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    Sam Paul’s restaurant chain launches a third chapter, offering world cuisine and plenty of pie

    image1Jonah is one happy boy. His namesake restaurant in Besant Nagar is barely a year old and has already multiplied to three outlets, with more coming up soon. “We’re getting ready for Jonah’s Goes to West Coast next, and maybe a Jonah’s On Lent for vegetarian cuisine. The brand has lots of potential and we are sure that we don’t want to repeat the food,” beams Sam Paul, a serial entrepreneur and father of said happy boy. If you’ve been following Jonah’s journey that started last August, you’re probably aware that the chain opened its second outlet, Jonah’s Goes to Japan, in Phoenix MarketCity this February. And on learning that their third, Jonah’s Meets Chef Willi (with the expat chef as “consultant”), was opening soon, we made sure we didn’t miss their pre-opening tasting.
    Tasting, testing
    Seated at adjacent tables from each other (the restaurant is after all, empty), the witty Willi Wilson and I make conversation, as we await Paul’s team, who are joining us for lunch. “The menu will be about 350 pages — just light reading,” shrugs the chef, and I nod with as straight a face as I can manage. “We’ve picked up flavours from around the world. Definitely a lot more than what’s on offer at Besant Nagar. And plenty of vegetarian food,” he adds on a serious note, by which time our company arrives. Roasting each other throughout our meal (even Paul is not spared), this group is definitely entertaining company. Wilson starts us off with a hearty beef tenderloin. The juicy, medium-rare fillet rests on a “pastry raft” of roasted beetroot and cheese, with baked potato strips as big as my thumb on the side. As it vanishes, the Florentine-style baked chicken turns up. Mildly flavoured, to let the filling of spinach and mozzarella shine, it comes with zucchini rice and a mustard cream.
    Our verdict
    True to his promise, Wilson then sends out a slew of vegetarian dishes, of which the roasted paneer and the BBQ aubergine timbale deserve special mention. The paneer, stuffed with a broccoli mash and a salsa-like tomato chutney, is accompanied by a rich, cashew nut gravy of peas and mushroom. And encased in the smokey aubergine timbale, is a creamy, ricotta pasta that’s complemented by a topping of Greek yoghurt and black olive tapenade. And though we’re not getting any during our tasting, the menu has Wilson’s special thin crust pizzas (for every appetite), we’re told. Post a cherry pie, apple pancakes and lots of laughs, we leave the Poes Garden restaurant thoroughly satisfied.
    Meal for two at approximately Rs 1,200. Details: 43053030

    Ryan Peppin

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