Hey Foodwala’s hope you are all Teek Taak (Fandabeedozee)
I was in a contemplative mood the other day and I picked up some poetry by the greatest poetwalla the world has known Jellaludin Rumi…Rumi to his friends and I picked up his works and opened the book at a random page and let fate choose my poem and lesson for the day.
The poem that my gaze fell upon was the Guest House and in the poem, it says something really profound about our relationship with emotional eating and food…
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
What this said to me in context to emotional eating was that sometimes you feel intense emotions whether they be happy, sad or destructive and we use food to counterbalance these emotions so when you feel depressed you bring out a tub of Ben and Jerrys or when you feel lonely you bring out the chocolates so on and so forth.
What Rumi is saying is why don’t you invite the emotions however positive or negative and treat them like a guest in your house and then ask them to leave at your convenience.
In a nutshell, it is saying why don’t you control your emotions on your terms rather than let the emotions control you and this way your relationship with food will be of taste, flavour, enjoyment, and nourishment.
All this talk about emotional eating made me hungry so Papa Foodwala and I decided to check out the new creation by the enfant terrible chef Aktar Islam, he is to Indian cuisine what Heston Blumenthal is to Molecular Grastonamy.
As we entered the beautifully minimalist restaurant we were ushered to the chef’s table in front of the glass-walled theatre kitchen.
To a passionate restauranteur and food lover, this is like sitting at the grand tier at the La Scala Opera house and we could watch the maestro conduct his kitchen brigade.
We kicked off the proceedings with the Amuse Bouche, it was a trio of a Kolorabi poori, misrili beetroot cake, and the Sperified tamarind
The Amuse Bouche was wonderful in terms of flavour and an excellent prelude to the rest of the meal.
Next, up on our journey was these delicious Parker House Rolls topped with granulated lamb and accompanied with this wonderfully spiced lamb pate.
This was very innovative and unusual but utterly compelling and delicious.
The Roll was soft, pillowy and buttery and the lamb gave it a morish element and the accompanying pate was earthy in its taste.
The marinated chicken kebab was soft and tender and lightly seasoned and accompanied with a bulger wheat salad and pickled gem lettuce.
The Naashta tasting plate was an Ode to Old Dehli but with a fresh innovative twist, the Paneer Tikka was hero element and it was accompanied with sweetcorn and gobi fritters and fenugreek Tikki, beetroot kebab.
The trio of chutneys lends themselves perfectly to the main elements, superb.
The Hibiscus sorbet was delicious, even although it was a palet cleanser the care and attention devoted to it was amazing, the fruity tartness of the sorbet was offset with a sliver of radish and the freeze-dried raspberries added a playful note.
We proceeded to Opheems take on a classic Hyderabadi Biryani, firstly we were presented with the Dum Biryani and a plate with something very unusual… a piece of spiced lamb belly, I have never had this ever before, this offcut which is usually discarded by butchers, just reinforced the chefs talents, the lamb belly was possibly cooked with the Sous Vide method and then roasted. This then has an intense lamb flavour and the buttery lamb fat gives it an added dimension.
Definitely an acquired taste, Papa Foodwala did not like it at all, however, I felt it was compelling.
In Conclusion, Opheem polarised the two generations of Foodwala’s, Papa Foodwala being a traditionalist felt the food was overcomplicated and an unwelcome departure from what Indian food should we, this opinion, by all means, should not be taken lightly, after all, papa Foodwala is an award-winning restaurateur with over half a century experience of running amazing restaurants and feeding numerous generations.
However, I being the younger generation of a restauranteur, loved the avant-garde Indian food, In my opinion, what Aktar Islam is doing is pushing the boundaries of established Indian food and using amazing ingredients thus elevating the art of Indian cooking to Michelin level and on par with its arrogant European counterparts.
The service was friendly and efficient yet maybe a little scripted.
However, and it’s a big, however… We arrived at the restaurant at 5.15pm and we were the only customers in the restaurant until we left at 7.15. I don’t know how long a restaurant can maintain this level of standards with such little paying customers.