Before we left Bangalore, our friend Josh recommended we eat at Indian Accent during our stopover in Delhi. Josh has a good track record on recommendations, having referred us to Dunes, Well Garden and La Plage in Goa. He said that it would be a bit of an event, with food best described as “modern Indian fusion.” And so for our final lunch in India, we indulged in a three-hour, multi-course adventure.
Advance warning: what follows is an epic food post, as is only appropriate for such an epic lunch.
Indian Accent is located at The Manor hotel in Friends Colony, which is a newer sub-neighborhood within New Delhi. We entered The Manor and were shown into the restaurant. It felt upscale without being gaudy, with modern, minimalist decor and ample natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows. There was a beautiful courtyard outside where an Indian wedding, with all of its accompanying flowers and bright colors, was taking place.
We sat down and our waitress Priya introduced herself and the menu. As we started reading through the menu, Priya brought out a complimentary dish of blue cheese naan. The chewy naan and pungent blue cheese were a great combination, and they were served with a cashew and coconut chutney that offset the blue cheese with a touch of sweetness. A tasty start, and we hadn’t even ordered yet!
Blue cheese naan with cashew and coconut chutney
While you can order a la carte, the focus at Indian Accent is on the tasting menus. They have vegetarian and non-vegetarian tasting menus, each of which are twelve dishes strong, with the option of a “light” tasting menu that has a mere six courses. Both tasting menus looked amazing, so we ordered one of each type of light tasting menu and split a five-glass wine pairing.
As we were lingering over our first glass of wine, a crisp and slightly sweet Riesling meant for the first course, Priya brought us an amuse bouche (I guess the blue cheese naan didn’t count). Pani puri is usually filled with potato, some onion, and some flavored water. Indian Accent’s version uses dry-ice, which makes for a great visual, and was filled with coconut and wasabi green peas.
Upscale pani puri on dry ice with wasabi green peas
After the multiple teasers, it was time for the first course. Lauren had puchkas served with two naturally flavored waters – pomegranate with cinnamon, and mint with cumin. Puchkas are Bengal’s version of pani puri, and as you might expect they were similar to the amuse bouche, though the waters provided some different flavors.
I had a chicken tikka salad, which was served cold with khakra, which is a popular Gujarati snack whose taste is roughly approximated by spicy tortilla chips.
Wholemeal and semolina puchkas, masala cous cous, two waters
Chicken tikka salad and khakra mille fueille
The second course had the least Indian influence of the meal. Lauren’s panko crusted bharwan mirch tasted a lot like an upscale jalapeno popper. The tandoori salmon was not very different from broiled salmon, though the passion fruit chutney was a nice touch. The wine for the second course was a terrible sauvignon blanc that was the one big misfire of the pairings.
Panko crusted bharwan mirch, goat cheese mousse, chilli aam papad chutney
Tandoori Scottish salmon, dill leaves, passion fruit chutney
Fortunately we had some time before the main course, while we were served quality glasses of chardonnay and shiraz as our pairings. When the main courses arrived, they were a feast in and of themselves. My red snapper molly tasted like skate wing – silky smooth and served in a light Kerala-style curry. Lauren’s masala morels were another strong fusion entree, served with crisp water chestnuts, fresh asparagus, and a hat-shaped dosa. Along with our entrees were a collection of side dishes, including naan, dal, couscous, and a raita with pomegranate and avocado. Simply delicious!
Lauren enjoying masala morels, water chestnut, asparagus, paper roast dosai
Rice coated red snapper molly, local greens and pine nut poriyal
Anaar and avocado raita, dal, naan
At this point in the meal, we were quite full (and more than a little tipsy). The staff did a good job of pacing the meal and giving us time before dessert, and we are fortunate enough to be equipped with separate dessert stomachs. Lauren had the coconut and jaggery brulee, which was creamy with a crisp sugary top. It was served with ruby grapefruit pops, which was a fancy description for small pieces of grapefruit on a stick. I had three delicious ice creams, my favorite being the spiced chocolate. And just in case we didn’t have enough sugar on the table, rather than wine, dessert was paired with a Bailey’s martini.
Enjoying a Bailey’s martini and trio of spiced chocolate, coconut/jaggery, and vanilla bean ice creams
Overall we had a fantastic time at Indian Accent. The food was both inventive and delicious, the service and ambiance were top-notch, and at less than $40 per person for the aforementioned food and wine feast, it’s a steal by Western standards. If you want to celebrate while in Delhi, make yourself a reservation at Indian Accent and arrive hungry!
The Manor, 77 Friend’s Colony (West)
New Delhi, India 110065
+91 11-2692 5151
Daily: Lunch, Dinner