Back to school…studying, upgrading and updating one’s knowledge is crucial. And to do it in the best of the best is exciting. And that too in Paris, the worlds gourmet capital. The second half of our course is in the land of champagne, at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne.
At Hautes Etudes du Goût (Advanced Studies in Taste) multidisciplinary training programme I,m learning from the eminent university professors, researchers, experts, food professionals and even the revered Herve This, the father of Molecular gastronomy. We re focusing on the culture of taste, gastronomy and the art of fine dining. From going at 2 AM (yes!) to the worlds largest fresh produce market Rungis, Paris to paired, tutored food and wine dinners at Michelin restaurants and back-breaking 10 hour lectures on historic, scientific, economic and sociological aspects of gastronomy. There is a written exam tomorrow and a thesis to be submitted. Excuse me as I go back to my studies…
We’re rejoicing. Or should I say “re-Joss-ing”? Here’s a Mumbai restaurant which redefines “standing the test of time”. Having magnetised foodies in Kala Ghoda for eleven years, Joss shut down only to be reincarnated as the modern “Joss by Farokh Khambatta” in Santa Cruz.
Confession time. I love everything Bengali (food, mishti, Kolkatta. music, literature and ofcourse the people).So, I dash down (with a Bengali family ofcourse) to this fortnight old fine dine Bengali restaurant . Siddharth Chatterjee, sales and marketing whizkid buys his own fish (loves Rohu and Ilish) from the
4 Bungalows fish market. Along with his lovely wife Namrata he cooks for their son Arjun, (state tennis champion) whose top favorite is Bekti.Yes! they love this restaurant.
Walk under the looming pillarless dome of the Sahara Star into this chic black and white floored restaurant. Open kitchen, shelves with books, rabindrasangeet et al ( in house magician too).
Mustard sparkles this great cuisine: whole mustard seeds in hot oil pop and turn nuttily sweet: when ground into a paste, they develop a pungency that is nose-tinglingly memorable. And, for me it is this deft use of mustard in Bengali fish and veg dishes that makes it my favourite. As does the use of the traditional regional mix“panch phoran”. Freshest of river and seafish here: unerringly fried Bekti, steamed to perfection Bhapa chingri, shorshe Ilish, boneless Bekti jhol…distil the exquisite flavors of Bengal. My favorite fragrant lemon Gondhuraj enlivens the chicken. The melt in the mouth succulent mutton Kosha Mangsho is another favorite. Chef Prasanjit Ghosh ensures that even the accompaniments of the puffy, crisp Radhaballobi and Luchi and the Gobindobhog Chaal are superb. Nolen gur icecream seduces with it’s creamy, caramelly flavour and texture .
Sadly the portions are small and the prices high. Though well presented in a coconut shell, the dhaab chingri is too sweet and lacklustre. Mediocre banana flower Mochar ghanto. Ditto for the rossogulla and payesh. No aloo poshto on the menu.
The brand new, open-for-dinner only stylish, fine dine Bengali restaurant of Sahara Star serves up authentic and delicious fare. If it increases it’s portions and decreases it’s prices (Rs 6000 meal for two) it will have us going back for more.
25 Parganas Sahara Star Hotel, Western Express Highway, Santacruz East
Timings: 7 pm-1am (dinner only)
FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DECOR 3.5
Open for dinner only
Meal for 2: Rs 6000