Just when no new avatars of Indian cuisine were heavenly or humanly possible, small and compact Indian Accent landed in upmarket Mayfair and lodged itself confidently, in close proximity to stalwarts Benares and Gymkhana.
What arrived was not a plain, me-too or rehashed avatar, but an innovative way of savouring Indian ingredients, spices, flavours and tastes. A bold and sassy interpretation of traditional Indian recipes, propped effectively with techniques from around the globe.
“REFINED AND REARING TO MAKE A STATEMENT, THAT INDIAN FOOD TOO CAN DO POLISHED AND ELEGANT”
Indian Accent chef Manish Mehrotra puts us through a time tunnel of sophisticated, grownup, modern Indian food. A heady, ethereal, magical journey. You come out the other end inspired and light-headed, even a bit frisky and giggly. Most dishes are nostalgic Indian food as I know it from grandmothers’ and aunts’ recipes, but elevated by many levels. The menu is refined and rearing to make a statement that Indian food too can do polished and elegant.
The teensy-weensy blue cheese naan (give us more!), the pumpkin coconut aperitif (ask us if we want a refill!), the anardana or pomegranate chuski palate soother (offer it on non-tasting menus too!), the saag paneer and mushroom kulcha bread (keep them petite and intense!), the mudra mocktail (so divine, just bottle it and sell as nectar!), all packed a flavour punch way beyond their size and volume.
As a starter, the Kashmiri morels served on a parmesan papad was mysteriously intense, confidently inviting and deliciously umami (L13). The sago fritters accompanying the prawn starter were crispy, fluffy and moreish (L18). The light green chutney surrounding the dainty hamachi fish was wonderfully spiced and finger-licking (L16).
My main meal, chettinad chicken, even though balanced with a flavourful coconut moilee sauce, was a tad fiery for me (L23). That’s to be expected of a dish that hails from southern India.
The sides of malai sweet corn and black dairy dal were smooth, warming and utterly soul rejuvenating.
The perfectly enjoyable dry Riesling was an elegant supple partner for the tantric spice dance in my mouth.
Makhan malai was a light mound of aerated saffron milk dessert decorated with rose petals and almonds (L11). My dining partner described it as the perfect end to the meal, a “cooling off” similar to the last stretch of a gym treadmill run.
Service was formal-friendly, needs-based and low-key. Every dish was accompanied with an introduction. This set a positive, enlightened mood. After the meal, I walked out feeling light and uplifted, and no postprandial rest was required.
All in all, Indian Accent is a fitting tribute to the India of today – progressive, modern, confident, forward looking and seeking global connections while protecting her own.
Source: The Luxury Brief