Live your Life. Do you live to eat or eat to live? This is the quinessential question that you must ask your self and introspect. If you live to eat, this blog is the place. As I proceed on a journey of gastronomical voyage across the various parts of India and other coutries, this blog details on reviews of good places to eat. Bon Appetite...!!!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Coriander Leaf, Gurgaon
A busy day at the office and a awfully jammed up return. Coming back from office, I had been thinking of going out to Ambience Mall, near delhi Gurgaon border. After reaching home and as I picked up my family and headed on a drive, in a directionless way, some where I was searching for an evening that would be different. Different in a way that would not be predictable like most occasions when I eat out. Different in a way, that I wanted to eat out good food, but some how was scared of certain repetitive predicament. In the past few months since I’m back in india and indulging myself on a gastronomical journey to the seventh heaven, yet somewhere the saturation had arrived. Saturated of the pathetic service in most restaurants across the spectrum of the city, irrespective of the brand, stature, location. Saturated from the same old menu and same old taste, irrespective of the dish and irrespective of whatever unique name you might call it. When rara gosht , mutton do piazza, tawa chicken, all taste of the same gravy. Some how over a period of time, while the heart craved for a fulfilling, wholesome and sumptuous array of dishes which is subtle and yet different in taste, the mind was scared of venturing out again, to be betrayed with the same taste.
As I was driving around, I decided to give a try to this restaurant, called Coriander Leaf, which I distinctly remembered because of the distinct cuisine it proudly boasts. Indian Pakistani cuisine. Snuggled right behind DT City center on the MG Road, Coriander Leaf is situated in right at the entrance of Vatika Triangle. I must admit, as I entered the restaurant, it actually had a very chic and modern ambience. One step in, and I some how found the ambience to be the perfect blend of modern aesthetics coupled with traditional music that gave you the best of the both worlds.
The journey started with the Aam panna being served right away followed by the menu. The menu, designed in hand made paper had a wide array of exotic dishes, ranging from fish tikka, amritsari macchi, peshwari tikkas to nawabi champ and shammi kebabs at the starters. The main course had an equally impressive and exotic array which I have not seen in a very long time in most restaurants. In lamb particularly, dishes such as Nihari, rishtaa, gushtaba, haleem, banjara qorma and rajputana laal maans.
For starters, we started with a non veg platter where you could chose any three varieties of chicken or lamb. We selected peshawari kebab, mutton shaami kabab, and a chef’s recommended variant of tandoori chicken, which is marinated, boiled and then marinated gain before being grilled, giving it a much juicier and softer texture.
As the starters arrived, the aroma was intoxicating. As the entrées were served, I begun with a bite of the peshawari kebab. As the name suggests, the lamb tikkas were amazingly succulent soft and yet spicy. Being an ardent mutton lover, I always had this pre-conceived notion that mutton is usually the most abused item. I usually go by the rule, that have mutton only at trusted places. Having tasted mutton in various forms at most locations, I had safely concluded to avoid mutton at restaurant as usually it is not properly cooked, leading to it being chewy and hard. However, the peshawari tikka were awesome and simply mind blowing. The texture of the mutton was soft, and greasy, which could be easily separated layers upon layers. This was followed by the shammi kebabs which were deep fried and had a unique hint of garlic and green chillies. Again spicy and very soft, the shammi kebabs were really good. I must admit at this stage that while my experience dictates that shammi kebabs are of further different varieties, one which is similar to Tunde ke kebab at lucknow, which are the mouth melting variants, second being the Kareems shammi kebab, which is deep fried and filled up of coarsely minced mutton and the third variant being the regular shammi kebab you get at most meat shops and resteaunts, which is more of lentils used as a substitute for actual mutton.
Coming back to the shammi kebabs, I must say that, while I would still prefer having it at kareems, but nonetheless it was really spicy and quite unique and worth a one try.
Coming back to the chef’s recommended variant of chicken and also distinct. While the chicken was succulent, yet, it wouldn’t be something that I would recommend as a wow dish that you must have before you die. It was just ok ok types. The chicken was well cooked and trust me when you are hungry, the fragrance of onions and garlic is enough to aggravate the appetite beyond any limits.
But what really compelled me to write this blog is not just the shammi kebabs or the lamb tikkas. It is actually the main course which stole the show. In the main course, the Mutton Nihari was par excellence. Previously, I had heard some rumours about mutton nihari and had some qualms about how it cooked as well as related to the portion of the lamb which is used. Being apprehensive, yet nonetheless, I figured that it might be a good option to tryit once again, considering the out of the world experience I had with the starters.
Let me tell you that the Mutton Nihari was actually some thing which I would definitely recommend to any one reading this blog. The Nihari actually had soft and tender pieces of lamb shanks, cooked it desi ghee, in a spicy red gravy. As I took the first look on the dish as it was seved, I some how could distinctly get the aroma of clarified butter, , commonly referred to as desi ghee. The meat was very soft and tender, something that I have never had at very few places. The lamb shanks or commonly referred to as nalli in hindi, was cut to perfection, with each nalli having a thin slender piece of meat, along with little bit of fat. Along with the Nihari, we had tandoori naan, garlic naan. The naan’s were crisp and perfectly baked to golden colour. The Nihari was served with a small bowl of shredded ginger along with lemon wedges.
The Nihari is actually the best dish that I have savored in a long time, a must have from my experience.
All in all, Coriander Leaf is one of the best places that I have visited in a long time. It is the perfect blend of delicious food coupled with outstanding service, an exotic menu supported by a chic and modern ambience. It is expensive, let me warn you, but if you are in to pamper yourself, please do visit. Another word of advice, if you are a vegetarian, I am not sure if you would like to go to this place.