‘Culinary Trails by Taj’ is a unique dining concept that takes the signature flavors from some of the most popular Taj restaurants to different parts of the country. And that’s what brought the award winning Varq, from Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi to our city. Varq is known for classic Indian food recreated for the modern gourmet experience. The pop up restaurant is being hosted at Masala Klub at The Taj Westend, Bangalore, and we were invited for a preview of this specially curated tasting menu.
We reached just in time to begin the meal. And it was quite a grand setup – personalized menus and place cards, beautiful centerpiece flowers adorned the table, as conversations led to laughs amidst the beautiful lush greenery of the Taj lawns. The wine kept pouring till the crew from Varq came out and explained about the restaurant and the concept. A delightful little amuse bouche was served – to get us started. It was a mini appam with some micro greens and paneer as toppings sprinkled with gun powder.
The Varqui Duet followed – Ambedi Fish and Gandheri Kabab. The Kabab was a chicken mince on a sugarcane skewer that was absolutely delightful mix of flavors. The beautifully done River Sole with raw mango and a tinge of yogurt was perfect – we loved the texture and the taste!
Next up was the Kale Channe Ki Cappuccino – cappuccino style flavored black chickpea broth in tiny tea cups – and this tasted so good – and surprising! The froth had a bit of the dehydrated Chana powder and was absolutely a novelty on my palate!
The Raw Mango Sorbet was served next – cooled in these little bowls with liquid nitrogen inside – a palate cleanser before the mains. It tasted like a mix of aam panna with flavors of ginger and tamarind. Quite sweet and spicy lingering flavors this had. The wines and Amrut whiskey were flowing freely around the table, and I think I quite liked the Sauvignon Blanc of Four Seasons.
For the main course – there was a selection of chicken, lamb and vegetarian. We orchestrated the selection in a way to taste all, and succeeded! The lamb – which was my selection – was Martaban ka Meat – soft and succulent lamb cooked with pickled chilis in an ceramic jar – was quite a soul food and simple preparation. I loved this with the truffle and cheese naan – those were sinfully good!
The Murg Sirka Pyaaz was chicken tikka and pickled onion in a tomato gravy served in a mid-sized crust – and ended up looking like a saucy pie. Quite delicious. The vegetarian option though was not as exotic as it read on the menu. The lotus stem dumplings with figs were a little too dense, though the sauce was quite a tangy match. And the accompaniments of Dal Methi, Spiced Baby Potatoes and Burnt Chili Mustard Rice were perfect, delicious to munch on.
A selection of Varq desserts were the conclusion to our meal. Apple Kheer was my favorite – the stewed apple with nuts in condensed milk – sublime! However, the dried apple crisp was a little too sweet from the sugar dip though. But the blueberry filling in the oven baked kalakand was a very nice balance with the jalebi. And overall the trio was an absolute hit! The signature Varq rose petals tea that came after was just a delicious indulgence, we got repeats!
Finally, the pop up menu of Varq starts today and is available until 16th July for lunch and dinner. Check out the selection of 40 stylishly curated dishes – authentic and artistic. An experience of this amazing Taj restaurant from Delhi right here – don’t miss out on it!