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Mistral’s summer menu is a must try

11th Jul 2015


Ambience Mall, Vasnat Kunj, New Delhi

Ph: 01140870750

Meal for two: Rs.2,500

I've crossed Mistral countless times on my way to PVR Director's Cut — they're both tucked away in the same corner of the Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj — I've just never entered the place. Not that it isn't inviting enough — those supersized glass jars filled with meringues and biscotti at the entrance are a draw in themselves, and the clean, tasteful interiors are always tempting. I've just usually already been at least 10 minutes late for my movie so I've whooshed past it, not giving it a chance to register as more than a blur. Last week, the movie I was hoping to watch was sold out till the next show, leaving us with two hours and an empty stomach. Mistral and I were finally going to get some quality time together.

Curated by Chef Mayank Tiwari, who came by to say hi and explain their summer menu, this smart-casual (yes, you can even call places that!) restaurant serves up both European and Indian dishes. What's common between them is the philosophy of "fresh and clean" that Tiwari follows without exception. A perfect combination for the summer? Well, yes — we can't think of a better one. "They may not be fancily plated up," Tiwari said straight off the bat, "But I think you'll like the things that reach your table." He was right.

Perhaps we should have had more patience, but when my companion and I spotted guacamole on the menu, we couldn't help ourselves. It's not easy to find a good bowl of guac in Delhi, I've discovered through trial and repeated error, but this one gets full marks; I haven't had such satisfying spoonfuls in a long time. The two salads arrived shortly after: a Green Apple & Rucola Salad with feta and fennel, and a Smoked Duck & Waterchestnut salad served with assorted greens, roasted sesame and a hint of Thai chilli. Both were perfectly balanced in terms of flavour, plated delicately and, true to their philosophy, both fresh and clean. The Catalan Shrimps with garlic, chilli and lemon were an order of greed, we knew the main courses were still waiting, and we'd already cheated with the guacamole, but that combination — simple as it is, really — sounded like a winner. Which it was, in addition to being really light, so we told ourselves it didn't really count.

A teriyaki glazed tenderloin medallion with braised greens and thick fries was laid out next, with another plate that carried a most dramatic looking leg of lamb, atop a bed of tomato rice, with grilled onions. It wasn't the choicest fillet of beef, but it was perfectly cooked, and the teriyaki glaze was just right. The balance of spices in the "Mistral Mutton Curry" packed a punch without burning our insides and, well, I'm always biased when it comes to tomato rice.

We were ready to roll over and take a power nap right at the restaurant (which also has a lounge section), when we were reminded that we hadn't had dessert yet. The Caramelised Banana Cake and Passionfruit Cream with Chai Mousse sounded like the perfectly odd thing that one could poke around at but not stuff oneself with — because what is that weird mix of

flavours, anyway? Two spoons in, and we had to take that back instantly — as the layers take their time to make sense to your palate, you realise you're in trouble but you're not leaving till it's completely done.

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