Featuring dishes with cacao, Coimbatore’s newest bistro is not just a dessert parlour as you’d imagine
Cocoa in your idlis anyone? Infusions’ seeks to redefine chocolate and the way it is consumed with the first of its kind cacao-concept restaurant
There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” Going by that logic, owner of Infusions, Arun Viswanathan makes it to the top of our best friends list. With a five-page menu, each featuring multiple dishes with cacao, the city’s newest bistro is not just a dessert parlour as you’d imagine. Highlighting some of the most singular uses of cacao in daily cooking, this food entrepreneur hasn’t restricted the use of chocolate in spice rubs or garnishes. From creating pub grub like mac and cheese to garlic bread and even Southern staples like cocoa idlis, this new player in town has it all.
The culmination of two years worth of recipe research and kitchen experiments, Infusions finally opened it’s doors with a fixed menu two weeks ago. The brainchild of the food technologist from Cornell University, the 32-seater is the country’s first cacao-concept café. “The use of cacao in day-to-day cuisine is limited. Very often, the only time one would find the use of cacao in a main course would be at a fine-dining restaurant. Positioning Infusions as a bistro was a strategic move to cater to a larger market segment,” Arun explains. The four cheese pizza that is loaded with mozzarella, cheddar, gouda and boccaccini on a thin crust starts us on our culinary experience. Part of the Infusions Cuisine section, the pizza like the desi pickle dip sandwich (that has a generous coating of a chilli and mango pickle inspired-spread) and hashbrown chaat offers an Indian twist to common quick bites.
Crack a nib
The nib crust malai paneer, a signature dish, served as a starter is next at the table. Here the chef uses a cacao nib and chilli-infused glaze as a spice rub, swapping the usual tikka flavours for the hint of bitterness from the nibs. Seeped with flavour—earthy and bitter, the paneer is soft and well grilled, while the spice from the chilli adds some heat, rounding things off. Having been inducted into cacao-cuisine, Arun suggests we try a little more of their experimental dishes. Infused with nibs during its fermentation process, the cacao idli reminds us much of a ragi idli from the looks of it. However, the highlight is not the flavour but the texture that is slightly denser and takes a little getting used to. Once you’ve managed to get past the unfamiliar texture, the pairing with the tomato chutney, ‘mole’gapodi (a mix of a cocoa nib mole with idli milagai podi) and cocoa butter present a familiar mix of flavours with a hint of novelty. For those who’d like to play it safe, we suggest you try the mini cocktail idlis that is Infusions’ take on mini podi idlis.
Bitter is better
Overshadowing every other section of their menu is the extensive range of hot chocolates that include everything from a vegan hot chocolate with coconut milk to a matcha drink and even a sukku variant. However, since we’re feeling indulgent we partake of the golden caramel. Quite literally the golden child of the drink section, this caramel, toffee flavour drink comes sprinkled with edible gold and is topped with a spiced speculoos cookie. Dairy-free, this light drink hits all the right spots. If you are feeling a little adventurous try the single origin, 65 percent Madagascar hot chocolate, which is the perfect entry drink if you’re still dabbling in dark chocolate. But nothing beats the 75 percent Tanzanian hot chocolate that is rich, creamy and any dark chocolate lover’s fantasy.
While all this may seem like an overload of chocolate, you would only be doing the right thing by leaving some space for the Sinful Indulgence from the dessert section. A mixture of European hot chocolate, brownies, vanilla ice cream and almonds, the layered drink dessert is a symphony of texture and flavour, each aspect being highlighted by the varying temperature of each layer.
Rs 600 approx, cost for a meal for two.