Sunday, 5 March 2017

TAG - GourmArt Kitchen By Ranveer Brar | Modern Vegetarian Journey | Food Review | Restaurant Review

Ranveer Brar has done it again. As if leaving young girls shrieking in his presence is not enough (I have seen this firsthand and would just like to say-he is married girls, get a grip :P), he goes ahead and creates a piece of art, literally! One of my most memorable review invites-welcome to TAG-GourmArt Kitchen By Ranveer Brar.

The first floor is like a blank canvas, literally, very white, contemporary, minimalist, interested in showcasing works of other artists be it via photographs or paintings and so on, it is on the first floor with colorful chairs and open kitchen, an inviting book shelf, a semi-geometric decor pattern where Ranveer's culinary artistry comes to fore. The ambiance here is so welcoming, positive and upbeat that I won't mind coming back here every week just to soak up on all the positivity,

The menu is eclectic with naan sharing same space as sushi and flatbread given same importance as upma and risotto! But nothing is as it seems, nothing is plain Jane, it is all encased in a shell of creativity, with ingredients like Tofu, Kale, Flax Seeds et al making their appearance in the unlikeliest of places very successfully. The plating, presentation and top-notch quality of each dish makes me not complain about the pricing. If I am being honest, I would certainly agree that it is expensive. Every dish is just a tasting portion (small plate) and for a hulk like me, it means I need at least 4-5 plates before I can call it a meal (so I will need to pay at least Rs.1500 for my meal alone)! 

But,again, in the vein of honesty, I would admit that it is worth it. Why? Because nobody becomes a masterchef overnight. It takes years of skills, practice, dedication, massive amounts of creativity and ingenuity to achieve this level of mastery and we are paying a premium for that. Just like we pay a premium when we buy branded jeans of 4000 bucks when we know it costs barely 400 bucks to make or see a movie at an elegant multiplex for 500 bucks a ticket instead of at a dingy theatre for 50 bucks a ticket. There are not many  places I would get to sample mock butter chicken ravioli or a watermelon sashimi salad, but here I do. Not many places infuse me with the same amount of optimism as the decor here. Not many places have their staff so well versed with the menu that they suggest dishes perfect for each individual palate as the staff here does. Not many kitchens are equipped  with the same kind of excellent staff here that make every single plate stand out as if it was an entry in the final round of Masterchef competition. Not many places are vegetarian (with some egg dishes also making an appearance), yet elegantly gourmet in theory as well as execution that they help so efficiently in dispelling the myth of 'veg food can't be tasty/gourmet/international/compelling/extraordinary'. So yes, I am ready to splurge a bit here every 2-3 months or so because I am ready to pay the premium :)

The best part about small plates,we get to do portion control and also try out a variety of dishes instead of getting hungover on massive amounts of ghee/butter/oil in just 1-2 dishes (I am looking at you,dal makhani and veg biryani of last night :P)

So we started our lunch with an off the menu refreshing Orange mocktail for me and The Coffee Sangria with Americano, Oranges, Green Apple, Sweet & Sour Mix, Pomegranate for my sister (a bit too heavy for my palate but my sister loved it,so :D)

Our soup journey was kicked off by Tomato Cardamon Shorva with Ginger Chevre Sphere, Dhokla Crisps, Crispy Fava and Salted Methi, very wholesome and fresh, subtle yet flavorsome,

My absolute favorite was Chilled Melon Gazpacho with Tofu Puree and Toasted Almonds, cool, refreshing, rolling around my tongue like a sorbet, so light and pure, I could marry this one!

An array of small plates made their appearance next,starting with Cucumber Kimchi Roll with Tempura Pearls & Mango Lime Foam, this one had the stamp of authentic sushi all over it with just a hint of acidity, loved it,

My sister's favorite eggplant made an appearance with a flatbread - Aubergine Caponata with Garlic Crumbs and Aged Balsamic with Pine Nuts, I thought it would be excessively oily (it wasn't!) or unnecessarily cheesy (again, it wasn't) or at the very least,bland and boring but I actually finished 2/3rds of it, so enough said :D

One of the must-haves here is their Seasonal Beans Hummus with Sweet Peas, Beans, Red Radish, Flax Seeds & Khakra Toast, get all the cooling qualities of hummus with down-to-earth ingredients, a healthy choice we couldn't get enough of, and a filling portion for a light eater too!

Another must-have for me was Afghan Mantu i.e. meatless meaty Central Asian Dumplings with Tomato Braised Lentils and Smoked Yoghurt, this is a dumpling like never had before, soft, meaty, an explosion of flavors, little pockets of delight is how I would describe them,

If you hate Kale, then you must also try Kale Papdi Chaat with Kale Fritters and Potato Puff tossed up into a chaat with Yoghurt espuma, TAG chutneys and tempura pearls, none of that horrible Kale bitterness to be found here, the tangy-crunchy avatar of Kale here is good to look at, delicious to the  core, very unique twist that an average foodie like me won't even dream of,

Finally, melt in mouth Mushroom Galawat i.e. Lucknowi Galawat Kebab with a hint of truffle and sour dough crostinis, buttermilk lacchha is what would warm the heart of any mushroom lover, I always find kebabs anywhere a bit too salty for my taste but could find no fault with this one's flavor or texture :)

Among desserts, we settled on 3 distinctive choices, starting with my favorite Chocolate Fondant with Orange, Thyme Center, Black Pepper Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Soil, it was as dense and rich as I expected it to be, as worthy of a repeat as any good chocolate dessert should be,

Next up was Merlot Poached Pear with Creme Anglaise, Burnt Chocolate , Fresh Berries, Fillo Pastry, a good juxtaposition of creaminess with fresh fruits, but a bit too eggy for me personally,

Finally we had the beautiful Lunch Special Veggie Dessert with Red Cabbage and Cranberry Panna Cotta, Yoghurt Sponge, Salted Caramel Walnut, Sweet Balsamic Caviar and Ginger crumble, very light and refreshing, all the different components complimenting each other beautifully to create a fitting finale to our meal,

So, food is delicious, staff is super efficient, service is extremely quick, decor is charming and uplifting and Ranveer Brar has created a distinctive mark in all aspects, what's not to like? Can't wait to be back :)

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