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Wine & Dine
February 06, 2018

Feast On Fine Food From The American South At The Quarter

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena

While the show goes on at the Royal Opera House, Mumbai, you can now also experience a bite of true creole cuisine at The Quarter set up right there

You have one more reason to visit The Royal Opera House, Mumbai – as if you honestly needed another – but this will add an extra experience to your soaking of culture in the renovated iconic place. For now, indulge your tastebuds at The Quarter – the eatery presents a Louisiana-Creole inspired menu, in the restaurant blueprinted by Nico Goghavala, where the kitchen is spearheaded by homegrown Chef Ajinkya More.

On our recent outing to The Quarter, we indulge in a leisurely meal that is enhanced by the al fresco setting, with hanging lamps and greenery, all across. Our meal begins with grilled prawns with coriander pesto; burrata, vine tomatoes, dill pesto, fett unta (which proves to be one of the finest burratas I’ve had in a while). For the mains we opt, at Chef’s suggestion, for a pizza cooked in the wood-fired oven – the royal garden (san marzano tomatoes, olives, roasted peppers, onion, mushroom, edible flower, fresh basil, bocconcini, evoo), accompanied by a healthy salad to appease our conscience – red quinoa chickpeas, alfa alfa sprouts, pickled reddish, romaine lettuce tahini and lime dressing. The farro wheat risotto, mushroom, leeks and parmesan is creamy enough without being too rich. The finale of the meal is undoubtedly the goat cheese pudding with strawberries and honey, which just melts in one’s mouth. Watch out for the chocolate flourless cake with honey mascarpone and figs compote as well, to round off your meal.

And in between the courses, we chat with the chef on his culinary journey so far….

Chef Ajinkya More on his creations at the eatery….

On the USP of the menu: “It will be very difficult to name one thing as the USP of the eatery as The Quarter has so much diversity in it. We follow the Louisiana Creole cuisine as our style of cooking; the concept of ‘farm to table’. That’s why we avoid using any processed and packaged food, which is low in nutrients as compared to fresh ingredients. We source our salads, vegetables, meats and cheese from various artisanal and organic farms around India. And as a chef, I work with classic old-school recipes with a contemporary twist. I can be different and experimental even as I keep the true flavours of ingredients intact. So, in simple words, our USP is that we have brought the essence of Southern United States Creole food to Mumbai!”

On his signature dish:  “It is difficult to choose just one – it is like asking a mother to choose her favourite child. So, I will suggest one from each section on the menu: Small plates: heirloom carrots, feta, roasted almonds, asparagus, snow peas; large plates: farro wheat risotto, mushroom, leeks and parmesan; Napolitano pizza: The Farmers Market (Sundried Tomatoes, Arugula, Goat Cheese, Buffalo Mozzarella, Wild Honey); desserts: old-fashioned biscuit pudding, roasted banana and bourbon ice cream.”

On the major influences that have shaped his cuisine: “After completing my graduation in hotel management in Mumbai, I moved to London for my post-graduate studies in culinary arts and kitchen management. I got an opportunity to work with various hospitality brands and people of different nationalities. This international exposure helped me to experiment with different cuisines. Then, Nico Goghavala, one of the directors of The Quarter inspired me to work on The Quarter keeping the concept of Louisiana Creole cuisine in mind. Previously we have worked together in his restaurant Farmer and Sons where we came up with healthy, innovative dishes. We always work with farm fresh ingredients and avoid using any processed and artificial ingredients as a part of our dishes.”

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