Tuesday, 7 January 2020

New Restaurant | Head to This Aerocity Restaurant For Fabulous Food and Great Cocktails

La Roca is designed like a cave.

Even with all the new restaurants opening a dime and dozen in the Capital, the food at most of them leaves much to be desired. With copy-paste recipes, the menus are hardly original and the worst part is that even with the copied recipes many times the food simply doesn’t taste good! La Roca, at the vibrant Worldmark 1 at Aerocity comes as a breath of fresh air. Its vibe lends itself perfectly to a rocking nightspot, yet, enough attention has been given to the food. In keeping with the current trend, there is plenty of choice of international fare, a good balance of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and almost everything we tried tasted good on the palate and satiated the senses.

Clockwise from Top Left: Beetroot and Kale salad; Chicken
with Harissa glaze; Tres Leches; Paneer Shashlik.

The restaurant opened almost a year ago as a global tapas bar. While the food was good, it has now gone up several notches and instead of just tapas it includes an equally extensive choice of world cuisine. We start healthy with the beetroot and kale salad. It sits on a bed of creamy goat cheese and candied walnuts are chopped so fine that they add an almost surprising crunch to the bite. Skipping the usual sushi options, we opt for the enoki mushroom nigiri next. It turns out to be a delightful vegetarian nigiri. While the mushrooms themselves add a dramatic visual appeal, the crunch from a light tempura batter becomes the highlight of this dish. While we can be wary of raw seafood dishes like tartare at some restaurants, we give the tuna tartare a try here since it is highly recommended by our server. And it turns out to be a rockstar. Tuna marinated in a tangy mustard sauce is served on a creamy guacamole and finally topped with tobiko caviar. Tobiko caviar maybe the “poor man’s caviar” but if it’s the right quality it adds a wonderful crunch and taste of the sea.

The cocktails are made with fresh and natural ingredients.

While the food is great so far, we decide to the test the offerings at the bar as well. It boasts all-craft alcohol and largely fresh and natural mixers - instead of added sugar or synthetic syrups the cocktails are made with honey water and cold pressed juices. The bar menu is even more extensive than the food with an array of classic cocktails, sangria bar, signature shots, craft cocktails, signature cocktails and the entire gamut of spirits, aperitifs, wines and beer.

Continuing with our gastronomic journey with dishes from across the world, the parmesan and broccoli arancini is wonderfully crunchy, non-greasy and deliciously cheesy when you bite into it. The Indonesian sambal oelek chicken is grilled to perfection and served on freshly baked pita bread. Next, salmon skewers show that this Norwegian fish adapts wonderfully to Indian flavours and cooking techniques as well. Salmon cubes are smeared with kasundi and chilli paste and chargrilled, lending it a wonderful smokiness from the tandoor. And these are only the appetisers! With such a variety on offer, there literally is something for everyone even if you go in a large group. We barely have any space left, but for the sake of our readers we try just one main - chargrilled chicken served with a rich tomato gravy and roti. The menu says that it’s an Indo-British classic but in essence it is a deconstructed butter chicken that’ll leave you licking your fingers.

You can round off your meal with churros con chocolate or tres leches, a light and fluffy cake soaked in three kinds of milk.

La Roca, Lower Ground Floor, Worldmark 1, Aerocity, New Delhi.
Timings: 12 noon to 1am.

Ph: 011-61495190

New Restaurant | A Fine Italian Restaurant by Michelin-starred Chef Adriano Baldassarre

The Capital is abuzz with the spectacular turnaround of The Lodhi Hotel ever since GM Vikramaditya Singh took charge. While he has certainly upped the level of hospitality, the hotel has also been accredited with the Leading Hotels of the World (making it the only hotel in India to be part of this coveted cluster) under his leadership. He recently brought in Michelin-starred Chef Adriano Baldassarre to open Perbacco, a fine Italian restaurant at the hotel.

Having earned his first Michelin star in 2007, this is not Chef Adriano’s first stint in India; he had spent two years in the country while at Vetro, The Oberoi Mumbai. After that, he returned to Italy and in 2016 he opened Tordomatto in the heart of Rome. Although his roots lie in traditional Italian cooking, he prefers to call his cuisine “creative traditional” because, in his words, he cannot claim credit for the truly authentic recipes. Going back to his childhood, chef recalls the first dish that he ever cooked was a breaded veal cutlet. Having keenly observed his mother and grandmother in the kitchen since his early years, he decided on taking up this profession when he was in his late teens.

Perbacco: The vibrant interiors.
Bottom: The food is as fancy as an asparagus burette tart and
as comforting as a mushroom truffle risotto.

The menu that he presents celebrates the finest ingredients, in very clean, uncomplicated dishes and a modern style of plating. While the amuse bouche with three spheres – tomato, olive and panzanella – is not exactly revolutionary any more, the very first course sets the tone for the meal that follows. The burrata and tart with green asparagus makes for quite a spectacular start. Scallops carpione is done to perfection, and served with a zucchini mash. The quality of the scallops required for this quick pickling method needs to be excellent and it is fabulous. Pastas include a pillowy ravioli encasing a classic spinach-ricotta filling and saffron risotto, the traditional risotto alla Milanese, that is oomphed up with duck ragout, taking it to a gourmet level, and the very comforting and delicious mushroom and truffle risotto. Amongst the mains, the roasted Chilean sea bass comes with a deliciously crisp skin and served on a bed of caramelized onions, and the lamb tenderloin is a stellar dish - the kitchen staff executes a ‘medium-well’ beautifully. The jus is just enough to heighten the flavour of the meat instead of drowning it as it is done in many other restaurants.

Clockwise from Top Left: Linguine with lobster; Chilean Sea Bass;
Lamb Chops; Eggplant Parmigiana. 

Although Perbacco comes under the category of fine dining, complete with a wine cellar and an exclusive private dining room, this is not necessarily a tag that Chef Adriano goes after. “Food is either good, or not,” he says simply. So, amidst all the spectacular dishes on the menu, Chef Adriano suggests a humble Eggplant Parmigiana if you want a taste of some comfort food. Also his own favourite, this dish encompasses the ‘holy trinity’ according to him: Taste, Love and Passion. “For it to be perfect it must have consistency of taste and made with oodles of love, showcasing the chef’s passion,” he states. As for our recommendation, this time instead of just one standout dish, we have a list of three: lamb chops done to perfection, linguine with lobster and tortellini stuffed with lamb and the most flavourful jus.

This wonderful meal is rounded off with a hazelnut semi-freddo served with fresh cranberries and a classic tiramisu that is set and served in a jar, along with an edible spoon that is made entirely of chocolate.

For drinks, there's a well-stocked wine cellar by La Cave and the beautifully done Safari Lounge next door does some fantastic classics. While the stunning wildlife photographs by Latika Nath and plush interiors at the Lounge are reminiscent of a luxury wildlife lodge in Africa, the cocktails are on point too. The Safari Martini is the signature drink, which is a martini with the refreshing twist of added mint. And you're guaranteed to get one of the best Negronis in town here.

The Safari Lounge
Do keep time to have a drink in this plush bar.

And last but not the least, we just love the vibe at Perbacco. It is vibrant and the mood is enlivened with lovely Italian music, including Italian renditions of popular English songs like Stand By Me. That, together with the food, transports you to Italy momentarily.

Perbacco, The Lodhi, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003.

Ph: 011-43633333