10 Questions With Indian Accent's Manish Mehrotra
We have not eaten at the Indian Accent yet. But, there is something delicious cooking up in Chef Manish Mehrotra's kitchen for sure. From being included in the San Pellegrino's "World's Top 100 Restaurant" list to launching in New York later this year, he is truly the "man of the moment"!
We caught up with Chef Manish Mehrotra and asked him how he makes his customers come back, and foods that bring back childhood memories.
Why an Indian restaurant?
Firstly, because I am Indian; and secondly, because I live in India. But, the most important reason is because there is a need to give Indian food a platform in the world so that more and more people get to taste our culture and beauty of food.
Friends who have eaten at the Indian Accent, tell fascinating stories about the food. One thing they also mention that it is quite expensive. That said - how do you ensure people come back?
It is definitely not a cheap restaurant; however, there are other restaurants that are even more expensive than us. Our loyal customers are those who come back for the consistent quality and taste that we promise in every dish served on the table. We justify our prices through the evolving quality of service, ambience and most importantly, our food.
How important it is to constantly innovate the food you serve?
Guests crave excitement and something new all the time. We need to ensure that they are flattered every time. Innovation is one thing that keeps this restaurant running. Chefs get a chance to express themselves better by creating new things and challenging themselves, pushing themselves to yet another dish that will bring more smiles to the table.
Indian Accent is the only restaurant from India on the 'World's Top 100 Restaurant' list. Why do you think there are no other names from a country, which has a diverse food and eating out culture?
I can't say why there aren't others on the list. Yet, there are many restaurants in India that are worthy of making it on the list for the quality of food and service offered.
What are some of the dishes that are your favourite from the IA menu?
Potato Sphere Chaat, Meetha Achaar Chilean Spare Ribs and Pulled Pork Taco are some of my favourites. Our dish, Ghee Mutton Boti with rumali roti pancakes served with chutneys, is a take on Peking Duck. The serving style is close too, however what's in your mouth is 100% Indian!
Are there any other cuisines that you love apart from Indian?
I am not cuisine-centric, rather a mood-centric person. I could be craving a nice mushroom risotto today, and maybe a nice portion of dim sums tomorrow.
What are some of the Indian states that inspire you the most?
Gujarat, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kashmir and Bihar are some of the states that have inspired me to create the most.
What is on your comfort food list and why?
Khichdi, when someone else is making it and Maggi when I am making it.
Do you have any food memories from childhood that reflect in a dish on the IA menu?
Chawanpraash Cheese Cake is one dish that would reflect anyone's and everyone's childhood in India.
Is there any Indian dish that you feel is hyped?
Every dish has its own place and style, and there is no dish in India (or anywhere else for that matter) that I feel is overrated.
Recipe for Chyawanprash Cheesecake
675 gms Philadelphia Cream Cake
1 cup double cream
35 gm corn flour
8 egg yolks
8 egg whites
120 gms sugar
1 large tbsp (45 – 50 gms) Chyawanprash
200 gms digestive biscuits
200 gms butter
1. Melt butter, crush biscuits, mix and line two 8” cake tins/rings.
2. Mix together cheese, cream, cornflour, yolk & beat till fluffy.
3. Make a meringue egg white & sugar.
4. Fold meringue into the cheese mixture along with the Chyawanprash.
5. Pour it into 2 biscuit lined cake rings and bake at 120 degree C for 40 mins till it is slightly springy to touch, but the centre should be slightly wobbly.