Dimsum Fest at Pan Asian, Sheraton New Delhi

As Reeta Skeeter goes through the capital’s dimsum selection, she does a happy dance. There’s dimsum all around and Skeeter is hungry! Mr. Choy at Khan Market has been my go-to dimsum place for a while now and I wrote about it here. And when a dimsum fest came calling, it is natural that I was gluttonously inclined. The fest is on at Pan Asian restaurant at Sheraton Hotel, Saket. These are the categories one can choose from: Premium steamed, Teppanyaki, Gluten free, Organic, Steamed, Healthy Fitness, Pan grilled gyoza, Baked, Steamed, Poached, Soupy, Fried and Bao.


The Truffle edamame (Rs 425) from the premium category was the first one Skeeter tried and it was a delicately flavoured and well-made dimsum that hit the spot. Skeeter likes her Edamame beans straight from pod to mouth but this dimsum was definitely a good pick. One could dip it in either of the five condiments: Yuzu ponzu, black bean, spicy roasted chili sauce, onion and crispy chili lime or the chilli oil. But should you want to enjoy this dimsum and othes in their own right, you wouldn’t need to touch the condiments tray. A refreshing cucumber and kaffir lime cooler went well with this food. Skeeter could have it by the bucket. An Asian Bloody Mary should be your pick if you want to spike things a bit. Skeeter tried both and cannot recommend one over the other. 

Moving back to the grub, the Teppanyaki pick was Asparagus and Shiitake mushroom (Rs 425), steamed then flash fried on an iron griddle. Another gem from Chef Vaibhav Bhargava,  Executive Sous chef at Sheraton Hotel, this one exuded the meaty flavour and texture of shiitake that was blended with asparagus, and they made an appetising match. There is a surprise on the menu for the gluten intolerant. They can pick Rice paper stuffed with Chinese preserved vegetables (Rs 365). 


Truffle edamame

Fried dimsum with carrot and beans
The fried dimsum with carrot and beans (Rs 325) was almost like a spring roll and is more for those who who want, well, something deep fried. I’d give it a skip the next time and head straight for the Thai spice lotus root and water chestnut bao (Rs 325). At the same price as the former, this one’s better VFM. The Thai spice lotus root and water chestnut bao is a delicately kaffir-scented, teasingly spiced and multi textured dimsum that will transport you to Bangkok in one bite.

Thai spice lotus root and water chestnut bao



Hot and sour soupy dimsum

The Hot and sour soupy dimsum (Rs 325) made for some more delightful bites. They come neatly seated in soup spoons and though one should know what to expect, if you bite into half this dimsum, you’d be making a messy splash of it. Be warned! Having said that, Skeeter loves Hot n Sour soup and Pan Asian played this one well. They did a good job at controlling the temperature of the soup from kitchen to table. When Skeeter popped this one in her mouth, it didn’t scath her tongue and was warm enough to make her crave for a bowl of soup right then! 

Seven treasure mushroom dumpling

Skeeter would’ve ended this post on a sweeter note but she’s saved the best for the last. Skip dessert and end your meal with the seven treasure mushroom dumpling. This one comes seated in a deep dish and since Skeeter is a fungi fanatic, she was in for a treat. These amazingly textured dumplings come in a thin yellow wrapper stuffed with shredded Enoki, Shiitake, Black fungus, white fungus, Shimeji, button and string mushrooms. Besides, the presentation is beautiful as they come plated with some crispy mushrooms on top, a double treat! You dig your teeth into the soft, steamed dumpling and then you bite on some crispy mushroom. If you’ve made it to the end of this post, you have to order this one to believe what I just wrote. Chao! 

The festival is on from 10th to 31st August.
For address & regular menu click here

Made in Punjab

Any offering from the house of the legendary Jiggs Kalra cannot be ignored. So when Skeeter came to know about Made in Punjab she had plans to go there and sample the grub. After a much delayed visit Made in Punjab fare was finally sampled and how!
For starters they’ve done away with the tradition of serving 6-8 kebab pieces on a plate with a little garnish on the side or a bowl of chutney placed in the center. Spectacular presentation followed up by quality food is the USP of Made in Punjab. Spearheading the venture is Zorawar Kalra, son of Jiggs Kalra (who has donned the mentorship cap for the restaurant and the chain). Zorawar thinks big, aims to break and has broken the Mom and Pop shop concept that ruled the Indian dining scene for a long while and is making quick strides in the industry. He knows his game and is good at it.
The grub
Skeeter started sampling the chef’s Degustation menu with shots of World’s Heaviest Lassi (thank heavens they were just shot glasses). Bursting with flavour, the saffron infused lassi (Rs 220) had bites of heavenly peda in it. Skeety wouldn’t mind being on a repeat mode for this shot. Next came a refreshing bite of the Palak patta chat (Rs 145). A chat with some greens in it: Crispy fried spinach topped with chilled creamy yoghurt, tamarind chutney, pomegranate pearls and a hint of masala. The next arrival, Dahi puchka chat (Rs 145) is again a winner. A sensory delight. The two things that could accentuate this dish to another level would be a spicy chutney or masala and aata puchka as opposed to the suji (semolina) one they used. But understandably, the aata puchkas when filled with yoghurt would have a lesser life. They wilt away way too quickly. 
If Skeets had to point out the most pretty dish on the menu, the Beetroot Di Tikki (Rs 315) would take the honour. It came seated in a kishti (boat) with droplets of sauce denoting water on a black slab. Pretty neat! Skeety did not try the Bhatti da paneer (Rs 315) but anyone from the land of Punjab would have fond memories of food cooked in a bhatti or a tandoor. 

The Tandoori Guchchi (Rs 550) was done well. It came stuffed with cheese. Morels or Guchchi are very close to Skeeter’s heart. You can either make a dish or break a dish using these. There is NO grey area.This one was a big, fat, flavoursome morel and the paneer enhanced the texture of the dish. 
Then came a Kiwi chuski or kiwi iced lolly, a palate cleanser to prepare Skeets for the main course. Yummy and refreshing! 
For the main course there were crispy Mirch Paranthas and Dal Made in Punjab (Rs 315). Both, done to perfection, but what really stole the show was the Guchchi Pulao (Rs 595) and the Burhani Raita (Rs 150). Morels have to be treated well to be appreciated by diners. A great dish this, came in a jar, looked great, and tasted very well. Skeeter would’ve preferred the Morels in the Pulao without the cheese stuffing (a personal choice as Morels have such a robust and earthy flavour that they don’t really need help from other ingredients). The Burhani Raita was a stunner. Skeeter is a self-confessed garlic fan and makes Burhani raita at home quite often. There are two ways you can do it: raw or fried. Made in Punjab fried some garlic flakes and tossed them into creamy yoghurt. The Burhani raita married the flavours of the Guchchi Pulao pretty darn well.

Dessert was Crispy jalebis with rabri (Rs 225). Crispy jalebis planted in a glass filled with rabri were a delicious end to the meal. Just the right amount of sweetness (unlike the overtly sweet that we are used to) and crisp to perfection. P.S.: Skeeter was invited to review Made in Punjab. Thanks Zorawar, Sonali, Varun and MIP team for a memorable afternoon and great food.

Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli revisited


The gorgeous Dilli ki Sardi continues, albeit, a lot abated. What better way to make the most of it than eat out; at a restaurant with loose white pebbled floor, over lots of talking and good food! Skeety did just that at Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, where she sampled some of the offerings of the new chef, Sujan Sarkar. He has taken over what was Chef Saby’s stronghold and is wooing diners with his food artistry.
Sujan brings in a lot of zing to the food at Olive. If Skeeter has to sum up Chef Sujan Sarkar’s vegetarian food in a line it would be this: Basic vegetables cooked and served with varied elements carefully weaved together to make the dish a work of art.
A wild mushroom tortellini had Skeeter floored at the onset. It has a robust flavour (hail the morels)and the presentation was at par with the taste. Nothing could comfort soul and sight more. Oh and the brioche served with it made for an excellent pairing!

Next came the Deep fried Brie with marinated beetroot, mandarin, apricot pûrée and rocket leaves. The thing about cheese is that when you cook it, it needs to be served at the right temperature. You either hit the spot or miss it. The brie was perfect and the accompaniments made it better, especially the marinated beetroot. Skeets is a big beet fan anyway. 
Gnocchi served up right in the cast iron skillet on a wooden tray was a treat to the eyes. Just like your mom would bring it to the dining table at home! It tasted perfect and had Chef Sujan’s creative skills written all over it. The gnocchi came with broccoli and was tossed in a blue cheese sauce and sprinkled with garlic crumbs for a superb finish. Divine!

The wood oven roasted pumpkin stole the show at the table. It came with green beans, a dollop of creamy mascarpone labneh, a sprinkle of black quinoa seeds, popped amaranth, a dash pumpkin seeds, a slather of apricot purée, and pumpkin seed oil mimosa. The dish has eleven elements and is a killer if you are a pumpkin fan. If you are not it has the strength to turn you into one. Chef Sujan has pretty much an Indian mind {using many elements (read masalas) to make a star of a dish} but has tweaked it in an international style. While most Indian food is a resultant blend of many masalas, Sujan serves up the many ingredients in a dish in such a way that they taste superb. You can see them all and yet the clubbing of them make a single dish a star. So you know exactly what went into the making. Skeeter could go on… 

The garden vegetable primavera had handmade spinach fettuccine tossed with vegetables, pesto and pine nuts. The handmade fettuccine’s texture was a revelation as the flour had semolina mixed in it to give it a crunch. Also, it would retain its texture for a greater time period as compared to total APF. The pesto in which it was tossed tasted fresh and the dish was decadent. It was served with a truffle mash potato on the side. 
For dessert we had a Mille feuille of strawberry with strawberry sorbet, strawberry and mascarpone mousse. It was every girl’s dream dessert. Skeeter wanted to take it home, freeze it and frame it 😀 
The signature dark chocolate fondant was well plated but nothing to write home about. Also, do try their petit fours which come in a striking peacock blue box containing butter cookies, honeycomb, chocolate bombs with Callebaut goodness and a stack of macaroons. Go for it!
P.S. You are likely to experience a visible change in the staff. They know what they are serving and would come and politely introduce themselves to you. A good sign, I say.