“The chole of the famed chole bhatura is black,” Chef Bali explained to me, “because it used to be roasted on coal, but, (probably due of the fear of carcinogens caused by charcoal I surmised), the distinctive blackness of chole is now achieved by cooking it in tea leaves.”
“But chef,” I said, “I can hardly taste the tea.”
He smiled and offered, “That’s because of the garam masala.”
Chef Bali -- here, with his A game at The Oberoi for the Food Bazaar festival -- is an overflowing cauldron of knowledge. And he brought his encyclopaedic point of reference on Indian cuisine to the chef’s table at Le Jardin
Outside Le Jardin, in the real “jardin”, I could hear traffic. It sounded like what you would hear outside the Red Fort in Delhi and indeed it was. To create the authenticity of the ambience, Chef Bali had downloaded audio samples, so diners could hear the sounds of Chandni Chowk as they walk from stall to stall.
The Oberoi’s Food Bazaar is homage to India’s street food. The stalls, or food counters, serve rolls and chops from Kolkata, tikkis and chole bhatura from Delhi, biryani from Andhra, appams from Kerala and of course the king of all street foods, chaat, mimic the streets of their origins.
The conversation at the Le Jardin, with Chef Bali and Anshul Kaul, the hotel’s GM, was lively as we discussed Indian food. Chef Bali pointed out that what we consider “Indian” food is really a cuisine influenced by history of the land and the diverse cultures of our visitors and colonizers.
Inevitably, the conversation about street food begged the question, “When Bangalore has such nice outdoor weather, how come there is not more street food?”
Chef Bali pointed out that was probably because street food was first popular in the very low income demographic and because Bangalore has relatively high proportion of well paid blue collar (read, PSUs), the city has spawned a larger number of midscale, stand alone restaurants.
But the bustle of Chandini Chowk is now in an upscale ambience at The Oberoi.
What’s available: pani Puri with kokam, pudina or dried pineapple water, spinach chaat, dahi bhalla. A salad counter with bitter gourd salad, tossed idli salad, khandvi and more. The food from the live counter is accompanied with kasundi, tomato and other sauces. Some of the desserts featured are gulab jamun, kaju barfi, chocolate burfi and kulfi in two flavours.
The Food Bazar buffet is available for dinner between 730 and 1130pm until 20th August, 2016. It is Rs 1575 plus taxes or Rs 1775 plus taxes with a domestic beer.
At Le Jardin, The Oberoi Bangalore