In this scorching summer heat, there are few things which give s us relief. One of them is king of fruits – Mango. I was joyous when the invite to relish the Mango Fiesta at Lodi – The Garden Restaurant came our way.
Lodi – The Garden Restaurant is part of the famed Lodhi Garden compound and serves Easy European Cuisine. When I entered the place, I was dazzled by its picturesque. It’s a perfect place for a romantic evening.
We settled down at the interior dining space and were welcomed with a glass of Aam Panna. A nonchalant drink, which is very popular during summers. The first sip of it, and I could make out the difference between the regular ones and this one. It had the perfect blend of cumin, mint & jaggery which balanced the sourness of raw mango. I was surprised by its texture which was fluid & creamy. When I asked about it with the General Manager Mr. Virender, he told us that the he gets mangoes from their own organic farms in Pushkar and Lakshman Saga in Rajasthan. Mr. Virender then introduced us to the Executive Chef Elam. A shy, reticent individual, Chef Elam told us that he started the mango festival four years back and has been getting great response every year. He showed us the Mango Fiesta menu and asked about our choices. The menu had 3 dishes in appetizers, 3 in mains, 4 in desserts and 7 in drinks.
We began with appetizers and first in line was chilled mango, sparkling wine and yoghurt soup. The soup was creamy with perfect consistency. We loved it for layered taste. At first you will feel the sweetness, then the sourness and in the end the divine taste of wine. I loved every drop of it and gulped it down. Salads were served next. The first one was farm mango, avocado, dried cranberries and almond flakes in a white wine vinaigrette. The white wine vinaigrette had awakened the flavors of fruits and added a tangy taste to it. Pushkar farm mango, smoked chicken,fresh greens with yoghurt dressing – I liked the crisp veggies with the nice smoky aroma of smoked chicken, but the yogurt dressing was too sour for my liking.
In the mains, we liked the grilled haloumi cheese with spiced mango pilaf. The pilaf had an amazing aroma and the saltiness of haloumi was balancing its sweetened taste. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloumi) — Halloumi or hallumiis a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. Halloumi is set with rennet and is unusual in that no acid or acid-producing bacterium is used in its preparation. The chicken in Pan roasted chicken with mango & jalapeno salsa and caramelized mango was dry,but the salsa was tangy and it was gelling well with caramelized mango & chicken. We were disappointed with Seabass served with mango & ginger chutney. The fish lacked flavor though it was served with an amazing spicy chutney.
In the desserts we had 4 varieties. Mango brûlée along with vanilla ice cream brings taste of tropics and the caramelizedbrown sugar along with soft mango had a crunchy sweet taste. The mango and wild rice pudding was good in terms of taste and aroma, but the rice used wasn’t wild rice. The mango ice cream was smooth, creamy, and had the right kind of sweetness. The mango cheesecake had amazing taste and since the chef didn’t use gelatin, the cream cheese couldn’t set.
Overall the Chef has churned out interesting recipes and we felt that as the mango season had just begun, we are yet to get the heavenly taste of perfect ripe mangoes that will add more zest to each dish
The festival that started on 1st of June will run till 30th June.