Hearing about Rajasthan, the first thing that comes to mind are the elegant palaces, puppets and folk music and daal baati churma. Spice Art is a fine dining property at Crowne Plaza, Rohini which specializes in North Indian cuisine and regularly hosts Food Festivals celebrating the culinary gems from various states in India. This time the cuisine of Mewar was brought forward by Chef Hardev for the people in Delhi.
SOMETHING ABOUT THE CUISINE
The erstwhile royal kitchens of Mewar have been known to serve the Maharajas and their queens. Mewar cuisine mainly revolves around flavours from fresh vegetables, fruits and meats of the season. The menu included royal delicacies and also celebrated the ‘Game Cuisine’ where the kings would hunt and eat the game on the spot and the remaining was taken back to the palace to be eaten later. The cuisine was created in such a way that it would last long as there was shortage of water and drought like situation was frequent. Royal cuisine is becoming more accessible, thanks to such endeavours.
The restaurant was decorated with puppets and swords to make the ambience more realistic. Also, the servers were wearing the traditional Rajasthani pagri. We started off with Jodhpuri Paneer Mircha which was very appetizing, also known as Mirchi Vada and Mirch ke pakode. It had green chilly stuffed with cottage cheese and potato bathed generously in green chutney. Then came the vegetarian and non- vegetarian platters. The former had Paneer ka Sula, Tawa Pitod Masala, Subz Anjeer ke Kebab and Kale Chane ki tikki. The paneer was seasoned with dry spices and grilled to give the perfect flavours.
Pitod is a staple dish made from besan and has a rough texture. Cooking in oil makes the crust crispy. The Anjeer ke Kebab had a hint of sweet and tangy flavours. The melt in the mouth Chane ki Tikki was bursting with flavours. The latter had small tasting portions of Nagori Murgh , Macchi ke Sooley and Jodhpuri Tukra Salala. The Nagori Murgh stood out as the chicken cooked in ghee and methi was giving out a nice, earthy flavor. The mutton in Jodhpuri Tukra Salala was a bit chewy showcasing the game cuisine.
The main course had 8 dishes in total which were Murgh ka Mokul , Lal Maas , Shahi Govind Gatte , Rajwade Aloo , Papad Mangodi ki Sabzi , Paneer ki Subzi, Marwari Chhena Kadhi, Panchkutti Dal Batti Churma accompanied with Jaipuri Mewa Pulao , Mooli Makai ki Roti / Bikaneri Parantha. The chicken had a very thick gravy topped with small bits of almonds. Lal Maas was also done properly and had the right mix of flavours. The Rajwade Aloo were more on the simplistic side and had small pieces of potato tempered with curry leaves and red chillies, sesame seeds and mustard seeds.
But Gatte ki Subzi and Chenna Kadi were the clear winners for us. Gattas are made with besan dipped in a spicy gravy mixed with ground spices. It is a bit sour tasting because tomatoes are added but overall it has the most heavenly flavours. Chenna Kadi had almost liquid gravy in which were immersed small cottage cheese balls tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves and tasted quite tangy and exquisite. Apart from these Ker Sangri ka Achaar, Lehsun Tamater ki Chutney and Kheere ki Launji were adding more punch to the flavours of the dishes.
The Pulao had a myriad of flavours arising from the saffron, small pieces of gatta and dry fruits. Bikaneri Parantha was also very crunchy and savoury. The vegetarian dishes stood throughout the meal. In the end arrived the desserts platter which had Malai Ghewar, Mewa Bati, and Balushahi. The malai ghewar was excellent topped with a thick layer of rabdi. Mewa Bati was exactly like a gulabjamun and the balushahi wasn’t overly sweet. We were struggling to finish the desserts and then to our surprise, betel leaves or paan was presented in a most stellar way in an ice dome with a little flickering candle. Paan usually serves as a mouth freshner and aids in digestion.
Visit Spice Art to taste the flavours of Mewar and many other North Indian dishes.