Savor the flavors of Greece

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Savor the flavors of Greece

Sunday, 14 January 2024 | Sharmila Chand

Savor the flavors of Greece

With pristine white alleyways, like the picturesque streets of the Greek Isles, a plethora of various dishes and ample space, the new kid on the block, ‘Parra-By the House of Khubani’ is the talk of the town. By Sharmila Chand

Spread over an expansive area in the main restaurant and an impressive rooftop space, the bustling market views and the food are both compelling enough to visit, as I discovered during a recent meal.

I choose to walk up to the third floor (not take the lift) and step in to be pleasantly surprised by the décor accents with terracotta tiny pots placed in the wall arches all around. I realize the interiors have been thoughtfully done keeping natural elements in mind, accentuated by pretty lamps with jute material, making it a tranquil design haven. "We aim to redefine dining in the area," I'm told by the founders, the well known names in f&b industry, Madan brothers, Sharad and Naresh, renowned for their hospitality outfits like Khubani, Habibi, and Imperfecto, "The idea is to offer Greek aesthetic and cuisine combined with live grills at the terrace for diners to enjoy laid back lunches or simply party and unwind at the main restaurant with ample space, making it ideal for families and big groups."

We head towards the table at one end of the restaurant, and soon the very talented, soft spoken chef at the helm, Dipender joins us.

Cuisine

The menu is very extensive and balanced, offering Mediterranean, European, bit of Mexican and Progressive Indian. "We want our diners to taste dishes from various regions and that gives us a lot of leverage to cater to all kinds of palates and for me to enjoy experimenting without any limitations," chuckles Dipender with a smile. Meat lover friends at the table are excited to see an exclusive section of Turkish dishes, mostly non veg and that gives them a reason to celebrate.

I start my meal with pomello salad and Japanese Ramen Bowl. The tangy, citrusy juice of the salad is the perfect accompaniment to the warm mildly flavoured bowl. It doesn't take long for me to polish the salad plate and bowl clean!

Next up is the popular Mezze Platter where chef has added his own twists and touches to make it slightly different. "Instead of the usual chickpea hummus, I have taken black eye pea and added curry patta in baba ganoush," he tells. Both taste good for a change, though I missed my usual chickpea option, as I find it to have a more definite, earthy flavor. But we are going through a very interesting phase where chefs are happily experimenting and well traveled adventurous diners lapping up the innovative ideas. Chef Dipender's thought process of offering food with a twist can be seen in interesting starters as well. There is Avocado Dahi Puri where golgappa is filled with avocado relish, wasabi yoghurt mousse, perked up with raspberry chaat masala and spices. An absolute crowd puller!

Then there is Chermoula Fish Tikka. Again he has made it unique by crossing all boundaries. So it is marinated with African sauce, a mix of herbs and spices, added Japanese horse radish aioli and garnished with pickled radish which gives nice pungency and sweetness to the entire dish.  The taste, just as expected, is quintessentially sweet and sour!

Coming to the Turkish section, my friends are encouraged to taste Chicken Adana Kebab and Lamb Adana as these are chef's specials. Lamb Beyti Kebab is the winner here - it is ground lamb, grilled on a skewer and served wrapped in lavash, topped with tamoto sauce and yoghurt. The dish is named after Beyti Guler, the owner of the popular restaurant Beyti in Istanbul. He was inspired to create his own dish in 1961 after witnessing Swiss Butcher Moller's method of  preparing meat , when he was visiting Switzerland. So that's how chef drew his inspiration preparing with a touch of fusion.

Even if you are not a fan of Baos, the Shaanxi Style Pulled Lamb Bao and Truffle Mushroom Bao might convert you. They are a perfect blend of Asian flavors with cumin-flavored pulled lamb and truffle oil-infused mushrooms.

From the European choices, Plancha River Sole is one of chef's favourites which he calls a fusion of Asian and Italian. He pan fries the Sole and edamame, shitake, pak choy are tossed in style of aglio pasta. In this he adds parmesan to lend the dominant flavor and cooks it well with broth and spices to make a nice red curry sauce. We find its aroma so inviting with oodles of flavor.

And then the Indian affair where chef has tried to incorporate signature dishes from various regions of India. So there is Ghee Murg from Mangalore. Boneless chicken pan fried slowly, braised in ghee. He serves it with Pathiri roti, taken from Kerala cuisine, delicious roti made with rice flour and coconut milk. He takes great pride in his Sindhi Gosht, a tender goat loin, charcoal broiled, served with Rogni naaan and green chutney. This preparation won over all the non veg friends.

How could we not taste matar paneer which did not look anything like what one is used to seeing matar paneer? The plating came as a shock. It is presented in layers with cottage cheese having stuffings of cumin green pea rillette and believe it or not, it is baked before serving! You have to taste the rich red pepper gravy and realize its 'makhani' texture. I simply devoured it with laccha parantha. Courgette Kofta is another delight. Young zucchini balls are cooked in northern spices and kofta gravy. We like the specific taste of Amaranth crust as it lends a nice crunchy flavor besides being super healthy. The Kofta is as homely as it is gourmet.

Delhi Chicken Tariwala is for those

who may complain about the lack of any comforting dish in the menu. No experimentation done here, so go ahead and have it your way with garlic naan and cucumber salad. Kashmiri Morel Pilaf is a worthy pick with generous use of dry nuts and hot spices, bites of morel mushroom stuffed with paneer khurchan, served with korma gravy and walnut raita on the side.

Desserts

Coming to desserts, by the time we browse through the decent selection on the menu, chef pitches in with pretty looking Ghevar. No it is not the usual style. He has given it a twist by adding fresh raspberry rabri and dry nuts to garnish it. We barely stop wowing at the creaminess of the rabri, when Coconut Pannacotta lands at our table. It is again very unique, in a combo flavor of coconut served with fresh passion fruit orange chutney. It complements the creaminess of coconut milk with sweet and tangy flavor. Despite a full stomach, I savour every bite. The coconut and passion fruit pairing takes the dish to divine levels.

Drinks

Parra’s bar is impressive, offering a captivating curation of handcrafted cocktails. The mixologists infuse botanical nuances, fresh fruits, creating an immersive experience with every intoxicating blend. One of my dining companions opts for Barbados Fever - dark and white rum with luscious strawberry, passion fruit, mango juice topped up with fizzy soda. I go for standard Tropical guava with notes of fresh guava doing the trick. You also have a selection of all kinds of whiskys, gin, wine, beer, vodka and champagnes too! For weight watchers, smoothies are a perfect blend here and milk shakes to pamper the kids.

To Conclude - Quick Takeaway

Young Parra is a winner in both ambience and offerings. If you're looking for a swish dining experience in an ambience that's distinguished, food that is beyond ordinary then add this to your list of places to dine. The flavours shine through in all the dishes which is no mean feat.

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