With varying tastes of the people and an appetite to try new dishes, fusion food is now seeming to be the new trend. Essence Fusion – Newly opened fine dining restaurants now foray into dishing out fusion food, where in traditional desi khana comes with a videsi twist.
I was invited with a bunch of foodies for a tasting/review session of the food as part of the prelaunch.
Decent fine dining ambiance well lit, well-spaced, large tables with comfort seating is the first feel as we get into the restaurant. The evening began with a traditional desi shot – Badam Milk topped with chopped pistachios. Along with it came in the regular mocktails in various flavours – Cranberry juice, Blend of orange juice with musk melon, blue curacao. While the mocktails were ok, the introductory badam milk shot was thick, flavorful and tasted good.
An array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters is served on the table. To begin with, the gol gappas stuffed with boiled alu, pomegranate seeds and sev are placed on small glasses(shots) that had different variants of aromatic liquids (butter milk, theeka pani, katta pani, meetha pani). Be cautious of not to binge on all the gol gappas as it may kill your appetite. Chilly Mirchi Bajjis had a good filling of cheddar cheese mixed with potatoes; Bajjis were topped mildly with tamarind sauce; for folks who can’t handle the spice levels, rose water is served as a handy.
Sabudana & Mashed potatoes mixed with desi spices and named as Sabudana Potato Quennelles was served with spicy tomato chutney and saffron puffed rice. In desi language, it is called the sabudana vada. The taste of the quenelles didn’t amuse me much but the flavor of spicy tomato chutney was good. For the first time, I tasted the beetroot variant of galouti – it was well made and tasted good with mint chutney.
Non vegetarian starters seemed more interesting – Curried Scotch Egg, Lal Mirch Chicken Tikka, Wild Mushroom Murg Tangdi and Honey & Paprika Jhinga were good. Curried Scotch Egg is a soft-boiled egg covered with curried flaour minced chicken, served with onion, pepper relish and moilee sauce. Lal Mirch Chicken Tikka is the regular boneless chicken tikka but served with carrot puree, honey and chilli yogurt. The chicken tastes different & refreshing with the sauces.
Wild Mushroom Murg Tangdi consisted of chicken drumsticks stuffed with mushroom mashed with several spices. The chicken is very well cooked, its soft and tasted good, I felt the mushroom stuffing is dry and it killed the taste of the overall dish. It could have been better if the stuffing is a little moister. This was compensated with a very flavourful sea food dish – Honey & Paprika Jhinga. Medium sized prawns marinated with honey & paprika sauce were served with beetroot hummus and sicilian lime gel.
Among the main course, Paneer Lasagna, Indian Chicken Quesadilla and Curry leave chicken picatta and with different variants of breads – Mushroom flavoured kulcha, Truffle flavoured kulcha and Cheddar Cheese Kulcha were served.
Paneer Lasagna had thick slices of paneer chunks that are stuffed with caramelized onions, spinach, elaichi cream sauce. The strong taste of caramelized onions
cooked in desi masalas were overpowering and killed the taste of the dish. I preferred the stuffing should be mild and the additional flavours should come from the sauces. Indian style Chicken Quesadillas had tortilla bread served along with chicken masala, sour cream, mint chutney, cucumber salad and salsa. The quantity of chicken masala was less on the serving. The bread was soft though, and the combination of all the ingredients was good. A new dish Chicken Picatta had breast pieces of chicken coated with curry leaves, bread crumbs and served with cilantro and mint mashed potato wit mushroom. I liked it as it had good quantity of boneless meat and tasted good.
Finally, the sweetest moment of the evening – To binge on desserts. While it was good to see good fusion food as part of the starters and main course, I was pretty curious about the new variants of desserts. Living up the expectations, we were served Gulab Jamun Cheesecake and Fig Kulfi. Gulab Jamuns wrapped in vanilla flavoured cheese and served along with mango sorbet and saffron syrup. The combination of gulab jamun with cheese cake was impressive. Fig Kulfi is a combination of fig flavoured kulfi on a bed of almond sponge and served along with carrot halwa. The taste of the kulfi was good but the crunchiness of the kulfi was more as it was more like crystals; else it would have been a yum dessert.
Summarizing the evening, it is a good fine dining experience and the food was good. More care should be taken while coming up with fusion dishes as there is high scope of overpowering of one flavour over the other.