Welcome to my Indian Accent Review, over the last decade we’ve seen a bloom in Indian fine dining, and it’s no different back home in India. Indian Accent has once again been recognised as the best restaurant in India, and one of Asia’s finest.
For those that know me, Delhi is a city I have a difficult relationship with and one I’m reluctant to visit. A work visit to Delhi was on the agenda, so after booking my flights I contacted Indian Accent for a table and was all set to go. The restaurant based at The Manor Hotel in the affluent New Friends Colony area of New Delhi, with Chef Manish Mehrotra at the helm, he describes the food as being ‘Indian foods with an international accent’ Indian Accent Review
On arrival I was greeted by the hotels beautiful courtyard, and escorted to the Indian Accent’s bar, where I was promptly offered a glass of mineral water, and ordered a scotch to settle down after a tough day touring work offices. I was a little early so used the time to chat to a few people milling around in the bar area. Some were tourists or on business from Europe and North America returning to Indian Accent which, is always a positive sign before I was seated. Indian Accent Review
Upon being seated, my bag was swiftly put onto a bag stool (I really do love these things), and presented with a menu, I knew what I wanted to try tonight it was the Chef’s Tasting Menu; I opted for the ‘Non-Veg’ menu and paired wine as below:
veuve clicquot ponsardin brut
kendall-jackson vintner’s reserve zinfandel, 2012, sonoma county, USA
castello banfi ‘le rime’ pinot grigio & chardonnay, 2014, Italy
miguel torres santa digna cabernet sauvignon, 2013, curico valley, chile
Indian Accent Review
villa maria, private bin, sauvignon blanc, 2015, marlborough, new zealand
burklin wolf estate, riesling 2014, pfalz, germany
black dairy dal
wasabi and cucumber raita
indian accent kulchas
banana and jaggery sticky cake, house made whisky mulberry ice cream
sula late harvest chenin blanc, 2015, nashik, india
First out was this evenings Amuse Bouche, which was a cauliflower soup, I didn’t know what to expect from this but it was like drinking a cauliflower cheese soup! The tastes took me back to some childhood comforts on a rainy day in London. This was accompanied by the legendary mini blue cheese naan. Indian Accent Review
The first course was a homage to Indian street food, with a serving of Papdi Chaat, substituting the yoghurt with a rich, creamy burrata cheese. Having had Papdi Chaat at home and at numerous family events it was refreshing to try an alternative version. A good start to the tasting menu alongside a glass of bubbly. Indian Accent Review
This was the pulled pork phulka taco, this was inspired by the rise in popularity in Mexican food in India. Chef Mehrotra gave it an Indian spin substituting the traditional taco shell for a phulka; a variety of Indian bread. I’m a big fan of Mexican food and find that we really have poor options in the UK, so was intrigued by trying an Indian take on it – and it was so good, that I was tempted to request another! The soft phulka, alongside the delicately spiced pulled pork were a good match.
Next up was the tandoori bacon prawns, served with a wasabi malai. The prawns were covered in Indian Accent’s special marinade, wrapped in oak smoked bacon and cooked in a traditional tandoor. It was the first time I’d tried both items cooked in a tandoor. The smokiness from the bacon (and the tandoor) didn’t overpower the flavours from the succulent tandoori prawn and combined with the wasabi malai gave this dish a full 5/5. My only disappointment with this dish was the fact there was only one prawn, but expected on a tasting menu!
Course four was the baked mutton, aloo chila, bone marrow curry, with the description on the menu I did expect to receive a curry dish, instead I received this delight which the head waiter had advised me was the Chef’s own take on a dish we are all to familiar with in the UK; a shepherd’s pie, Indian style! The taste was exactly that of a Shepherds Pie, which was surprising given the ingedients.
After the fourth course on the tasting menu, the head waiter refreshed by drink, and asked if there was a dish I wanted to try again from the first four courses. He suggested that I could leave the choice with him. I was tempted go pick the pulled pork phulka again, but thought it’d be interesting to leave it to him. Out came another pulled pork phulka and to go with it meetha aachaar spare ribs.
After a short break, I was ready to tackle the main course. I opted for the scallop masala over the chettinad chicken keeema, this was accompanied by black dhal, wasabi raita and a selection of kulcha’s fresh from the tandoor. For me the main course went a little out of the window as I ended up having a carb overload on the kulcha’s, as they were quite unique. I managed to try all of them, my favourites were the wild mushroom with truffle oil, applewood smoked bacon and butter chicken kulcha’s!
This gorgeous trio of desserts was the perfect way to end the dinner, my favourite of the trio was the Daulat Ka Chaat, it’s a classic old Delhi recipe and I’d liken it to being an Indian version of a soufflé. Post the desserts I was presented with some local items to aide digestion post such a meal, served on top of a mini version of a traditional Indian bed you’d find in rural areas.
Going into this meal, I had some very high expectations and having had some conversations with friends who had been to his New York restaurant I expected an excellent meal, and that’s exactly what they delivered. Chef Mehrotra has an excellent team running his Delhi establishment, he normally is on site but during my visit was actually in London at Buckingham Palace, meeting the Queen alongside other members of the royal family for the launch of UK-India year of culture.
Meals I’ve had of late in fine dining restaurants have had courses with it’s up’s and downs, and this was an exception to that – it didn’t have a peak simply because everything was at a constantly high standard. The meal started off with a bang and every dish that followed wowed me as much as the next. I did lose my concentration with the main course but that was simply due to being wowed by the kulcha’s. Traditionally Indian breads have their traditional flavours and here at Indian Accent they pushed beyond that boundary, and I fell for it, hook, line and sinker.
It’s the small little things that help too, I loved the fact when each dish or came out not only was the dish explained but, the history behind the original dish, and the thought process behind why those “international accents” were added to it.
I have heard rumours in recent months about an Indian Accent London branch opening up in London in the near future and I truly hope they are true. If they replicate as they have done in Delhi and New York they’ll be up there with the best in London, until then I think I may need to consider another visit to Delhi or to New York. Who wants to join me?
All pictures are my own unless stated. The cost of the meal was 3,300 rupee’s (£40), the wine pairing 2,900 rupee’s (£35) plus local taxes, and was paid for using funds earned at my desk job!