Culinary Expert, Writer & Consultant
I write about food history and stories most often around ingredients, cuisines, and the people who cook them. I also own and run A Perfect Bite Consulting and @APBCookStudio through which I curate culinary experience and help F&B brands and businesses connect with their consumers.
Tasting Menu - Checking out the Michelin Pop-Up at JW Marriott With Ranveer Brar
Marriott invited me to the Michelin pop up by Chef Laurent Peugeot at Mezzo
Mezzo last week. Pop ups have become quite the thing in Mumbai. And I for one am
happy. I’ve always loved the idea, they bring a welcome change, infusing favourite
restaurants with fresh flavours and giving those like me, with a somewhat jaded
palate something new and exciting to try. Of course the JW being the JW had to
take this to another level and make it a Michelin Pop up!
JW Marriott has been at the forefront of bringing global flavours and the world’s finest chefs to Mumbai. So it came as no surprise that they have taken the concept of Pop-ups to a new high with a Michelin level Pop up! They’ve partnered with 4XFOUR Singapore, an expert in pop up dining experiences and brought an ultimate Michelin dining experience to Mumbai to India for the first time. The first stint is underway.
Goofing around - the fun side of the usually 'proper' Chef Brar!
and to make things even more interesting asked my new favourite foodie friend Chef Ranveer Brar to join me. (We've been spending time
together on a new project - I’ll share what we're cooking up soon! I love picking his brain on food and I wanted his perspective on this
meal. (Of course his scintillating company as a dinner companion was an added
We were both
especially intrigued by this menu because Chef Laurent has a very rare take on
his food. He specializes in a unique fusion of French and Japanese cuisine. Both
Japanese and French cuisines are so revered, each having evolved over centuries
into strong identities that should be handled with respect, that we felt it would
take a brave person to try combining them. But then who better than a Michelin
Chef to do so?
Peugeot is a 1 Michelin star Chef and one of France’s rising culinary stars, with
a restaurant - Le Charlemagne - located at Pernand Vergelesses. Having grown up
in Burgundy and spent 4 years in Japan, he certainly has the credentials to
understand and innovate with the subtle nuances of both Japanese and
traditional French cuisines. He was named the 'Best Young Chef of the Year' in
2007 by Gault Millau and obtained his first star Michelin in the same year. (The
restaurant obtained its first Michelin star in 2006.)
picked the 8 course non-veg meal (And yes regretted that beef was banned
because imagine a little Wagyu in there… ) But I digress… here is what we ate.
watermelon cube, ricotta, garlic clam, tomato water
ravioli and marmalade olive oil
scallop, burned and marinated with sake soja, puree
pumpkin, pomelo and takuan
langoustine (scampi), eggplant dengaku, crispy soja 3
green asparagus , morel mushroom sabayon, britanny
wild seabass, crispy scales with fondue white turnip
and sesame broth
white cube of maniquette pepper, liquid heart, burnt miso
The first course was intriguing, with the crunchy watermelon and succulent clam juxtaposed with the tomato water ravioli - which was something new for me - dissolving in a burst of tomato on the tongue and the Marmalade olive oil caviar really popped with flavor. It certainly was an interesting start to a promising meal. After that each course brought a medley of interesting flavours and textures out on the palate. Ingredients beautifully cooked and perfectly poised on the plate and the palate. The seabass with the sesame broth got both of us excited with its lovely plating and the flavor of good toasted sesame oil. I LOVED the chicken dish with the perfectly cooked chicken, topped with a smidgen of yuzu koshio (wish there had been more) a Japanese condiment in which chili peppers, yuzu (Japanese citrus) peel and salt are made into a paste and allowed to ferment. I really liked this dish though I did feel that the Thai notes of the melted curry ball were too jarring and did not ring true on an otherwise lovely plate.
Such a pretty plate!
Where we both
felt the menu truly excelled was with the desserts. The first dessert was strawberries and olives
with an aromatic rocket sorbet. This was the high point of the meal for
Ranveer. He thought the combination really worked. I agreed. The rocket sorbet
was phenomenal. I also loved Chef Laurent’s little gimmick of sprinkling yuzu
zest on the outside of the glass the dessert came in (look closely and you
willsee it in the picture). 70 % of taste is smell and this was a clever trick
to cash in on that. I have filed it away for future use.
We were both
also totally blown away by the burnt miso in the second dessert, the White cube
of maniquette pepper with burnt miso was a soft centred white chocolate dessert
enlivened by Maniquette pepper or grains of paradise and complimented with
burnt Miso. I love grains of paradise, they come from Cameroon and are a sort of
cross between pepper and cardamom with a hauntingly spicy, hot but not too
strong flavor. In this instance they brought a pleasant bite to cut through the
which chocolate. That followed by the burnt miso was a memorable combination. The
burnt Miso actually acquired a chocolaty note we could not get over. I suspect
you will see one of us try that somewhere in time to come.
just commenting on how this was a great way for Indian food lovers to get a
taste of Michelin level cuisine until Michelin starred restaurants opened in
India when the very dapper Mr. Pavithran Nambiar, GM of JW Marriot stopped by
to say hello. Pavithran has been at the forefront of many of the path breaking
initiatives at JW and his excitement was palpable. "We are very excited to bring this unique
concept to Indian diners. Culinary innovation is our main focus at the hotel
and this concept marks the beginning of a gastronomic revolution in the city. "
We could not agree more.
It was a
lovely meal for the most part. In retrospect however, I have one wish. I realized
as I wrote this post that I wished for more stories with my meal. I would have
liked to understand more about the choices Chef Laurent had made. Why did he
chose the dishes on this menu? I wish the menu had reflected this a little more.
And the thought behid the dishes themselves. Why combine the watermelon, clam
and tomato ravioli? Was there a reason for the melted curry balls in the
chicken dish? What made him put the zest on that glass? Or combine that burnt
miso with the white chocolate? In all fairness we did meet him but there was a
language barrier. So I wonder if perhaps the team at J W Marriot might want to
get the stories behind the menu selections from the chefs and share them on the
menu so diners could get more insight on how the chef thinks. After all a Michelin Chef is an artist, and one would like to understand how he thinks so one can appreciate his art better.
In case you
missed Chef Laurent then you have another chance at trying a Michelin starred
dining experience. From today till 19th April Chef Giovanni D’amato of
Ristorante Il Rigoletto – Italy (2 Michelin Stars) takes over at Mezzo Mezzo with
traditional Italian cuisine to Italian fare fans in Mumbai. Pricing: INR 7,000/- per person plus taxes. Book
your table on www.4XFOUR.in or call 022
66933344/ 9594117774 (From 9 am to 8 pm) for inquiries.