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July 18, 2024

HOME Delhi’s new seasonal menu is flavour-packed

Arushi Sakhuja 
HOME Delhi PVR’s Luxury Lounge and a social and live entertainment club at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj and Chef Yutaka Saito, who formerly helmed the MEGU kitchen at The Leela Palace, with his team has created HOME Delhi’s new seasonal menu. The new menu is based on the use of fresh new produce and zero-waste cooking technique and is inspired by a mix of rich and varied Indian flavours, coupled with global ingredients, to bring in the best of flavours and luxurious aromas.

 

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Through his illustrious career, Saito made his name, first as a sushi chef at Fujiya in Tacoma, Washington, and then at his eponymous restaurant in Seattle and even at The Leela Palace in New Delhi. His role here posed one of the most daunting tasks –  to create exclusive vegetarian dishes in Japanese cuisine.
After indulging in a menu tasting, Chef Saito talks about Japanese food, his passion for cooking and HOME Delhi’s new seasonal menu.
HOME DElhi
Chef Yutaka Saito Executive Chef at HOME
HOME Delhi's new seasonal menu
Photo Courtesy: Yutaka Saito/ Instagram
The new seasonal menu
HOME Delhi launched a new seasonal menu with chef Yutaka Saito, and we had a chance to savour the flavours at a special tasting preview. The degustation started with pass arounds and was a lavish three-course meal with the last course being dessert. The new menu is exclusively curated by Chef Yutaka Saito to suit the diverse taste palate of Indian consumers. It is unique and is inspired by a mix of rich and varied Indian flavours, coupled with global ingredients, to bring in the best of flavours and luxurious aromas. Each dish carefully ties Indian flavours with global cuisine. 
Tasting menu at HOME
Some of the standout dishes for us included the butternut squash kebabs — a European favourite which was a refreshing vegetarian alternative, confit duck tenders served on kulcha and delicate topped with thinly sliced green apple to cut the sweetness. With impeccable presentation, the dish looked even better than it tasted! However, don’t expect a strong flavour of duck to sing through the dish. 
Home delhi Menu
CONFIT DUCK TENDERS
Home delhi Menu
Butternut squash kebabs
Home delhi Menu
ABURI MUSHROOM SUSHI
The first course was light and flavourful including a warm Smoked Oyster Mushroom salad severed with corn, Soy, Mint Dust, Lemon Gel and a Harissa Miso Young Corn with Fennel Sour Cream, Almond & Cranberry. 
Home delhi Menu
Smoked Oyster Mushroom salad severed with corn, Soy, Mint Dust, Lemon Gel
Home delhi Menu
Harissa Miso Young Corn with Fennel Sour Cream, Almond & Cranberry.
The second course was a delight to the palate as well as a visual dream. For non-vegetarians we highly recommend the Mentaiko Risotto which combines the flavours of Cod Roe, Scallops, Ikura and Confit Tomatoes. The risotto gets its subtle pink colour from the use of cod rose. Coming to the vegetarian side, get ready for a burst of flavours, the Channa Masala Terrine with Pickle Beet, Truffle, and Pear is beautifully presented on a circular dish. A piece of channa masala terrine topped with pear sits on a soulful and rich bed of butter masala accompanied by a kulcha with subtle flavours of truffle. The combination of flavours sings beautifully on the palate and even if you’re a die-hard non-veg we recommend ordering this dish. And might we add it heroes the concept of mixing rich and varied Indian flavours with global ingredients.
Home delhi Menu
Mentaiko Risotto
Home delhi
Channa Masala Terrine
Next up, we were served a spicy Yuzu Lime Gelato that works wonders for those who love a hit of Indian spices.
Home delhi Menu
YUZU LIME GELATO
My favourite was the third course, which for me was the main course. While I am stingy about the quality of my fish the Salmon on HOME Delhi’s new seasonal menu was simply a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy. A slice of Salmon was served with Tomato Beurre Blanc and topped off with Fried Caper, and Broccoli Buds. The vibrant colours of the dish appealed to the palate and made it a sensorial experience. 
Home delhi Menu
SALMON TOMATO BEURRE BLANC
Fried Caper, Broccoli Buds
Finally, the layered tofu with a slice of grilled aubergine surely took me by surprise. The Layered Tofu was served with burnt Pepper, Chestnut and Tobanjan. With impeccable presentation, the pastel hue dish was topped with fresh greens that added vibrancy and crunch to the dish. However, the highlight for me was the sinful broth. 
Home delhi Menu
LAYERED TOFU (V)
Burnt Pepper, Chestnut, Tobanjan
To end the meal an indulgent Belgium Chocolate Mousse with Rasberry Confit was the icing on the cake. With a light texture, the mousse made the palate sing and transported me to a desert paradise. The smooth texture (without grainy-ness) was complimented with a fresh Raspberry and Rasberry confit while the Meringue added an oomph of crunchy-ness. 
Home delhi Menu
BELGIAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Raspberry Confit
But that’s not all! The restaurant follows the zero-waste policy and stirs up some delicious tipples using fruit and vegetable peels and they even have a cocktail that uses avocado seeds! Being true to the Indian flavours, each of the syrups used in the cocktails is specially curated by them from Indian ingredients. Known as science in a glass, bartender Sunny served us a mix of cocktails from gin-based to whisky-based ones to accompany the meal — because food and beverage always go hand in hand. The tickle your senses cocktail and for those who like it on the sweeter side, the classic G&T with a strawberry syrup base is divine. 
Home delhi Menu
G&T cocktail with Kaffir lime and strawberry syrup
Some other dishes on the menu include Aburi Salmon Sushi, Black Tiger Shrimp, Braised Purple Cabbage, Crusted Avocado, Five Spice Kanpachi Collar, Gochujang Seabass, Matcha crepe, Sriracha Crab and more. 
Chef Yutaka Saito, Executive Chef, HOME, while introducing the new seasonal menu at HOME, said‘’At HOME, our endeavour is always to bring together ideas and concepts for a unique experience. With the launch of this menu, we pride ourselves on using the freshest ingredients this season has to offer. We have innovated our menu to introduce new dishes with the aim of reducing the wastage of ingredients and making our offerings more sustainable, unique and relevant. We have given our best and we are confident of the long-delectable slate with scrumptious flavours will leave our guests wanting for more, making it a wholesome culinary experience.’’
The menu launched on 9, March and is a symphony of tastes inspired by Indo-European aromas as well as Japanese flavours and culinary techniques.
Ahead we spoke to Chef Yutaka Saito on the launch of new seasonal menu at HOME.
You’ve been helmed for your work at Megu, what motivated you to move to HOME by PVR Director’s Cut?
My journey with MEGU was a fantastic one. Experimenting with food has always excited me and I wanted to take that a notch higher, which motivated me to move to HOME for the extravagant experience we could offer to our consumers. HOME by PVR has revolutionized hospitality services by introducing Japanese cuisine in the theatres for the first time. It was interesting and challenging to see how we can play with the menu, especially Sushi to be on the menu. Therefore, here I am, at HOME offering some of the best Japanese dishes to the guests at HOME.
What’s so unique about the new seasonal menu at HOME? Name some dishes from the menu which we’ll not find anywhere else.
The key USP of the new seasonal menu is that it is a sustainable one, we have made sure zero-waste cooking techniques are followed while sourcing the best ingredients from around the globe. At HOME, we always aim for fresh produce and have collaborated with various farms in Delhi that send us local produce to prepare dishes as new as possible.
Yes, absolutely, the menu includes dishes that one can only find at HOME and nowhere else. These are Five Spice Kanpachi Collar, Sriracha Crab, and Layered Tofu amongst others. We’d love for consumers to come in and try these dishes for an exclusive experience.
Tell us about the menu design. From where do you source the ingredients?
When we designed this menu at HOME, our first thought was to create a good balance among European, Modern-Indian, and Japanese cuisines to serve the diverse taste palate of our consumers. And the new menu came across as befitted on the table; being a great mix of rich and varied flavours, coupled with global ingredients, to bring in the best of flavours and luxurious aromas.
In terms of ingredients, most of them are procured in collaboration with our trusted suppliers, locally and abroad, few of our produce is sourced from Japan, and others from Goan spices, ensuring the finest ingredients make their way into brand-new dishes.
In the menu you have combined Indian flavours with global ingredients, name some of the unique dishes created. 
I’d say my personal favourites would be Butternut Squash Kebab and Chana Masala Terrine.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the new menu.
The inspiration was to present a fresh and exciting image in the minds of our consumers, for them to come and spend quality time at HOME. We wanted to create a unique menu which is inspired by the best of both worlds- Indian and Global.
Additionally, eliminating food waste is having a moment in India. Zero-waste cooking, or the sustainable use of every part of an ingredient used in cooking to reduce wastage, is becoming a way of life for many.
At HOME, our endeavour is always to bring together ideas and concepts for a unique experience. With the launch of this menu, we pride ourselves in using the freshest ingredients this season has to offer while learning how to efficiently use every part of the available ingredients.
We have given our best and we are confident of the long-delectable slate with scrumptious flavours will leave our guests wanting more, making it a wholesome culinary experience.
What are some of the signature dishes we can expect to find on the menu?
I’d recommend you try Pineapple Iberico, Ham Tempura, and sriracha crab.
Throw light on the new flavour profile and combinations used. 
This season’s new progressive menu continues to develop and carefully combines a symphony of tastes inspired by Indo-European aromas as well Japanese flavours and culinary techniques. It is unique and is inspired by a mix of rich and varied Indian flavours, coupled with global ingredients, to bring in the best of flavours and luxurious aromas.
Elaborate on the concept of the zero-waste cooking technique and how you achieve it.
Indian kitchens have historically been places where the entire cooking process is rooted in sustainability; using locally grown, seasonal produce and being resourceful by producing minimum waste.
Currently, the culinary industry is seeing a rise in a similar practice called ‘zero-waste cooking’, which is essentially the practice of using every part of an ingredient to reduce wastage.
At HOME, with the launch of our new seasonal menu, our aim is to reduce the wastage of ingredients and make our offerings more sustainable, unique and relevant. As for vegetables, the stems, leaves, trimmings, and other scraps are often repurposed and used in soups and sauces. With such simple techniques, we are hoping to minimize the creation of food waste.
Anything new we must keep a lookout for.
Customers are always on the lookout for something unique and we try to bring in new menus and dishes to cater to our guests every quarter. In the coming months, we are looking forward to presenting Chef’s table menu & few Japanese-inspired wraps to give the authentic taste of Japanese cuisine to our patrons with something different.
It is imperative to tie together visual appeal and flavour when it comes to a dining experience. And for you, a lot of emphases is on the plating. How do you do this and why is plating so important for you?
Food is eaten and enjoyed through different senses; taste, smell, texture, and presentation all play a vital role in providing a memorable dining experience. The first sense that is touched upon is vision and that makes it crucial for food to look beautiful. Here at HOME, we respect these. While launching the new seasonal menu, we have put in our best efforts to serve and plate all the dishes with maximum creativity and innovation to aesthetically appeal to the guests highlighting each ingredient in our dishes.
When did you discover your love for cooking and especially Japanese-style cooking? 
I have always been passionate about gastronomy. Taking up cooking as a profession was something I envisioned right from my childhood. I knew that I wanted to do something interesting, something different, and that is what I did. I hail from Japan and hence I have a natural inclination towards Japanese style of cooking.
We have seen a sudden rise in Japanese and Korean cuisine. Why so?
Japanese restaurants have consolidated their place on India’s F&B map, and Korean food is beginning to come up. The popularity of Japanese and Korean cuisine in India is on the rise. Even restaurants are also catering to customers with distinct menus in a big way. The rich flavours with an exotic touch, healthy eating options beyond traditional dining choices with the use of similar ingredients like rice, noodles, vegetables, meat, chili, pepper, soy, and spices used in Indian cuisine are some of the key drivers satisfying the tastebuds of Indian customers and contributing to the gaining popularity of Korean & Japanese cuisines in India.
How difficult/easy it is for you to cater to Indian taste buds?
One of the biggest challenges is to please vegetarian guests, as India is known for its vegetarian cuisine and the variety in Japanese cuisine is often considered minimal as compared to Indian cuisine. Another challenge is the spice acceptability of the Indian palate that makes it difficult to serve authentic Japanese food, which might be perceived as bland.
What excites you about cooking in India? 
The opportunity to cook in India presents itself as a fun roller coaster ride. A different taste palette, the ingredients play, and the love for food that Indians have been tremendous. It gives me immense pleasure to be a part of the Indian hospitality industry with such a talented and ‘eager to learn’ team. At the end of it, the smile on our consumer’s faces is what matters and we put in our best energies to make that happen! We take pride in fulfilling this at HOME.
Address: 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110070, India.
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Arushi Sakhuja

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