Friday, March 24, 2006

A salmon trip (The Hindu's Metro Plus)

Note: I had written this for The Hindu's Metro Plus supplement. You can find the original review article on The Hindu's site here: The Hindu Metro Plus Salmon Special at The Oberoi

The headline and leader courtesy the edit team.

A salmon trip

Le Jardin's salmon promotion menu takes you on an exotic adventure


FINE CATCH Chef Zafar Ali has crafted innovative dishes using Norwegian salmon

The salmon is legendary for its unusual lifecycle starting from its birthplace upstream in freshwater, down to the sea where it spends most of its life before making the arduous journey all the way back upstream to lay its spawn and die of exhaustion. How the salmon finds its way back to where it is born remains a mystery.

The exotic fish is a delicacy in northern Atlantic and the far-eastern Pacific. Le Jardin, the all-day diner at The Oberoi, is hosting a special dinnertime salmon promotion staring today (March 25) until the end of the month. Chef Zafar Ali has crafted several innovative dishes using Norwegian salmon that you can sample in addition to the regular à la carte items.

Great starters

We started by sampling the plate of salmon starters, a delightful combination of gravlax (salmon cured with salt, sugar and dill) with melba toast, mild teriyaki flavoured and sesame topped salmon, salmon mousse and smoked salmon cucumber. All of them were splendid, with the more traditional gravlax and melba standing out with its crunchy, mild sweet taste.

The easily recognisable bright red striped salmon is infused by other accompanying flavours and blends them in elegantly, offering interesting marriages of land and sea condiments. The cold cucumber soup with a scoop of salmon sorbet had an interesting texture, with the sorbet melting and blending in with the citrus base, barring a slightly jarring piece of peppercorn that was in the mix.

We tried a few of the main course items, starting with the cilantro crusted salmon with lemon and clam linguini, which was absolutely splendid.

We then tried the pan-seared salmon with lentils, green apples and smoked bacon. This was a exotic play of flavours that would delight the adventurous, ranging from the milder lentil and salty bacon to the acidic apples, with the salmon playing cameo. The grilled salmon with leek and fennel risotto had a pleasant aroma and subtle flavours.

The à la carte menu offers a range of dessert options to top off your meal. In addition, the restaurant offers a fine wine selection, with recommendations on accompaniments to go with the dish of your choice.

There is a pleasant and understated ambience in the restaurant with its high ceiling, oak wood finish and French windows overlooking the tropical landscaped garden. The open doors to the terrace area let in mosquitoes, and you may want to ask for a table away from the garden though!

For reservations, call 2558 5858.

Bottomline: The salmon promotion with its experimental nouvelle cuisine is likely to delight the more adventurous diners out for corporate entertaining or to sample creative seafood dishes.


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