Every turn at this new pan-Indian bistro in Chennai is made for Instagram!

Bharat Bistro at Alwarpet serves up authentic flavours and plates as pretty as a picture 

author_img Sabrina Rajan Published :  05th October 2018 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  05th October 2018 12:00 AM
Beautiful interiors at the restaurant

Interiors at Bharat Bistro

When you sit down for a meal with two Punjabis, you can rest assured it is going to be a hearty and wholesome affair. Lunch with Japtej Ahluwalia and Nikesh Lamba at their new restaurant, Bharat Bistro, was not just hearty but resplendent with nostalgic flavours from across the country. And if you thought that we were rude by reaching for our phones all the time — once you see the gorgeous plating, you will agree that the food here is designed for Instagram!


Chandni Chowk Ki Chaat

Three is company
The team behind this roomy 85-seater, high-ceilinged outlet is Pricol Gourmet, the same trio comprising Japtej, Nikesh and Vikram Mohan — that brought us Double Roti, Soy Soi and Savya Rasa. “With Bharat Bistro we are trying to promote Indian food in a bistro format. So you will notice that while the flavours are authentic — we have played with the presentation,” says Japtej. On cue arrives a platter of prawn crackers filled with spicy sago and topped with roasted prawns. Definitely a finger food — the homely sabudana finds a delicious tapas like treatment with the Spiced Shrimp Salad.


Famous five
At Bharat Bistro the flavours are authentic and Chef Kamalakannan tells us why:

• Slow-cooked Jharna ghee for Bengali cuisine.

• Date palm jaggery, the patali gur from West Bengal.

Meetha attar — for that royal touch to their nalli nihari of Awadhi cuisine.

Kolah vinegar for that perfect tang in their Parsi food.

Dabeli masala from Maharashtra, especially for preparing kutchi dabeli.


Soup to conquer
Executive sous chef S Kamalakannan suggests a Pondicherry Bouillabaisse soup next. A soft biscuit is garnished with shrimp, sea bass and edible flowers — and the flavoursome broth is poured over it at the table. Slurp-worthy, and we’re not surprised at the edge that seafood has here — as Kamalakannan was formerly with Oberoi’s Amaranta restaurant in Gurgaon that started out with a menu of Indian coastal offerings. The cuppa Roasted Pumpkin and Ginger Cappuccino is accompanied by bite-sized aracinis of curry leaf rice — a must-try.


Kheema pav


Spice route 
The Kheema Pav here is designed for excess. The first bite has half the bread topped with a generous filling and there is a bowl of kheema kept alongside for smothering the rest of the pav. The mushroom galouti kebabs are a surprise, especially when the sheermal bread comes as a soft and light sponge. We quickly polish off the delicately plated Paneer Burrata which has both the cheeses. The Chandni Chowk Ki Chaat looks like an exotic dessert bowl, but one bite and you are transported to the streets of Delhi! For those who say that South Indians need their spice — try the Green Chilli Chicken skewers here for size. Predictably from Andhra, it packs a delightful punch, especially when smeared with red chilli dusted lime wedges.


Bhapa Doi


Sweet somethings

The main course sees Banerjee Babu’s Sunday Meal that comes with the typical luchi, kosha mangsho, aloo posto and naker cholar daal. It is the real thing — mustard oil, et al. The Rajasthani Safed Lamb Rack has the meat falling off the bone perfectly. The Rameshwaram Non-Vegetarian Pocket rice is the most unique — the banana leaf enveloped veinchina mamsam and chicken khurma along with chicken 65 and raw mango relish complement each other seamlessly. Despite strong protests, we end up unabashedly tucking into filter coffee ice cream, tender coconut ice cream with Goan Bebinca and a tray of Bhapa Doi (baked yoghurt that could serve four!). Our initial protest just abated to sighs of contentment.

Off Cenotaph Road. Meal for two at Rs 1,500 ++.

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