Eat Your Words

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.

8 comments:

  1. This post is so wanna-be it is cringe-worthy.

    "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."

    Really?

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  2. Not sure how to react, because I do not quite understand the "wanna-be" comment. I'm guessing it is meant to imply I am not but want to be the kind of person that has access to prime marbled beef and milk-fed lamb.

    Well, not since I moved back to India, but one of the uses of an expense account when I lived abroad used to be significant quantities of the best beef and lamb there is. I can say with some first hand experience, therefore, that West View's produce isn't quite there yet.

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  3. Granted, you must have some first hand experience. And to that extent the comments you make in the post ring true. But not all the way and there is a bigger "lie" than that truth. The comments feel like they ought to come from a lifetime, if not generations, of eating varieties of beef and other meat. Not from a Hindu (?) who must have grown up cutting his teeth on anything but beef. And if they indeed did they wouldn't quite sound like they do now.

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  4. I must say you have some strong prejudices about the diet of me and my ancestors. Thanks for following my blog though.

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  5. @anomymous

    erm.. having just one lifetime assigned to us, I fail to understand how one is supposed to eat something for 'generations' before commenting on it. Assuming a lifetime stretches as long as a lifetime, once again I fail to understand how one can comment when the said lifetime is over.

    Hindus eat beef. Get used to that. Not all, definitely, but many, many of us do. Yes,right from childhood. With parents' approval too.

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  6. Dear RheaMD,
    You don't have to fail quite so spectacularly. One can help, by asking you to (to attempt) to think of a beef-eating gene/sensibility. Just like the Hindu sensibility that reveres the cow - presumably not solely the invention of one's own lifetime.
    And having planted these in your train of thought one can hope that it will manage to leave the station this time before collapsing all in a heap.
    I am sure that for a lot of things there are many many Hindus "doing" them. There are so many of you. It is appropriate to (attempt to) think in percentages.

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  7. is this anon person mad. does he/she need some help?

    Shanky your post though brief was fun. I only wish you had removed those silly comments...which take the whole conversation away from where it should be...food.

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  8. It was about food. Until you came along. It can still be about food if one asks "What is eating Pinku's paratha?"

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