Hemant Oberoi – worth a visit!
All roads lead to BKC
A lazy Sunday afternoon saw a gang of 8 ease our way into BKC. With new restaurants springing up every other day, BKC is a foodie’s delight. Our destination? Hemant Oberoi – his solo venture after a 21 year career spent giving wings to the gastronomical dreams of the Taj group of hotels. No casual dining eatery this! We had signed up for a multi-course chef’s signature sit-down lunch.
I barely noticed the décor since the anticipation for the food was so high. First-up, the impression was of a place that takes itself quite seriously. Not exactly a kid friendly place, if you get what I mean. Meanwhile, a veritable orgy of food started arriving at the table once our individual choices had been ascertained.
The cappuccino takes the cake!
The quinoa mango salad and the Peruvian sushi served with a squeezy mini bottle of soya sauce kicked-off the proceedings. Followed by the superbly balanced and delicately flavoured thyme and broccoli cappucciono. Easily one of my top 3 of the meal! The vivid green of the Edmame chestnut dumpling was the only standout in an otherwise average dish. Also, the Peruvian Asparagus Hargao which was in a similar unremarkable category.
Oh! that Ravioli
The next high note was struck by the 3 mushroom ravioli served with walnut butter or lamb ragout. The incredible depth of flavour from the earthy mushrooms was accentuated by the meaty hit from the ragout. The ravioli pasta was of an incredibly soft, pillowy and melt-in the-mouth texture elevating this dish to the sublime. The avocado tortilla pizza had a contrasting, buttery smoothness from the avocado and the crunch from the tortilla. The fish served on a bed of Prawn Balchao had an interesting tang from the acidic Balchao.
Pro, not Anticuchos
Great job on the Panca (a type of Peruvian chile pepper) risotto. The smokiness added the extra oomph to the creamy goodness. The 3rd high note was struck by the cute as buttons corn anticuchos. Grilled corn cobs with an amazing verde (green) sauce. We fought over these as the non-veggies had unknowingly ordered the chicken ones, which were nowhere as good!
The passion fruit cheesecake was too airy and did not have the silkiness that comes from cream cheese. The pepper flavour note was too dominant in a dessert and detracted further from the taste. The 3 milk parfait was not in an ice-cream form as one would expect. Parfait apparently also means a pate with a smooth consistency and that is definitely what we got sandwiched between sheets of wafer thin chocolate. Most importantly, it managed to rescue the day and pleased all the chocolate lovers at the table.
The final verdict
To sum up, at Rs. 3000/- per person and 20+ years of experience of Chef Hemant Oberoi, the expectations are very high. This place would have rocked our boats 10 years ago when fusion food was a novelty. Also limited exposure to International cuisine would have it sail through and dock at the harbour. The current atmosphere though is one of experimentation. A veritable explosion of ‘foreign’ cuisine and an era of affordable, molecular gastronomy. Hemant Oberoi becomes one of the many places and comes with a hefty price tag. In conclusion, a place you may visit once for the novelty of the experience and probably not revisit.