Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Vegan Demo and Lunch at Vivanta by Taj Bangalore


Lounging on comfy bar seats around an open kitchen, friendly conversations, sips of green tea and Mojitos, watching the chef and his team whip up a delicious vegan lunch, then proceeding to relish said lunch...that's the definition of a perfect, relaxing weekend afternoon!

We got to enjoy exactly such an afternoon last Saturday, thanks to Sous Chef Uday and his colleagues - Anish, Pushpendar, Ashvin and Giri - at Graze, the high-end European cuisine restaurant at Vivanta by Taj.

Formerly known as Taj Residency, this 5 Star hotel is a part of old Bangalore and after all these years, it still retains its charm. I have fond memories of going there as a kid to attend their exclusive lifestyle exhibitions (this was long before these kinds of exhibitions became a dime a dozen) and eating hot jalebis afterwards. Graze is one of their 3 restaurants and it is situated just across from the pool. Even though some of the poolside tables are tempting, the indoor setting of the restaurant is appealing enough to make one want to stay inside. What can I say? I truly appreciate places with cozy lighting and soft jazz playing in the background.

The attendees consisted of a small group (about a dozen) of vegans and non-vegans. And all of us enjoyed the demo and the food alike. Throughout the whole event, Ashvin (the Restaurant Manager) and Giri were very attentive, friendly and helpful. They took good care of us while Uday, Anish and Pushpendar taught us how to make simple yet gourmet vegan delicacies. A well planned four course meal. By the time the demo was done, the wafting flavors of spices and vegetables had us all famished and we were about ready to wolf down everything that was placed in front of us. And what a treat it was! The flavors, the textures...I'd say we were transported into another world but the ambiance at Graze was too perfect for that to happen. :)

This vegan event was the fruition of many weeks of planning and veganising. I spoke about the background and my involvement in it in an earlier blog post. Now here are some captured moments from the event itself.

The Cooking:


Uday and Anish Cooking

Uday, Anish, Pushpendar

The Close Up Views:


The firm feel of a tomato after being blanched in boiling water for about 8 seconds and immediately dunked into ice water. Just the peel is cooked so it comes off easily.

Quickly blanched tomato for Gnocchi sauce

The simple and versatile tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce for Gnocchi

Finely sliced lemon rind for the Polenta. These pieces were so tiny and uniform. Truly the work of a patient and skillful person!

Lemon Rind

Neatly seeded and diced proven├žal vegetables for the Polenta dish - Zucchini, Onion, Aubergine (Brinjal), Red Pepper, Mushroom.

Veggies for Polenta

Video Tutorial:


Mixing and shaping the Gnocchi.



Plating:


Plating the Gnocchi

Sampling:


Everyone wanted a taste of the raw cashew butter that was used to make cashew cream for the vanilla ice cream.

Sampling Cashew ButterSampling Cashew Butter

The Scrumptious Meal:


Bread Rolls.

Vegan Breads

Chunky Chick Pea and Olive Oil Dip for the Breads.

Garbanzo Bean Dip

Chilled Melon Gazpacho infused with Mint and Thyme.

Melon Gazpacho

Salad Platter. The greens were tossed in an amaaaaazing Raspberry Vinaigrette!! *slurp* And the pickled onions topped with fried capers were yummy! I wish there were more onions and capers in there.

Salad

Hearts of Palm.

Hearts of Palm

Wine Steeped Mushrooms. These were brilliant!! The colour and the flavor really added to the whole appeal of the Salad.

Wine Steeped Mushrooms

The Palette Cleanser. A truly refreshing Cognac and Tamarind Sorbet. Yum yum *hic*. :oP

Cognac Tamarind Sorbet

The main course choices.

"Milanese" Polenta topped with Grilled Proven├žal Vegetables and served with this *heavenly* Essence of Sweet Red Peppers sauce. This signature concoction of Graze, was bursting with citrus-y flavors and was the star of the dish! All of us who ate it were completely blown away. It took me a lot of self control not to start licking the last drops directly off the plate after I'd had every bit my forkfuls of Polenta could sap up. *slurpity slurpity*

Milanese Polenta

OR

Deep Fried Gnocchi tossed in a chunky Tomato, Red Pepper Sauce and topped with crunchy, tender Asparagus.

Gnocchi

The desserts were Vanilla Ice Cream made of Cashew Cream and Poached Pears and Figs in an Almond Tart Shell.

Vanilla Cashew Cream Ice Cream

Poached Fruits in Almond Tart Shell

There is another vegan demo/lunch coming up at Graze this Saturday, May 5th 2012. The menu will be completely different.

Course 1 - Gazpacho of cherry tomatoes – served chilled.

Course 2 - Marinated beets, fresh greens, sherry vinaigrette and walnut oil.

Course 3 -“Spanakopita” of spinach, tofu and mushrooms, smoked red pepper compote and aged balsamic OR Pumpkin risotto, roasted salsify, crisp shallots and cashew sour cream.

Course 4 - Tofu chocolate mousse with cinnamon coconut milk ice cream.

The event starts at 12 noon. The price is Rs.1200 plus taxes. If you'd like to attend, call and register with Ashvin at +91 80 6660 3270 or +91 77606 35477. They're limiting the number to 15 so that the event is more personal and interactive.

Here's a picture of the dessert to tempt you. :oP

Coconut Milk Ice Cream Tofu Chocolate Mouse

Most of these vegan dishes are going to be a part of a new vegan menu section to be launched at Graze. They also plan to have more vegan demo-lunches in the future.

15 comments:

  1. Hiccup and slurpitty slurp! Haha. The pictures are exquisite and the menu amazing. Heart of palm and cashew creme dessert... and gnocchi and polenta?! I booked my transcontinental ticket :)

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    1. Ooooh come come come!! :) What fun we'll have together, Gi!!

      LOL there were plenty more sounds I made apart from the hicc-ing and the slurping. hehe

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    2. I know we totally would. Awww. one day. I adore sound effects!

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  2. PS great video!!! Great music. Look how That gnocchi is so perfect. Love the way it comes off the fork like that.

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    1. Thanks about the video. I had quite a learning curve on iMovie last night and this morning putting together this video and the other one of me doing the demo in my previous blog post. Time suckers!! *phew*

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  3. that color on those wine steeped mushrooms.. gosh that is a lot of yummylicuousness! I wouldnt know what to eat.. i'd probably pack some and sneak some more of the food into my bags to eat later and be in a food coma for days:)

    Super cool opportunity Sus! I am sure you won over the lot with that cashew cream, youe ice creams and your pretty smile!

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    1. Richa, tell me about it! If there was one complaint I had to make about the lunch, it's that the food wasn't enough! hahaha

      We were pretty decently fully by the end of the meal but the greedy side of me would've gladly stuffed my face with plenty more food. :oP

      And this coming from me, who got to sample all these yummy things in advance before the actual event. LOL

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  4. no wonder i never make gnocchi.. too much work;)

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    1. I actually used to think that Gnocchi took a lot of hard work. I used to picture it as an outer pasta layer with a potato filling. This demo made me realise it's way easier than I'd imagined. Now I'm actually encouraged to try. :) I'll be doing a GF version very soon (hubby and I have been trying GF for the past few weeks so this Gnocchi was the only gluten thing we've had in a while).

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  5. Wow, yummy. You have a beautiful, pleasing blog! I will go through the other posts at leisure! The pics are so yummy.

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  6. Gorgeou-licious! When I next am in Bangalore, I'm going to Graze - they would hopefully be able to make this again for a hungry / eager vegan.

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    1. Oh I'm sure they'd be happy to do so. They also plan to have more of these events, maybe even make it a monthly thing. So I hope your next trip here coincides with one of them. :) If not, you'll still have the menu available, if not the demo.

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  7. Yummmmmmy! Can't believe they did this after we left :((( Well, when we visit, we're all to hit this place up, eh?! AWESOME pics as usual!

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    1. Pictures there to entice you to visit soon, my dear. :D

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