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Turning a new leaf!!!

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

With a bad cold and a blocked ear, I was not in such great spirits on Saturday afternoon. The day was hot, signaling the onset of a grueling summer. Mercury had been steadily rising. The car doubled up as a baking oven and dust assailed our eyes, nostrils and mouth. My grumpiness had not abated when we parked and went inside Mint Leaf. The restaurant reviews were decent which pushed our expectations up a couple of notches.

Within, most of the tables were taken up by a cacophonous gang of senior citizens having a binge, so we ended up at a corner seat with me right under the air conditioner draught. Not my day, really. The restaurant decor didn’t demand poetic ebullience – one long hall with a mirror encrusted wall near the kitchen, a few nondescript paintings on the wall; it was clean, comfortable and spacious enough to seat approximately 50.

The menu had many exotic dishes, ranging from Nariyal Mirchi Macchi Rolls to Laurence Road ke Tikkey. We went for a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian as was our long standing tradition. The choice of starters were Chicken 65 (succumbed to my friend’s choice, I preferred Murgh Varuval) and Chenna Anjeer ke Kebab. Chicken 65 was a bit on the garlicky side – fried chicken with a thin layer of batter spiced with coriander, green chili, curry leaves and mustard. Wrapped in a coil of Chenna (a form of Paneer), the Kebab had a slightly squishy feel and a crunchy, mildly sweet inner core of figs and mango; simply delectable!

The main course too had an unusual cast – we settled for Meat Belli Ram (sic), Khumani aur Bael ka Kofta and Mirchi Parantha. Meat Belli Ram with mutton chunks rearing up like ice bergs in a pool of cumin flavoured spicy dark brown gravy was a perfect companion to Mirchi Paranthas sprinkled with chili flakes. Kofta never turned me on and this one – despite the inspired coalition of apricot and Bael Murabba – was no different.

Mint Leaf has a definite edge over the ragtag restaurants of the city in terms of a remarkable carte du jour and reasonable fare. It wouldn’t bust your domestic budget to check out dishes that have outlandish names and inviting descriptions. I, for one, certainly intend to return.

Mint Leaf
LG-11/ 12, Center Point
A-Block, Sushant Lok Phase I
Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-4044122 – 33, 9810003382

Foodienomics
Chicken 65 – Rs 160.00 (8 Pieces)
Chenna Anjeer ke Kebab – Rs.150.00 (5 Pieces)
Meat Belli Ram – Rs.240.00 (4 Pieces)
Khumani aur Bael ka Kofta – 170.00 (4 Pieces)
Mirchi Parantha – Rs.30.00 per Parantha
Boondi Raita – Rs.60.00
The detestables -12.5 % VAT, 10% Service Tax

Rating
Ambience – Comfortable but Utilitarian
Service – Friendly, Prompt
Food – Pretty diverse, unusual combinations, quite good
Overall – 7/10
Definitely Worth Visiting

Mint Leaf menu on Foodiebay: Click Here
A review of the restaurant by P Anima in the Hindu: Click Here

Categories: Gastronomique

Mixed Doubles

March 11, 2010 Leave a comment

An insightful article by Mukund Padmanabhan on pairing of wines with Indian food.


Link to the original article featured in The Hindu is HERE.

Categories: Gastronomique

Planetwatch series – Ice Man of Ladakh

November 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Climate change. Till yesterday it was merely scientific jargon, today it has reached our doorsteps. Yesterday it was a matter of debate, a controversial topic, today it is concrete reality. Each organism, be it man, animal, bird, insect or plant is experiencing the effects of climate change, directly or indirectly. At times we are consciously aware of it, most times we are oblivious. But in recent years there have been times when it intruded into our consciousness, making its presence felt, reminding us to do something about it. We are still waiting for the curtain to rise.But there are a few who has risen up to face the challenge, to mitigate the disastrous effects within the extent of their power. Chewang Norphel and the Leh Nutrition Project is one such initiative. Norphel is a retired government civil servant and has built 11 artificial glaciers so far since 1987. He is still enthusiastic about the project despite inadequate funds and lukewarm cooperation from villagers.

Ladakh in northern India, is a cold desert. It is also a major tourist destination. People of Ladakh depend on glacial melt water for irrigation and domestic use. However, glaciers have been receding at an alarming pace in recent years leading to severe water shortages. It is in this context that Chewang Norphel’s initiative gains significance. In a pioneering effort, he has made embankments on mountainsides to collect water which freezes during the winter months into an artificial glacier. During summer the ice melts providing water to nearby villages. It is a venture astounding in its simplicity and practicality, well adapted to the necessities of the region. Such conservation methods are infinitely more preferable to digging bore wells which deplete ground water resources.

Ladakh have been experiencing higher average temperatures, unusual rainfall patterns, reduced snow cover and other associated fallouts apart from deterioration of glaciers in the past few years. Despite experiencing these problems firsthand and understanding the antecedent causes, attitude and behaviour have remained unchanged. It is business as usual. Vehicular pollution is still relatively high and littering continues to be problem. It looks like we find it easy to relegate long term effects of climate change to the background in favour of the immediate occupation of survival and comfort.

The Copenhagen summit to frame legally binding treaties to address climate change issues have already hit a road block. US, the world’s biggest cumulative greenhouse gas emitter has declined to submit to emission cut targets and timetables. Developing nations are not willing to jeopardize their economic agenda by subscribing to restrictive environmental regulations. When the world at large is engaged in acrimonious debate over such a critical issue, it is a relief to find that a few have chosen to act instead. My heart goes out to Chewang Norphel.

Inspired by: Op-Ed article in The Hindu by Meena Menon, 7-Nov-09

 

 

Categories: Planetwatch