This August 15, Le Jardin, The Oberoi’s European and North Indian restaurant shows its patriotism the way that it does best – through gastronomical creations that represent the diverse regions of the country. All through August, each week focuses on different regions of the nation from the North West frontiers to the Deccan plateau and beyond. While the major part of the menu has all the regular crowd pleasers – like mishti doi, lal maas, rogan josh and masala dosa, it also makes space for lesser known but equally appetising dishes, some created authentic and some with a touch of experimentation, by chef Nimisha Verghese. Our pick.
Bharwan paneer (Punjab)
If you know that the paneer has been flown in from Delhi, you can rest assured it’s going to be a soft, spongy affair. But add to that a stringy artisan mozzarella cheese filling, some Kashmiri chilli paste marinade and a dash of ginger, and you’ve got a winner on your hands. Or rather platter!
Gobi mussallam (Uttar Pradesh)
Le Jardin’s version is made with broccoli florets and served as a starter, though the original calls for a whole cauliflower. The broccoli is marinated in hung curd and an array of spices, and then cooked in the tandoor for a blend of smoky and creamy notes.
Suar ka saonth (Rajasthan)
Translating to pork belly, this is definitely one of the highlights of the meal. Featuring the meat cooked with black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and mathania chillies (quite hard to get one’s hands on) from Rajasthan, we soaked up the gravy with the accompanying fluffy rotis.
Thovial (Tamil Nadu)
A staple in homes across Tamil Nadu, the dry dish made with any vegetable of your choice, is hardly ever found in restaurants. This particular version was made with bottle gourd sauteed with onions, tomato and a drop of tamarind.
Meen puttu (Kerala)
Usually made with rice flour and coconut, these steamed cakes also included minced fish, which is quite a novelty. Served with a thick coconut chutney, this was a nice mix of flavours.
Fish tenga (Assam)
A light and sour fish curry from Assam, this one is said to be ideal for their summers as it is low on spices yet high on taste. Salt, turmeric, tamarind and black cumin seeds were the only spices used and the basa was cooked to perfection.
Apple jalebi (Lucknow)
Batter-fried apple jalebis saw us winding up on a pleasantly sweet note. The crisp jalebi was made even better with a serving of basundi (a lighter version of rabri), a heady mix of sweetness and contrasting textures.
`1,450++ . At The Oberoi, MG Road. Details: 25585858
— Rashmi Rajagopal