closer examination revealed it to be Smoked Masala Marwari Papad, Lettuce Potato Cream, Chilli Onions. A clever take on the Mexican Guacamole, it had three different varieties of crushed papad – aloo, Bikaner and namkeen – balancing their crispiness with the lemon creamed potato, avocado and spiced onions that were smoked with a charcoal smoke gun and sealed until presented and opened at the table. I personally would have preferred a sweet-taste imparting smoke like that of fruit woods – apple, peach etc. But my companion told me that in traditional Indian cuisine, charcoal is the favoured smoking medium. So be it.

Steamed Fish in Thai raw Mango sauce
Steamed Fish in Thai raw Mango sauce

Tandoori Mushroom Salad with Gorgonzola and walnut khasta was a fabulous mouthful with the mildly pungent cheese dancing a tango with the sharp masala. The soft and bland Steamed Fish (John Dory), brought to life by the Thai raw mango chutney and further enhanced by crushed caramelised mango candy is an example of how the ordinary could be made to be expressive with the right choice of flavours – sweet, sour and spicy.

Pulled Pork Phulka Taco
Pulled Pork Phulka Taco

Good things come in small sizes. Pulled Pork Phulka Taco proved the adage right. The tiny morsel served on a miniature ham carving board was devastatingly tasty with the soft meat redolent with a flurry of flavours and textures – spices, coconut, lentils, etc. The Kulcha laced with Stilton Cheese served as an amuse bouche and the verdant looking Pea Shorba were fitting precursors to the appetisers mentioned above.

Ghee Roast Mutton BotiThen appeared the dish with bragging rights – Ghee Roast Mutton Boti, Roomali Roti Pancake and chutneys. Following the form of Peking duck, the succulent, aromatic mutton masala was to be had rolled in tiny, wafer thin roomali rotis with juliennes of radish and tiny dollops of a choice of four chutneys – tart Hoisin, refreshing mint, spicy chilli and the excellent burnt garlic chutney. The last of the four got polished off the fastest. The Stuffed Morels and Tandoori Chicken in a Pink Pepper Malai Curry was a veritable work of art. The Morel cone was stuffed perfectly with the chicken and crowned by a filigree work of Parmesan that would hold its own against the delicate lattice work of the Agra fort.

Kadi-Chawal in new avataar
Kadi-Chawal in new avataar

Just about when I had finished cleansing my palate with a refreshing Pomegranate and Churan Kulfi Sorbet served in a scaled down version of a pressure cooker, what looked like squid rings was brought to my table. The crafty vegetarian Black Quinoa Onion rings coated with poha and resting on Mashed New Potato was served with a creamy Boondi Kadhi. I scooped up every spoonful of the kadhi even though it could have been a bit sour.

Tamarind Fish
Tamarind Fish

The Tamarind Fish (red snapper) served in a pond of coconut milk floating with translucent pearls of barley and cashew pakodas was an ode to the summer solstice. The flavours and aroma recalled to my mind the simple and rustic summer staple of barley porridge of the rural folks of the southern states. The dish that grabbed my attention however, was the simple Cucumber Raita made extraordinaire by Wasabi. The cool yoghurt spiked with the sharp wasabi was a taste to be savoured and remembered. I went bleary-eyed then and I go still, just remembering it ! I simply loved the assortment of Stuffed Kulchas that were on offer – Mushroom with a dash of truffle oil perhaps and Duck made creamy with pate? The Black Dairy Dal lent a tangy accent to the mundane Dal Makhni.

Gobindo Bhog Kheer
Gobindo Bhog Kheer

When it was the time for desserts, Gobindo Bhog Kheer with nuts, a mango, strawberry and pistachio sorbet, relieved by air-dried fruits and white chocolate festoons was the champion. What better way to end a fantastic meal than this one which goes by a plain nomenclature but has dramatic presentation and seductive flavours of tradional kheer, seasonal fruits, sorbet and healthy nuts.

The dishes mentioned above are part of the main a la carte menu, some of which have already claimed their places in the chef’s tasting menu while others are being tested for inclusion. I would love to see the Pulled Pork Phulka Taco, Ghee Roast Mutton Boti, Roomali Roti Pancake with chutneys, Stuffed Morels with Tandoori Chicken in pink pepper malai curry and the Gobindo Bhog Kheer in the tasting menu.

The ManorIn contrast to the flamboyancy expressed and displayed by the food, I found the décor a bit bland though the bright marigold flowers strewn strategically around the restaurant do enliven the surroundings. Perhaps the restaurant does not wish to divert the patron’s attention from the plate. My companion tasted the wines on offer with the tasting menu which selection I would venture to say are safe choices that would enhance but not overpower the food, which is the only accent that is heard spoken at Indian Accent.

Ratings (Out of 5)

Food: 5.0 | Service: 5.0 | Ambience: 4.0 | Overall: 5.0

Address­: INDIAN ACCENT, 77, Friends Colony, West, New Delhi- 110065, India | Tel: +91 11 26925151

Timings: 07.00 -11.00 am; 12.00 – 03.00 pm; 07.00 -11.00 pm

Category: Specialty Restaurant/ Modern Indian

Meal for two without alcohol: Rs.6000/++

Chef’s tasting menu– Veg- Rs. 2795/++ per person; Non-Veg. Rs. 2895/++ per person

Wine pairing charges extra– Rs. 2595/++ per person for six half glasses (75 ml) of wines

Table Reservation advised.

(Disclosure: This review was done at the invitation of the restaurant. Readers’ discretion is recommended even though due diligence has been observed in keeping the review as objective as possible.)

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