We go to a restaurant for its food, its ambience, even the feels perhaps. But how often have you gone back to a restaurant for its chef?
As patrons and food bloggers, we go to eateries, click an infinite number of pictures and talk about the food. We also capture the ambience, talk about the service and describe our time at the eatery in a language as beautiful as the plating of the dishes we gorged on.
However, seldom do we talk about the most vital element of a restaurant – the chefs.
Chefs are the gods of the kitchen. They put the soul in our food. And if our dining experience at Fleur made for a story worth sharing then that’s because of Chef Sagar Chawla. There a number of times when we tell ourselves that we would come back for that particular dish which was the highlight of our meal. But for the first time, we told ourselves we would come back to dine with the chef.
Throughout our evening, he chatted with us at intervals. He gave us some interesting insights about the food he prepared for us and shared his opinion about the current food scene. The food was impeccable but it was this heartwarming conversation had become the highlight of the evening.
And it wasn’t just us, he treated every patron with equal warmth. He gave everyone his time.
Chef Sagar served us a delicious Indian fair. We started off with a platter of Mutter Shikampuri, a famous Awadhi kebab. Awadhi cuisine has started garnering the attention it deserves. And kebabs form an important part of this cuisine. While the cuisine was once based on a variety of meat, it has evolved to suit us, vegetarians. We couldn’t be more thankful.
The kebab had a mild smokey flavour, thanks to the “dum” style of cooking. But what will truly blow your mind is the core. As you bite into this rich kebab, a chunk of cheese melts into your mouth. Now that’s something, isn’t it?
Next came in the Paneer Pepper Parsley Tikka – a dish that will make every paneer lover’s heart melt. Such an ingenious and delightful combination of flavours. This was followed by Cottage Cheese Salt and Pepper which was a basic stir fried oriental style paneer preparation.
Accompanying our appetizers was the Chef’s Choice Salad. It comprised of cherry tomatoes, zucchini, iceberg lettuce & grilled mushrooms sprinkled with parmesan cheese and flavoured with pesto. The salad was quite a delight, even for someone who isn’t a salad person.
As part of the main course, Paneer Tak-Ke-Tin, Subz Handi Laziz and Dal Bhukara along with a basket of assorted bread. Paneer Tak-Ke-Tin was a very interesting twist to the usual butter masala gravy. It was sweet and tangy at the same time, almost making us click our tongues. The sound of the clicking tongues is where the dish derives its name. Subz Handi Laziz was equally toothsome. And Dal Bhukara was, well, Dal Bhukara; absolutely delicious.
I thoroughly enjoy every bite of my food. My photographer Palak looked like she shared my opinion. She licked her fingers and smiled and licked her lips. All good!
For desserts, we were served Tiramisu and Apple Crumble along with Chef’s experimental Gulab Jamun Cheese Cake. Apple Crumble was our favourite of the lot; we wiped it clean.
Our evening at Fleur was one of the most memorable dinners we’ve had in a long time. The passion with which Chef Sagar described the dishes, along with other food stories, truly added to our experience at this fine dining.
Pictures: Palak Shah