Mail Today: 2010’s most exciting new restaurant

May 17, 2011
L'Angoor

22-10-2010

II requires some courage to call your restaurant, L’Angoor, and I don’t have to explain why. But if you’re Indigo Airlines chairman Rahul Bhatia and have one of Delhi/NCR’s most successful restaurants, China Club, on your hospitality portfolio, you can even have two langurs as mascots of your new venture.

He chose the name for his new restaurant (his fourth) over 6E, Indigo’s alpha numeric code, and we must thank him for it. The name brings an instant smile.

L’Angoor, the chicest new restaurant to open in many years, makes a monkey of the pretentions of people who patronise fine-dining restaurants and drop names (well, if Ferran Adria’s celebrated temple of molecular gastronomy, El Bulli, can be named after a breed of French bulldogs, why can’t a fashionable restaurant in Gurgaon be inspired by langurs?). But L’Angoor takes its food and wine very seriously. It is one restaurant that manages to be pretty without being loud or expensive, and it doesn’t let its good looks become a cover-up for bad food (which is the case with many looks-driven restaurants).

If the Michelin Guide were to ever rate Indian restaurants, L’Angoor would definitely be a candidate for its coveted star.

The restaurant lets you set your own pace. You can have a quick business lunch during the day — with Creole Spiced Breast of Chicken Sandwiches (Rs 320) or a Mushroom Burger (`260) giving company to the Watermelon and Feta Salad (Rs 200), or have a Prawn Salad with Orange and Fennel (Rs 350) followed by the Penne with Bolognese Sauce ( Rs 320).

At dinnertime, the pace of the restaurant becomes languorous and the food, aided by the economically priced wines, is conducive to lazy eating and scintillating conversation.

Over a meal that did not have a single bad moment, I got a most interesting expat perspective on how the traditional sari, which has Sonia Gandhi as its most elegant brand ambassador, is being sacrificed at the altar of Bollywood- dictated fashion. Saris are getting slinkier and blouses are staging a disappearing act, I was told, even as I was being titillated by a juicy scallop.

Our dinner opened with the Duet of Chilled Melon ( Rs 180) and Mushroom Cappuccino ( Rs 240) — they told me what to expect from the rest of the menu: inventive European cuisine with a generous dash of south- east Asian spicing.

Next on our menu were the Blue Summer Crab Cakes ( Rs 450), which surprised me with the generous quantities of crab meat stuffed inside them, and Crunchy Apples and Gulf Prawns Wrapped in Chicken ( Rs 800) — it was a radically different take on the Prawn Cocktail we’ve grown up having, presented in a way that would make you sorry for tucking away the creatures arranged neatly on a martini glass, and I just loved the way they tasted with sweet chilli sauce. The South African chardonnay we’d ordered by the glass was the perfect complement.

After cleaning our palates with the Spicy Mozzarella Samosas ( Rs 240), a great new addition to Delhi’s repertoire of hybridised food, we moved on to Linguine with Prawns and Scallops tossed in Cream Sauce ( Rs 800), which was a no- fuss, old- fashioned dish as it should have been; a Grilled Mediterranean Red Snapper served on a bed of Pepper Salsa ( Rs 580) that went amazingly well with a Beaujolais ( smacking at the notion that red wines aren’t for fish); and Zucchini Parmigiana ( Rs 380), the weakest link in our otherwise memorable dinner — the obviously talented chef has to work harder on his vegetarian offerings to complete the package.

Fortunately for L’Angoor, most Delhizens don’t believe in wasting time on any form of life that doesn’t move or swim. And L’Angoor, without doubt, is Delhi/ NCR’s most exciting new restaurant.

L’ANGOOR

WHERE: Lobby Level, Tower C, Global Business Park, Mehrauli- Gurgaon Road ( bang opposite the Guru Dronacharya Metro Station), Gurgaon DIAL: 9958270000; 0124- 4061666 MUST HAVE: Mushroom Cappuccino ( Rs 240); Blue Crab Cakes ( Rs 450); Crunchy Apples and Gulf Prawns Wrapped in Chicken ( Rs 800); Linguine with Prawns and Scallops ( Rs 800); Grilled Red Snapper on Pepper Salsa ( Rs 580).

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