India is growing curious. Today, the markets of New Delhi no longer hold only the vibrant treasures of the local cuisine: foreign foods that beguile local palates can been found more and more frequently. Whether or not products such as the Australian yeast extract ‘Vegemite’ enrich Indian cuisine is for each individual to decide. What is certain is that Chef Manish Mehrotra at Indian Accent welcomes these international influences and transforms them into dishes that transport you across entire continents with just your fork.
And this does not go unnoticed: Indian Accent was the only Indian restaurant to be listed among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 and 2016 and was also the best restaurant in India among San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in those two years. The New York City Guide 2017 awarded Mehrotra’s newly-opened restaurant in New York with the distinction No.1 Restaurant in Indian Cuisine.
You will find Manish Mehrotra in his restaurant Indian Accent, far away from the colourful marketplaces. And the contrast could not be greater – an Eden-like garden, serene and resplendent with the scent of tropical flow- ers. Inside the restaurant, which has won just about every award going, there is an almost colonial style: pomp and pageantry is nowhere to be found and yet you get the impression that every last detail has been carefully selected and coordinated.
It is here that Mehrotra’s guests learn how the chef crowned the ‘Best Chef in India’ by American Express infuses Indian haute cuisine with international flair. He describes his cooking style as “inventive Indian cuisine” and Indian food with an international touch – or vice versa. Naan bread stuffed with blue cheese, his take on raviolifilled with West Indian chickpeas – the food stylishly arranged on the plates here may look international, but the taste is classically Indian. This is vitally important because diners at Indian Accent know just how good Indian food can taste. And that is why, despite his love of experimentation, Mehrotra has never even considered mixing the aromas of two different Indian regions on one plate. Yet the combination of global ingredients and techniques with an Indian soul and flavour enraptures guests all the more.
But everything could have turned out quite differently: in Mehrotra’s family home a strict “no garlic, no onions” diet was enforced. His mother even had to relocate to the terrace and use separate utensils for cooking eggs due to the wishes of his vegetarian father. Fortunately for the international gourmet scene, however, as a young man Mehrotra spent his summers with relatives in New Delhi and Mumbai, where he was free to taste whatever he wanted. And it is exactly this freedom that he offers diners at Indian Accent. No ingredient is frowned upon and everything is possible, as long as it meets the chef’s exacting standards. TripAdvisor also awarded Indian Accent with the distinction No.1 Restaurant in India from 2014 to 2016.
And these standards have not emerged from thin air: Mehrotra learned his craft under celebrated chef Ananda Solomon at Vivanta by Taj. From there, his career took him to Delhi, where he helped to bring Old World Hospitality’s Oriental Octopus the success it enjoys today. Many restaurant openings and world travels later, the now highly decorated chef was back in New Delhi at The Manor Hotel, and it was in this hotel’s restaurant that he presented his vision of a modern, cosmopolitan Indian cuisine.
Those whose mouths are watering at the thought of 21st century Indian cuisine can now save themselves the long journey as chef Manish Mehrotra will grace Hangar-7 with his tenure as guest chef in February.
Find out more about Chef Mehrotra here…
Photo credit: ©Helge Kirchberger Photography / Red Bull Hangar-7