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Tuesday, 12 June 2007

FOOD GUIDE - Mosaic of Choice

Sometimes I wonder what Delhi would be without Connaught Place. Hard to imagine right? I've been in Delhi since I was born and I still haven't been able to discover this market which has seen the city evolve from a scratch.

Walking across the countless shops and restaurants lining the white walls of the inner and outer circle somehow always pumps up my spirits.

And just because we are so used to dining at the restaurants which have been there forever, there is hardly any attempt to try out new places.

But my husband decided to break the pattern and we headed to a two-month-old restaurant Mosaic.

The food court

I must say, the restaurateur knew what he was doing when he named the restaurant Mosaic. The mosaic of dishes served here are enough to make anyone's taste buds dance.

This place is a must visit for a first timer to India who wants to familiarize oneself with some of the most famous ethnic cuisines.

And for apna desis, well read on … Our Bengalis can dig into the Doi Maach, the Madrasi (sorry, couldn't help talking like a Dilliwalla) can relive the flavour of their Chettinad Chicken, the spice loving Andhraiites can treat themselves to Andhra fish curry … The list is endless.

And before I disappoint our Punjabis, Chicken Butter Masala is very much there on the menu. Dining here is a real culinary trip around the country.

For us, the menu was a breather from the typical shahi paneer and dal makhani stuff (though I must confess that I don't mind being served these two dishes anytime of the day!).

We were slightly disappointed when told that not every dish on the extensive menu can be prepared so it will be better to go for the buffet. We were little angry and not too excited at the prospect.

The waiters seemed to gauge our mood and immediately reassured us that we can order whatever we want. And here is where the problem began — it was a mammoth task to decide what we want to eat from the five, six pager menu.

For me, it was almost like reading a menu in a foreign language since I couldn't make out the difference between a Mochar Ghonto and a Dhokar Dalna.

Thankfully my husband was more enlightened than me and he settled for a Goshtaba, minced mutton balls cooked tender in gravy, served with a mushroom curry and rice.

The waiter came to my rescue and helped me zero down on Mirch Baigan Ka Salan. Yes, I am a brinjal fan and can experiment with any kind of baigan preparation.

Confusion over, it was our time to sit back and scan the place. Mosaic is a cosy restaurant built bang opposite Super Bazar just above a cloth shop.

It is the kind of place where you would want to come for a comfortable, sumptuous and a peaceful meal without any frills and fancy.

The staff is quite warm and helpful (at least till now). We sat comfortably near a window overlooking the bustling life of CP where people just seemed to be running not even walking.

I was quite happy, sitting aimlessly in a restaurant just getting pampered (of course it came at a price).

We didn't have to make our growling stomachs wait for long. I was soon digging into the spicy baingan and chana dal with butter naan.

My husband didn't even look at the vegetarian side as he happily devoured his Goshtaba. He informed me that the mutton was finely cooked and was blending very well with the gravy.

As far as I was concerned, despite the fact that my tongue was facing several spice burns, I was thoroughly enjoying my meal. The chana dal was delicious and the baingan was one of the best i've had in ages.

It was such a lovely desi meal that we were soon craving to hit our beds for an afternoon siesta.

By the time the desserts were served, my stomach was burning and I was yearning to soothe it. I am generally not very experimental when it comes to food but this time I decided to.

So I was keeping my fingers crossed as I put the first spoon into my chikoo mousse. But my apprehensions were sweetly put to rest as the fresh taste of creamy chikoo hit my tongue. My husband' s caramel custard didn't disappoint either.

In no time were our bowls emptied and we sat back and stretched ourselves. What a meal it was.
I was sure that looking at food again that day would be an impossible thought. Thankfully, the digits in our bill weren't shocking either.

As we walked down from Mosaic looking at the countless newspaper clippings stuck on the wall, I also felt like scribbling saying - Forget pizzas and burgers for a day and come here to taste the magic of real Indian cuisine.

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