Of a civilization which is years old and makes part of your personal history, with something as dear as childhood home and something as special as your growing up years, served in a vibrant heartfelt manner.
Magic happens, and it is known by the name of Lavaash by Chef Saby.
The young place is already weighed down heavy with having to live expectations from giants live Olive and quirky as Soda BottleoOpenerwala and is seriously grabbing all the attention that a privileged baby gets. Owned by the genius Sabyasachi Gorai and managed by the prodigy, Chef Megha Kohli, with Conde Nast Travller and coming in Times Food for the most exicting new places to go to in 2016, Lavaash gets a perfect head start that it needed.
Located in one of the most illustrated location of Ambawatta One, on the by lanes of the Qutub Complex the resturant is a vibrant delicate looking place created in taste and personality close to a kitsch obsessed household. Pretty and everything curated by hands.
As we are ushered into the midsized sitting space, the energy and the neolithic aged looking tablemats with aremenia artwork on the menu greets us with a promise of delight and wonder.
Chef Megha meets everyone in person and does take special attention and care to dictate orders to her staff, what confuses people of a not so attentive staff to take orders is actually an attempt to make it personal and it stays as a good memory, however is always misinterpreted.
Working on the Chef’s recommendation we were served Crispy Lavaash with hummus and Zatar Spices to set the tone, what followed were the delicate Labneh balls with freshly baked Lavaash, the zatar rolled balls with celery. The olive oil and chilly sauce does add the zing and is balanced with sweet — sour yogurt balls. celery was crunchy and was a good start.
What followed and remained as a highlight was a georgian bread boat with egg, ample rather excessive amount of butter spiced with chilly, was seemed like a simple recipe with distinct flavors turned out to be one of the most relished treats in the longest time and is for sure a breakfast attempt in near future.
Hye Rollers and Amaranth Salad followed the melt in your mouth foods. Where the chicken rolls and bandels distinguised however the crunch added by the lettuce and other fresh produce. Dating to the earliest Aztec civilzations amaranth was used as a main ingrident in salad with greens and the tangy sweet tamarind jaggery dressing was whole heartedly Indian with global palate profiles.
Pro tip: The Amaranth Salad is the one of the healthiest option for gluten free, vegan plates on the menu.
The wine at the restaurant happens to be one of the most well developed department, with using full bodied wines. For their drinks, they pay a lot of attention to the alternate fruits like plums and flavor profiles are very European.
The tandoori chicken at Lavaash arguably boasts to be one of the most authentic one, the menu goes on to explain the origins of “tonir” and thus travelling via silk routes and becoming “tandoor”. The succulent chicken pieces were lightly flavored and were a good change from the fiery spicy ones. Extra points for the very fresh mustard sauce and the green mint chutney that came along.
One of the most exciting element of eating a meal at Lavaash has to be the way it takes on the most American and popular food and serving it with the spirit of the restaurant. “The Aam papad shake” is one of the most exciting beverages on the menu with the subtle flavors of the vanilla undernotes.
The pizza is an Armenian version with a Lavaash Bread with Indian Bandel cheese and fresh rocket leaves and some local indian seasoning. I would not recommend this pizza to be on the mains due to a very small portion size and the composite ingredients however it does not discount on the overall taste.
Came next on the extensive menu was a deviled egg where the small twist of replacing the hard boiled egg to a softer one. The mince was fine and does talk of how the Armenian Zatar flavors can transform the regular starter into a filling dish in its own capacity.
And after a break and a lot of conversations. (Well there was a lot of food!) The main course seemed to clearly steering away from more of signature Armenian — Bong influnced creations to more authentic Armenian homemade style cuisine.
With an overall influence of a lot of fresh produces, a good mix of subtle as well as strong flavors with each dish focusing more on specific flavours than balanced dishes.
We started with the traditional Armenian ravioli — Manti. The very common form for ravioli with pumpkin, walnuts and Kalimpong cheese all in a tomato yogurt sauce. The flavours were dominantly tangy and added a lot of zing as opposed to how a traditional Italian ravioli would have worked.
Upnext was the vibrant prawns casserole. As much as I am unsure of the prawns claypot casserole to be a traditional dish of from the cicilan part of the country the dish was indulgent and very diverse with the flavours constituting the casserole.
Cheery tomatoes, baby onions, mint, coriander and feta cheese made the dish seemed extremly flavorful however with the nature of sublte flavours did not compromise on prawns. Well done and extremely flavored. A sure shot main course item to become a signature dish where people would want to come back time and again.
Came next was the Calcutta staple bakti or barramunda, well this was delight to know that basa fillet was not served giving us a reason to take on the fish wholeheartedly. The fish was in a coconut and mustard sauce baked in a Lavaash bread, where the fish was a little overcooked for me where the texture was a little lost it was made up by the strong flavour from the mustard and other constituent elements.
The meal was brought to close with two of the most distinctive desserts. The Cheesecake, which Megha describes as a fluke and keeping the ingredients super secretive and the other one being a classic rum mousse with a distinctive cane juice Indian rum — The legendary, Old Monk.
The meal at the Lavaash by Saby is a heartening experience, where you eat not only with your senses but with a feeling that the food is connected to someone’s personal history. The food in itself does provide a nostalgia, a piece of everyones childhood in one form or the other. Whether it comes in form of the aam papad shake or the simple Indian cheese or deviled, the place is designed and destined to make people happy.
And with that it is a place which is able to win customers and do their little bit in making this world a happy place.
Pro tip: — As you reach the restaurant do meet the head chef Megha Kohli, she in her own ways, a connoisseur and a dedicated professional true to her job, ask her for day specials and stories. :)
Would I recommend the place to more people? Yes.