Presenting Molecular Gastronomy in India, where this concept is fairly new, The Green Table at Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa has created an ace which its patrons will always remember
By: Karishma Suri
Posted on: November 6, 2013
Presenting Molecular Gastronomy in India, where this concept is fairly new, The Green Table at Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa has created an ace which its patrons will always remember!
They say that food is all about what is served on the table. And good food awakens your senses resulting in a satiated tummy and tingling taste buds! Discovering a hidden talent at The Green Table at the Hilton Shillim Estate Resort & Spa, all I can say is that it is a welcome change for India's gastronomical map.
What makes it different? Organic and healthy concepts combine with fine dining principles to create a unique experience. The trademark of this place is that the chefs create dishes using organic ingredients, and they source meat and seafood from sustainable farms and develop the menu accordingly. The property even has its own farm and guests will soon be able to pick fresh produce and customise their own salads! I know I am anxiously waiting. The food at this spa restaurant is wholesome, full of flavour and high on nutrition, combined with a beautiful setting which is in sync with nature. Spearheaded by Chef Shaik Aslam Basha and Sous Chef Binit Pandey, this brilliant restaurant has all the makings of a fine gourmet ace.
A way with a twist
The term Molecular Gastronomy is commonly used to describe a style of cuisine in which chefs explore culinary possibilities by borrowing tools from the science lab and re-interpreting humble ingredients. Quite exciting, isn’t it? If so, then I would highly recommend a meal or even two at this restaurant to discover this cooking style which has become a global rage.
"It's scientifically proven that what we recognise as taste is a combination of flavour, texture and aromas. With molecular gastronomy, we at Shillim enhance these, allowing guests to savour the flavours fully,” opines Chef Basha. Being a known fact that any cuisine is all about the ingredient, the team at Green Table is strongly influenced with the ingredients grown in and around Shillim. Introducing molecular gastronomy to the guests, I found it quite an adventure to see them use this science as a tool to create sensational experiences and take your meal to a level that is unmatched in any restaurant in India.
The Green at Green Table
‘The Green Table’ literally means the place where organic, healthy and fine dining cuisine meets nature. Either to relax and enjoy dishes inspired by Shillim or to get in touch with your inner self as you taste the delectable dishes, I can assure you that the connoisseur in you will be delighted with the organic cuisine, Ayurvedic food and the special blood type food that this restaurant offers.
A step inside the restaurant gave me a very warm feel attributed to the smiling faces (you may recognise them from in and around Terrazo) and calm interiors. The spa restaurant, as they call it, is a unique Hilton Shillim concept of redefining wholesome cuisine in an intimate and elegant natural setting. A quick look through the menu will begin to tantalise your appetite and pique your curiosity as you will see a variety of your favourites, but done up in unique and much healthier options. My server put two bowls of salts in front of me just as I was about to engage him in a menu selection debate. Looking up at him questioningly, he explained that they offer their guests a variety of salts to complement their homemade bread basket. If you are as confused as I am, let me give you a heads up. Each salt is unique in taste and texture, so mix it with some balsamic vinegar and add a new dimension to your breads, or even your food! Starting off with the amuse bouche of a Reserve Tomato Soup, I wouldn't be surprised if your eyeballs twisted in confusion as to what was plated in front of you. Resembling an egg yolk, the tiny amuse is actually a simple inverted tomato soup. Simply tilt up and experience a burst if flavours - literally - on your tongue.
As you decide what to experiment with next, the team will tell you that the Chef develops menus that are at the forefront of current culinary trends. "Our team of chefs creates a cerebral effect for guests by composing aromas, scents and essence from local herbs and ingredients and combines them with enticing presentations. The idea is to create a dining experience that focuses on service to provide our guests an emotionally rich experience," added a proud Chef Basha. So rest assured, whatever you decide to order next is a great option indeed.
The core of it all
Nature, Soul, Ingredients, People: these are the four pillars of the menu at Green Table and it’s what has helped the menu evolve along with being ingredient driven. A perfect blend of these elements inspires the team for the creation of the menu.
If I were to give a star to this restaurant for something else besides the food, it would have to be the setting which is quite enthralling in itself. According to me, the main thing that sets The Green Table apart from any other restaurant is the backdrop – the gorgeous views of the hills and the calmness of nature all around constituting an enhanced dining experience.
Next up, I tried the Tomato Salad which had white, green, red tomato textures with mozzarella, balsamic, basil pesto. What pleased me is the fact that the tomatoes were all home grown and plated up in an enticingly colourful formation. Still eager to experiment with more, I had the Shillim Mushroom Soup which is a creamy porcini consommé with shitake, crispy bread and garlic chips. Non-vegetarians can opt for the Miso Hallibut which is an interpretation of miso cod, braised pok choy, lobster chawan mushi and soy pearls. For my companion’s personal palate, he found the fish to be a little chewy, but the dish was a perfect balance between sweet and salty.
For the main course I went with the Paneer Tortellini which appealed to me on two horizontals – because I love paneer and I adore tortellini! Made with glazed onions, velvety tomato and fenugreek emulsion with micro cress, I found it to be a little too dry for me, but on the taste and concept front – el brillianto again!
For dessert I went with the Panacotta with Polvoron sand, raspberry caramel sauce, puff slice and tropical fruit brunoise. Though I am not a fan of Panacotta, this one managed to get past a first bite, because of its smooth textures and balanced taste with the cardamom scent. Finally, I had the Chocolate & Coffee which has Chocolate, coffee mousse and crushed meringue – a sinful combination.
You must know that customer is the king and what you appreciate is what the team will whip up at your fancy. “We are very open towards the request of the guest to change the menu or change a dish to their requirements or allergies as sometimes doing so we learn new recipes! Our thumb rule? Food comes from the soul and every person has a taste, so we try to keep up!” said Chef Basha.
Making food with sheer love and passion, I know that this restaurant will open up new avenues for experimental cuisines, especially in India. Soon to become a landmark on the Indian food scene, we highly recommend a dine-in experience here.
Coordinates: Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa is located in Shillim Village, Pawna nagar, Taluka Maval, Pune, India 410406