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

Diva Kitsch

As newbie restaurateurs queue up to feed Delhi’s belly, Diva Kitsch starring Pan Asian fare by Delhi Diva Ritu Dalmia opened its doors to Dilliwallas. For someone who is more than possessive about her babies (she refers to her restaurants as that), and is very well travelled success is the only invincible outcome.
Diva Kitsch, the current Delhi hotspot is artsy, is chic, has better service, dishes out impeccable food and offers non-intimidating yet elegant presentation on your plate clubbed with ambience that soothes. It also reiterates Delhi’s (and more importantly Dalmia’s) potential of serving some of the finest non-5 star fare in town. At Kitsch, if you can, make a reservation and ask for a table by the window, before you go. Go for lunch, if you like things bright with a dash of sunshine, and go for dinner if you are a Delhi lover, and love to watch Delhi’s heart beat at night. The view is spectacular. The night Skeeter visited it was raining cats and dogs and was the best possible time to visit. Pray for rain before you go and it’d be even better. Promise! But go you must.
Skeeter arrived at what looks like just a house converted into a restaurant on the main road of Defence Colony. There is of course Kitsch on the ground floor. Move further and you are enticed by the astoundingly massive floral decor and a huge chandelier; climb a few stairs, and you have already started soaking in Diva Kitsch environs.

diva kitsch defence colony

The courses are divided into Small Plates, Big Plates and Desserts just like Cafe Diva at GK 1. The menu is detailed, and has a wide range of choices. Even for a vegetarian who has comparatively less variety to pick from, Skeeter is not complaining. One gets to pick their favourite local veggies and Diva Kitsch transforms them into a dish from another region of the world for you. You may recognise the vegetable but your tastebuds will definitely be in for a surprise.The liquor license will be in place soon. The beverage menu is pleasing with an array of teas and coffees on offer.

Why Pan-Asian?

Ritu’s favourite countries in SE asia are Indonesia and Thailand. After having successfully run the show at some of the best Italian restaurants in Delhi, including the one at the Italian embassy she came up with Diva Kitsch as she says she needed “something to stimulate me, so doing a totally different cuisine was like learning a new language, or going back to university.”

Vietnamese rolls

The Vietnamese rolls reminded Skeeter of Kylie Kwong. For no apparent reason really, but the texture, the freshness of the ingredients, the cuts, the whole experience. They were served with nahm jim (a popular sweet chilli sauce from region). Highly recommended. In fact, Skeeter was about to order another round when she stopped short and ordered Crystal dumplings.


Vietnamese rolls, rain

Diva Kitsch

Crystal dumplings with Chinese greens and water chestnuts

Four crystal-like pearls came seated atop a banana leaf inside a bamboo steamer along with Nahm Jim again. The dumplings reminded Skeeter of Kwong again as she has grown up watching the woman steam the most delectable dumplings in those.

Diva Kitsch, dumplings, bamboo steamer

Young Jackfruit curry with fresh red Chilli and crispy Ginger served with rice noodles 

This one comes with an in-house endorsement (as ‘recommended’ on the menu). A must try for the vegetarians – the menu says. And why not! Here’s how Skeeter thought the jackfruit curry was assembled: Young handpicked jackfruit cut into cubes and boiled with spices to infuse a flavour that would remind any non-vegetarian eating it, of, mutton. The jackfruit is then simmered in a yellow curry and served with rice noodles. An immensely gratifying dish.

Udon noodles in a mushroom broth infused with black Pepper and Sesame 
Skeeter has a thing for Udon noodles. The texture is somehow very, very soothing to the palate. The noodles are wholewheat and when clubbed with the right kind of soup/broth they make for a superb, filling comfort dish. They are mostly served as a part of a soupy dish. Diva’s take was a very, very fine version of this rather simple dish. A light broth, with robust shiitake stock and undertones of garlic, spiced to perfection with udon noodles and shiitakes thrown in. The portion was HUGE. A meal in itself (think soup and noodles). Come winter and this dish can be decorated with florets of broccoli for more texture and some colour.
Diva Kitsch, bowl, udon noodles, shiitake

Roti Bawang- Malaysian flat bread filled with Onions, served with Spicy Sambal and green curry

One bite of Roti Bawang will immediately make you think of home, of ghee, of crispy paranthas. It is a cross between a parantha and a Kerala porotta. Super crisp, thick, onion filled delight this. Though, this is a Malay flatbread sold at Mamak stalls in that country, it certainly has strong Indian influence. The spicy sambal on the side is Diva’s take on sambal sans the fish sauce. It is tangy n hot and goes so well with the Roti Bawang. The green curry on the side is coconut based and explodes the flavours of kaffir lime leaves, green chillies, lemongrass, galangal and perhaps some coriander root in your mouth… It is rather invigorating. That said, even if you have the Roti Bawang on its own minus the curry and the condiment, you will come back yearning for more.

Roti Bawang, decor, Diva

An accompanying non-vegetarian highly recommends Lamb, Potatoes and baby Onions stewed in Massaman curry, wok fried greens or mash. Also, Ritu’s version of fish n chips was spectacular. It comes plated well with a small bucket of fries and edamame beans on the side.

Diva Kitsch, fish n chip

Jaggery crème brulee

The dessert is a well-thought take on mishti doi topped with a crisp layer of jaggery toffee sheet topped with a nest of spun sugar for decor(signature Diva style). Skeeter can go on but this wonder is better tasted than read about.

Diva Kitsch, jaggery creme brulee, spun sugar
Diva Kitsch, delhi, jaggery creme brulee, dessert

Ritu Dalmia is a gracious host and personally took care of what came to our table. As with all other Diva branches, she likes to know what people order and if she does not like it, she’d make suggestions (rather reinforce them). With the food you have at any Diva outlet, comes free, the education that Ritu imparts. She tells you what exactly goes into your food. Skeeter suspects it is Dalmia’s mission to tell the diner about what goes behind those delectable meals. What a deal!

Where:
D 17, Besides Petrol Pump, Defence Colony, New Delhi
011 40648861
Pennywise: Approx 3,000 for a meal for two without alcohol