|The Dumm ki Champ|
It's always sad to see a chef leave the city--but hoteliers and chefs are notorious for hopscotching through the world. This time, it's the turn of Executive Chef Anurudh Khanna, of the Park, New Delhi, who moves to the Westin in Pune in a couple of weeks. Anurudh, I have always felt, was under-utilized at his current post. This became evident when he presented the summer menu at Fire, the Park New Delhi's, Indian restaurant.
Chef Khanna is not a bookish chef, his research is of the 'try and try again till you succeed' school of practical cooking. The dishes which make up his new menu are different, but don't forget that in the ned you have to cater to the tastes of the discerning customer. The menu is a refreshing change and this, of course, is something Fire has been craving for awhile. Alas, it is Chef Khanna's swan-song at the hotel and for the moment, in the city.
I've always liked the food which Chef Khanna cooks. I've sampled his brilliance in dishes like the paan biriyani, which was the result of researching many different recipes, before arriving at a formula uniquely his own. The new menu also has a few fantastic dishes. Dishes which Chef Khanna had, apparently, been unable to introduce in the restaurant menu earlier. I guess the fact he is leaving gave him the impetus to present them now.
The bean three ways, includes a rajma shammi kebab, edamame masala and a bean poriyal. The shammi almost reaches galawati-smoothness and the yogurt in the mix mimics the fat you would find in the mutton version of the kebab. I also loved the edamame masala, which reminded me of ghugni, a Bengali chickpea snack.The Dumm ki Champ with morels and lasuni palak, which was served up last was stripped of most of its fat, the flesh came off with the first bite and given it was New Zealand lamb, didn't give off a fatty smell. It was a meal I really enjoyed at Fire, after a long time. Let's hope Chef Khanna's successor will be able to keep innovating, and Chef Khanna gets to reach even tastier peaks at his new post in Pune.