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Monday, 29 December 2014

Ambrosia Bliss - Heavenly

In ancient Greek mythology, ambrosia ("of the immortals") is sometimes the food or drink of the Greek gods, often depicted as conferring longevity or immortality upon whoever consumed it. It was brought to the gods in Olympus by doves, so it may have been thought of in the Homeric tradition as a kind of divine exhalation of the Earth…and Bliss is the perfect happiness……….. ( Wikipedia )
We got a chance visit the Ambrosia Bliss……….. Ambrosia Bliss is a bold, beautiful and larger than life concept  with approx.15,000 sq. ft. of space in the heart and nerve center of Delhi; Connaught Place. 

 
Boasting of three beautiful sun kissed terraces facing the bustling roads of Connaught Place, an opulent and pristine dining area in the “Ambrosia” area, a silent and state-of-the art  PDR cum conference room for all your important boardroom meetings which can also be used as a private party area, an uber chic bar with a stage that would stand host to beautiful artists and performers from around the globe in the “Bliss” area………………



The interiors of this place are done in Mediterranean style with touches Greek, Parisian and Middle Eastern styles……..Plush Sofas in velvet and leather…..a queue of lovely chairs. The cane loungers at the terrace complementing the outdoors…….plush moldings and cut work in the glass covered dining tables and not to forget the concierge area in all wood….carved and engraved by  craftsmen…The “Ambrosia“ section is a family lounge which opens to 2 open terraces and two private dining lounges on in the middle and at the side……..This area is has ample natural light and also boasts of a fully loaded bar……..The Golden colour used on the pillars, tables as well as the walls adds to the whole ambiance making it lavish and royal…….The 'Bliss'  section is the lounge area with a beautiful bar and a stage for live performances and a dark ambiance with lights creating magic.......very youthful and energetic and also opens to a terrace which can be used as smoking area or just casual sit out.....



 

The food and drinks were no less than “Ambrosia”.… It tasted divine and was presented as it was being served in heaven……..We started with…… The Mezze platter, The international veg platter, Indian non-veg and veg platter. The platters were big and had a great selection of items. We liked the dahi kebab, the seekh kebab a lot in the Indian platter and the Cheese rolls  as well as mushrooms in the International platter………


The Drinks were really made very well….. We collectively tried most of the cocktails and mocktails..…I started with the “Truth or Dare “ which was a Gin based concoction with beetroot juice and orange and lime peel , quite unusual but good…. The “Pomka” was a icy drink or a sorbet based drink with vodka and fresh pomegranate……..nice innovation…..My friends also tried the “Coolatini” which was a cucumber based drink, very cool and refreshing and the most unusual one was the “Betel Bliss” yes a paan based drink…..It was really a paan in the drink ……..with rose petals, betel leaf and saunf etc………So all in all very nice and innovative collection of cocktails and drinks……..The bar tenders are very well trained and knowledgeable……




We also had the steamed sole with laksa, the spicy prawns and the chicken as well as spinach momos. I loved these preparations a lot. The Chicken Roulade was a very nice innovation. The tamarind tofu cups were too good, tangy, sweet and sour and everyone liked them. The main course was just a formality to be done now, as we were all full….But we had to try some basic dishes to know how good they were. The Dal Makhani was good, nothing over the top. The Avadhi nalli korma was a very rich dish covered in silver varq making it very royal……Taste was good. The Thai Massaman curry in veggies was good and the chicken made in Chinese style had a very good flavor of black pepper, I liked it a lot…….
 



The main highlight we were waiting for were the desserts. ……and yes they turned out to be one of the best……..We were served the “Phirni” which I must say was subtly sweetened with flavor of saffron (kesar) coming out very nicely. The best part was the texture of “Phirni” which was neither too thick nor runny, was very well made. Then we tasted the “Sticky Toffee Pudding” …what should I say about say about this dish, I don’t have words…….It was a soft cake poured over with Sticky Toffee served with Ice cream…..WOW.


And last but not the least the “Coconut crème Pudding” which was served in a big roundel glass, it was like a Cake with a base of coconut cream , I did not like it much. But yes the whole experience was such overwhelming that a small flip flop was just avoidable…….. The service was very good…..The servers were all smiling and had good knowledge about their dishes….. The manager was very alert and careful regarding the food and service. I could see the guests being very well attended to in other parts of the restaurant too.



I can only say, if they maintain their place by giving such good food and service throughout. They will sustain and remain in this competitive scene for much longer than their peers. As maintaining and running such a big place is not so easy, it’s really a Herculean task.

I wish them all the very best for their future.
  



Ratings are on a scale of 5*****


1 being the lowest and 5 the highest

   Ambience -  4.5 / 5.0
       Service -   4.0 / 5.0
          Taste -   4.0 / 5.0
         Pricing - 3.5 / 5.0 
 
   
Overall  -  4.0 / 5.0


Meal for Two - Rs. 2000 /-



Ambrosia Bliss
Connaught Place, , India address
L 51 to 54, 2nd Floor, Outer Circle Connaught Place, New Delhi
Ph. 011 – 4900 4700






Ambrosia Bliss Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Written By : Vickrham Vicky

Monday, 15 December 2014

KOA - KITCHENS OF ASIA........Made in Japan


Of all the places on the planet where the popularity of Japanese Food especially Sushi would seem to be a strict no-no, Delhi region would once have been at the forefront. Indeed, in the era before sushi, the average Delhiite was never keen on seafood, even the cooked variety. Which is why it is surprising that sushi makes its way on to so many menus. Today, sushi and sashimi are ubiquitous. Not confined to five star dining any more, even caterers have begun to get into the act.

So, is the Delhi/Mumbai love affair with sushi part of a global trend? It probably is. Japanese food, with its accent on superior ingredients cooked minimally so as to retain freshness, has been at the forefront of international culinary interest.
Asparagus, lettuce leaves, cucumber and nori sheets (made of sea weed) counterpointed against rice can look poetically beautiful, as long as the hand that has created them is neat.

When it comes to food, the Japanese are among the most enthusiastic and passionate of any races. Careful preparation and meticulous presentation are crucial elements of Japanese cuisine. Food is an art form and even the simplest dishes are often prepared by chefs that have trained for many years. 

Today's generation is independent and wants to experiment with its food. People nowadays have become more enterprising and independent in their tastes. It’s a similar scenario in most metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi/Ncr, Bengaluru etc.  Where youngsters are leading the change - some out of curiosity, others just to be fashionable.

Japanese cuisine is proving to be a hit among culinary enthusiasts in India, especially the young and the health conscious - even though many of the ingredients have to be imported, making it an expensive proposition. It's light, uses fresh ingredients and is different.

Kitchens of Asia - KOA

 
And the love for this cuisine it lead us , TWCI – The Writers Collective of India to a newly opened restaurant KOA- Kitchens of Asia at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon .
It was a chilly evening, with cold wind blowing bringing temperature down. But our enthusiasm and passion got us all gathered at KOA for a lovely dinner. The interiors of the place have been done very nicely, imparting an oriental charm to the whole place. The artifacts and paintings of Buddha imported from Japan, the use of red colour on the walls and upholstery as well as napkins brings in the warmth to the whole ambiance. It’s an 80 odd pax. restaurant on the First floor of Cyber Hub, the most sought after location in Delhi/ NCR for restaurants and dining nowadays..............

Plush Interiors

As we all reached the place, we started chatting and discussing about the ambiance and type of food we will be served. It’s a Japanese restaurant with open kitchen and grills. The Robatayaki grill and Teppenyaki cooking are done live. They also have a private dining area which boasts of a live teppenyaki which is yet to be operational.

Live Stations
  
Now, the agenda of our meet, the food. We started with Miso soup (Rs.295 /395) – both veg. as well as sea food which had  mitsuba, tofu and wakame seaweed. It was very different, it’s obvious but yes it was very refreshing.

Then we got robata chicken (grilled on robatayaki grill) and vegetables like asparagus (Rs.595) with yulu hollaindaise and soy, corn on cob ( Rs.375).I loved the asparagus , the flavors of soy and other sauces grilled on charcoal were heavenly. The Chicken Breast (Rs.475) was also done on the grill and was very good and yummy served with grilled vegetables.

Then we were served the Potato Suteki (Rs.475), a panko (bread crumbs) fried potato steak with tankashu sauce. It was like a whole potato stuffed with cheesy mix and fried coated in bread crumbs (panko ). It was very subtle in taste but filling……... I was waiting for the Shir’Ae which is a crumble of silken tofu, spinach goma dressing. Very beautiful and very tasty. It’s such a dish which you won’t even like to break apart as it’s so beautifully presented and plated; it’s almost a work of art.  

Now one of the most popular dishes from Japan, the tempura or we can say Japanese pakode…….. deep fried veggies or sea food in a tempura batter…….I did not try the tempura but my friends really enjoyed the Prawn tempura (Rs.675)  a lot……

Potato Suteki, Shir'Ae, Lamb Rack (clockwise)


Shir'Ae and Asparagus Robata Grilled

And now the most awaited and most known to dish from Japanese cuisine, The Sushi…….. We were served with various Sushi preparations or as they call them, Rolls…….like  Come Undone -spicy tuna (Rs.675)  asparagus (Rs.545), spicy salmon (Rs.575)…...Sushi was done two ways both nigiri* and maki* rolls were served……Rolls of rice , yes rice plays an important part in sushi. Most restaurants make do with koshihikari rice; Wasabi has koshibuki in addition. The former is for nigiri sushi and the latter, being a premium quality, is for some maki rolls……..
  • Nigiri-zushi** involves a slice of raw fish atop an oblong, compacted mound of rice. Nigiri is generally served in pairs, with a little dab of wasabi between the rice and the fish, and sometimes with a small strip of nori (seaweed) belting it all together.
  • Maki-zushi* involves strips of fish and vegetable laid in rice and rolled inside nori to make a long cylinder. It's then typically served cut into 6-8 pieces.
Sushi - Tuna and Salmon


All very nicely done and presented, with use of vibrant colours and luscious textures. We loved all of them; I even ordered an extra dish of classic sushi maki rolls……..

Then came the Teppenyaki dishes like chicken teriyaki teppan grilled chicken Japanese soya glazed with simagi mushroom & wakame (Rs.675). The slow cooked red snapper (Rs.695) , assorted vegetables, spicy with balsamic reduction sauce was one of the highlights of the day……And the most authentic the Black Cod Miso (Rs.1895) …… This was the one which I loved much; it was sweet and flavorful very unusual and very good but expensive too…….

Fish Skewers, Chicken grilled, Snapper grilled


Flat Rice noodles Grilled with Teriyaki Chicken


You will be surprised to know that, the Japanese also eat curries like Thai and Chinese. We had the KOA Oriental Curry Veg (Rs.525) which was awesome and tasted much like Indian and Thai style curry. The use of cream instead of coconut and herbs made it really interesting and was fun having with steamed sticky rice……..

The most sought after fish, the Salmon was the next to be served. It was again prepared on the robata grill served with grilled veggies – Salmon Steak with lovely mix of sauces and honey ,very healthy and very fresh. I can have it every day………..Awesome flavors and firm texture.

One of the best dishes which I savored to the last bit was the Australian rack of Lamb (Rs.1295) , finely grilled in mix of savory and sweet red wine sauce in miso glaze on a bed of grilled veggies like broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms. Thoroughly loved it…….




Sashimi Platter


The most exotic thing to be served was the Sashimi platter – 12 pcs (Rs.1675)….It had sashimi cuts of crab, octopus, tuna, scallops and prawns. Oh my God, it was so beautiful and had all the beautiful colors one could ever imagine. But to my dismay, as I am allergic to shell fish, could not try anything except the octopus. It was the freshest piece of sea food; one could ever have in a place like Gurgaon…..so far from the coast……….

Blueberry Cheesecake and Choco Brownie

  The desserts which I had were awesome………I had the blueberry cheesecake (Rs.450) and the Chocolate brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce (Rs.400). It was one of the best cheesecakes I had lately……..

All the ingredients were so fresh and delicate, that I can admit the KOA people are very carefully sourcing them. One has to be very careful in sourcing products especially sea food and exotic veggies…….As Japanese cuisine is all about freshness and meticulous presentation……..This cuisine runs on many cultural principles like the “Power of Five”.

The number five “5” is considered important in Japanese culture, and this extends to its food traditions as well. They form the basis of concepts that have been in place for centuries. I believe that following the guidelines of the “Power of Five” can do more for improving your health and cooking skills than following recipes or diets.
Food should be enjoyed with all five of the senses: taste and smell are obvious, but sight figures predominately in Japanese cuisine. In fact, it can be considered just as important as taste.
Touch is also important, not only for the texture of the food itself, which should be varied, but also for tableware, as it is customary to hold vessels and utensils in one’s hands.
Hearing, while being a bit more esoteric, also figures into the experience. However, to properly appreciate the experience and give due respect to the chef, a quiet atmosphere is appreciated, so that you really appreciate the marvelous experience.
The Fifth Taste - Salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and… umami. Recently, much fuss has been made over umami, touted as the fifth taste. It can be accomplished by adding a little butter to a soy sauce based dish, or sprinkling a little parmesan cheese into a miso sauce. Umami is imparted by amino acids called glutamates.
 Five Ways - The preparation of the dishes is also important, and here, there are also five methods: raw, simmered, fried, steamed and roasted or grilled.

However, the restaurateurs unanimously agree that Japanese cuisine will not be able to attain the same level of popularity in India in the near future as its Chinese or even Italian counterparts, due to its ingredients. Japanese food has the majority of ingredients flown in from Japan, so the food is bound to be expensive. Food joints selling sushi won't be cropping up in nooks and crannies in the foreseeable future……….Which gives an edge to the fine dine places for many more years to come…………Like Kitchens of Asia - KOA and other restaurants serving Japanese cuisine………

I will admit that YES, the food we had at KOA was very much in tune with the thoughts and cultural principles we have read so far. All my senses were working to their best while enjoying such a beautiful symphony of food. 

Overall, a very nice and chic place to take your date or even your friends/family along for an up market experience with loads of healthy and fashionable dishes……..This place and it’s food is surely bound to fly your senses to the seventh sky or heaven I am sure………..


Ratings are on a scale of 5*****



1 being the lowest and 5 the highest

   Ambience -  4.0 / 5.0
       Service -  4.0 / 5.0
          Taste -  4.0 / 5.0
         Pricing - 4.0 / 5.0 
 
 Overall  -  4.0 / 5.0

Meal for Two - Rs. 2000 /-



KOA - KITCHENS OF ASIA,

106-107, DLF Cyber Hub, 

DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon.

Phone : 0124 4909361