On the Rocks’ latest edition of Curate, featuring local chef Vignesh Ramachandran, delivers, yet again!
The latest edition of Curate lives up to its promise for an interesting take on European cuisine with a menu meant for a gourmand
AT the third edition of popular food pop-up, Curate, at On the Rocks, Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park; we were in for quite a gustatory adventure. Sticking to their theme of redefining gourmet European cuisine for a local palate, this edition saw Chennai-based chef Vignesh Ramachandran present two curated menus — vegetarian and non-vegetarian — that were meant to impress! With big shoes to fill, considering how much praise chef Adhira Swami and chef Virginie received at the previous two editions of Curate; the nervousness in the air was palpable. Here we were, a selected few, tasting this menu for the first time — hoping, of course, for a culinary journey that would be unique and adventurous to say the least — and deliver he did.
Rice rice, baby!
The mood for the evening was set with an interesting amuse bouche. Taking inspiration from indigenous black rices trending the world over, chef Vignesh decided to begin our meal with a made-from-scratch rice appalam featuring local black kavuni rice, served with figs and goat cheese — setting the tone for the evening, quite successfully. This was quickly followed with Tom & Chee — gruyere goujeres paired with a tomato brodo — a delicious pairing of a clear tomato soup paired with cheese-stuffed savoury bite-sized pastries.
Ready to pâté
A beautifully constructed dish made its way to our table next. A sweet sangria jelly set atop a delicate mushroom pâté made for a great second indulgence. The Wild Mushroom Pâté — replaced by a chicken pâté for non-vegetarians — was fragrant, smooth and refreshing and was quickly followed by our favourite dish of the day, the Tuna Crudo. Staying true to its Italian origins, we were wowed by the inclusion of peeled mosambi (sweet lime) segments that elevated the rustic salad. Finely sliced local bajji chilli only added to the explosion of flavours in every bite.
We skipped a course, digging instead into a warm bowl of Caramelised Onion and Gorgonzola Risotto right after, and it was a pleasant shift from a citrusy crudo to a cheesy carbohydrate. Our palate was in a happy place now, piqued by the plethora of flavours on offer. Fearing a mild food coma, we decided to take a break for a while and sip on a red wine, before we furthered our exploration.
Next up, we tore into an Autumn Vegetable Pithier as we simultaneously wolfed down an Assiette of Quail. Both pastry based, we weren’t too impressed by either. While most of what we were served spoke highly of our chef’s capabilities, the Soul of a Carbonara — deconstructed pasta, that was served next — was the biggest let down thanks to a surprisingly dry ravioli.
We ended our meal on a delicious note, with a Ras El Hanout Crusted Halloumi served with pomme purée, cumin-scented carrots, pesto and spiced oil; and our bouche was pretty ‘amused.’ Dessert was the absolute winner, however, with a Deconstructed Black Forest, winning us over completely, all complaints forgotten, all faults forgiven.
INR 3,200 onwards/person. For lunch & dinner. On till November 12.