ARTH – a monumental establishment in the culinary circuit of Mumbai saw a star studded launch in Pune a few months ago. While the launch propaganda and media buzz is short lived, the true propeller to success is what the brand has to ‘offer’. How often do you see a restaurant bustling with guests on a Monday evening right in its first month of operations? A meld of guests of all age groups, all fervent and smiles!
Well that’s the power that Arth exudes, more legitimately – Women Power. The essence of Arth lies in the stark contrast of ancient cooking methodology meets contemporary ambience. The extraordinary ensemble of the two is brought together by Gauri Khan and Chef Amninder Sandhu to create a masterpiece, which is Arth.
Gauri Khan dons the designer’s hat and creates the most unconventional ambience. I thought I knew what ‘rich’ meant, until I came face to face with the uber ritzy décor at Arth. Stunning details which spiral into a pile of books. Lamps resembling solitaires, a heterogeneous combination of seating styles to suit small and large groups. A line of upholstery and chandeliers which exude ‘posh’ out loud while the staff stands tall in leather aprons (more like armored), a first for me and definitely something you can’t overlook. Also, there’s a gas free open kitchen right beside the entrance to enthrall and ignite all your senses.
Old methods of cooking, read ancient techniques such as slow cooking, use of Angeethis and Sigris concentrated more on flavors than speed. The time when every ingredient was permitted its natural cooking time and not ‘pressure cooked’ to grant it the edibility. All of this and more is brought into force at Arth to give you a historic feel of ancient Indian culture and flavors.
The menu at Arth runs into pages and to execute such a detailed menu with absolute finesse is no easy feat. Celebrity Chef Amninder Sandhu does an incredible job and creates a benchmark in the culinary field with Arth.
All’s well that begins well. The famous proverb, when slightly twisted fits in perfectly at Arth. The Amuse Bouche arrive as delicate pearls camped in a shell and immediately spark curiosity along with a few raised brows. While I intentionally chose to not disclose the exact contents of this parcel (silent vow to maintain the element of surprise) here’s an intriguing picture of the same.
Of all the mocktails that were gulped down that evening, the SI Tipache stood out and how. A crackling combination of Mysore Nuggets, a strong Arabica variant of coffee in a mocktail format was a first for me and undeniably an unforgettable experience.
For starters nothing beats the Stuffed Morels that we tried. Morels are a breed of rare mushrooms, which are honeycomb like in appearance and delightfully larger, much meatier and quite porous in texture. The ones at Arth are brought down from Kashmir. A rare delicacy finely plated by the team. The soil bed of Nachni and walnut add to the beauty element and this is definitely my most favorite pick at Arth.
The Mutton Kakori Kebab are finely minced seekhs of meat. Delicate use of ground Indian spices, just the right amount to blend with the meat and grilled on the seekh. They look like the Seekh kebabs while the texture is a tad stronger than Galawati Kebabs. The perfect trade off and a must try.
The Patthar ka Gosht and Chargrilled Fish close in next as good contenders in the small plates arena. The former was a slightly tough and that can be worked on. The Fish was soft and succulent but no exceptional flavor, that you may have not tried before.
The amount of effort that goes behind creating a vegetarian dish contend with its non vegetarian halves and leave them behind has always been commendable. How often do you have a jackfruit and some chicken on your plate, Together? And how often would you want a second helping of the former. The Jackfruit Tawa Boti on a bed of lachcha onions is magical. The layers of the dish are plenty and each leave you coming back for more with every bite. Not really a starter per se due to the portion size, since it happens to be pretty filling.
The Chicken Makhmali looks like a dream but fails to impress. Taste is subjective and egg whites are definitely not my preference. Chicken kebabs topped with egg whites and black truffle pate where the taste falls from flat to dull, definitely did not work for me.
Once again, the Pearl Potatoes steal the show. What appeared to be a simple Dal Makhani turned out to be a rare breed of potatoes which are essentially the size of pearls. They aren’t’ shaped, scooped or artificially created but a very naturally gifted size. This version called the Badami Dum Aloo Coupled with some soft dahi ki khamiri roti is a classic. Trying out a rare desi delicacy, check!
The Hay Smoked Jungli Murgi is a mildly spicy chicken curry with very earthy flavors. Cooked in desi ghee and served with stuffed Bhavanagari chilli, mukka onions and jowar roti- the rustic level shoots up significantly here.
The Yetti Dosa is a rawa dosa prepared neer style. It is served with a lip smacking prawn curry in a coconut – tamarind base. Multiple layers of flavors stepping up and down to create a palatable experience.
The Raan Biryani is a mild and fragrant Biryani with meaty raan (lamb shanks). The preparation is very similar to a Kolkata Style Biryani which is more aromatic, sans masala. The single tone biryani is rich, not greasy and packed with flavors.
My pick from the night would be the amaze Kulfi(s). There’s a complete kulfi-cart to attend to you, that too with customizations. Tried a whole range of flavors and toppings and the simple Malai Kulfi version touched my heart enough to melt it and finish two whole servings single handedly.
The Kaale Gajar ka Halwa is a popular dessert up North since there is a thing for Black Carrots. The halwa was laden with ghee and dry fruits. Definitely not your regular gajar halwa but worth a try.
The Angoori Rabri resemble tiny bird nests. Mini chenna balls topped with thick rabri would be any Indian Mithai Lover’s fetish. A tad too sweet for my palate but leaves a mark presentation wise.
Arth is here to stay, be it for the sensational food or prodigious ambience coupled with unmatched service. The restaurant is a model illustration of how women set benchmarks, drive changes in the industry and outshine their own achievements. The place solidly mandates some applause and a visit.
Disclaimer: This Review is based on a complimentary invite extended by Carpe Diem. The opinion expressed in the review is entirely my own and in no manner influenced by any party.