It’s been one of the most awaited launches in the food circuit. For almost a year, we have been hearing stories about Carnival, a second offering from the Tresind brand. But the problem of creating an experience like Tresind is that everything you do thereafter will be judged by that exalted standard. So for the genius chef Himanshu Saini, the toughest challenge was to surpass his own previous creations. The most important question that arose, therefore, was: is Carnival like Tresind? What more can you do with progressive Indian food?
Let’s declare the result rightaway: Carnival by Tresind is NOT Tresind. So leave your comparison scale right at the door of the moody yet festive restaurant, which welcomed us with a bubble shower! The second important question: is it better? Well, let’s just say it’s unlike anything you have tasted before. It’s almost like classical music (for a person who may not be into it). The notes initially confuse you, then they draw you in and finally as they reach a crescendo, the impact hits you.
According to Himanshu, the “post-modern” menu is about taking you back to your roots while giving it a 360 degree twist. So you began with ‘Happy Halloween’, a bite-sized pumpkin kulcha covered in a leaf. The first bite was bland, then it turned a bit sweet and after a few more morsels, the spice hits you. I didn’t think too highly of the next creation, makhan phal – a blob of cacao butter looking like a hive, topped with avocado and lime cream. As an experiment, it was great but the flavour was a bit wanting.
But the surprises were many. ‘Life is short, eat dessert first’ comprised delightful crisp jalebis decorating a dahi chaat that reminded you of Delhi. I absolutely loved the Indian Fried Chicken. Think about it – chicken pakora with cheese coated with boondi crisps to resemble motichoor laddoo!
Only Himanshu could have thought of using the elements of a traditional Kerala dish called Inji Puli (a chutney of ginger and jaggery) to flavour prawns! The sting of ginger, the sweetness of palm sugar caramel and curry leaves lent the Inji Puli a taste that lingered long after the meal.
The food parade was designed to take your taste buds by storm – a saffron popsicle, thick daal cappuccino, tiny cauliflower floret pakora served on curry leaf sticks… each one left us overwhelmed. The final blow was the best – miracle berry with a slice of lemon. The berry, served in powdered form, had to be slowly savoured first. Next, you are asked to suck the lime. Guess what? It tastes sweet! Your notion of lime being sour or tangy is completely turned on its head by the berry. And that’s the core of Carnival – unpredictable. Full of surprises. And pretty incredible.
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