Aug 29, 2012

Of Poster Boys and Food!

Who doesn't love a pretty face? Sadly for me, that's all I knew of Aditya Bal that is until I heard about his Cookbook apparently based on his TV show and I was like "really, wow!!" I am yet to get my hands on the book, though after everything I have read about it, I am probably not going to dole out 400 bucks on it, that kind of money buys me loads of Ricotta! But I did get a chance to visit with this young man over dinner at a Goth Chic restaurant in the heart of Delhi, Veda! I had eaten there ages back and now that I reminisce, it was probably the beers, I had quite liked the food, which was why I trudged over 25 kms on a rainy night and yes, also to meet my darling brood of foodies, who turned out to be the saving grace actually!

Can't delve into the book because I barely breezed through it and the paper quality put me off, some of my friends tried a few recipes and didn't like the results, so I'm just going to talk about the meal at Veda, which can be described in 3 words "shaadi ka khana" or 2 if you speak English - "wedding grub" ...Indian wedding grub. The first few bites reminded of this very depressing episode of Masterchef where they had teams who cooked for an Indian (South) wedding in Oz land, a veggie menu and it has godawful stuff like zeera aloo and yellow dal, it was so off putting, that I haven't watched much of the show thereafter. This meal wasn't food like that but it had undertones of that kind of disinterest, in planning, in procedure, in a lot of things! There was nothing bad per se but nothing spectacular at all, considering the decor was so opulent, the meal felt out of place. The fried fish was salvaged by the 'ajwain' (carom seeds), the chicken tikka was a lot like the one you get on a street corner in GK II and I don't remember if there were any other starters! The main course was slightly thoughtless, heavy, dull even. The Dal Makhni was pasty and something I might have pulled out as a leftover from a dhaba order from the night before, the chicken dish was nice but non descriptive, may have been a version of butter chicken (Since that was the vein of the menu that night) but it had straws of spinach so I really don't know what that was, the Mutton Rara was a lot like how my cook makes it, nice, just nice! I actually really liked the crispy bhindi but then again it was a staple on summery Sunday's in our home so I probably wouldn't order it at a fine dining. I hate to be mean and I am accused of being way to kind so I will say this, the food seemed like it was meant for depraved, nonchalant or ignorant folk and for those price points, that is so unfair. The dessert was a tiny portion (in retrospect, thank God, since I don't like to waste, I would have died eating any more than what was served) of Kulfi, it tasted like something out of a packet or something made of condensed milk and cornflour. Chandeliers do not make up for taste or flavour or the joy of eating! 

Thank God for my friends that evening, the glass of wine and Deeba's Pineapple Cake for Sangeeta's birthday, there was nothing else that stood out that night. Aditya looked dishy and was a true gentlemen, its not easy to be badgered, so I will give him props for that but there are enough of us who will test recipes if only writers would share manuscripts, something the publishing house needs to acknowledge! Veda needs to pick up on what people expect and I am certain they can afford a Chef who is well versed in Indian cuisine and not home cooking!

*If you want to know more about the evening, the book and the dinner, read these guys  - Sid, Charis, Sangeeta, Rekha, Deeba, Tanya, Ruchira and Sushmita!