Every once in a while, Rushina gets a bunch of bloggers together for a great evening, and the most recent one was at West View at the ITC Maratha, a restaurant I've been eyeing for a while. Weeks after the event, here's my two bits about the dinner.
The company was fabulous; its amazing how much fun talking about talking about food can be. Rushina always manages to get together a varied and interesting bunch of people, and I've never regretted attending any of them. The location was very nice too. The food (though it was expensive and tried very hard) not so much.
West View is about grilling – it lays out a generous spread of meats and veggies that you pick out and they grill for you. This concept is not unusual, but two key things are required to make it work – good grilling and great ingredients. The first they get mostly right; its the second that the all-woman chef team struggles with.
You would have thought that if anyone could do ingredients right, it would be a five star. Grilling, however, is such a simple way to cook that the ingredient standards are different. To wow me, West View needed much better sausages than competent but supermarket variety on offer (their marketing blurb mentions artisanal). The beef cannot just sport its New Zealand origins – it needs to be marbled with fat and aged forever. I'll be impressed with milk fed lamb chops worthy of a Michelin restaurant, not something you can pick up at Nature's Basket. The only ingredient that came close to top-of-the-line was the salmon.
Did I mention the bread was absolutely divine?
Then there's a key gap – the rub. Spice rubs (and sometimes marinades) are what make grills great, and every great grill chef – from Chinese street vendors to grill-touting celebrities Bobby Flay or Emeril Lagasse – sport signature rubs worth their salt. If you have Kobe beef and Copperhead salmon you can ignore the rub, but more pedestrian meat is going to need some assistance jumping from nice to wonderful.
Both wow food and yuck food are conversation killers. West View is a pleasant dining experience, but go for the conversation.