Strange Indian menu - seeking experts perspective!
A new Indian restaurant has opened in Liverpool, and it's good to see that it isn't the usual bog-standard British curry house menu. However, it looks to me like they are trying to do too many things - they are tarting up the food (using terms like "green pepper coulis", "chickpea gateau" and "coriander pesto", probably in an attempt to appeal to the fine dining set (or at least the people who are impressed by this kind of language); and it looks like the menu is a mix of cuisines from all over the country.
I would be interested to know what the Indian food experts on here think of the menu! And would you eat here ...?
Wow - at least their classics look OK. I think you need to take one for the team and give it a go.
I did have similar east/west fusion food in India where it is becoming popular with some - as are lots of non-indian restaurants catering for the better off. All I can say olive oil doesn't go with many indian spices....!
The first thing that struck me was the use of Norfolk Chicken, Cornish cod etc. Don't normally see this use of provenance (albeit a bit vague) on an Indian menu. Other restaurants use it so why not an Indian? It's not region specific but the Chennai/Chettinad/ items and use of coconut and tamarind makes me suspect the chef's from that region but wanted to appeal to as broad a clientele as possible. If you look at his bio he's worked with Raymond Blanc so might explain some of his techniques. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I'd give it a go but the wine list doesn't appear to have been given a great deal of thought in terms of pairing with the food.
The provenance thing is funny though - they claim that they locally source their ingredients and meat produce, but I'd hardly call Norfolk and Cornwall as local to Liverpool ...
I think his reference to working with Raymond Bland is hilarious - especially in the context of a chef from India working with someone expert in French and British cuisine! I wonder if Raymond would consider that this version of his surname could damage his brand ...?
Maybe in this country, menus should just say 'fresh' ingredients or 'British.' When all products can be at a restaurant in a day's time, I'm beginning to think of everything as 'local.'
I think I might understand what's going on. As we know, there's a growing move away from the "any protein with any sauce" curry house menu. Some of that is moving towards more regional food. Some is moving, like this one, to a more fusiony style. In this, there's differing levels of provenance claiming - let's face it, when did you last go into a British restaurant, regardless of cuisine, and see duck that wasn't Gressingham.
The menu is very similar in style to the Ambrette at Rye (http://www.theambrette.co.uk/home/rye...) so, assuming the restaurant experience is also similar, you're going to find a westerised ambiance, service style and plating. Ambrette generally gets good reviews - we were less than keen (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9082...)
I reckon Yukti could be an interesting experience but I'll be happy for Theresa to be the pathfinder before I have an hour's schlep down the M62.
One regretfully skeptical vote.
I'm Indian and have been to a number of restaurants in the US attempting similar fusion menus. As much as I want to love them and to support Indian chefs trying to do something new, they are almost always a disappointment.
I think it's terribly difficult to pull something like this off. It takes a really inspired and skilled chef who is confident and highly experienced in both Indian and Western cooking, and he or she has to be able to assemble and manage a kitchen team who are also confident and experienced in both. Since all this usually costs more than the pick-a-protein+pick-a-sauce approach Harters talks about, you need to live in a place with a large population of adventurous eaters who are ready and able to spend more on food and flavors they're probably used to getting fairly cheaply. Then those people have to want to regularly pick your place over all the other exciting options places with that sort of diner usually have.
Given all this, along with the sad, crazy typos, grandiose claims and general awkwardness of their website, my expectations for Yukti -- The Art Kitchen aren't high.
I hope I'm wrong, though.