Nimisserie : Chef Nimish Bhatia’s dream project serving Aspect Cuisine or according to me, modern Inspired Indian. My review of the same!
Nimisserie, which essentially is a play on the name of Chef Nimish Bhatia, in case you are wondering what it means, is dream child of the ex-Lalit executive chef.
Sitting on the edge of Wood Street, it is opulent, extravagant and ambitious. Chef Nimish who has been much loved during his stint at Lalit Ashok has poured his heart and soul in the project and that is evident the minute you enter the place.
Table decor which ranges from inlay marble plates from Agra, red shimmery stone curtains which separate the private dining area, plush couches, the custom made cutlery and crockery everything speaks opulence may be a little too much for even my once Delhi attuned over the top taste, though I know people who love the decor and whatever said the decor has a character marked out for itself. One can see that Chef Nimish had an image in mind and has worked to translate that to reality. I am told the the evenings are spectacular at the place with the lights from the traffic outside reflecting off the mirrored walls making it more jazzy? Both the times I have been though was for lunch and the place gets really hot due to the concave mirror.
A group of us were invited for a Degustation menu a while ago (and then I made it there myself with a friend again before I wrote this). Both the times while eating, the feelings I had were alternating between being overwhelmed by too much happening on the plate to feeling underwhelmed (yes there is a word like that) with the dish almost doing nothing to my palate. I mean how can Indian food lack depth of flavour and while we are on this what essentially does look like a heavily Indian inspired menu is being called as “Aspect Cuisine” by the restaurant. What is “Aspect Cuisine”? Well your guess is as good as mine since it’s a term I have never heard of before but according to the chef “It is his take on food from his many experiments in Indian and International fare”. Let us for now keep the Indian aside and look at the food from “Aspect Cuisine” perspective.
The meal started with a deconstructed (?) papdi chat in a amuse-bouche kind of serving. The brilliant shortcut pastry in a flower shape topped pomegranate roe and hung curd was neither bad or good and actually left me wondering what exactly did I eat. May be the problem is in the way we look at these dishes and Indian food, may be the perceptions are hard to break through but papdi chaat being served like that left me wondering what is the point.
Reconstructed Chilled Melon Samosa is a rehash of the very popular Thande Kabab at Baluchi, Lalit Ashok which is made fancier and cooler with Hibiscus Dust and served with a smear of delicious Nimbu pickle. I have to say here that most of the times the elements on the plate were outstanding by themselves, whether it was the pickle or the chutney or the little bhakarwadi inspired papad but what made it all confusing was the need for everydish to have so many elements. The fact that there was too much going on.
Chicken Breast and Argula Salad, Marigold flowers, dehydrated pineapple and Basil was served in a pretty bowl topped with a dressing cone and when you lift the dressing the smoke escapes out of the bowl, inspite of all the drama associated it with, it was one of the cleanest flavours of the day. Crisp and a welcome change on a heavily spiced meal because even though I know the restaurant resists being called “Indian” the flavours are essentially that.
A Trilogy of Nakhalawi Galauti – cream rolls or cream horns stuffed with chicken, prawns and lambs. This dish took me back to childhood and I loved eating every bite of it, remembering those times when we used to it the cream filled version of it from the bakery down the road for a rupee if I remember right. The puff pastry was stellar and the filling of all was pretty good, chicken leading prawn and lamb by a small margin but all of them worthy of a try though one does wonder the need of rose petals and a smear of cream sauce on the plate. There is a vegetarian version of this which was chola, palak paneer I am told.
The soup course arrived as two different elements – the consommé in a coffee press and the solid parts including something that was once a tomato along with flower petals and caraway seeds in a bowl. The consommé brews for a while and then you pour it into the bowl. The soup honestly wasn’t bad though the tomato texture changed via molecular gastronomy does take some getting used, it is a skill and talent at display but is it required for the dish. I am not sure. Again as I said earlier, it could be our perceptions of Indian food at play here.
There was also a stellar Rohelkhand style Dal came with Kachumber salad, khakra (crisp thepla I was told but that surely is a khakhra and not a thepla). I would be happy to have this with a glass of beer or wine like crackers and dips, but then this was served with Tomato Carpaccio and Truffle Oil completely losing the simplicity of a beautiful earthy dish and oh do not miss the Nimisserie on the plate 😉
During the course of the meal we were also served with Naanerie (yes the pun on the name again, there is a also a Kababirie BTW) offerings – little stuffed naans served in very cute wheel barrows, they come in innovative and delicious stuffings. Bacon, Chilli Chicken, Apricot-Chilli. The naans or kulcha’s are supposed to be designed in a way that they can be little cocktail bites by themselves not needing an accompaniment. The chef intends to bring the kulcha from the main course to a larger more adaptable dish and I think it is a brilliant move. Full marks for these kulchas
Another thing that truly shone that day was the trio of fish for me. Kasundi Grilled Snapper, Gooseberry Chutney Tuna and Curry Leaf Pesto Seer served with a little salad, if you ignore a bit of foam this was a dish to win. I specially loved the Tuna.
I know most of my fellow diners loved this dish but honestly this was a dish that somehow disappointed me the most, may be because it had so much potential that it was a pity to see it falling on it’s face. Bihari Pithi Pockets featured Pithi as a ravioili stuffed with spinach, cottage cheese and flax seeds on a bed of cumin infused dal. I am not boasting here when I say I make a better dal, the dal was the star of this dish and yet it failed to impress and God I did not understand the need of the little churan golis to be served with this dish. Why? But Bakharwadi roll, stellar again. I could eat it by itself but then again what was it doing in this dish.
And the with last course of the day, the marble and inlay was back in the form of a cute box I would loved to steal and bring back home for my jewellery. We were served trio of dessert in it, Salted Caramel Chocolate Ice Cream, Tarte Tatin Misthi Doi and Chlorophyll Panacotta. I will not tell you what Chlorophyll is made of because that is a interesting little game to play when you are dining there but will give you a hint, it is a common ingredient in Indian Kitchen, go figure the rest 🙂
In the end I would say, go check it out once to know whether this is your cup of tea, I guess “Aspect Cuisine” will work for some and not for others, decide for yourself if it does for you. As far as I am concerned, I am not headed back there anytime soon. Atleast not till the buzz dies and they do something new to change my mind.
120, Brigade Road, Off Wood Street, Bangalore.
Cost : INR 3000/++ for a meal for two. INR 1900 – 3900/++ for the degustation menu for 7,9 or 11 courses.
Valet Parking available.