Wednesday 10 July 2013

Bloggers Table at the 'Piano Man Art Cafe', Vasant Vihar

“Food is music to the body, music is food to the heart.”
                                           Gregory David Roberts
I have always felt that vegetarians have less options when eating out. Whenever we go out with my parents, there is always a struggle to decide what to choose for my mom who not only is a pure vegetarian, but unfortunately, does not  like paneer or mushrooms and if given a choice prefers simple Indian food to any other cuisine. So, if we are not eating in a south Indian restaurant, she usually ends up with a limited option of either some kind of vegetable or dal, which looks quite pale and unexciting compared to the delicious, richer looking non-vegetarian dishes in front of us.
On the other hand, for a staunch non-vegetarian family like mine, our meal is just not complete without meat of some sort. When we eat out, vegetarian food just does not feature in our list of options as everyone believes in ordering a couple of non-vegetarian dishes rather than filling up by eating vegetarian ('ghas-phus' as my kids call it) food.
So an invite from the The Piano Man Art Cafe in Vasant Vihar, a cafe that serves continental vegetarian  fare, had me intrigued and I landed up to decipher if vegetarian food can actually be tasty and work for me and my family.
Located right besides Priya PVR Complex, The Piano Man is place that can't be missed easily. Done up in pastel hues, the cafe has a very cheerful and lively look with the walls covered with black and white pictures of famous Jazz musicians and abstract musical images painted on the beams. It is brightly lit with huge see through windows on all sides, from where you have a beautiful view of the Basant Lok market. It is an ideal place to sit with a good book and a hot cup of coffee and watch the hustle and bustle of the passer-bys, all the while tapping your foot to the lively jazz music. There is also a small piano lying on one side, which if you are lucky, you can hear Arjun Gupta, the owner of the cafe play live. Yes! you guessed it correct, he himself is the piano man and hence the name of the cafe
On reaching the cafe, we were greeted very warmly by Arjun, the 'Piano Man' and enchanting strains of music played by a cellist sitting in the center of the cafe. Our bloggers table turned up in full attendance (well, almost!!) and with 11 of us there, most with their plus ones, we had occupied most of the space in the cafe and with so many of us there, it immediately felt like home ground. Also playing the gracious hostess was dear Ruchira, who has designed the menu at the 'Piano Man' Cafe and was on her feet throughout the evening. Knowing her great culinary skills, I just couldn't wait to start.
Once we were settled, we were served our drinks in cute little pots. There was a choice of a Mojito, a Chocolate hazelnut shake and a Paan smoothie. Giving in to my fondness for paans, I did not have to think twice about what I wanted - a  Paan smoothie it was for me. I can't tell you how wonderful it was. I felt as if I was having an actual paan in a liquid form complete with little bits of saunf and paan leaves coming in my mouth. I almost had to stop myself asking for a second helping. Cool and refreshing, it was perfect for this summer heat!! This is something I am definitely going back for. 
Then, we were served a Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Soup. What an unusual combination!! I would have never thought of having peanut butter in my soup. It was delicious- smooth and creamy and with a strong flavor of peanut butter which I loved
Next to be served was an Apple and Fennel Salad. Fresh tasting green apples drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice left a nice, sweet and tangy taste in our mouth.

For the appetizers we had Stuffed Mushrooms in Nyonya Sauce, a Vegan Slider and a Mezze Platter.
The Stuffed mushrooms were full of flavor covered in a honey sweet crispy batter. Taking a bite, I found  a nice gooey filling of Mozzarella cheese inside which really helped in elevating the taste.
The Vegan Sliders were tiny burgers with an unusual patty made out of brown rice and walnuts nuts. It was hearty and filling. I did not miss the absent meat even once. 
The Mezze Platter came with a generous serving of pumpkin croquettes with a freshly baked pita bread and served with 3 dips - garlic yogurt, hummus and aubergine. Again, I think it was a great idea to make croquet's out of pumpkin which is not only  tasty but  healthy too.
For the Main course, we started with Potato Dauphinoise, baked potatoes covered in thick cheese sauce and flavored with garlic and thyme. It was yummy and really filling. This dish is a must try for all the potato lovers.
By the time, Ratatouille was served, I was seriously full. Not a big fan of eggplants, I decided to have a small spoon for taste. It was nice and spicy tossed with lots of zucchini, green peppers and tomatoes.
In between our meal, we were entertained by Babak Moussavi who showed us some  cool card tricks which had us totally enthralled. Inspite of trying my best to watch his hands closely, I couldn't figure out how he did his tricks.
Finally, we were served a Wild Mushroom Risotto and Brown rice with Maple glazed Corn cakes with miso-tahini dressing. You could make out how perfectly cooked  the risotto was as each grain of rice was separate and not sticky. It was nice and creamy with a lovely delicate flavor from the mushrooms. 
The Maple glazed corn cakes were served on a bed of brown rice. They had a nice crunch to them.
By this time my stomach was protesting and I wasn't sure if I could take another bite. But the lovely Tiramisu served next made me quickly change my mind. It was divine!! A delicious layered vanilla cake with a filling of cream and oreo cookies and exploding with a really strong flavor of coffee which totally blew me off. I finished it off completely, enjoying every bite.
For Desserts, there was also a Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Tart. Though the chocolate filling was really thick and chocolatey, the caramel was a bit too sweet for me and was nowhere near the lovely Tiramisu.
The lovely evening ended with a melt in the mouth Crack pie that Ruchira had made to celebrate Sushmita's and Charis's birthdays.

On the whole, the meal was a delicious revelation to me that there's a lot one can do with vegetarian food too. I was really impressed with the creativity and thought put into each and every dish
The restaurant also holds regular live jazz performances, stand-up comedy shows and music workshops something that I would love to be a part of. For updates on these, you can check their calendar on their facebook page.
So, next time you are in a mood to have something light and healthy or you just want to unwind after a hard days shopping, The piano Man is surely the place to stop by.

1 comment:

  1. Wow it sounds yummy. and looks aesthetic I am a vegetarian. Must try one of these days.