Soups,sandwiches and quiches are being served cold as chefs in the city experiment with taste to beat the heat.
Piping hot soup is passe. This summer,welcome the cold soup being served at restaurants in the city. And its not just soups that are set to take you by cold surprise,as chefs experiment with other main course dishes and serve them chilled or at room temperature. Gone are the days when customers would expect their food to be served hot,with the whiff of the ingredients wafting down the corridors.
While desserts and drinks are known to be served cold,its sandwiches,meats,offal,quiches and chaat that are now going that road,both to experiment with the taste and to beat the heat. Milind Patel,corporate chef at The O Hotels in Pune and Goa,says that it is a pleasing experience for the customers to discover the taste of a cold savoury dish. Traditionally,Japanese food such as sushi and sashimi were served cold but some of the popular savoury dishes that we are serving cold are Mushroom pate with lavash,and Turkish wraps such as Granny grilled apple haloumi and Wilted peanuts with Pinenut vinaigrette, says Patel.
One of the more interesting soups that the chef serves is the mushroom chilled cappuccino. It is a warm blend made of mushroom,garlic,onion,red wine and vegetable stock. We make it like a regular soup and then refrigerate it. We call it cappuccino because of its distinct brown colour and serve it with cream,garnished with a little chocolate that makes it all the more interesting, explains Patel.
Many other restaurants in the city are also experimenting with cold foods. La Bouchée d’Or on Bund Garden Road serves cold quiches and cold sandwiches made with baguettes. Cafe Colombia at Kalyani Nagar serves cold carrot soup and Cocoparra servers fresh cold salads. Cold appetisers,especially the ones served with hummus,are also found on many menus across the city.
But chefs maintain that it is unwise to experiment with cold Indian food. The basic element for taste in the Indian food is that it is served hot. Be it wheat-based or rice-based items,all savoury items are served hot. The only exceptions are curd or buttermilk-based items and,of course,chaat, says Wilson D’Souza,junior sous chef at the Courtyard by Marriott in Pune.
Like all good things,though,the cold foods come with a warning. It is very important to use fresh ingredients,especially when the food is served cold. Because the heat cannot mask the flavour and texture of the meats and vegetables used, says DSouza.