To do something with all your heart and soul is what the Greek word ‘Meraki’ translates to. And when was the last time you did something with all your heart?
We fail to comprehend how ‘routine’ has taken control of our lives so much so that we don’t even have an hour to fall back on or ponder. It’s all a rat race and the struggle to reach somewhere has us all bogged down but not a moment to break away. These cornucopias of thoughts lie concealed in the sub conscious until you chance upon a place like Meraki.
Located in the heart of the city, this magical space seems to have sprung up from nowhere and is more than a welcome change from the all the faux man made edifice all over the city. The ambience exudes romance But, the one from the classic, old school era. The time when a ‘walk in the park’ was more intimate than all else.
Bonfire, Check. Candle Light, Check.
If fun-filled conversations with your loved ones, over great food and drinks ‘Is’ your idea of a night – then Meraki checks in all the right boxes. But don’t come here if flashy is what you seek. No loud music, no drama. Indulge in conversations and feel the human connection resuscitate.
The menu is a mix of Mediterranean, Italian and Indian. All of this and more in the lap of nature with top notch service. Interlace your fingers and behold the exotic array of deliciousness at Meraki.
Their liquor license is still in tow but this news was irrelevant for a wowser like me. I loved the mocktail spread and in particular the Peru Pyala! That spiced rim and the real flavors of guava leave a fantastic impression on your tongue. For some, the spiciness quotient can be beyond the accepted pitch, so sip on to this with caution.
Soup and Salads
Dhingri Cappuccino (3.5/5)
Decoding – Dhingri equals wild mushrooms, while Cappuccino equals frothed milk drizzled with truffle oil. The soup works like a charm in the current weather. Subtle on your tongue, easy on the throat with essence of strong Indian herbs in every spoonful.
Asparagus, Ricotta and Walnut (4/5)
The better of the two soups I tried for the night. For firsts, the soup is a great looker and the presence of whole candied walnuts could be a cause of concern for quite a few people. The base is a lot of asparagus, Basque spinach and ricotta cheese. I love walnuts and this soup gave me something to sip and munch on, from the very same bowl. If you like ‘good different’, you should pick this.
Malta Orange Beet and Shaved Fennel Salad (3/5)
Oranges, really? I wouldn’t say ‘despise’ but my taste buds do not take a fancy for absolutely any fruit, except berries of course. Shaved fennel orange segments and rocket dressed in honey, dill and wine vinaigrette topped with poached beet and toasted nuts. A not so harmonious union of ingredients.
Chicken Caesar Salad (5/5)
One of the classics, and an all time favorite salad. The iceberg lettuce was drenched in Caesar dressing. The in-house dressing was finger licking good and topped with roasted garlic and grana shavings. With no shortfall at all, this one is #HighlyRecommended
Sweet Corn and Mozzarella Fritters with Chilli Jam (5/5)
Once you include mozzarella, you rarely go wrong. Sweet corn kernels stuffed with jalapeno and gooey mozzarella. The sweetness of corn is set off with the edgy chilli jam, talk about perfect pairing right here. This is an excellent appetizer to kickstart the evening and highly recommended for vegetarians and non vegetarians alike. You won’t stop at one. #HighlyRecommended
Espetada is a quintessential Portugese dish where chunks of meat are rubbed with spices and then skewered over charcoal or wood chips. Meraki gives its diners an exotic range of espetadas, some of which are bookmarked for all my future visits to this place.
Jhinga Mirch Espetada (5/5)
They say good food should delight all your senses. This dish is a treat to your eyes, sense of smell and of course taste. Juicy chunks of Prawns marinated with green mirch thecha and garnished with fresh coconut. The skewers are served on a bed of potato chips. The spicy aftertaste of the thecha and the seafood freshness compliment each other fantastically. A dish which is going to be on my mind for a long time. #HighlyRecommended
Lamb Kibbeh Espetada (5/5)
Another fabulous dish in terms of flavor and presentation. In house spice scented mince lamb kibbeh, which is a version of popular Mediterranean recipe is grilled and served with chilli tzatziki and potato chips. The mince is superfine and flawless while the touch of ground middle eastern spices steals the show. #HighlyRecommended
Piquanto Espetada (3/5)
The vegetarian version falls short – not in flavor but texture. The tangy jalapeno marination does not seep down to the cottage cheese, making the chunks quite dry and bland.
The Italian Grub
Meraki offers an excellent range of some popular Italian cuisine. The pizzas are thin crust and delectable.
Del Salmon – (4/5)
My first tryst with salmon on pizza and I loved it. Smoked Norwegian salmon topped with spicy cream mousse, spinach, shallots and asparagus. This is probably how you nail it with simplicity. A very light on your palate dish and recommended for all those who love to experiment.
Jamaican Chicken (4/5)
The Jamaican Chicken Pizza is for those who like a hint of spice. Jerk marinated chicken with blanched garlic spinach. The garlic does the magic in this dish. The sweet corns fell a little out of place though, otherwise perfecto!
Rosemary Potato Naanza (4/5)
The base of the Naanza was rather crisp, similar to a cracker. But, this was possibly why I loved the dish. The base clearly demarcates it from their range of pizzas. Toppings included sundried tomatoes, steamed kale, jalapeno, olives on a bed of pesto.
Purple Potato Gnocchi (5/5)
A dish delicious beyond words. The sage scented purple potato (potatoes of south American origin) served with feta béchamel and tossed hazelnut is finger licking good. Gnocchi are thick soft dough dumplings and those skeptical about trying Gnocchi can have their maiden adventure right here. #HighlyRecommended
Again a very fine preparation. Soft pasta parcels infused with farm tomatoes, stuffed with fresh ricotta, basil parmesan, tossed in sage and garlic butter souse served with cheese fondue cream. The raviolis were exceptionally soft and melt in the mouth delicate. A mandatory order for pasta fanatics.
Mushroom Spinach and Sundried Risotto (4/5)
Again I am not a huge fan of risottos but this one comes close to being the best I’ve had in the city. Sautéed mushrooms, sundried tomato and fresh spinach simmered to obtain the right amount of cheesiness.
Salli Chicken (3/5)
The fabled Parsi dish which has slightly tangy topped with potato straws. The dish fails to deliver as much its counterparts. Served with buttered naan on the side, this one can be given a miss.
Laal Maas Bunny Chow (4/5)
To be honest, I was quite skeptical about this fusion composition but one bite into that Lal Maas and all my thoughts were put to rest. The traditional Rajasthani delicacy hits all the right notes, surprisingly enough the buttered toasted bread compliments the dish and takes away nothing. #HighlyRecommended
Surmai Darne (4/5)
A darne is a thick section cut from a fish, in this case a fleshy surmai. The fish is rubbed with Moroccan spices and the pan fried fillet is served on a heap of mashed potato, coconut chilli and curried rice. The mashed potatoes add a hint of confusion here, otherwise the seafood delicacy is top notch.
The only segment which falls short at Meraki is unfortunately the desserts. The snag is more on the execution front than conceptualization. The array is exotic and majorly inspired by French and Italian signature recipes.
Orange Chocolate Fondant (5/5)
My favorite from the night. Not to be confused with the fondant used as icing for cakes, this one has a warm dark chocolate and malta orange encased in its own bake. Topped with vanilla ice cream, this one gives you the feels of a lava cake but with a strong orange zest. #HighlyRecommended
Coconut Bread Pudding (3/5)
The bread pudding is warm and fuzzy and hits the perfect notes of ‘being soft’. It is drizzled with red current and caramel sauce, a unique blend which works well. Recommended for those seeking a dessert low on sugar.
Cardamom Pannacotta and Honeyed Figs (3/5)
I am an ardent fan of Pannacotta. Being finicky undeniably follows this opening. The cardamom flavored pannacotta was just about average in flavor. Probably too subtle for my liking and the fig syrup and honeycomb sauce didn’t help me either. Not one of the best I’ve had.
Mandarin Crepe Suzette (2.5/5)
It’s a French Classic. Suzette is a sauce made from caramelized sugar, butter and orange zest. The dish fails to leave a mark. The crepes seem drenched in the orange concoction. What follows is intense sogginess and a sauce extremely high on sucrose. I know the signature recipe calls for such a downpour, but a little reduction of the orange sauce could go a long way.
Quoting a popular saying, ” Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished! ” With the year 2017 in almost its periphery, I can unequivocally say that my visit to Meraki is one of the most enduring experiences of the past year. Highly recommended for those who want to slow it down a little and take a pause.
Disclaimer: This Review is based on a complimentary invite extended by Carpe Diem on behalf of Meraki. The opinion expressed in the review is entirely my own and in no manner influenced by any party.