vegetarian food

RECIPE: GOUGÈRES

Posted on Updated on

ITALY & FRANCE IN LONDON

CHAMPAGNE SHIMMER AND PASTA AT LONDON’S SUPERGLAM BAR, Guiliano Moraandin and Helene Pietrini

From freezing cold London, I send you a taste of sunny Italy and gourmet France. And to revel in both these, I don’t need to go out into the windy, rainy outside at all. Both are housed in the iconic, almost a century old,  stately landmark the magnificent Dorchester. It overlooks Hyde Park  and it fuses contemporary comfort with the timeless glamour and heritage of the property. What also excites me is it’s range of gourmet cuisines.

ITALIAN GUSTO

He’s a legend in his own right. The genial Giuliano Morandinhas been the heartbeat of the  fashionable buzzing see and be seen opulent Bar. Ofcourse as a bar manager he has played host to the whos who, his famous champagne shimmer cocktail (with gold flakes and complimentary lip gloss for the ladies)  continues to make waves in London. But now Giuliano, the bar manager is making history  by serving robust Italian flavors from his hometown.  Freshest of handrolled pasta, flavorful pesto, tiramisu…all made to his grandmother’s recipes.  Giuliano and his award-winning team of experimental alchemists shake and stir many a magical cocktail. He serves up the champagne shimmer to Helene Pietrini the lovely, dynamic director of the prestigious Worlds 50 best Restaurant Academy. We take a bite of the al dente pasta, go back for a full Italian dinner the next night and get happy high on the shimmering cocktail. All this in the  luxurious lacquered mahogany, mirrored glass, velvet and dramatic red bar!

FRENCH FINESSE IN LONDON

The brilliant chef Jean Phillipe Blondet at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.

It doesn’t get any better than this. At the three starred  shimmering temple to French gastronomy we dine in a shimmering cloud… fibre optic curtain at the superglam Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.
I had dined here 11 years ago when it had just opened. It is better than ever. The dashing and brilliant Executive Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet ‘s French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavors executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
——French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavours executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
Restaurant Director Enrico Baronetto takes fabulous care of us.  We end with the heady chocolate light airy souffle and the traditional baba Rhum.

Ive been fortunate to dine at Alain Ducasses’ haute cuisine restaurants in Paris, Provence, Tokyo, NYC (before it closed down) and Monte Carlo (where I even shot my TV show). Celebrated  for his innovation,

attention to detail and dedication to both quality and technique, Ducasse reigns internationally supreme with the largest number of Michelin stars in the world. In all his restaurants Ive had these light, airy spheres of delight…French cheese puffs. Each meal begins with these. On my request Jean Phillipe Blondit shares the r4ecipe with us.

RECIPE

GOUGÈRES

(makes 2 baking trays)

A dedicated part of our guests’ dining experience, these delicate cheese puffs

are served warm and seasoned with paprika, black pepper, and Emmental

cheese.

Ducasse’s famed Gougeres.

INGREDIENTS

300 ml water

8 gr salt

240 gr flour (T55)

110 gr grated Emmental cheese

100 ml dry white wine

180 gr unsalted butter

380 gr whole eggs

1.5 gr ground black pepper

sweet paprika powder/ground black pepper (optional)

In a pot, make a choux pastry by combining water, white wine, salt and

butter and bring this to a boil.

Add the sieved flour to the liquid and continue to cook until a ball of dough

forms.

Transfer the warm dough into a mixing bowl and with a paddle attachment at

low speed, blend in the eggs little by little until fully incorporated and the dough is smooth.

Add the grated Emmental cheese and the ground black pepper and mix until

thoroughly combined.

Fill the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 10mm plain round tip and pipe little mounds (4cm apart), onto a tray lined with baking paper.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.

In a convection oven preheated to 180°C, bake the gougères for 18 min-

utes or until golden brown and puffed.

Once baked, the gougères can be topped with additional ground black

pepper or sweet paprika powder and transferred to a cooling  rack.

Gougères are best enjoyed warm.

Advertisements

Review: TANTRA

Posted on

Jains and vegetarians,  looking for a swish ambiance  with decent traditional regional food (and booze)? Not too fussed about gourmet and modern versions? This way please. Tantra is your new mantra.

Read my full review on whatshot.in

Tantra 1
At the new vegetarian Tantra: Raageshwari Loomba, Sunil sheth and Mythily Katsaris.

 

Review: Spesso Gourmet Kitchen

Posted on

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Vegetarian global multi-cuisine

Whoa! This is the first time, (in my two decades of food writing) that Ive seen such a massive wave of  pure vegetarian eateries dedicated to serving only global multi-cuisines (no Indian cuisines at all). “Little Italy”  was one of the first, several years ago. Many opened intermittently (eg  Relish, Quattro) but the past few months alone have seen BurmaBurma, Picante, Spice club (to name a few) and Nariman Point’s very own Spesso (the Italian word for “often”)

I eat here twice, the second time is an improvement. The first meal is a disappointment but my guests dazzle. Well-traveled foodies all and here’s the surprise…each one has a vegetarian connect. Leon Bignell, the suave South Australian minister of Food keeps us riveted with his recounting of the large number of Indian vegetarian restaurants in Adelaide thanks to the growing population of Indian students there. Well-informed Queens counsel, Brian Hayes, charming Cathy Parker( Bignell’s aide), Travel maestro Carl Dantas and the dynamic Vinod Advani wine writer (who only cooks vegetarian food when abroad for friends) help me eat our way through the menu. We chat over our Swiss-Egyptian (you read that right) fondue pot. (please see photo)

 

DÉCOR

Walk into the  handsome, contemporary space and be pleasantly surprised. Open kitchen, wooden floor and a patisserie counter complete the décor.

 

FOOD

Many a inter-country marriage takes place here…Italy’s Pizza marries  Mexico (beans, salsa et al) Swiss fondue is in union with Egyptian dukka (and both dishes actually taste good) But lets start counting the cuisines served here…Mexican, Italian, Spanish, Lebanese Turkish…then Creole,  French, Malaysian, American, Japanese Moroccan, Indonesian and Greek (excuse me if Ive missed some).  Oh! Yes theres African, Egyptian, Swiss fondue, sizzlers and pizzas too. Presented innovatively and attractively, many a dish is tasty. Aldente penne.

Seven Layered Mexican Shots in shot glasses  are a tasty mish mash of cheese, salsa, guacamole and veggies.

Go for the Spesso Platter (deep fried  crispy roll,  volau vont boxes quessadila s african paneer peri peri) flavoursome Malaysian curry too..
Eggless desserts in generous portions are the high point here. Be it the Hazelnut chocolate pot, the intense chocolatey Lava cake  or even the “jain macarons”.

MINUS POINTS

Don’t go looking for fare made to authentic recipes and be prepared for some disappointments. Sweet soggy volcano nachos, stodgy Prawn tempura, lacklustre Lebanese mezze,  overfried  and hard Arancini

disappoint. Oversweet  Mandarin orange red velvet and  Choco o loco taco. No alcohol served here.

 

MY POINT

Non vegetarians stay away.My Jain brethren looking for international flavors? This is for you. No other restaurant in the whole wide world will cookup so many cuisines (though some are flops) made to your requirements and presented innovatively. Well-made Eggless desserts too.

Well priced (Rs 1200 meal for two, 3 course Power lunch 350)

The arguments over authenticity could go on forever as desi-flavors do the garba and bhangra with international recipes and the result? Mexican pizza, Egyptian fondue. Tasty chhe!

P.S. Looking Indian vegetarian food in Nariman Point? The next door “Status” has the same owners as “Spesso”

SPESSO

Ground floor, Regent Chambers, Jamnalal Bajaj Road, Nariman Point
Call: 40318750

TIMINGS 11 am till dinner

RATING

FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5

Cost per meal for two; Rs 1200


 

YOUR REVIEWS OF SPESSO

I write from dazzling Dubai and am thrilled to receive your twitter and instagram feedback. Thanks @tanvivedak (very good food. Tall  virgin margarita, desserts good. Did not expect such variety from a pure veg restaurant. Good service, nice ambiance )

@cherryred_22 ( beautiful ambience and interiors. Amazing rissotto,anglio olio and good combinations of different types of cheese in cheese fondue. All very decently priced)

@snehakhatri looks fancy, food not comparable to similar restaurants @notjustanotherfoodie (The desserts are yum)

@riiaac@power_struggle @rachnavaswani  @power_struggle@romakripalani@saumightsay

@eteepodar@tarunhasan@theashishsingh

@ila_iiLooks good .@divj@gaurav_agrawall

@priti3566@deepakbhatia2014

Do keep sending me your reviews of all and any eateries you like or dislike rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com @rashmiudaysingh (twitter, instagram)