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Chef Sujan Sarkar of Olive holds a degustation meal every Thursday evening, where he likes to use Indian ingredients, especially lesser-known ones. One evening, the piece de resistance was Carpaccio of Scallop and Ice Apple dressed with Yuzu and Mango Ginger. The refreshing ice apple that grows from a palm tree never makes its appearance in Delhi, so it was a delight to find it sliced finely and dressed with yuzu and paired with scallops.
It was certainly a novel invention that worked superbly, but pairing fruit with seafood or meats is an old trick. In Tian, for example, Chef Vikramjit Roy’s Duck Salad with Orange Segments features roast duck whose skin is crisp. The oranges are cooked sous vide with Cointreau and orange zest. This and a kochujang glaze ensure that the fruit is imbued with an assertive flavour to pair with the duck.
Sometimes, all you need is a fluke to come up with a dish that has all the elements of freshness, fruitiness, tanginess and crispness. The chef at Zamozza must have been hit by a divine visitation the day he invented his current bestseller, Lychee Open Wonton. A crisp wonton forms a cup filled with chopped coriander leaf and moong bean sprouts and a fat slice of lychee is the topping. The tangy, spicy element is the Thai dressing.
If it is your lucky day, you may find the outstanding Raw and Ripe Mango Prawn Stir-fry on the lunch buffet of threesixtyone degrees at The Oberoi Gurgaon. It makes its appearance every few days – the dish has a vaguely Thai sensibility and the red chilli and garlic pods give the ripe mango chunks a savouriness.
The poor beleaguered kitchen of Indiyaki has noticed the rapidity at which their pineapple chutney gets polished by guests. Though there are other chutneys on the table, the tanginess of the pineapple chutney, and the light undertone of cinnamon, goes very well indeed with chicken tikka.
Appearing incognito is The Phantom's style, so we are keeping this identity under wraps. What we can tell you is that this is one food critic that has earned the respect of restaurateurs and foodies alike. With an astute palate and an adventurous spirit, the Phantom Critic has more than 20 years of experience writing about food and reviewing restaurants