Whisky Samba; A new menu with Vikramjit

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Meeting Chef Vikram is always a culinary overdose for both the palate and the brain, and meeting him for the first time since he moved back to Delhi with a new restaurant, I was excited to see what he has done to a bar menu and how I would get overwhelmed this time. While I dreamed of oysters and other meats done in new ways and what boundary of mine might get pushed this time, I was in for a shock!

Whisky Samba in One Horizon, Gurugram is everything you'd expect from a A grade resto-bar. An India Top 10 chef coming on board is enough reason for excitement and the Vikram I knew was this super star Asian chef always pushing his limits. Little did I know that he was playing a different game altogether. He was digging into his Bengali upbringing memories from his grandmother's times and was reinterpreting Bengali dishes. And he was pushing boundaries in a very different way.







The Upma



Consider the humble Upma. A staple dishes in many parts of India and South India is no different. I hate it and my mom couldn't figure out why. It was usually served with sambar or with just sugar and I have never eaten more than a spoonful.  Now how did it make it to Whisky Samba? Beneath a heap of lamb! While knowing fully well that there was a boatload of dishes that will come along, I almost licked the plate clean. I had no idea what hit me. Do I remember the flavours? Nope. Do I remember the name? Nope. Do I care? Nope! All I know is I finished a plate of Upma without complaining.

The Pumpkin with goats cheese and crisps served with avocado flatbread, was probably a take on the Mangsho. Deep dive into flavours that would evoke memories for the Bengali and awe for a South Indian like me.

If you're looking for the Vikram who wields magic with salads, no, he hasn't disappeared into thin air after the Bengali alter ego emerged. Poached chicken salad in a shell and a pure vegetarian salad plated on one side of the dish that you eat in a particular direction are well preserved in this new menu. And how can you not have dim sum and carpaccio when this man does a menu? Bee* carpaccio with dehydrated beetroot and micro greens in a God-knows-what sauce and a chicken dumpling in a light soy sauce with sesame seeds make up the Asian parts of the new menu.

Oh, the prawns. Dunked in a coconut milk gravy with spices, forget the hilsa in this Bengali new menu and gorge on these fresh river prawns!

I was in a coma by now and I don't remember how dessert course went by. I managed a meeting before I flew back to Chennai to reflect on how an Asian lunch took a Bengali turn! And when I can go back for a taste of the other Bengali dishes from the Nostalgia section of the menu!

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