Back from New York, chef Sumit Batra is the new face at The Oberoi
Le Jardin, the all-day diner at The Oberoi, launches a tasting menu today. It is to introduce its new senior sous chef Sumit Batra to Bengalureans. And for the 32-year-old Delhite, his new job is a return to its alma mater. He studied at The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development, before setting off on duty in different locations of the luxury hotel. This was followed by a short term at Aman Resorts in Sri Lanka.
And, last February, he flew to New York to broaden his culinary knowledge. There, he worked at the Michelin starred NoMad restaurant, conceptualised by chefs Daniel Humm and James J Kent. Lessons learnt inside this kitchen were aplenty, from developing an eye for detail, respecting ingredients, and their hygiene, using liquid nitrogen, playing with cuts and textures, to not settling for any dish that is less than 100 per cent perfect. He developed a fetish for “fancy knives”, and picked up four from the Korin shop near the World Trade Centre.
So his maiden menu for the city combines techniques he’s learnt in New York, and the freshness and simplicity of local produce, which Batra is getting familiar with. The promotion, named ‘A Sum-mit of Good Food’ consists of two separate, limited menus – one vegetarian, and the other featuring meat and seafood. A citrusy champagne sorbet is common, and works as a palate cleanser.
Get started with Carrot Tartare, served with a multigrain crisp, and roasted sunflower seeds, which packs in diced carrots, onions, and green apple in a carrot-mayonnaise sauce — nice and acidic. Move on to a platter of dehydrated tomatoes, greens, burrata and rye. The translucent, tarty snow made from tomato juice is a delight. Their cold soup, Avocado gazpacho (also available with steamed scallops) is quite refreshing.
Non-vegetarians have the option to tuck into oysters drowned in a sauce of champagne, champagne vinegar, peppercorn and onion, or relish the saltiness of pancetta and parmesan, and sweet peas in their Sweet Pea Chiffonade with Pancetta salad. Zucchini grilled with Caponata, Fritters and Garlic Yoghurt is a winner in the main course. You can have the zucchini pakodas, ratatouille veggies, and thick garlic yoghurt just by themselves. Cauliflower Variations with Raisin Vinaigrette offers a blend of sweet and sour notes. Batra tells us he purees the cauliflower, caramelises it, and purees it again. You can also ask for the Chilean sea bass with nori mushroom puree, which is high on Asian flavours, or a rack of lamb accompanied with squash, and carrot miso puree. Two kinds of quinoa are used here — one cooked, and other puffed.
Wind things up with the classical Espresso Affogato. It combines the bitterness of coffee, and the creaminess of vanilla ice cream quite well!
Rs 1,975 ++. Till June 24.
For dinner. At The Oberoi, MG Road. Details: 25585858