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Twist in the Tale

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Three restaurants that are reinterpreting the Indian cuisine with global influences

NRI 
Mumbai
Tucked in a corner at the Bandra Kurla Complex is Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar’s new restaurant, Not Really Indian. At NRI, the internationally celebrated chef whips up ‘diaspora cuisine’. He reinterprets the dishes that Indians took with them when they migrated to faraway lands. In time, the communities on foreign shores created their versions of these Indian dishes using local produce and techniques. For instance, when Muslims from Tamil Nadu moved to Malaysia, they gave birth to their own cuisine— Mamak. Inspired by this, Kochhar brings Mamak Lamb chops—meat marinated in a soy-lemon-tomato marinade. Bunny Chow, a hollowed-out white loaf filled with mutton curry was born in Durban in the 1930s, but is of Indian descent. The Tandoori Jerk Spiced Chicken Salad, Caramelised Mango Choux and Phaldaari Chaat are other winners on the menu. Kochhar’s extensive travel around the world helped shape his vision for the restaurant. ‘I wanted my food to be intriguing. So, rather than cooking Indian food for Indians, I thought of celebrating food from the diaspora,’ he says.

Antares
Goa
At Antares, Australian Masterchef finalist Sarah Todd brings together a delectable fusion of Australian and Indian cuisine. Collaborating with India’s most ethical and sustainable growers of organic produce, Sarah delivers contemporary, inspiring dishes from Australia with an Asian twist. Nestled among the sandy shores of Vagator, this al fresco restaurant is also accompanied by 13 wooden cottages, an infinity pool and an Australian resort-wear boutique. ‘The food is young and fresh, with an Asian twist to it, especially the spices. My favourite is the charcoal grill section that rustles up lots of vegetarian and meat grills,’ shares Sarah. The menu is an assortment of small and large plates. Her lobster linguini is a sensation, with the freshest of lobsters, perfectly cooked pasta amped with zesty flavours. Her love for the Indian cuisine shines beautifully as she plates up the mushroom rillette with papad and pork belly with kokum. The Alfonso mango kulfi and Australian pavlova promises sheer indulgence for those with a sweet tooth. Antares is a slice of Australia in India, bringing you the best of both worlds.

The Tiffin Club
New York
The Tiffin Club is a dinner series in Brooklyn that whips up regional food from India. The brainchild of Rohan Kamicheril and his partner Mike Jesson, the supper club is best described as a ‘showcase for regional Indian food— with an occasional detour’. Rohan grew up in Bangalore, and his south Indian descent heavily influences the dinner, which is hosted almost monthly at the duo’s Cobble Hill apartment. In the fivecourse meal, Rohan brings together seemingly disparate dishes. Rasam with daikon cappellacci, fried idli on a bed of sliced grapes and cilantro chutney, khichdi with charred carrots and a blistered egg are all singular celebrations of a beautiful marriage of variant cuisines. Warm brussel sprouts and a persimmon-cucumber-mango chaat adds indulgent details to the meal best polished off with a green mango tart. With a taste for perfection, Rohan adds a spin to Indian cuisine that you can’t help but fall for. ‘In New York, we try to make things that don’t necessarily taste authentic,’ he says, ‘but they taste delicious’.

 

Edited by Ritupriya Basu

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