Fire at The Park Hotel charms with its heavy chairs, its Austin Powers off-white chic, hundreds of suspended light bulbs and ability to stay hip in the Capital city. The food introduces pan-Indian cuisine in a contemporary fashion, which has won it fans the world over — those new to Delhi would easily see it as a smooth introduction to Indian cuisine as the menu swings from North to South and there’s always a stylish interpretation of Delhi street food which elevates it from mere quick snack to artful moreish morsel.
We were recently invited to try out the winter menu. We kicked off the meal with typical Delhi street food — mini raj kachoris, served on clay napkin rings, which were a perfect balance of spice, heat, curd, sprouts, tamarind and crisp base. You can also try the karari aloo chaat or the boiled egg tikkis with ginger and green chilli.
We also had Fire’s version of the gilawati kebab, a tender and delicately flavoured mace and saffron appetiser that sets you up quite nicely for the meal ahead. The soups on offer include a pepper rasam, a roasted tomato shorba with basil and a paya shorba. Unless you like the taste of paya (mutton trotters) to dominate and a thin soup, you should head for one of the other options
The choice of main courses is varied. We tried the slow roasted red snapper and Naga chilli pork stew. The fish was delicious and well-cooked but it no competition for other fish dishes on the Fire menu, such as tandoori pomfret and the tawa macchi. The big miss was the pork stew whose taste was weighed down with fat and did not show off Fire’s usual deftness with curries and stews — better options would include the very tasty tenderloin sukha fry or the nadru kofta (lotus stem dumplings in a fennel and tomato curry).
Desserts are expressive and interesting, such as a Manipuri black rice pudding and a trio of winter carrots done as a kulfi, halwa and brulee. But the winning sweets are the rose petal and cardomom brulee, pannacotta shivery with coffee, and a divine warm cinnamon and chocolate sunken cake.