Methi paranthas dripping with butter, sarson da saag mopped up with makki di roti or the ubiquitous bright red butter chicken are not the only hot city favourites this winter, with restaurants keeping it light. Green and fresh is the new winter menu offering.
“We have intentionally pared down Indian food, though popular dishes like biryani and curries are there. This year we are focusing on North Italian and Oriental cuisine at the Mist,” says Anuruddh Khanna, executive chef at the Park Hotel.
With dishes like chicken breast scallopini with vanilla salt, bell peppers and hand-cut fries or tenderloin medallions wrapped in pancetta, crisp polenta fingers and pink peppercorns, the menu has lots of meat: pork, chicken and lamb. Dimsums are also a highlight and come filled with prawn hargau, pork and Chinese cabbage or crab meat and spinach.
“Hot dimsums are an all-time favourite. We also have Singaporean prawn laksa biryani and Thai curries this winter,” adds Khanna.
Greens also find their way in salads with fresh rocket leaves, mushrooms, artichokes, asparagus and fennel stalks at Italian restaurant, Sartoria in Basant Lok. “Balsamic vinegar and olive oil is the best dressing with rocket leaves or fennel with Parmesan and cheddar cheese grated later. Artichokes can be used in pastas this season,” says chef Pitamber Dutt Satyawalli of Sartoria. Grilling and baking are the preferred way to keep things toasty. Wood fired pizzas, steaks, grilled vegetables and poached fruit keep it warm and healthy feels chef KP Singh of Second Sin at MGF Metropolitan mall, Saket. “Confit chicken, lamb chops, tenderloin, and trout are the most popular dishes. For dessert, green apples and strawberries that are in season can be grilled and served with fresh cream,” says Singh who has added lamb chops (grilled with onion and sage jus, merlot and green beans and spinach) and a baked pear and redcurrant crumble with ice-cream on the menu. Indian spices are never far away, especially if you are in the mood for winter classics like Nihari (slow cooked mutton), keema roti or even a tawa fish. “We’ve added the flavourful mutton khichda on our menu, a chicken velvet soup that looks pale white but is fiery hot with lots of green chillies,” says TP Shibu, food consultant with Hinglish-The Colonial Café in Tagore Garden.
If pastas, steak and rotis don’t draw you in this winter, get your fix at the south Indian, Spice water Trail restaurant in GK1 that has added new varieties of rasam, spicy chicken dishes and tangy vegetarian curries. “Pepper infuses warmth, a must in every dish. We have Takkali Kurumulagu rasam or seafood rasam with pineapple or coconut and Punar Puli saaru — a thin soup flavoured with kokum from coastal Mangalore to keep you warm. Then a spicy Kodikura (a dry Andhra chicken dish) or Ghongura chicken fry is ideal. There is Ulli Theeyal (onion dish) shallots cooked in a gravy of desiccated coconut. It has a hot and sour flavour,” says Shibu who also consults for Spice Water Trail. “South Indian desserts (like payasams) have jaggery which is preferred in winter, and pineapple halwa is all served warm,” he adds.