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Business News/ Mint-lounge / Features/  Lounge review: Parallel, New Delhi
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Lounge review: Parallel, New Delhi

Launched by Abiram, a young engineer-turned-chef, the craft restaurant has a fairly extensive menu

The Jamun Braised Lamb Shanks at ParallelPremium
The Jamun Braised Lamb Shanks at Parallel

It’s been a while since any new restaurant in the National Capital Region excited me enough to warrant an early visit, but Parallel, the “craft-food" place, looked promising. It has been launched by Abiram, a young engineer-turned-chef, who prefers using only one name. Parallel is a craft restaurant, the chef says, because every sauce and syrup is made from scratch, including those used in the cocktails.

Located at the head of a flight of stairs, the restaurant is a warm, minimalist space with sturdy wooden picnic tables, chairs and benches and smart black lamps hanging over every table with artful geometric wiring. Two bold, black stripes wrapped around the walls give it definition, while scattered yellow cushions bring relief.

The good stuff

The service is attentive and the menu fairly extensive, with a large number of small plates, sandwiches, burgers, tea-time gourmet donuts, pasta, some large plates and a dessert menu.

We enjoyed the Jamaican Me Crazy ( 350), four skewers of tender and juicy chicken which came with a sweet mango salsa. The chicken had been marinated in Caribbean jerk spice, roasted on a grill with a brick on top and finished in the oven for even cooking. The Paunchy Pig ( 475), pulled pork in panch-phoran with apricot chutney and slaw and wrapped in four mini theplas, was hearty and delicately flavoured, all at once.

The Jamun Braised Lamb Shanks ( 850) was plated beautifully on a bed of mashed potatoes and grilled-and-turned vegetables in red wine and jamun jus. The shank was succulent and wonderfully seasoned, and the elaborate 12-hours-in-the cooking process gave it an immensely smooth flavour.

The not-so-good

By and large, the food at Parallel is confused, starting with the menu, which amuses where it should entice. A descriptor for the Saag and Salmon ( 480), a salad bowl with smoked salmon, green apples, two types of saag and melon seeds, reads: “Salmon swam to Punjab." It lacked dressing and a professional touch. The Green Chilli Con Queso with Truffle Fries ( 400), a big bowl of French fries with aromatic but tasteless chemical truffle oil and grated cheese, served with a Cheddar cheese-and-green chilli dip, had a crisp footnote: “Oh My God, I am Exotic." It was not. The Chicken Sukka ( 450) came with a Malabar paratha, so I assumed the sukka was from the southern tips of the western coast—and, in fact, later, we were told it was a Malwani sukka—but, sadly, it had the typical Punjabi tomato-and-onion masala base and tasted anything but Malwani. We tried the Feta-Stuffed Mushrooms ( 300) and the Bhavnagri Panko Fry ( 350), both average dishes served with mayo-based sauces mildly spiked with the Gujarati reshampatti chilli. On enquiring about the “generous" use of mayo, we were told it was to cater to the taste of visiting foreigners. I’ll never understand why restaurants attempt to please all instead of sticking to flavours that work. The Channa Chilli ( 270), a sort of channa chaat with a desi Chinese sauce, was more food truck than restaurant. The sriracha and soya sauces mixed together tasted more like ketchup.

Dessert started with Textures ( 450), a brittle icy basil ice cream enclosed in a poorly finished, thick chocolate dome that didn’t need the hot chocolate to be poured over before it began oozing out its contents. Very amateurish.

We ended our meal with Masala Chai v.2.0 ( 400), a deconstructed masala chai with a rusk crumble, masala chai ice cream—actually a sorbet—with slices of dry, bland ginger cake, and an insipid elaichi Anglaise. Much MasterChef ambition, little technique. Our cocktails, the Orange Passion Mojito ( 400) and the Whisky Sour (off the menu, since they had just got their licence and were not all stocked up), lacked punch and flavour, so much so that we stuck to the infallible gin and tonic.

In the two weeks since opening, the chef has been constantly taking feedback and rejigging the menu, so one hopes that in the next few months, Parallel will really make for an unparalleled experience, and not just in a negative sense.

Talk plastic

A meal for four (five appetizers, two mains, two desserts, five drinks) cost 9,615.

Parallel, 12, Middle Lane, Khan Market (43528159). Open from noon-midnight.

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Published: 31 Aug 2016, 06:17 PM IST
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