Indian Accent wears the crown of being the only restaurant listed this year in Time’s top 100 places to visit in the world. And it’s a well-deserved feat too. After all, it has one big kahuna — Chef Manish Mehrotra leading the luxe line-up at the Old World Hospitality group. With his ingenuity, he has reformulated Indian cuisine and placed it prominently on the global culinary platform.

The interiors of Comorin (Pic Credit: Comorin)

The all-day restaurant Comorin, by the same group opened its doors recently in Two Horizon Centre, Gurugram. The brilliant marshaling of long, wooden tables along the length of the restaurant with sleek, clean areas for the concept store, beverage corner, and the bar area offers a space that is beautiful, functional and redolent with an international sensibility.

Comorin, the new restaurant opened by Chef Manish Mehrotra is already creating waves in Gurugram.

Conceptualized by Russell Sage, whose clients include The Montcalm Luxury Hotels, Gordon Ramsay, Tamarind Hotel, Hauser and Wirth; Comorin’s design is as adroit as the menu served within it. Different from Indian Accent which is a confluence of global ingredients and techniques with flavors of Indian dishes, the menu in Comorin focusses entirely on dishes that belong to various regions of our country. These traditional recipes are picked up from homes and local food joint owners. The food then has been reinvented or modified with visual appeal and flavors that the global Indian can relate to.

A lunch with two important people from the culinary world – Maneesh Srivastva of Urban Escapades(extreme left) and the Chef himself – Chef Manish Mehrotra (centre)

In the words of Chef Mehrotra-

“Lot of innovations are done by common people, not by chefs. Taking inspiration from Qureshi Saab in Jama Masjid whose specialty is butter seekh kebabs, we introduced seekh kebabs in butter. Taking the recipe of sweetcorn khichdi that I liked in someone’s house, I added my own twist by putting sem ke beej on top. Sem-aloo ki sabzi is something that was always cooked in winters by my mother. Perhaps in five years, not many would know about sem. So it’s reviving these vegetables on the menu so that people can taste them and know more about them.”

Sweet corn khichdi
Gunpowder Idli
The mutton seekh kebab served in a pool of hot butter with Kashmiri roti

The menu is not just about fading recipes. It includes comfort foods like prawn curry, chicken, chilli dabba gosht, and sarson ka saag. There are nostalgia and sweet episodes of the past knotted with them since they are eaten in every home and created with love.

The mini fried idlis with dry spice podi showered with fragments of golden cashew nuts and served with three chutneys define simple food served with class. The creamy sweet corn khichdi with crunchy fried sem ka beej, a drizzle of chutney and crispy khakhra is my favorite. Throw the calorie-worry out of your mind and twin the Kashmiri roti in seekh kebabs that float in a sea of butter. That’s the way to enjoy it. The Kanyakumari crab claws slathered with butter-garlic masala are so robust with flavors that you want to smack your lips unapologetically. The Green Chilli prawns with black puffed rice offer a dance of textures and impressions on the tongue. The crunch of puffed rice and the subtle chili make this a stellar of a dish. For the dessert lovers, the Gajar Halwa Tart with the smooth, sweet Rabri and the Cheeni Malai Toast are the must haves. Who would have thought something as simple as a Cheeni malai toast that is the easiest dessert ever in the world could find a place in a menu of a restaurant of this stature? But that is what is the Chef’s charisma – taking a classic and spinning it with some class.

The Gajar Halwa Tart
Evoking memories of childhood – The Cheeni Malai Toast

Chef Mehrotra laughs “It’s been easy. People have innovated these recipes, we have just copied them.” Humility, a virtue so rare for someone who has reached heights of success, speaks volumes about Chef Mehrotra. Perhaps it’s this simple, down-to-earth approach that makes him understand the pulse of his customers and accomplish wonders in the gustatory world. Classified into Small, Large and Extra Large portions the menu offers plenty for the nibbler, the hungry and those who want to share, respectively. The extra large easily suffices 2-3 people.

At the bar, Varun mixes up spectacular cocktails using the sous vide
The Elderflower Gin : All prepared and ready in front of me.

Under the vigilance of mixologist, Varun Sharma, freshly infused botanicals in liquor heat up for 90 seconds at 80 degrees Celsius in the sous vide. Some juniper berries, elderflower, black pepper, green cardamom, clove, fresh lemon peel, coriander and 60 ml of gin make my drink – Elderflower Gin– all spunky and alive. With passion in his eyes and the zeal to offer more, Varun stirs up one cocktail after another. Must try the Ramos and Roses Gin Fizz, a wonderful fizz that stands two inches above the glass and needs twenty minutes of hard work to get that razzmatazz on the glass. Comorin also entails a concept store that sells probiotic syrups, coffee powders, mueslis, Kombucha, bar tools, and kitchenware.Comorin shines out, standing tall amidst some popular eateries as neighbors. Homestyle flavors, an unpretentious bar with modern, fun options and a cozy corner for coffee and tea lovers. Comorin has it all. It’s no wonder a couple of days back it received “The Best standout Concept of the Year” by DLF CyberHub. Well! This is just the start, I foresee, there’s more to come. The buzz has only just begun!

Dipali_Bhasin

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