Chef Hemant Oberoi at his Mumbai restaurant. Photo: Akshay Nair
It's 9:45 am and we are waiting for chef Hemant Oberoi to arrive. The security guard tells us that the chef will take some time to reach. But we spot him making an entry as we speak. We greet each other following which he hands over the keys to a staff waiting for him at the door. Our Tuesday starts with chef Hemant Oberoi leading us to his eponymous restaurant in Mumbai's newest eating out hub - Bandra Kurla Complex. "It's where all the action is going to be," he says excitedly as we go inside. At 10 in the morning, you wouldn't expect someone to appear cheery after finishing dinner service at 3 am the same day!
The top chef who hung up his apron after his stint at the Taj Mahal Hotel for over four decades, is now focused on his debut restaurant in Mumbai - Hemant Oberoi, BKC. When asked why he chose to call it after him, he says, "It is not me who decided to name the restaurant. Our PR agency suggested that everybody knew me and my work, so we might as well call it that. I realised if there can be an Alain Ducasse, why not a Hemant Oberoi!"
Hemant Oberoi, BKC is open for lunch and dinner. Photo: Akshay Nair
Our conversation ranges from how the staff had not taken an off since the opening day, the decor which "redefined dining" for "fine dining was over" to the news about the Ambanis planning to drop by at night for a meal!
Following this we get an exclusive access to the kitchen, where chef Oberoi proudly shows off his newly acquired toys or gadgets - a shawarma machine from London, a syphon gun, which looks like lab apparatus, customised miniature chairs to serve escargot, a glass bowl that resembles a Genie's lamp to serve the ceviche and a pile of serving ware and crockery. If that's not enough, he also shows off his cryo container that seals the ravioli along with other ingredients and is unsealed while serving. Life's many surprises.
Chef Hemant Oberoi shows off his cryo container & syphon gun (right). Photos: Rituparna Roy
Hemant Oberoi BKC will be serving a mix of South American food with a focus on Peruvian, apart from Asian and European cuisines as well. Ceviches, escargots (cooked land snail), cauliflower creme brulee, duck liver, gazpachos and a chocolate shawarma seem to be the highlights from chef Oberoi's menu.
Our high point of the day has to be the chocolate shawarma - layers of chocolate sponge and solid chocolate - revolving in a heated chamber and then finally melting. We leave only after accepting small carvings of chef Hemant Oberoi's trademark dessert.
Watch the complete Facebook Live below for which we were at Hemant Oberoi, BKC.