If there’s one thing that makes these white hot days tolerable it’s mangoes—it makes poets of commoners and commoners of poets of the likes of Ghalib and Tagore. It has also been known to trigger heavy bouts of nostalgia (in even the most prosaic) as memories come tumbling out with every bite into the luscious fruit—memories of sneaking into grandma’s pickle cupboard for the aam ka achar, spending the hazy lazy vacation afternoons swinging from the branches of its tree, chewing on mouth-puckeringly sour ambiyas, stomaching miserable summer veggies in the anticipation of the aamras with dahi that would inevitably follow every meal.
The amuse-bouche is served in miniature Hawkins pressure cookers. Photographs by Priyanka Parashar/Mint
These days, the mango also inspires avant-garde chefs to ever more experimentation. And while we heartily endorse all such endeavours, we particularly love chef Manish Mehrotra’s experimentation at Indian Accent, The Manor, New Delhi, for two reasons: First, the new summer menu is replete with the fruit in every form and all its glory, and second, the full blast of nostalgia even the non-mango sections of the new menu unleash.
The choicest of mango selections are starters and desserts. The Raw and Ripe Mango Salad with Masala Cashew Nut (Rs 425), with its perfect combination of sweet and tangy mangoes and the cool crunchiness of lettuce, is just the thing you need to revive flagging appetites on a blistering day. And the chaat masala-dusted cashew, in keeping with the street-food-inspired theme of the new menu, reminds of churans bought surreptitiously outside the school gates. Another adult version of childhood staples is the Fresh Mango Aamras in Valhrona Guanaia 70% Cone (Rs 510). The street food theme of the non-mango section is reflected in such delights as Chowpatty in a Bowl—Goat Cheese Vada, Bhaji and Kaffir Lime Butter Pao (Rs 675).
Mehrotra tracked down the manufacturer of Phantom cigarettes in Bangalore to serve as a dessert
The nostalgic trip starts with the amuse-bouche, which arrive in cute little Hawkins pressure cookers, real stainless steel ones too. Most Indian-themed restaurants serve some entrees in miniature traditional utensils, the handi, kadai, degh, even martaban (as Varq at The Taj Mahal Hotel,
New Delhi, does), but the venerable old warhorse of the Indian kitchen, the pressure cooker, is rarely, if ever, granted its due. The “aww” moment inspired by the amuse-bouche strikes again at dessert, when a Phantom sweet cigarette (remember them?) comes astride a vanilla ice cream served with jaggery and banana sticky cake (Rs 510).
The Fresh Mango Aamras in Valhrona Guanaia Cone is the adult version of a childhood staple
The summer menu at Indian Accent, The Manor, New Delhi, was launched last week. An average meal per head (excluding beverages) costs Rs 1,900 plus taxes. For reservations, call 011-4323 5151.