Sun, 24 January 2021
India’s array of herbs and spices has long been known to tantalise the tastebuds of gastronomists near and far. Historically speaking, the highly aromatic and flavourful blends earned the diverse country a spot on the spice trade route thousands of years ago – that’s just how coveted these flavours were!
On a quest for these divine concoctions, we took a not-too-long trip down to Adliya where we visited the truly authentic Indian Restaurant – India Gate. The exquisitely decorated restaurant is adorned with colourful murals reminiscent of traditional Indian artwork. After being seated at one of the tables, we enjoyed a conversation with Chef Amrish Nautiyal who hails from Uttarkhand and gave us an interesting insight into his specialities including a variety of North Indian dishes and select South Indian specialties. While the restaurant is known for its divine range of biriyanis, including the ever-so-popular Dum biriyani, we had one simple request for the chef: Take us on a tour of India.
While we enjoyed the medley of aromas wafting from the kitchen, we were served a delightful Paneer Tikka which is presented on a mini grill. We quite enjoyed the bite of the Paneer, which is a firm cottage cheese marinated in yogurt, herbs and spices. Next, we tucked into a kaleidoscope of curries including the Chicken Maratha, Paneer Lababdar, Dal Pancharattan and Bahi Takatak all accompanied with fresh, hot naan and roti. The interesting thing about the Chef’s choice was that each of the curries was a speciality of a different state.
The Chicken Maratha had a generous serving of boneless chicken cooked in a thick gravy in which we spotted the pleasant flavour of fresh curry leaves. The Dal Panchrattan serves up a nice blend of pulses topped with fresh coriander that would be excellent even over rice. We quite enjoyed the flavour of some cardamom in the Dal! The Bahi Takatak is a mix of fresh vegetables including bell peppers, carrots and more served in a thick aromatic gravy. The Paneer Lababdar was the perfect accompaniment to the dish with generous chunks of paneer in absolutely mouth-watering gravy. It can be challenging finding a restaurant that has a range of vegetarian dishes, but we were extremely happy with India Gate’s diverse and flavourful vegetarian dishes!
After going on a gastronomical tour of India, we ended our meal with a trio of delectable desserts: Gulab Jamun, Carrot Halwa and the unique Paan ice cream. Each and every one of the desserts was perfect- the Gulab Jamun served delightfully warm in a flavourful syrup and the Carrot Halwa the perfect mix of textures, but our absolute favourite which will have us coming back for more has to be the Paan ice cream. The culinary team at India Gate has somehow managed to capture pure nostalgia with this icecream in particular. It’s made with an actual beetlenut leaf and even has the pleasant flavour of Gulkand. A single spoon of the Paan icecream took me on a trip down memory lane, straight back to my holidays in Mumbai, surrounded by my extended family in the pouring rain while we devoured paan, kulfi or a hot cup of chai. What a beautiful experience!
Needless to say, we shall be back for more divine Indian food at India Gate in no time!