Home > Gastronomique > Salsa, Salsaa – Tortilla Blast!

Salsa, Salsaa – Tortilla Blast!

I love Spaghetti Westerns. The rugged landscape – deep canyons and vast prairies, swashbuckling, cigar chewing, unshaven, foul mouthed cowboys, derelict border towns, creaking bar doors, black stallions galloping off in trails of dust, gunfights; these ingredients combined with hauntingly beautiful music made the movies eternally charming. Often the villains were uncouth, drooling, raucous, driveling Mexican Bandoleros; plotting to exterminate gringos in shootouts set against a grassland backdrop dotted with corrals, ranches and bone white churches with tolling bells. As a child I revered the silent, slit eyed Clint Eastwood as he emptied volleys into the Mexican bandit formation. Later, on occasional visits to Texas, I met many good, fun loving, generous Mexicans and became familiar with their cuisine. Tortillas, Burritos, Fajitas, Empanadas, Enchiladas, I tried them all. And became hooked.

Back in Gurgaon, I was on the look out of a restaurant which could provide decent Mexican fare, when we found ‘Salsa, Salsaa’ on the first floor of Sahara Mall. From the very beginning, our experience with this restaurant has been fantastic. The staff was courteous, food quality and service superb. So, when it came to celebrating my friend’s birthday on Saturday, ‘Salsa, Salsaa’ was our top choice.

Sporting dark sunglasses and strumming the Banjo, two sheep (not live!!) beside the door grab your attention as you walk by. Even though located next to Big Bazaar, the hustle and bustle seems far away once you enter the restaurant. Transparent glass doors swing open and an attendant, cowboy booted and clad in forest green, usher you in. Under the suspended green n white table lamp, a small green bottle of Tabasco cast a slanting, elongated shadow like a sun dial, on the buff coloured table. Maroon walls, dark green ceiling beams, vignettes of Mexican life on large posters across the walls, coffee bean colour chairs, small faceless iron men sliding down a rope, the counter adorned on the corner by horseshoes and surmounted by rifle toting cowboys guarding the Day’s Special menu, strings of large red chillies and yellow lemon festooning the kitchen entrance, all blend in a sombre brushstroke and fade into the background till you look up from the almost conspiratorial intimacy of brightly lit faces around the table.

Mexican vegetable soup and Nacho chips with salsa for starters. We fidget with the menu and settle for Vegetable Stroganoff for my wife, Grilled Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Sizzler for my friend and a Christmas special – Olive Anchovy Lamb Steak for myself. Before settling down to a leisurely chit-chat, we look around for a while furtively glancing at the plates of other diners.

The Nacho chips arrive noiselessly on a conch shell white platter; the salsa – a blood red gash on the side. I inhale the thick, heady, appetizing aroma of tomato deeply as I stir the vegetable soup strewn with Fusilli, corn, kidney beans and a flotilla of spring onion. The crisp Nacho chips, dipped in salsa went well with the tangy soup. We finish up quickly and eagerly await the chef-d’oeuvre.

The arrival of Stroganoff is unceremonious; steamed rice speckled with orange of carrot and green of beans beside baby corn, broccoli, mushroom and assorted vegetables in thick, creamy white sauce, served on an bone white eye shaped plate. The sizzlers are brought in rapid succession; sputtering, smoking affairs that turn heads; gingerly, almost devotionally the waiter sets them down on the table and withdraws a respectful distance. We glare in silent admiration as gossamer vapours dance up and disappear from the cast iron sizzler plate embedded in a wooden base. My plate is partitioned in the middle with sautéed baby corns; one side held rice and the other large boneless cubes of lamb in a sanguine paste of tomato and anchovies cooked in red wine. On my friend’s plate I notice two large chunks of stuffed chicken in a dark sauce.

I hate to spoil the virginal elegance of this sizzler. Reluctantly I unwrap the napkin to take out the slender cutlery and scoop a little rice mixed with gravy into my mouth. HOT! After several frantic exhalations, it is cool enough to chew. It is sourish, with an elusive tang of anchovies; the aftertaste of black olives is dominant. The lamb is perfectly cooked with the right firmness and consistency. It went well with rice and cheese bread which came with the dish. Unable to resist, I cut a generous portion of stuffed chicken and wolf it with some rice. It has a tingling mint flavour, but taste just fine although I like the lamb better. Conversation rekindles; and I unwittingly eat the cabbage leaf in which the sizzler is served. I cannot resist having a go at the vegetable stroganoff. Rich and creamy, it is definitely a match to the sizzlers. Redeemed, rejuvenated we toast again for our friend as we wind up the meal with a cup of Hazelnut Coffee.

The meal reaffirmed our faith in the restaurant which has survived the onslaught of the slew of restaurants and fast food chains that have sprung up in Gurgaon over these years. As the year 2009 comes to a close, I would wish ‘Salsa, Salsaa’ too many many happy returns of the ‘Burp’…

Food Economics
Mexican Vegetable soup – Rs.92.00
Nacho Chips with Salsa – Rs.68.00
Vegetable Stroganoff – Rs.230.00 (Exotic vegetables in gherkin sauce)
Grilled Asparagus Stuffed Chicken – Rs360.00 (Grilled chicken breat stuffed with asparagus and mozzarella cheese)
Olive Anchovy Lamb Steak – Rs.395.00 (Boneless chunks of lamp with anchovies and olives cooked in red wine)
Cappuchino – Rs.45.00
12.5% VAT extra

Cleanliness: 8/10
Ambience: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Quality: 8/10
Cost: 7/10 (Pricey)
Verdict: Must Try

105, 1st Floor, Sahara Mall, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124-4048015, 4048016
Mobile: 9210037925

Foodiebay Menu of Salsa, Salsaa: Link

Categories: Gastronomique
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