Showing posts with label tandoor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tandoor. Show all posts

Thursday, December 14, 2023

A REFINED TASTE OF CULTURE AT FLOUR

 

Allow spice master and culinary maestro Yogesh Upadhyay a.k.a. Chef Yogi take you on a whirlwind tour of India, culturally and gastronomically at Flour.
Throw whatever you presumably know about Indian food and let Chef Yogi change your perspective of Indian cuisine. The chef-restaurateur is redefining the food of his native land for the future in his own intrepid way, where “each and every course at Flour is a planned journey of the food feeding the body; the intention feeding the soul.”

His mind-changing, progressive French-Indian offerings are so future-forward, only adventurous and liberal diners will find his specialities acceptable.

According to Chef Yogi, “the Indian continent consists of different regions and each has its own unique flavours and ingredients. Likewise, each course in Flour’s menu is my interpretation on how Indian food has evolved whilst remaining faithful to its roots.
 
“Indian specialities are characterised by the use of spices, not chilli. You’d discover fresh narratives on the judicious and diverse use of spices here, learn about the origins of regional dishes and delve into vegetarianism which is inherent to India’s foodscape. I’m serving a taste of culture, not just food at Flour.”

Housed in a charming, white-washed bungalow in the heart of KL since 2020, Flour was initially located at Damansara Heights some seven years ago. The sleek and contemporary interior is almost monochromatic in its colour scheme, with some eye-catching artworks and a water fountain serving as key focal points.

According to the Rajasthan-born chef, “The restaurant name was inspired by flour, an essential ingredient for the making of bread. Without flour, there’d be no Indian food.”

Although Chef Yogi was roped into his father’s restaurant business in his teens, the rebel in him opted to pursue hotel management and French culinary arts. Determined to make his own mark, he relocated to Dubai and ventured into the aviation industry.

In 2014 Yogi came to Malaysia, to work for Air Asia X. He met and married his wife who then encouraged him to open Flour. “She said my culinary efforts changed her perception of Indian food and I should showcase my skills to a broader audience.”

Chef Yogi said “Flour brings the future of Indian cuisine to the present, based on my knowledge and research on the past, using modern French techniques and thoughtfully composed degustation-style menus.”

The chef will personally share interesting facts on the historical aspects and origins of the food served, with every element down to the smallest details meticulously planned. “I’m the guide on the culinary journey; to help diners gain greater understanding of Indian cuisine. Dining here is more than just an experience; it’s a taste of culture.”

From the a la carte menu, the stellar opening of smoky Quail Tikka (RM35++) left us spellbound. Spiced curd-marinated quails were tandoor-roasted to perfection, rendering the quail tender and juicy down to the bone. A side dip of housemade curd dotted with tamarind lent a lush, appetising dimension.

“Quail and game birds are native to India; in the old days, people used to forage for them as the native protein source” said Chef Yogi. “The secret lies in mustard seed oil, to give the quail deep-seated flavour and incomparable aroma.”


Unsurprisingly, his adroit skills shone through in the Vegetable Charcoal Roast (RM38++). Banking on a useful tip gleaned from the Persians, he infused rose water into the saucy base of housemade curd and bird’s eye chilli oil, letting it bring the inherent vegetal-fruitiness of the roasted baby eggplants, capsicum, and cherry tomatoes to full bloom onto our palate.

Italian Marzano tomatoes formed the backbone to Flour’s legendary Butter Chicken, listed as Spring Chicken & Tomato (RM68++) in the menu. Lightly spiced with green cardamom powder and fenugreek leaves, Chef Yogi had cooked those tomatoes to such velvety consistency, it seemed like he had unleashed a burst of brilliant sunshine onto our tastebuds, through the vermillion sauce.

Dousing that sumptuous sauce onto Jeera Rice (RM18++) then savouring the cumin-speckled rice, as we picked the bones clean off those deliciously tender chunks of spring chicken tikka, was heavenly.
How could we not lick the plate clean when the stellar dish of Konju Moilee appeared. Every exquisite bite of the charcoal-grilled prawns in mustard seed-accented coconut milk sauce and bird’s eye chilli oil knocked our socks off.
Also jostling for our attention and tummy space was Ajwaini Baingan (RM55++), cute roasted baby eggplants in a robust sauce of onion, tomato with ajwain and thyme.
 
We couldn’t help but soak up that bright, tantalising sauce with freshly made Laccha (RM15++), thin, multi-layered wholewheat bread which the chef referred to as the croissant of India.
For textural contrast, we returned to sample those irresistible dishes again with pieces of feather-light Puri (RM15++), fried wholewheat bread with semolina, with equally agreeable results.
Served with basil curd, crisp-fried shallot graced the bowl of Mutton Biryani (RM90++); a show-stopping speciality that could have easily left us replete on its own. Cubes of meltingly tender mutton embedded within the saffron-scented basmati rice, proved second-to-none in the taste department.

Wrapping up our lavish cultural passage to India came Kubhanika Meetha (RM35++), a dainty white apricot tart which the chef told us to eat in one bite. Its ephemeral sweetness was a most befitting masterstroke to conclude our insightful discovery of Indian culture through Flour’s refined repertoire.
For reservations at FLOUR, tel: 03-4065 7400, 012-9600 053. Address: No.12 & 14, Jalan Kamuning, Off Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur.

 

Monday, June 25, 2018

MODERN INDIAN APPEAL AT GOA BY HUBBA


Right off the bat, the cracker of an opener, Papadum with Peanuts & Moong Dhal Salsa (RM10) hints at what lies in store at GOA by Hubba. Heaped with the Goan-style salsa of diced tomatoes and onion, peanuts and lentils, the round, blistery discs of Indian crackers deliver a sampling of celebrity chef Sapna Anand's modern Indian delicacies.

After tasting success with her Modern Indian Kitchen cookbook, Sapna has gone on to helm her own cooking show on the Asian Food Channel. Serendipity soon led the celeb chef and cookbook author to collab with the Soul Society Group, resulting in GOA by Hubba, a restobar nestled within Tujo at the Ascott Kuala Lumpur. The rustic haven boasts bright floral arrangements and tables set with copper crockery, creating a convivial stage for Sapna’s curated menu to shine.
 
Even the cocktail list features inventive spice-infused concoctions, a bid to evoke the ebullient spirit of Goa, Sapna’s home turf. I’m thoroughly smitten by the tastebud-tickling Rasam Shooter (tray of 6, RM38) — raveworthy shots of tequila, rasam mix, lime juice, mint syrup, tabasco, honey, pop rocks and salt.
 
Mama Manca (RM38) — a rockin’ blend of lemon juice, ginger syrup, turmeric syrup & a dash of cayenne pepper is a riotous slew of warm, robust flavours. Other bona fide faves include flavoured martinis and mojito variants.
 
Mumbai’s famous Chowpatty Beach with its profusion of beachside snacks is the inspiration behind the faintly smoky-sweet Chowpatty Fire Roasted Corn (RM16). Daubs of herbed cheese dip spiked with chilli lime salt amp up the appeal of those slightly charred corn cob.
 

Pillow-soft Chinese steamed buns form a sensuous alliance with shredded, slow-cooked spiced mutton, fried shallot & coriander to create the distinctive Mutton Floss Mantou (RM26). The Vegetarian Mantou (RM20) isn’t shabby either as the tasty spiced cauliflower, pepper, caramelised onion and coriander in similar buns grab its fair share of gustatory interest.
 
Hot on the heels come toothsome Goan Stuffed Squid (RM28) in which whole grilled squid, stuffed with minced prawn in housemade Goan spice paste, jostle for equal attention.
 
 
Presented at the tableside with blazing fanfare, the Grilled Cauliflower with Smoked Sauce (RM28) is a literal conversation-stopper. Once the server singes the mound of cauliflower, a tide of lush savouriness and fresh green sweetness floods our palate thanks to the mildly smoked fennel tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan on top.
 
The sensorial overload continues when we sample the Kashmiri Lamb Chops (RM95).
Redolent with the deep-seated accents of Goa’s housemade spice blend, the meaty cutlets are delectable when smeared with mint chutney.
When the Garlic Butter Prawns (RM58) reach our table, the offering seems a tad underwhelming although we can’t fault the freshwater prawns in creamy garlic butter sauce. Surprisingly, the Stir-fried Bhindi (RM20) holds its own possibly because the jumble of crispy okra, chickpeas, onion, dried chilli and spices proffer more distinct textural variations.
The complexities of Indian spice blends can never be underestimated, requiring years of practice and in-depth knowledge to master. All we know is the Goan favourite of Beef Vindhalho (RM28) requires yet another multitude of traditional Vindhalho spices to spark off the dish’s cachet of big, stimulating flavours.
Likewise, an aromatic and punchy tandoori spice marinade left a deeply nuanced imprint in the Tandoori Chicken Chop (RM33). Served with mint chutney, every mouthful of the tender chook sets our tongues a-tingling with subtle hotness and zingy spiciness.


Our meal epilogue centres on Homemade Ice Cream (RM16) which runs the gamut from mango or rose to candied peanut & caramel. Top of the picks goes to the sweetly scented Rose Ice Cream. The Candied Peanut & Caramel is decent too although its allure pales slightly in comparison once you savour the floral flavour.

For reservations, call GOA by Hubba, tel: 017-786 7611. Address: 9, Ascott Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur. Open daily from 6pm to 1am.

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