Entering the cool green atmosphere of Bharat Bistro on a blazing summer afternoon only gets better when the food arrives at your table. Everything is served in impeccable style and aesthetic sense, right down to colour-coding the plates.
Try one of their cooling drinks to start off your meal. A personal favourite is the Pineapple Panna- pineapple juice with a hint of chaat and jeera powder to balance the sweetness of the fruit, giving it a refreshing zing.
Soups of India
If you’re in the mood for soups, the bistro has quite a selection in store for you. And they are plated right in front of you too. The Tomato Saar is a tangy Maharashtrian dish served with a side of little Paav buns.
The Roasted Pumpkin Ginger Cappuccino was made, obviously, with Roasted pumpkin and ginger, and was very creamy and delicious. We also enjoyed the Paya Shorba, a slightly modified version of the favourite Paya dish, made with chunks of trotter instead of one unmanageable big leg. This one tends to be a bit on the spicy side for those who aren’t used to much spice.
The next soup is bound to be a family favourite. The Murgh Badam Shorba, a creamy chicken soup with an almond paste base tastes luxurious and transports you to the Mughal Era.
From the French kitchens of India (a.k.a Pondicherry) comes the Pondicherry Bouillabaisse – a seafood soup that originated in the hands of the French who lived in Pondicherry before independence. This soup was made with a French influence out of local ingredients.
Our very first starter was the Masala Chicken Net Bread Roll. These amazingly attractive rolls shine with the subtle balance of meaty flavours. The soft spicy meat filling goes wonderfully well with the crisp fried yellow exterior.
If you haven’t had enough chicken, the Murgh Tikka Kali Mirch is a must try. Loaded with the usual lovable taste of tikka masala, and served in generously sized chunks, this is pure comfort food.
A welcome change for the palate after the spicy chicken rolls and tikka is the mild, rich and coconutty Mustard Steamed Sea Bass. This reinvented Bengali dish is made with coconut milk and served with sweet tomato chutney, which makes it quite a hit.
But if you’re going vegetarian for the day, there is the delicious Chilli Garlic Burrata with Chutney Paneer Tikka, served with a dip of delicious mint chutney and guaranteed to win your heart.
Almost full with just the soup and the starters, the richness and portioning of the main courses is a bit overwhelming.
First comes the Moplah prawn biryani in all its glory, with its three sides of raita, green salad and prawn pickle. Made with an expensive strain of a chewy Kerala rice grain, this was served traditionally at Malayalee weddings, as the name implies (Moplah means bridegroom).
Then came the sizzling Lamb Millet Kichda, still covered in a dum. Made with millets, lentils, tender pieces of Lamb and a LOT of ghee, this comes with a side of raita, lamb pickle and crunchy pappad bits. It is very wholesome and filling, apart from being extremely delicious.
For those who prefer rotis to rice, there is a wide variety to choose from. The Chicken Tikka Stuffed Kulcha is filled with minced chicken tikka and is something non-vegetarians cannot miss out on. Paired with the Butter Chicken, it makes an unbeatable combination.
The vegetarian Kulchas taste even more exotic. The Sundried Tomato Kulcha and the Jalapeño Chilli Cheese Kulcha are perfectly balanced in flavour and steal the show. Pair them up with the creamy Paneer in Olive Malai Gravy or the Almond Crusted Paneer Kofta in Makhani gravy and you have the perfect meal on your hands.
Never desert the Dessert
Stuffed as we were, we couldn’t say no to dessert. Who can, really? (Although we did have to take a trip down the stairs and take a look at the peacock to digest our food in preparation)
Our anticipation was worth every step on the staircase. Crisp and crunchy Mini ghewar with milky rabdi arrived on a platter, enticing as ever. The fusion was a welcome move, balancing the sweetness and crispness of the ghewar with the mildness and creaminess of the rabdi.
The Goan Bebinca served with tender coconut ice cream is also a great choice if you like solid, gelatinous desserts.
And at last arrived the Santrani Kheer in its bowl of orange peel, garnished with pistachios and silver foil for that touch of royalty. The crunchy Soan Papdi is a great accompaniment for the luxuriously creamy kheer inside.
Speaking to Chef Kamal, the man behind the restaurant’s mouth-watering menu, we hear that the inspiration behind the concept was to attempt food styling without disturbing the authentic Indian flavour of any of the dishes. And they couldn’t have done it better.