An interesting chemistry happened at work yesterday as our Lounge restaurant started a 10 days special Indian menu for dinner, planned and executed by Chef Vikram which is the Indian Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai, and particularly of the much sought-after San-Qi restaurant.
During the 2 weeks I spent in Mumbai last June, I was lucky enough to sample countless dishes of authentic Indian food. I could see how specific the Indian cuisine chefs were and how naturally everything was coming together in their dishes. Just like fishes swimming in water, everything was on hand and smooth.
The challenge of Chef Vikram was to successfully bring back authentic Indian cuisine from Mumbai to Hong Kong with a special touch. Indeed, coming in a city where the red Michelin guide awarded Hin Ho Curry Restaurant with a star required an extra effort. The decor is planted and Chef Vikram stood up to the challenge.
When you land in a unknown kitchen and must prepare dinner for 100 people every night, it can be really challenging to juggle with quantity, timing, flavors and proper cooking.
Amongst other dishes, Chef Vikram cooked a mean lamb shank rogan josh that I would recommend any day.
For us in the pastry, it was paneer time with rasmalai and gulab jamun. We also did jelabi which was fun to make! By the way, it’s a bit of a real bread method here with a 24 hours fermented dough made of yogurt, flour and baking powder. It is left at room temperature for 24 hours and the yogurt continues to ferment the dough, giving a particular flavor and texture to the fritters, however, once they hit the thick flavored syrup bath, they will end up coated with a shinny translucent outer layer.
Paan ice cream is also on the menu and actually served to every guest as a courtesy gesture. Despite my years spent working in the Maldives, where food is largely influenced by Indian flavors, I never had the luck to taste paan ice cream before. It was a pleasant surprise and I loved the complex blend of flavors. If you’re not into over-sweet Indian desserts such as the jelabi, the paan ice cream is a beautiful way to end your meal together with a cup of masala tea!
Eating Indian food in Hong Kong is pretty common as there are dozens of restaurants out there serving great Indian food. It is indeed a true challenge to keep the food authentic, yet to cook it in a way where diners would actually notice a difference.
From my humble point of view, I think Chef Vikram did a great job with his dishes and right after writing this, I will be in the kitchen sampling tonight’s special!