Plum Food in a Posh Ambiance
When I stepped out of home yesterday for a lunch date at Plum by Bentchair, Lutyen’s Delhi’s new posh dining destination, I was anticipating a quiet experience amidst the colourful interiors with a spread of what the restaurant has termed fusion Asian. I was wrong.
I hadn’t expected it to buzz that way on an afternoon when the city was preparing for Janmashtami Puja in the evening. A steady stream of guests walked in throughout the two hours I was there. I actually was pleasantly surprised by how well foodies have responded to this concept retail restaurant. After a chat with the manager, I realised it was a good decision to choose yesterday. “The tables are completely sold out on weekends,” he said with enormous pride.
Coming to the definition of a retail restaurant, it is where you can purchase as you eat. Not just the victuals. Tables, chairs, consoles, paintings, accessories, home décor collectibles… just about anything that you lay eyes or your behinds on… if you fancy them that is. That the restaurant is a collaboration between Priyank Sukhija of First Fiddle and Bentchair by Natasha Jain and her father, Neeraj helps because the furniture and home accessories are the handiwork of the Jains (you can walk up to the Bentchair studio one level above to see how ingenious the design aesthetics of the label is). The combination is deadly considering the food the chefs rustle up is delicious, the cocktails sexy and the overall vibe is infectious. That’s Plum by Bentchair. On all days of the week.
However, all this praise would just have been tall talk if what all we ate didn’t bear testimony to the fact that things are being done with passion and style at Plum. Even if there are a few misses, the kitchen hands and bar staff are hitting more home runs here.
There are dishes that need special mention. Serving food that goes brilliantly with the fabulous cocktails (we had the refreshing grapefruit and rosemary drink mingled with vodka as well as the elderflower concoction) there is also a selection of large plates. The options are exhaustive. And delicious. We started our meal with the Raw Papaya salad that interestingly was just enough chewy than being rubbery. Tossed with crispy scallions, Asian herbs, plum tomato, honey glazed roasted carrots and nok chum dressing, it was a delicious starter that could pass off as a meal on a day for detox.
I wasn’t too enthused by the cream cheese dumpling even though it was fresh and soft, the cheese directly imported from Philadelphia. Fact is, I like the conventional Asian dumplings filled with minced meat and herbs. Here, though the dumplings melted in my mouth, I craved for a bit more bite. Sushi lovers will get ample of variants in the preparation. You may pass the vegetable wontons but try the basil chicken spring rolls.
Coming to what absolutely floored me. Simple, flavourful options that I could eat every time I go back to Plum. The multiple mushroom bao, which I mistook as giant button mushrooms when they were brought to our table. A bit of poking later I realised they are soft, warm baos stuffed with diced mushrooms of different eatable types. Subtle yet so impactful.
The salmon ceviche spiked with truffle oil, citrus juice, sea salt and jalapeno ginger sauce. A great continental take on a classic Asian cold starter. The three mushroom brioche toast was an absolute winner. Served with Shitake fondue drizzled on top, I could have had four more helpings of this crunchy and flavourful dish.
Plum needs to be visited more than once because it’s humanly impossible to eat all the courses at one go here. Without doing justice to each dish. So, while we planned our next visit, we finished off the day’s gourmet rendezvous with the Emmet chair (spiced liquid hot chocolate, cinnamon spiced marshmallows and brownie cubes). A plumazing afternoon it was!
At: Plum by Bentchair. 22, Janpath Road, New Delhi.