Desi at your doorstep
The flavours of Iktara, chef Amninder Sandhu's new delivery menu from Magazine Street Kitchen, twinkle like a star - some shine, others fade out.
Back in 2016, we had first savoured chef Amninder Sandhu's food at Taj Land's End's Royal Kitchens of Patiala. Since then, we've been fans of her fare. She broke the myth of how Indian food is made in a restaurant when she introduced gasless cooking at Arth, using sandpits and charcoal grills. From her signature bamboo-smoked mutton to the Badami pearl aloo, she re-plated traditional-style of Indian cooking. In 2018, Sandhu put her stamp on the global map, when she was featured in the Netflix show The Final Table. In 2019, at the World on a Plate event, Marco Pierre White called her the Girl with Gold in Her Fingers.
After Sandhu's exit from the Bandra outpost, she returned to the scene earlier this month when she joined hands with restaurateur-couple Jay Yousuf and Gauri Devidayal to launch Iktara, a delivery kitchen from Byculla's Magazine Street Kitchen. While it delivers to select areas, we requested for a delivery. It turned into a newsroom soiree with hungry journalists keen to tuck into a desi lunch.
Packed in brown paper bags, the sturdy, biodegradable ensure zero spillage. The mango wood smoked chicken (`300) includes two juicy grilled leg pieces. The taste of the kachcha kairi is the lone standout flavour. Unfortunately, we cannot bite into the baby eggplant kebab (`325) as it is uncooked. The Naga pork roll (`350) has well-cooked succulent pork. The bamboo shoot takes centre stage, however, and we miss the fiery heat of spice. The charred fish (`425) in mustard and spinach base impresses; the meat is flaky, and the crisp coat adds texture, making it the runaway hit from the order.
Taftaan. Pics/Rane Ashish
The Amritsari kulcha (`180), is like a soft cushion one wants to snooze on all day. The choley (`325) is home-style — "geele and mushy". The cottage cheese dumplings in the Final Table paneer kofta (`380) are the softest we've eaten. The rich gravy with flavours of raisins and elaichi is velvety but has an overtly sweet aftertaste. We pair the taftaan (`150), a bread made with egg, yogurt and milk, with the desi hay-smoked jungle murgi (`450) that turns out to be the only dish with the perfect balance of masalas. While the nuances of technique stand out, we miss the Sandhu magic and feel the treatment of the deli menu is mild as it ends up being an underwhelming experience.
4/4 EXCEPTIONAL, 3/4 EXCELLENT, 2/4 VERY GOOD, 1/4 GOOD, 0.5/4 AVERAGE. The Guide pays for its meals
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