From crunchy black carrot khakhras to a chunky avocado salsa, here's what to expect at the Veggies in Vogue food festival at The Park
The menu at a special preview of the Veggies in Vogue food festival at 601, The Park, makes lofty promises. Celeriac Gun Powder mash with lamb racks? Candy cane beet crisps with Goan pao millefeuille? Black carrot khakhra? Our interest is surely piqued.
Beet salsa & curry leaf scallops
We quiz Executive Chef Ashutosh Narlekar on these unfamiliar veggie names. “The whole idea came to me when I heard about kaali gaajar or black carrots,” begins Ashutosh, patiently pointing out to the various vegetables they have on display — including Romesco cauliflower, celeriac (root vegetable), purple radish, candy cane beetroot, sunchokes (similar to cherry tomatoes), watermelon radish and black carrot. He adds, “We came across a farming initiative called Krishi Cress in Chhatarpur, near Delhi, and Trikaya near Pune, who are growing these veggies. They are unique, as they grow limited produce all through the year. We were lucky enough to get some from them, and so we decided to go ahead with the festival now.”
We begin with a delightful portobello mushroom cap appetiser, topped with a crunchy South Indian millet kedgeree, creamy goats cheese crust, and served with a side of beetroot salsa — an explosion of flavours and textures, with the salsa bringing in just the right amount of acidity to the dish. Non-vegetarians can opt for the curry leaf crusted scallops, served with watermelon radish, cucumber ribbons and sunchokes — flaky, and full of umami. If you’re looking for some creaminess to the dish, a dip of the scallops into the accompanying spicy aioli won’t hurt.
For the main course, we are offered a lip-smacking Romesco cauliflower ceviche, sitting pretty on a base of crunchy black carrot khakhra. (Fun fact: the florets of the Romesco cauliflower resemble the Fibonacci series, our chef points out). The dish is as inventive as they come, with the crunch and colour of the cauliflower shining through. But top it with too much of the avocado salsa served on the side, and the moisture seeps into the khakhra, making it a tad soggy.
Celeriac mash + gunpowder
The piece de résistance of our meal, however, is the perfectly-cooked grilled lamb chops, that comes with a side of celeriac mash liberally dusted with gun powder, giving it a South Indian touch. For those looking to add some crunch to their bite, the red vein sorrel tempura does the trick, while a creamy blue cheese naan serves as the perfect bread to soak up all the lamb jus.
We admit, we were looking forward to their rhubarb and strawberry pie with a mascarpone custard, but we are slightly let down as the chef informs us that the expected shipment of rhubarb wasn’t delivered yet. “But it should be here by the time the festival starts,” he assures us, offering us a decadent tiramisu instead, which brings our meal to a perfect end.
February 1 to 9. Available as five-course set menu or a la carte.
Veg set menu at `1,299, non-veg at `1,499.