| basa paupiette
|What and Where
Greek Food Festival till 4th may
22/48 malcha marg chanakya puri
Malcha Marg, New Delhi 110021
Meal for two 1500(approx)
The first look at the Schengen Deli-Bistro-Pub unfolds a quaint, romantic looking eatery that evokes the European Deli-Bistro feel. The food is also along the same lines, true to it’s name it served food from the Schengen countries.
The highlight of this visit was to sample their special Greek menu which has been put together by Chef Piyush Jain for Schengen’s week long Greek Food Festival. It is a part of the series of food festivals that they are planning on food from different Schengen countries.
Emerging from the other side of a two hour long gastronomic debauchery and a very educative chat with Chef Piyush, Greek food wasn’t completely Greek to me anymore. Chef has a background in Greek food, after having worked in a Greek family owner restaurant in Australia. That he was well conversant in the food showed in the way he guided us through each dish, preparing us for what to expect. I only hope that the servers in Schengen will extend the same experience to the other guests, as Greek food can be an acquired taste to the Indian palate. The food focuses on the freshness and taste of core ingredients, whether vegetables or meat, and uses spices and sauces sparingly. Even the olives and feta cheese is used only to balance other flavours without overpowering the main ingredients.
The Greek menu is elaborate and had much more to offer besides the better known dolmades, keftedes and spanakopita! We started with the singular soup on the menu – Fasolada, a simple hearty soup of white beans, tomatoes and celery. On a winter night, it can be perfect comfort food.
Amongst the entrees, the Kotopoulo Souvlaki Wrap would appeal to quite a few Indian palates with its fresh tomatoes and chicken with a hint of heat. It comes with a side of fries and can be a small meal in itself. The Spanakopita was everything that a Spanakopita should be, crisp buttery phylo with a creamy spinach inside; and the Oktopodi was good if one loves the taste of octopus, as I do. The sharp lemony dressing balanced the rocket leaves and the chewy octopus well.
My vote however goes to the Panko Crumbed Queen olives. The dish was a perfect marriage between tangy olives, salty smooth feta used as filling, the crisp Panko and sweet orange honey dip. One could finish a heap of those with a glass of wine.
The dishes in main courses have been selected keeping in mind the local taste buds while remaining true to Greek cuisine. The Classic Pastitsio, baked tube paste came with an addition of stringy melted cheese in addition to the simple béchamel sauce that Greeks use. This was an addition to make the dish adaptable. The pasta was al dente and the sauce creamy. Have it, if you love pastas or there are better things on offer in the menu.
The Kotopoulo Karasato and the Garides Saganaki are two dishes which are completely different in taste but both will appeal to the Indian palate. The chicken on skewers in the Kotopoulo Karastao was moist, tender with a hint of chilli and went well with the creamy sweet mushroom sherry sauce. The size and freshness of the jumbo prawns in Garides Saganaki blew us away. The sauce was tangy, tomatoey and the leek pilaf balanced it well. The Moysaka or Moussaka was good but I have had better.
Personally, everything faded in front of the Basa Paupiette, it is seafood lovers delight! The dish was exquisite in its plating, balance and taste. The prawns were wrapped in basa filets and the cooking did justice to both the seafood. Something very difficult to achieve in wrapped, filled dishes where both ingredients are sensitive to cooking time. It is served on a bed on spinach duxelles, garlic mash potatoes with slices of lemon. I could have had a bowl of the mash alone. This definitely is the star dish in the menu.
On a normal day, we would have skipped deserts after having stuffed yourselves to the gills but the beautifully played Greek Baklava and Galaktoboureko enticed us. The Greek Baklava is different from it’s other cousins in the use of cloves and this was a slice to savour. The Galaktoboureko was silky fresh custard trapped between two layers of crisp phylo, that was sensuous on the taste buds. The spun sugar on top wasn’t mere garnish, it balanced the soft sweetness with its caramel crunchiness. Both the deserts are served with scoops of icecream.
Kudos to Chef Piyush and his team for putting together the taste of Greece in the heart of Delhi.
Disclaimer – This review was done on an invitation from the establishment. Views expressed in the review is entirely ours and without any bias. Pictures of the dishes are not the standard portions, they are sample portions.