Thursday, 18 April 2019

New Restaurant | San Francisco’s International Indian Restaurant Makes Its Foray Into Home Country

Chef Sujan Sarkar

After wowing San Francisco with its progressive Indian fare for the last two years, Rooh - Chef Sujan Sarkar’s brainchild, in collaboration with restaurateurs Anu and Vikram Bhambri - has finally come to New Delhi. Another outpost of Rooh is slated to open in Chicago by the end of this month. While the central theme and style of showcasing of Indian cuisine is the same as that in San Francisco, the menu varies according to the availability of ingredients.

Chef Priyam (second from right) with a few team members.

Housed in a refurbished haveli overlooking Delhi’s iconic Qutub Minar, the 56-seater restaurant has a fantastic chef's tasting menu that's as soul satisfying as it is delightful enough to make you giggle with joy. Yes, this is a fine-dine experience that has an element of fun. While some of the dishes take you on a nostalgic journey, there are many that celebrate the progressive Indian palate.

The first few courses.

One thing that sets this restaurant apart from the many ‘modern Indian’ ones is that you won’t find fusion food that is extremely passé. “We are a well travelled lot,” says Chef Priyam, Head Chef of Rooh New Delhi, adding that the soul of each dish lies in its regional inspiration from diverse Indian states, but international cooking techniques have lent a modern appeal and presentation, enriching tastes and textures. The eleven-course tasting menu that includes some of the chefs’ favourites is theatrical in the way it stimulates one’s brain despite its clean and minimalist plating. The cryptic description of dishes on the menu enhance the drama of anticipation, but you can’t help but laugh out loud when you decipher the origin of tastes. For instance, the potato, fermented parantha, Mehrauli goat curd and tomato pickle sounds and looks fancy, but bring it all together and it tastes of the quintessential north Indian breakfast. Although we will refrain from describing each course lest we spoil your journey of discovery, all that we’d like to reveal is that you’ll be served some flavourful pani puri, an unprecedented avatar of egg bhurji and rasam with the most unusual accompaniment. Meat lovers have a variety of chicken, pork, duck, fish and scallop and vegetarians have an equally eclectic choice spanning mushroom, sweet corn, cheese, pumpkin and cauliflower.

And the food keeps coming...

Being a restaurant and bar, equal thought has gone into creating cocktails off the beaten track. For starters, they’re based on the six Ayurvedic rasas – sweet, salty, pungent, bitter, sour and astringent. Further, there are nine alcoholic and six non-alcoholic drinks to choose from based on a variety of ingredients. From the sous vide turmeric gin used in Turmeric Collins to filter coffee based Kaapi Martini, the drinks too have an Indian touch. If you’d like to keep things simple for yourself, let an expert do the pairing for you. Sommelier Magandeep Singh who has carefully and thoughtfully curated the wine library for Rooh New Delhi says, “Our selection is very unique and unusual as we would like to surprise and tantalise the tastebuds of our diner. The wine selection at Rooh is now at par with the best wine restaurant libraries globally making this luxury restaurant the newest wine destination of the capital."

Left: An intimate PDR.
Right: Artisanal cocktails based on Ayurvedic principles of taste.

Pro Tip: A PDR that seats four people offers the perfect view of the Qutub Minar through its arched window. Book this space for an intimate experience.

Rooh, Ambawatta One complex, H-5/1, Kalkadas Marg, Mehrauli, Near Qutub Minar, New Delhi – 110030
Phone: +91 7303600299
Timings: Lunch Thursday to Sunday - 12pm to 3pm; Dinner Tuesday to Sunday - 7pm to 12.30am; Bar Tuesday to Sunday - 5pm to 12.30am.
Pricing: Non vegetarian Chef's Tasting Menu Rs 3,200; add wine pairings at Rs 2,300.

A version of this article first appeared in The Hindu MetroPlus on 18th April 2019.