Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cuisine from the land of Genghis Khan and Tamburlaine

I had heard so much about Samarkand, on Infantry Road, that I was beginning to fear the expectation would outstrip the reality. But I am glad to say that was not the case. Hidden towards the back of a huge building, Samarkan’s location could be a classic case of blink-and-miss, if not for wide-eyed vigilance. At first glance, the restaurant seemed to be a poky place, and my spirits started to dip. But I quickly realised the initial feeling was probably because the subdued lighting inside was in complete contrast to the bright daylight outside. The restaurant is quite spacious, and done up in a quaint Northwest frontier sytle with faux torches and ambience.

The menu, (pix above) in the form of tabloid newspaper sheets, has interesting tid-bits of information about the name, the region and the cuisine. I was a little amused with the long, coloured breadsticks served at the table as soon as we were seated, but the food was lip-smackingly delicious. We tried tandoori salad, an Afghani fish starter, lamb biriyani, Dal Afghani, rotis and saffron rice. And I must say, every dish was lovely. I loved both the rice dishes – the biriyani was full of the gentle aromas of the spices and the tender lamb; the saffron rice was so delicately flavoured that it could be eaten without any accompaniment. The rotis were soft and fluffy and the dal, flavourful. I quite enjoyed the experience – do check it out.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A new convert to Sushi

I have never been a fan of Sushi. Well, that’s until The Sushi Book turned up in my post over the weekend. Published by ThingsAsian and written by Celeste Heiter, with some delicious photography by Marc Schultz, the book disabused me of some of the misconceptions I have harboured about Japanese food. I now know that Sushi does not mean raw fish and there’s really no need for chopsticks (my biggest challenge !!) to eat Sushi; that there’s Sushi with cooked meat and even vegetarian Sushi ! (Oh yes, you are permitted to roll your eyes at my ignorance).

I loved the book, and not just for the mouthwatering pictures (a couple are reproduced here). It is lucid, informative and almost makes you head to the nearest Japanese restaurant. I am guessing that’s the intention of the book, and does achieve its goal. Any cuisine is so much a statement about the culture it originates from, and the book provides really good insights into various aspects of Japanese tradition and culture. Next on my agenda is checking out all that’s in the book. There’s Dahlia and Harima in Bangalore – await my feedback from one them in a short while!