The Park has been around for the longest time and it holds a very special place in my heart. Restaurants have come and gone but places like Fire have stayed on. I guess it’s happened for the simple reason that the chefs care very much about what is on your plate. The menu keeps changing and more than 50% of the ingredients used in the food that’s cooked at Fire are organic.
An interesting thing that most people don’t know about the produce used by the hotel is that a lot of it is grown within the hotel. There is a colourful kitchen garden made of bathtubs in the hotel that grows a lot of vegetables and greens.
We used to have a kitchen garden at home and my mom always made sure there were two plates at the table, one with the garden fresh vegetables and a plate that had the same vegetable made from vegetables purchased from the market. She always made us try the produce from the market and the produce that was home grown, together. At a very young age we understood the significance of fresh. The salad of burrata, arugula and tomato (father Michael’s cheese, organic rocket leaves and baby tomatoes crispy curry leaf and mustard seeds, edible flower) was as fresh as fresh can get. The cheese was exceptional.
Then came the Thakkali poondu rasam (tomato + crushed garlic rasam, cherry tomato and curry leaf salsa bruschetta). The rasam was light yet flavourful. The fragrance of crushed garlic made it extremely moreish.
Bhut jolokia is the spiciest chilli you will ever have and I was prepared for my top to be completely blown off with the bhut jolokia prawn stir fry tiger prawns from the coast of Gujarat, cooked with Assamese ghost pepper. However, Chef Abhishek had mellowed down the spiciness. There was a nice kick at the end and the prawns were beautifully cooked but much to my relief, the top of my head was intact!
Combining char-grilled fish (tandoori Kolkata river sole) kebabs with teekhi tamatar chutney was an excellent idea. This dish is an absolute delight. If you are a fish lover you wouldn’t want to miss this.
My favourite main course dish was the duo of crab from coastal Orissa cooked Chettinad style and panko crusted soft shell crab. Having crab for the first time? Here’s a tip – begin with the soft shell crab. For those of you who don’t know, soft-shell crab is a culinary term for crabs that have recently molted their old exoskeleton and are still soft. Soft-shells are removed from the water as soon as they molt to prevent any hardening of their shell. With their soft shell, they are an absolute treat for the palate.
I always told my mom not to serve me kichadi as I absolutely despised that dish! If only mum had served me kichadi like Chef Abhishek did I wouldn’t have hated it so much. The organic pearl millet mutton kichadi with tapioca crisps was flawless. It was comfort food at its best. If I wasn’t served anything that day, just this kichadi, I would be fine with it. Ok, maybe some soft shell crab too! Lol.
For dessert, I had the Mysore cacao chocolate mousse and florentine crumble Cannoli of strawberry shrikhand with kali mirch truffle. I am not a chocolate person but I scraped my plate clean because the Mysore cacao chocolate mousse was just perfect.
In the end, we were served some nolen gur kheer made using gobindobhog rice. I do the same at home and I wish I could get lessons from the chef so I could make the same at home. It’s time for some Masterclasses at Fire!
Fire is The Park, New Delhi’s award-winning restaurant and it’s new winter menu reflects the chef’s commitment to the environment and the community we live in. The taste is exceptional. Just like in pointillism small dots are applied in patterns to form an image, every little ingredient used by the chef was just right. What was served to me was a really satisfying meal.