The Rooh Journey (Part 2)

Last time, we started our journey at Rooh by exploring nine out of the fourteen courses of their amazing tasting menu, ending with the sorbet. If you haven’t read it already, check it out here. Well, its time to get going again.

The next dish was another tribute to the South. Titled  Prawns : Sixty-five, it comprised a piece of fried prawn served with a sauce which the server described as a “rice hollandaise”, which was basically a dahi chawal mousse given the same whipped cream canister treatment as the sweet corn bhurji.

Prawns : Sixty-five

The sauce was garnished with curry leaf oil (another throwback to the pav bhaji course) and the curiously named bone powder podi, made using dehydrated fish bone powder mixed with spice and seasoning. While the prawn was crisp on the outside and cooked to perfection, the sauce fell a bit flat. It had a strong hit of curry leaf, but the hollandaise itself didn’t make a lot of sense to me. The weakest dish of the entire meal, in my opinion.

Then came the mains. We had an option of chicken or lamb, and since there were three of us, we had the luxury to sample both. The chicken dish was a take on butter chicken, with a roulade of chicken stuffed with chicken mince and cheese, served on a bed of makhni sauce, with a dollop of yoghurt and a drizzle of fenugreek and chilli oils, served with khameeri roti and sattu ki roti.

The mains

The chicken was perfectly cooked and the contrast in texture between the chicken itself and the filling was excellent. The flatbreads were good and so was the sauce, but I was expecting more punch. Overall it was decent, but it left us wanting for more.

Chicken : Roulade

The lamb on the other hand, was great. The dish comprised a sous vide lamb chop crusted with pistachio and curry leaf, served on a bed on aam kashundi cream with a piece of potato pave, made by layering together thin slices of potato.

This was the most western dish of the entire menu, but the use of curry leaf and particularly the punchy mustard gave it an unmistakably Indian feel. The lamb was cooked to perfection, the potato was soft and the kashundi cream provided a kick to counteract the richness. A great dish, this one.

Lamb chop : Sous vide

They say no meal is complete without dessert, and the meal at Rooh Mehrauli ended with five spectacular sweet treats. I’m a bit of a dessert fanatic, and these dishes were indeed spectacular.

Some dishes are great because they taste amazing, others so because they boggle your senses. And that is exactly what the next dish did. We were served what looked like a raw egg with a shard of eggshell. The server described it as an egg, meant to be had as a digestif before the actual dessert. Confused, we spooned it up and chugged it in one go.

Mango : Yolk

This was culinary optical illusion at its very best. The eggshell was basically a shard of meringue, the white was a coconut water gel and the yolk was spherified mango which burst in our mouths, reminiscent of the passionate explosion from our second course. The black pepper on top was basically vanilla bean powder; the attention to detail was commendable.

The flavours were spot on, and the illusion worked, big time. However, I’m not entirely convinced by the gimmick of the server egging us to eat raw egg; that itself is bound to alert some diners that they were in for a Heston Blumenthal moment. But it still didn’t deprive us of the childlike joy that this course is meant to evoke. It’s cheeky, playful and delicious; a great way to prime us for the actual dessert.

The dessert on the non-vegetarian menu contains egg and for the sake of some variety, I requested that one of the covers be replaced by the vegetarian dessert, and they did so. The eggless dessert was the much raved about besan barfi opera, a dish that gives the humble Indian sweet a French pâtissier makeover.

Besan barfi : Opera

The thin finger of gateau comprises a slice of pistachio financier (a kind of cake), a slab of besan barfi, a layer of Valrhona chocolate cremeux (think of it as custard meets ganache) and a chocolate mirror glaze on top. It was dotted with a single dollop of orange murabba and served with a quenelle of besan barfi ice cream and a shard of bajra tuile.

The flavour was great, the chocolate worked really well with the besan barfi. The ice cream had the subtle nuttiness of a besan barfi, but pairing it with the gateau masked the flavour quite a bit. Nevertheless, it was a pretty looking dessert and tasted nice. However, it paled in comparison to the second dessert.

Inspiration : Rasmalai was another seamless collaboration of the halwai and the patissiere, an Indian take on the classic Isle Flottante, a French dessert of meringue poached in crème anglaise, a custard sauce made with milk, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla. Here, the French anglaise is swapped for saffron milk and the Indian rasmalai with a quenelle of meringue. The dish is finished with pieces of pistachio and a gold leaf.

Inspiration : Rasmalai

The evanescent, cloud-like puff of the meringue combined with the luscious, creamy saffron rabdi provided a delightful contrast of textures, and this unfamiliar textural contrast juxtaposed with an all too familiar flavour profile produced an ethereal effect. I’ve had my fair share of desserts, and this one undoubtedly features among the top five.

While we were still recovering from the sugar coma, came a duo of petit-fours, which is the dessert equivalent of an amuse bouche. Simply called Treat, it comprised a tangy blackberry kala khatta jelly which gave a jolt to our palates coupled with a hit of schooltime nostalgia, and the masala chai khari was a cheeky attempt at combining the flavour of a spiced tea with the texture of a palmier, what we Bongs colloquially refer to as a patties biscuit.

From what I could make out, it was a piece of dehydrated tea foam, made by pushing masala chai through a whipped cream canister and dehydrating the resultant foam. The texture was more reminiscent of a rusk than a palmier but it was ten times as airy. Either crush it by gently pressing it against your palate with your tongue or better yet, let it gently melt away. And just like that, before we knew it, the meal was over.

Treat

The entire meal was incredibly well-planned. Fresh cutlery was provided for each course, from an adorable tiny spoon for the chaat to a knife and fork for the duck shami. The dishes were served at just the right pace, with the server providing details about every dish, and mustering enough patience to answer all my queries.

The tasting menu at Rooh is bound to give Indian Accent some stiff competition. Incredible care is taken while serving the guests, revealing nothing except for the choice of protein for the mains. When dining at Rooh, ignorance is bliss. Just relax, recline, and prepared to be dazzled.

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