Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dinner by Michelin star Chef Baptiste. By Four Seasons. ITC Maurya

Photo Courtesy: Sangeeta Khanna
I know. I know. Am terribly late posting this and it's been like an albatross around my neck. I didn't really mean to let so much time lapse, but now that I'm back to blogging almost normally, I had to clear my back log before I got to this.

That said, I have to tell you that this one of the nicest dinners that I had been to all of last year and perhaps the last of the year as well. Four Seasons  and ITC Maurya had invited us for a formal dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste as the winter was just about setting in. So on a nice mildly chilly evening, the four of us  - Deeba, Rekha, Sangeeta and I arrived at the rooftop restaurant West View only to be surprised how large the event was.


As the wine -  selection of award winning wines from Bouvet-Ladubay and Four Seasons - was being circulated, a lovely nibble bar had been set out at one end of the terrace. Anti pastis of all sorts - marinated olives, six kinds of cheese (including one of the most fabulous parmesans I've eaten in India), mushroom salad, cold cuts, the tone for the evening had already been set.

We chatted away, nineteen to a dozen and totally forgot that they we should ideally be circulating and instead  caught up with the good peeps of Maurya and decided to try out own pairings and before we knew it the gong for the dinner rang. We were just about to figure out where we'd sit when Chef Baptiste walked towards us and struck up a conversation. 

He'd worked with Alain Passard and Guy Savoy, two chefs I admire so much. He chatted about them with us and then went on to explain that he got all his 'showy' skills from Alain whereas the nuances he'd picked up from Guy Savoy. I wish I was in his shoes!! At 29, he seemed seeped in experience and totally loved what he was doing. And as it turned out he'd been voted as one of the top 6 young chefs in France by the famed Gault Millau guide.

We'd just settled into conversation, when he realised he had to run back into the kitchen to give the finishing touches to his meal. And we were ushered indoors as well. In that confusions Sangeeta and I ended up sitting on one table and Deeba and Rekha led to another. Cha-os!

You had to put your preferences down, I opted for the vegetarian menu. The first course was brought on - Light Winter vegetable Carpaccio with Eggplant Caviar. This was paired with the Bouvet - Ladubay Saumur Blanc Val de Loire. Apart from the raw cauliflower in it, I quite enjoyed this course and was perhaps the first person on our table to wipe my plate clean.

The next course - Beetroot orange and crottin de chavignol - a sort of a beetroot and orange mousse was brought in tall and beautiful. I have to admit this was my favourite course of the evening. The sweetness of the beetroots worked beautifully with the creamy goat cheese and the tang of the orange. And what a spectacular display too. 

Photo courtesy: Rekha Kakkar
This gorgeous gorgeous dish was paired with a Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc that worked perfectly with it. The next was Black truffle and the artichoke risotto which was paired with the same wine. Deeba really liked this dish, I was very sceptical. I think this would have tasted fabulous with fresh artichoke, the tinned really didn't cut it for me. White bean and tomato ragout in basil pesto came up next, paired with Four Seasons Cabernet Sauvignon which was a really a lovely little dish as well. While the wait between the courses increased, Sangeeta and I decided to hop across to where D and R were sitting. And waiting for next bit. 

The wait was well worth. The piece de resistance however were the desserts. There was an either or on the menu but for some reason we ended up with both the desserts - Hazelnut and chocolate ice crunchy cappuccino and the Pineapple ravioli with passion fruit with yogurt and basil sorbet. 

Photo courtesy: Sangeeta Khanna
What a dish that was. Thin slices of pineapple caramelised and drizzled with fresh passion fruit and a quenelle of the most amazingly fresh sorbet was really the clincher for me. I mean, the French really know their desserts! And this was something I'd never eaten in my life. Paired with Bouvet Rose Excellence it was just awesome.

I have to say thank you. This was a wonderful meal. Really quite lovely. The Four Seasons guys did an awesome job, and just like the last time where we got a  take away pack of wine (which I made a Thai Eggplant Salad with ) we were handed a pack of Macarons, which was such a lovely gesture.

It's always lovely meeting talent that just needs encouragement and I was glad I was a part of that entourage. Plus what a fun evening it was!


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