THE MOVEABLE FEAST: Sun Gifts At Yak And Yeti’s Sunrise
Chef Nilesh Sing-hvi of the hotel Yak And Yeti is the one chef who is comfortable with where he’s going with experience gained from the Taj Palace in Delhi and The Aguada in Goa. “My base is Indian food but I have made it a point to study Western cuisine,” Chef Singhvi said.
The Sunrise Coffee Shop at Yak and Yeti has got a whole new taste since he came. The Caesar’s Salad arrived and tasting it I realised Chef Nilesh went for texture and tas-te. The salad with its chicken in cream, ma-yonnaise, mustard, par-mesan and garlic crout-ons had as many flavo-u-rs as the textures — from crisp to tangy to soft.
Alex Cardini who lived in 1924 in Tijuana ran a restaurant called Caesar’s Sports Bar and Grill. With an aunt’s help he invented the Caesar’s Salad for Air Force friends. Chef Nilesh’s interpretation would have pleased Cardini as much as it did me.
So did the Mixed Mushroom Trifoliate which he said is simple. “You mix two kinds of mushroom with onions, garlic and parsley and serve it in white wine”. A musty but sharp taste mellowed by parsley, heightened by Feta cheese had me sympathising with the ancient Emperor who would not allow his subjects to eat mushrooms so as to keep them for himself. The Trifoliate travelled to America as Mushroom And Onions In Wine where dry sherry was used.
The Yak and Yeti Club Sandwich lives up to the Chef’s desire for texture. You bite through the toast’s resistance into the softness of chicken salad and firmness of cucumbers, all the while you get tastes as varied as the salad and bacon and a hint of mustard in the Mayo.
That gambler, Earl of Sandwich, who invented them for food while gambling, would have declared the dream combination,”A full house”.
“The Taj Palace in Delhi created the Tiranga Paneer,” said Chef Nilesh. It was like the Club Sandwich with Chef’s trademark textures. Thick pieces of home made Indian cottage cheese were sliced in three places and the cuts filled with mint chutney, mixed pickle paste and tomato garlic paste. What made it even more interesting was the thin crisp outer layer made from ground gram that encased the dish and added a new flavour.
I ended my meal with Lasooni Palak and Paneer Kulcha that was bread so glorious you could eat it endlessly. As delicious was the Lasooni Palak which the Chef said,”If you get the garlic, clove and cinnamon balanced in the spinach puree you can eat it forever.”
My problem is that with the controlled use of spices Chef Nilesh produces wonders in the restaurant that lifts all-day-dining experience to a new, tasteful, unquen-chable height, and eating dishes forever could easily become a habit.