Laid back in Delhi Waters
Chilli rubbed shrimp with avocado and corn cocktail, the racy, herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc is a love letter to the succulent fleshiness and slightly buttery-vegetal flavour of avocados and complements the shrimp equally well. Sauvignon Blanc, La Isla Tarapaca. Sauvignon Blanc, Anakena 2005.”
That item was the first one on the Laid Back Waters’ menu. The restaurant is the only one in Delhi with an accent on fish, and my friends Jug and Bunny Suraiya took me to The Quatab Hotel in which it is located.
The whole of Laid Back Waters’ menu has the description of dishes and wines that ideally accompany them. A first for Delhi.
The chilli rubbed shrimp with avocado and corn cocktail was ‘ultimate’ as our waiter Radhe Mohan said. The shrimp chilli hits you while the avocado and corn dip catches you. It helped to know that the green in the Italian flag comes from the avocado, which travelled from South America where it derived its name from the word abuacatl meaning (hold your breath) testicle. The prawns and dips were a perfect match.
Radhe brought on the Miso and Sesame sole which was sweet and slightly honeyed. The offering was perfectly resistant to the bite and the Miso and Sesame had time to mingle in your mouth.
The ambience of Laid Back Waters combines the seas to the Middle East. High ceilings with designs, lounge sitting on chairs that could have come from Tangiers and a huge changing diorama of fish swimming peacefully in seas and fluent changing pictures over the rest rooms depicting men and women ranging from sadhus and village girls to coiffed ladies and Maharajas. My eyes feasted as much as the rest of me.
Radhe Mohan served the Smoked salmon filled with caviar. It was a romantic dish that took you back to the Russian and French courts. You bit into the deliciously smoked salmon and the salty caviar popped in your mouth, the taste a gentle explosion.
Said Jug whose travel book, Where On Earth Am I, is a best seller, “This could be anywhere in London and New York, but here services are better.”
The grilled garlic scallops and prawns had a sharp note in the garlic tempered by the mild taste of scallops. It was one of those seemingly simple dishes that was really hard to make.
Our host of the evening Ranjan Bakshi declared they were lucky to have Chef Oshi Neogi from Bengal as their corporate chef as their eating empire expanded into Goa and Bombay and… Neogi has the knack of making fusion statements seem effortless. Like the grilled Nonya fish and shrimp spring rolls. Crisp on the outside with a Chinese-Indian-Korean spiciness that you can make mild with the light pesto that comes with it.
We went home still savouring all that was Laid Back Waters and the very daring minced prawn and pork on asparagus. A slightly spiced dish that contrasts to the face taste of the asparagus. Imagine the most delicious burger you’ve ever eaten wrapped delicately around a single asparagus. You have three distinct tastes and not too many spices despoil the distinctive flavour of asparagus.
I ate extra asparagus because in Roman times an Emperor ate them and leeks to make his voice melodious. Much to Jug and Bunny’s horror I sang in the car about fish and friends and laid back times.