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An effort to produce one of the most avant-garde and exhilarating fine dining experiences Delhi has seen. In a simplistic menu partial to local ingredients, Chef Abhishek Gupta takes the guest on a voyage that thrusts the idea of predictable dining in the capital!
There is something on at The Leela Ambience, Gurgaon. Something yonder on the skyline of the restaurant understandings we are used to. Chefs are starting to think outside the box of conventional, Indian Epicureanism and looking at ways to shove boundaries. One of these is Chef Abhishek Gupta’s new pop-up project, which I call Spin Cuisine.
There are no negotiations at this dinner when it comes to food. There is no À la carte, but only one menu, which entails out 8 courses. All the produce is sourced locally, and by that, I certainly mean all. This is by no means a ground-breaking thing in 2017 if you look at international restaurant trends, but for India, this is still very much pushing the boundaries. Chef Abhishek and his squad spent the summer and autumn pickling and preserving things to make sure they could spice up their winter menu. The result is an exceptional menu that tells the guest a very pure story. Every dish on the menu is very simplistic and features a maximum of four or five ingredients and the whole experience gets truly interesting right at the beginning when you partake the beetroot juice.
This is just about the moment where the kitchen truly arrests my attention and when the next plates arrive, one positive bite chases the other. Fresh milk curd is served with a warm carrot sauce and sprinkled with home style cooked carrot and green peas, a tomato broth comes with dried tomato skin and vada bread, both killer dishes that leave me licking my plate (in my mind, though I am sure Abhishek would not mind). The last main dish, a tandoori lamb loin with barley mushroom khichdi, is accompanied with the most delicious item of the evening – charred gunpowder leeks. The ice cream gets a makeover, with tomato, onion, tamarind, coconut and spices to melt down and develop the right flavours; quite an interesting take on the Mangalorean gassi curry.
Wine pairings are excellent throughout the whole meal and it quickly becomes clear how this is one topic where General Manager Michel Koopman feels downright comfortable and is so proud of his team for doing a brilliant job. Service is swift and observant when it comes to food, though you can also sense the underlying nervousness of a new opening.