Bain Maries are so passé, impersonal even! Cold stainless steel with the cheesy, ornate handle on the lid… You know what the new food sexy is? Le Creuset! Rich and decadent foods served in sturdy, stark red serve-ware; homey yet formal, making the food look better and more inviting! No I am not pitching containers that cost 8,000 rupees upwards; I’m talking about 5 star hotel buffets that make one feel at home just by serving in such cozy dishes. No fuss, no fancy, just real good food! That was my first impression of the buffet at Mist at The Park! I went to try the Pan Asian fare that Chef Gaurav has done a fabulously innovative job with and came back a more learned cook! I must take a moment to mention that more and more Chefs are becoming very affable and open to mingling with the likes of us and it is deeply endearing.
We started with a super pungent, super satisfying Khow Suey and it was more authentic than most places I’ve been; thin and soupy, not thick and stewy. I loved the way the spice hit the back of my throat and cooled it off with the beautiful array of salads available. Out of the 8 salads (4 vegetarian and 4 non vegetarian), do not miss the Khao Khai Chiao (omlette with cucumber and chilli), delicate yet robust, Mu Nam Tok (a spicy salad of pork), well done, probably cooked for hours and beautifully flavoured! Steamed fish with Thai chilly, honey and sesame, my favourite in the entire spread and the Pomelo and asparagus in honey sesame dressing salad, in which I found the Pomelo to be the perfect cool off for the Khow Suey and the meal ahead. For the main course I tried the Shredded lamb with black pepper and celery – simple and nice; the Sliced fish Thai green curry, very potent and very Thai! The Sliced tenderloin with sweet soya , sesame , chilly and basil, which I loved and when I spoke to Chef about it, he informed me that they make their own Soy Sauce; very, very cool I must say. It was light and fresh ferment-y; you have to try it to really understand what I mean! Among the vegetarian dishes I was very excited to see aubergine on the menu. I think it is one of the most underrated vegetables in India (or at least in my household when I was growing up) but I simply love the good ‘ol baingan. I loved the Makeow phad tao chio (Stir fried eggplant with yellow bean sauce) and as always the Vegetable in Massaman curry. All these lovely curries were consumed with a very well done Phad Thai and light and airy Jasmine rice (not flowery but fragrant). The star of the meal however was a dish that Chef said his mentor (a Thai Chef) had taught him and it was regular home food for Thai folk, Khao Man Kai, steamed rice with garlic served with sliced, juicy, chicken slathered with a rich, red chilli sauce and a light chicken broth to cool off the palate, it was wondrous.
The Desserts were served with regular buffet desserts so there was plenty of choice. I loved the subtle Lemongrass Creme Brulee, a lovely bean paste and nuts stuffed pastry where the dough was a cross between puff and choux, very unique and a cappuccino flavoured mini eclair that had me going back for seconds.
[box type=”info”] I came away from Mist feeling satisfied, very full and a little more knowledgeable than when I had walked in. Chef shared tips with the elan of an expert (which he is) and the two ideas that stayed with me were, when cooking Thai food, blanch the veggies in a stock of lemongrass, galangal and lemon leaves so they go into the saute pan already infused and the second was, sun or air dry the fresh coriander roots you would otherwise junk, store in an airtight container, just before serving a Thai curry, just rub a little between your palms to drizzle the fragrant goodness of coriander over the dish![/box]
The food was very happy, mainly because I felt the Chef had a very happy and experimentative disposition, which matters a great deal. The menu for this festival (on till the 2nd of September 2012) changes everyday and Chef is hoping to bring in crabs and scallops along the way – don’t miss those!