Fter a long drive past looming corporate houses, we find ourselves navigating the narrow bylanes of Whitefield. And when these lanes suddenly open up at The Twin Oaks, where the casual yet polished Marigold restaurant invites us in with its open gardens, we happily venture in. Once inside, bursts of colour (read contemporary art) liven up the spacious dining area, and your attention is immediately drawn in two opposing directions – a buffet area, and an al fresco-like dining space. We decide to stay in the middle of it all, and prepare ourselves for the eclectic offering Marigold hints at.
The menu has many meandering turns – from modern European (executive chef Ajith Kumar’s speciality) to Oriental and Indian favourites. Besides food that tastes good, Kumar’s is also an effort to make it look good, because “people first eat with their eyes.” A minty beginning comes with the Middle Eastern tabbouleh with quinoa, which also plays host to heirloom tomatoes and white onions in extra virgin olive oil, a bowl of hummus and fine pita. Play it safe with chicken spring rolls and hoisin sauce or vegetable cocktail samosas, or dive into ‘Whitefield’s favourite mushroom crostini’ (Yes, that’s what they call it). A yum beauty with warm wheat bread, assorted mushrooms and cheese, this one’s easy on the palate and the tummy. Like seafood? Ask for the Mediterranean seafood soup. A saffron-scented broth with a bell pepper rouille, it is an indulgence in all things underwater – clams, squid, prawns and more. Vegetarians, oven-roasted balsamic tomato soup with garlic croutons, and Genovese minestrone with green pesto is the way to go.
While they have a number of risottos and pasta (mushroom to lobster specials), we took the Indian route and dug into the koonthal fry. In true Kerala style, it comes with loads of onions and curry leaves, and resounds with a spicy, peppery kick. The Malabar biryani has soul to it and similarly, the karimeen pollichathu (pearl fish in banana leaf) is cooked to the point of perfect softness. For sides, you could bank on dal makhani.
Desserts are a must here – primarily the freshly made, fine looking carrot halwa, and the mascarpone cheese delight that is tiramisu. Other promising plates include the Viennese apple strudel and ginger creme brulee. While obtaining a liquor license is next in the pipeline (they promise a fine selection of wine), Marigold’s banquet hall will also soon be ready.
`1,200 for two;
buffet per head `399.
— Nikita Puri