The Shangri-La Hotel, New Delhi is hosting a week long Australian food festival, starting today, at its outlets 19 Oriental Avenue and Cafe Uno. At the festival diners can look forward to be treated to the best of food and wine from this far land of Oz. On showcase would be delicacies like the Tasmanian Salmon, Quail and Riverina Lamb Loin amongst an array of other plated delights paired with fine Australian Wolf Blass Wines such as Eaglehawk Cabernet Sauvignon, Eaglehawk Chardonnay as well as Rothburry Estate Sauvignon blanc under the expert guidance of the hotel's sommelier Magandeep Singh.
Making the journey, all the way from Australia, to ensure an authentic food experience is Chef Matthew McCool, Chef de Cuisine at the iconic 'Altitude' Restaurant, Shangri-La, Sydney. He would be using fresh and organically produced gourmet produce, meat, cheese, seafood and seasonal fruits and innovatively combining them in dishes to spin his Aussie magic on you.
We were invited to sample the menu, at a special preview lunch hosted by the General manger, David Hopcroft, held at the hotel's Asian restaurant, 19 Oriental Avenue. Chef Darren Conole, executive chef at Shangri-La and Chef Matthew guided us through the sumptuous four course menu especially designed for us.
We started our meal with a Cauliflower Volute Soup. Smooth and creamy, with a slight drizzle of olive oil and crushed peanuts it was delicious.
The next dish was Carrots with walnut snow, olives and fennel. Served on the plate was a single piece of blanched carrot topped with grated carrots marinated in vinegar, crushed fennel and watercress leaves. A melange of sweet and tangy flavors, I loved the way the crushed fennel lend a beautiful fresh flavor to the dish elevating the humble carrots to new heights.
Salmon with horseradish, pancetta soil and watercress brought out the flavours of the sea. Flown in straight from Tasmania the salmon was cooked to perfection. It was firm yet melted in your mouth at the same time. It was served with a spinach sauce and pickled shallots on the side and a sprinkle of fish roe on top helped highlight the taste and texture of the dish.
Next up was Gnocchi with almond, lemon, olive oil, eggplant and ricotta. Unlike the usual way of preparing gnocchi Chef Matthew showed his creative style by giving his own twist to the dish by frying the gnocchi. It infact reminded me quite a lot of the fried paneer or koftas that we prepare at home. Nevertheless it was delicious blended with the eggplant, lemon and olive oil.Lamb cutlet with Persian feta, blackberry, almond and quinoa was served next. The Australian lamb chops were seasoned well and were perfectly juicy and melt-in-the-mouth tender. The crushed almonds and quinoa were fried crisp and lend a lovely crunch to the dish.
We ended our lunch on a sweet note with a Assiete of classic Aussie Desserts - Chocolate brownie with chocolate ganache, Carrot cake with orange jelly and crisp carrot chips and Cheesecake with almond crumble and pears. Out of the three, I totally fell in love with the deconstructed cheesecake. I am not a big dessert lover, but this was one dish I really relished. If you love dark chocolate, I suggest you try out the chocolate brownie. It was rich and really chocolaty, perfectly combined with the chocolate ganache.This wasn't all. We were taken quite by surprise when a plate with a assortment of petit fours was placed before us our table. Amongst them what really caught my eyes were the strikingly colored pink macaroons, which looked oh so cute and tempting. Even though I was really full I couldn't but resist tasting one of these little devils. And yes, they tasted as good as they looked!!
So, if you too want to have a taste of these unique flavors brought to you all the way from the land of kangaroo, be sure to check it out at the Shangri-La's Eros hotel. The festival is on from 24th August to the 31st of August, at the hotels two outlets, Cafe Uno and 19 Oriental Avenue.