Koramangala’s 7th Block is quite the hub for restaurants serving food from the North Eastern states of the country. While you have Zingron, offering cuisine typical of indigenous Naga tribes, the Assamese restaurant Axomi is known for its sublime thalis, and meat and fish dishes. Adding themselves to a similar food group are Bengali restaurants Bangaliana and Panch Phoron. Gam’s delicacy is another new Assamese entrant to this area. A Guwahati-based chain, it also has a restaurant at the Assam state house in Delhi. Named after founder Bhuban Gam, the eatery aims to offer ethnic Assamese cuisine to its patrons.
At this restaurant, you will find no indigenous décor, instead the interiors are done up with comfortable sofas, cushions thrown in and a bar at the centre. Plans are afoot to start a terrace section soon.
It would do you good to order an Assamese akhaj or a complete vegetarian meal and then order meat, poultry or fish along with it. Our akhaj arrived in a beautiful burnished brass thali with little bowls of vegetables, dals and curries. Like Bengalis, the Assamese also believe in proceeding course by course while eating. We started off by eating rice mixed with stir-fried greens of the day. Khar, a mild alkaline dish of watery vegetables, such as papaya in this case, to which baking soda is added, was also part of this meal. This was followed by a light moong dal, then a robust split black dal flavoured with bamboo shoot and ginger, and a vegetarian dish of pointed gourd and potatoes. A special mention needs to be made of the aromatic short-grained Assamese joha rice served as part of the thali and the kagzi lime, a fragrant, aromatic staple of the region. We also ordered pork cooked with lai hak or mustard greens and a pabda fish tenga or watery curry, soured with thekera or mangosteen. The curry came with a hint of white mustard, used with restraint and wasn’t tongue- numbingly hot either. The addition of just enough fatty chunks of the meat added a certain depth of flavour to the gravy. The tenga was almost watery in consistency but bursting with tangy flavours from the thekera and the delicate pabda went rather well with it. We finished our meal with a bowl of rice kheer (part of the Akhaj) flavoured with cardamom and topped with nuts and raisins.
So good was the rice kheer that we carried an extra portion back home. Next time, we intend to try the duck with pumpkin or gourd, pork cooked with banana flowers or mutton cooked with black dal. Our only grouse: a strong nauseating smell of fresh paint that hangs heavy around the restaurant and can be quite suffocating.
`1,300 for two. Details: 49653153
The review was conducted
anonymously and the meal paid
for by the writer.
— Amrita Bose