It takes a certain flair to produce a meal that celebrates the best of regional Indian flavours with slick presentation.
Eating my way through cities in India a few months ago has been an eye opener of delectable flavours on offer, the one place that continues to surprise and impress is Indian Accent. Through my trip to various cities there was drool worthy street food, some fantastic Indian restaurant food in abundance and then there was Indian Accent.
An establishment that hopes to present itself in a league of its own. One that not just wows the North Indian audience (who might I add can be very hard to please!) apart from those who come along with a curious palate and an open mind. By their own admission it has taken some convincing in the formative months of opening the restaurant, for regular restaurant goers in India to understand what they are all about. And rightly so; given majority of those who come along do still love the comfort of regular dal, roti, sabzi. Just so happens they are willing to eat it at Indian Accent!
Come the new year the team will be gearing up for their next outpost in New York which spells exciting times for Indian cuisine and a chance for a global audience to get a taste of these exceptional flavours. My first visit to the Delhi restaurant last year was something I was keen to dive right into (given all the rave reviews it had received!). I visited with friends from the city who hadn’t even heard of this quaint little restaurant. We get a warm welcome and are seated in the lounge with cocktail orders taken. Its curry collins and street food chaat margaritas ordered; looking around you get a sense of how stunning the decor is but also what a cozy feel it has to it.
The menus on offer changes every few months at Indian Accent and presented with the options I would certainly recommend the chefs tasting menu. Its a blend of classic Indian flavours with inspiration from Indian street food, regional flavours and some impeccable desserts with a flair for producing something really special.
Out came the first few courses including chaat (one of my favourites from the night). A really delicious take on the local tokri chaat, this had the crisp vermicelli deep fried roll set over a bed of ragda (white peas curry) and doused with tangy chutneys topped with a slice of watermelon. Sweet, sour, tangy and utterly moreish with a delicious balance of flavours, I could have eaten that all night. The slow cooked duck in a savoury cone with caramelly sauce it’s equally delicious ditto the meetha achar Chilean spare ribs with sundried mango and toasted kalonji seeds.
What surprised me were glimpses of the summer menu including a gunpowder tossed idli topped with toasted coconut shards and coconut chutney, stunning morels stuffed with spiced mushrooms and topped with a Parmesan crisp. And my favourite the pulled lamb over a taco phulka with a veg alternative of spiced kathal/ jackfruit. Probably one of the best interpretations I have seen using jackfruit.
With the palate cleanser of a refreshing gola of pomegranate & churan sorbet we were more than ready for the rest of the feast! Out came the baked John Dory with amritsari masala butter and a white bait papad which gave it a salty savoury crisp flavour.
Rice crusted Keralan fish moilee with greens and a pine nut poriyal; with a beautiful texture and crispness to the fish, delicately spiced sauce and the wonderful poriyal to complete that course. There was also slow cooked black dal, a variety of kulchas and avocado raita that followed on.
As if they hadn’t displayed what Indian food was all about there was dessert to follow; North Indian doda barfi treacle tart; a decedent doda/ milk solids flavour with a treacle hint to the tart, Bengali mishti doi and Old Monk infused chocolate rum balls with 70% valrhona. Of course nothing would complete this typical ‘dilli’ meal unless there was daulat ki chaat and in typical North Indian style complete with notes of “daulat” / note of rupees.
Chef Manish Mehrotra has hit the nail on the head with a very strong message; the food on offer is innovative and ambitious with an identity of its own. And that it’s ok to present fusion food although ensure it reeks of something that stems from everyday Indian life and inspiration of what reminds us how truly wonderful, versatile and proud we should be of Indian cuisine. Regional, diverse, clever cooking- it takes creativity to produce a meal like this and Indian Accent most certainly has that.
If there is one place that is redefining how we view Indian flavours it’s most definitely here, so may I recommend you try this 45 seater gem of restaurant in Delhi? It just so happens to be one of the best Indian meals I’ve eaten.