I have never understood people's fascination for drinking beer. Back in the forces, usually Sunday Brunch at the Army Mess would mean an opportunity of getting together with friends over large mugs of chilled beer followed by a scrumptious meal of biryani or idli dosa. But somehow the bitter fermented taste of beer never appealed to my tastebuds and on most occassions except for an occassional 'shandy' I have preferred to give it a pass.
So, when I got an invite from Beer cafe at its flagship outlet Beer Cafe Biggie in Connaught Place, for the launch of their new food menu, knowing my lack of interest in the drink, I almost had a mind to give it a skip. The thing that caught my eye, enough to interest me to change my mind was that Chef Sabyasachai Gorai had revamped their whole food menu and would be demonstrating how to cook some of his signature dishes - Beer Chicken Vindaloo and Banana Beerimisu.
I had used other alcohols like wine and rum for cooking but never Beer. The only thing I was familiar with, apart from drinking the beverage was that it was great for washing one's hair with. Having met Chef Saby on a few occasions earlier and aware of his extraordinary culinary skills, I was quite interested to see what twist would he be giving to the dishes.
Also present on the occasion was Mr.Rahul Singh, Founder and CEO of The Beer Cafe. He spoke about how, "Beer Cafe was the largest beverage chain in India having opened 24 stores and looking at adding another 16 stores by December. Speaking about the newly revamped menu, he said that how till now they were mainly focused on beer and that food had taken kind of a backseat. The time has come to change that. Incorporating the feedback from valued guests, the food menu has been completely revamped by Chef Saby and his team Fabrica. Infact, our food menu will be customized for every outlet depending on the popular cuisine of that area. We aim to delight our guests by offering an array of international and modern dishes that will pair fabulously with their favorite brews."
During the launch the guests were introduced to the Whitlinger, produced in-house, which was being introduced for the first time in Delhi and would soon soon be available in all beer cafe outlets across india.
Chef Saby demonstrating how to cook Beer Chicken Vindaloo. Aromatic and spicy, The Beer Chicken Vindaloo had pieces of boneless chicken cooked to perfection in the spicy - sour vindaloo sauce.
For the interested readers, Chef Saby's recipe is given at the bottom.
The classic Italian dessert gets a shot of Beer. Chef Saby and Rahul Singh making the Beeramisu - an interesting twist on the traditional tiramisu. I loved the way the the beer added a lovely hint of bitterness to balance the sweetness of the toffee sauce.
I gave both the beers served at beer cafe a try. To my surprise the 'Whitlinger' was quite light and I really enjoyed it - enough to get a refill. Stella Artois was a little strong for my taste, maybe because I am not a big fan of beer but I think it would be hugely popular with the Beer lovers.
A lot of thought has gone into conceptualizing the menu and the effort showed in the distinct taste and flavor of each dish. I loved everything on the menu and it is hard to choose any one favorite. I especially loved the melt-in-the-mouth Citrus Malai Tikka, The mouthwatering stuffed green chillies with corn kernels and Mozzarella, the hand tossed pizzas, the addictive Beer Batterd Prawns with wasabi mayonnaise, the sinful desserts which were absolute killers....that pretty much covers almost everything. I did tell you everything on the menu was fabulous!!
The menu comprises of international as well as regional cuisine with a generous dose of comfort food. Drawing inspiration from classic movies and songs some of the dishes have very quirky names- treat yourself to ‘Beer Bites’ that include a Chicken Run (BBQ chicken wings), Hollow Man (Crunchy summer vegetables stuffed rice paper rolls) and Tirchi Topiwale (stuffed mushrooms). Moving on to the signature Tacos and scrumptious thin crust pizzas that are made of fresh hand tossed dough. The menu also has an array of main course that consists of Gourmet sausage Platter, Australian Wok tossed noodles, succulent burgers Beer battered prawns and lots more. Also making a debut are some delightful desserts like Beeramisu and Citrus beer pudding.
Deconstructed Peanut chaat
Ripe Tomato, Mozarella Basil Pizza - The pizzas were fantastic - thin crust with loads on flavor and just the right amount of cheese on top.
Bacon and Sausages Pizza
Beer Battered Prawns struck a chord. Something I would love to go back for again and again.
Green Inferno (stuffed green chillies with corn kernels and Mozarella) and Citrus Malai Tikka - another winner from the menu
The Greenfield Tacos
Dark Chocolate and Whiskey Mousse - you can actually lose yourself in its intense chocolate flavor enhanced by coffee and whiskey. Highly recommended for all chocolate lovers. Beeramisu layered with beer and bananas was also quite good.
What a cracking first encounter for me. I would definitely be saying more cheers to Beery times at The Beer Cafe.
And as promised here's the recipe for Beer Chicken Vindaloo
This recipe serves 4
For the Marinade
3 tsp each of cumin seeds, mustard seeds and cardamom pods
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves
3 fresh green chillies
50 ml Beer
salt and pepper
For the Curry
4 skinless and boneless chicken thigh, chopped into large chunks
2-3tbsp olive oil
1 large onion finely sliced
3 tomatoes 150 ml chicken stock
100 ml Beer
a few coriander leaves for garnish
Dry fry the cumin, coriander seeds, cardamom pods and mustard seeds in a saucepan for a few minutes.
Add these spices in a food blender with all other marinade ingredients and blitz into a paste.
Cover the chicken with the marinade and leave in the fridge for atleast 4-8 hours.
Heat the oil and fry the chicken when the color comes, add the onions tomatoes and fry till they soften.
Add the remaining marinade, chicken stock and half of the beer.
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the other half, just before serving and serve garnished with coriander leaves.