A note to all those who are unaware about Molecular Gastronomy (a.k.a Avant-Garde cuisine). It is a calculated mix of physics and chemistry used to transform the meal as you know it. It brings to the table an incredible and unbelievable food tasting experience. Experiences that make first timers go wow in the head when they witness the varied textures and shapes of their boring regular food, transformed into a modern sensory experience with the help of techniques using varied temperatures, methods of cooking, pressure and other scientific methods.
That being said, molecular gastronomy is a raging fad in the town, with a ripple effect so big that many corners of Delhi and around Delhi are claiming to be a Molecular Gastronomy haven. You know, the usual impressing with Liquid Nitrogen, transparent dim sums and other things like that. So, now I actually get happy with places that are rich in flavours minus the theatrical antics (which once pleased and seamlessly impressed me). Gastronomica being one such place.
Gastronomica is a newly opened restaurant in New Delhi, located in M block market, Greater Kailash 1. After Dude Food in Satya Niketan, the former banker Sumit Goyal has added another feather to his cap with Gastronomica.
Invited by our gracious host Sumit Goyal for the pre-curated tasting session held especially for me, I have to say I was impressed with things that were served.
I chose a Tuesday night to sample the menu, thinking it would be a good break from the monotony of the work week that had already started. I was extremely surprised by seeing how packed the place was at the dinner hour, and thinking it had just been 30 days or so since the restaurant had opened! The popularity of Gastronomica is hard to ignore.
The restaurant and the menu has been designed keeping in mind four different people- 4 friends coming together to chill or a family of 4 with different tastes and yet finding something delectable to order from the menu. The ambience is quite chilled out, with the brick and wood theme. The music on Tuesday night at Gastronomica was Bollywood and Pop, the unplugged versions mostly. Over the week you will find EDM, Trance to keep the tempo up.
Tuesday is also a lady’s night at Gastronomica, so a shout out to all the girls who are up for a start of the week binge drinking!
The highlight of the menu has to be the sections DELI GASTRONOMICA and PASTA GASTRONOMICA. A look at the things that are mentioned in these sections, and you would understand what rich courses with contrasting and unheard combinations sound like! These are the things that are on my must- try- in- future- list. Gastronomica prides itself on it’s European cuisine even though it’s equally comfortable with it’s Pan Asian and Indian cuisine.
Blame it on the music, but my choice for the cuisine of the night was Indian.
1. Quinoa Bhel
I tried Quinoa Bhel which is a ‘delectable combo of Quinoa, puffed rice, vegetable and tangy tamarind sauce’ in simple words a beautifully presented Bhelpuri, which was spicy and I liked it a lot! For the record, Quinoa is a pseudo cereal and tastes pretty good. They have nailed the flavours just right. However, it was a little soggy by the time it arrived on the table, maybe because of the plating time being on the higher end? But then again I am not too sure if I would go for a dinner and order this as a starter from the menu, primarily because of the price. I have my chaat haunts fixed and I think I am stubborn about moving away from them, on the pretext of additional veggies.
2. Kadak Papad Kebab
I think it was after this point that the actual gastronomic journey began for the epicurean in me. This is where the elaborate preparations actually began. Two of my favourite green veggies turned into kebabs with the casing of broken papads on the outside. ‘Broccoli and spinach kebabs encased in crushed pappadoms flash fried to perfection’ priced at Rs.349.
3. Tandoori Quail
Quail is a very small bird and it was served as a whole. ‘Whole quail charboiled and marinated in yoghurt and chef spices’, priced at Rs. 394. The bird tasted great, but the bird was not too meaty. Also, I am not a major fan of bones in my meal, so I gave this one a pass after slight tasting. But it’s a must try if you are a bird fan.
4. Wasabi Chicken Tikka
The combination in itself makes one think twice about what the taste will be.Chicken was slapped with wasabi (mild is the way I prefer) and served along with diluted Wasabi. I loved this! This was a well balanced contrast in taste, that went really well with me. If you have never tasted wasabi before, then it might be great to start out with this one, keeping the Japanese cuisine aside!Priced at Rs.399.
Appetizer recommendations at Gastronomica
Kadak Papad Kebabs, Wasabi Chicken Tikka
From the appetizer section, I would personally love to try out Jamaican Jerk Chicken Skewers (Served with Mango, aam papad and mint salsa), Lamb and Pomegranate Souvlaki (Lebanese meatballs served with blackberry tzatziki and my favourite safe bet Prawns-Crispy fried prawns with Hoisin sauce and Shitake Mushrooms and Broccoli Dim sums (I love mushrooms)!
Coming back I realised that I would have preferred European Mains or the things right out of Pasta Gastronomica or a selection of their amazing Pizzas from The Wood Fried Oven!
This is an unbeatable daal, the preparation is very light and has a homemade feel to it. This tastes truly authentic and seems to be prepared without any added flavours. A typical Indian chana daal, that we have all grown up with. Daal Magadhi is moderately priced at Rs.249 for a huge quantity.
This lamb dish, too was a pure delight. It is served as ‘prime cuts of lamb simmered on low heat cooked overnight with onions, ginger and turmeric flavoured with Hyderabadi spices’. Overall I had a highly satisfactory experience with the Indian tastings, and it also had a lot to do with the Gourmet Kulchas. Nalli Nihari is priced at Rs.499 for again, a very great quantity.
These rich kulchas truly stole my heart! My stuffed Kulchas as bread to go along with my main dishes were, Mushroom, Oven dried tomatoes and blue cheese Gourmet Kulchas (priced at Rs. 169) and Bacon, Cheddar and Cilantro Gourmet Kulchas (priced at Rs.199). These Kulchas were bites of heaven! These are not to be missed! What’s more? They come with more options!
Mains recommendation at Gastronomica (Indian)
All of the things I tried for mains must be tried once, if you want to experience Indian flavours that captivate your senses and you don’t want the regular butter chicken, daal makhni, kadhai paneer kind of meal.
The phirni offered here reminded me of the one that is served at Bukhara. The twist however being the Alphonso. I can never stop at one Phirni, but here, I did stop at one! It was good but not great. Still makes for a sweet ending to a wonderful main course.
Freshly Baked Molten Cake
Think Choco lava cake, served with Ice cream. Only the chocolate oozing out tastes marginally better.It was average. Would be tempted to order Wine Poached pear with Ice cream or Shahi Tukda in future. No matter what this is a place where I am going to return again, as there’s so much more left to taste.
The waiting staff is not aware about the dishes. They do not offer great explanations. The plates were not cleared at an appropriate time, in spite of having kept the fork and knife side by side on my plate. Water was not refilled, even when that was the only thing that we were drinking as we opted for no cocktails or mocktails. The dessert was brought to the table while we were still in the middle of the main course. That sort of gives a hurried and rude impression on account of the waiting staff.
Presentation of the food is mediocre, largely with cucumbers, tomatoes and onions only. Cutlery is ok. Plates are ok. But the glasses on the table did catch my fancy!
Good, with an open outside section overlooking the market!
3.5/5 but I want to try out all lot of other things on the menu!
GASTRONOMICA DELHI ADDRESS