BY PUJA GUPTA
New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Rooh — a fine dining restaurant — is a hidden gem located amid the lush green landscape of Mehrauli and is all about “progressive Indian food”. Chef Sujan Sarkar, who opened the brand’s first outlet in San Franciso three years back, has now brought it to Delhi with an idea to present Indian flavours with an international approach.
“The food at Rooh Delhi is not fusion, but we call it progressive Indian or international Indian cuisine. Here, it is more about story – it has influences of my travel. I have stayed in many places like Dubai, in Indian cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Goa. So you will see influences of all these places in the menu,” says the New-York based chef.
Sarkar says that people all over the world are very fond of Indian food and 60 per cent of his clientele comprise non-Indians. “Within three years, I opened three restaurants and planning two more this year, which makes it five in the US. People are not just liking the food, they are loving it. Our client base is growing day by day.”
The restaurant — which is housed in a refurbished “haveli” with the Qutub Minar in its vicinity — has simple interiors, an 11-course tasting menu and an a la carte menu which comprises some dishes which are fancy when it comes to presentation, but are a modern take of our very own Indian traditional food.
“When you close your eyes and eat it, it’s Indian, but when you see it, it is different. A lot of thought process was there behind this. A lot of different kinds of ingredients and international ingredients are used at Rooh. You see a lot of international influences in the food but it is not fusion foodï¿½ There is no use of soy sauce etc. We are taking Indian food forward,” he said.
The tasting menu of the restaurant has 11 offerings and are paired with wines sourced from across the globe like Portugal, Japan and Bhutan.
“Pani puri” — a modern take to the “gol gappa” or the “puchka” – is a concoction of flavours. Ditching the conventional mint water, the chef has chosen passion fruit and tamarind jelly over a tart that blasts in the mouth leaving you with a smile.
“Yogurt chaat”, which is served in a stone bowl, has sweet and sour taste and different textures, made with yoghurt and layers of cranberry, gongura, jalapenos, crispy potatoes and togarashi, topped with dry ice.
Another surprise is “avocado bhel’ — the chef’s recommendation. Crispy quinoa, topped with a mixture of avocado, fresh corn, pickled onion, mango sorbet and little balls of tender coconut.
“Kappa shami” is shami kebab, served with three different sauces — spiced apricot, mango and mint — and edible, activated charcoal biscuit.
Desserts are definitely the highlight of the menu. There’s “mango yolk” — a vegetarian dish made with mango puree with an appearance of a raw egg yolk sprinkled with a black pepper and meringue that looks like its shell. Gulp it all at once and the yolk blasts in your mouth.
“Besan burfi” is a must try — chocolate and besan cake served with a besan-flavoured ice-cream.
Rooh Delhi has a unique cocktail and mocktail menu based on the six different tastes of the Ayurveda — sweet, salty, pungent, bitter, sour and astringent – however, these are not Ayurvedic drinks, clarifies Sarkar.
He has also introduced natural alcohols which are essentially fermented ingredients, ranging from apple-cinnamon, coconut water and blackberry.
(Puja Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)