When I first heard the term 'pop-up restaurant', my mind went in different directions trying to conjure up its real meaning. Does it 'pop up' out of the blue and then vanishes? Is it some kinda mobile restaurant, some flash-mob kinda eatery etc etc. When I reached the venue ( after getting bit lost, here & there ), I finally got it. Well...I was little close to the answer. It does pop-up, but not necessarily in the roadside ( which by the way is possible ;-); it can pop-up at someone's residence too ( like it was at Ananya's place ). Its more like a planned lunch or dinner with a specifically themed menu and for small groups, who can order much in advance of their requirements and can be anywhere ~ at someone's home or some rented place. Its a new concept and very interesting if one plans to host a special luncheon/dinner for a special group of friends. It also has options to expand later on to cater larger groups as well or provide some kinda food-delivery service to either corporate, home or parties. One thing is guaranteed - Food will be unusual, yummy & very global.
The venue, as mentioned, was at Artist Ananya Banerjee's own house. When I stepped in, I was literally awestruck. It was like stepping into an art gallery, with many priceless paintings hung everywhere, also tastefully done up interiors. The home impressed me so much, that I was really curious if the food will live up to that expectation as well. And needlessly to say it did. The Menu was supposed to give us a taste of international cuisines that Ananya has learnt and practiced herself, over the years via her varied travels. She is an avid globe trotter ( me so envies her ). During her various travels, more than sight-seeing she preferred to explore different authentic local-cuisines instead, that has culminated today in her being a food-stylist cum expert.
For this pop-up restaurant event, Ananya specially prepared 10 delicacies from 10 different countries; recipes that are also straight from her new book 'Planet Gastronomy'. When I entered, there were already a few bloggers biting merrily into some yummy starters and I was lucky to get a few pieces myself, else, I was sure they'd have finished those up within seconds - so yummy they were. I was first served with refreshing chilled white wine ( Sangrias ) which was flavoured with mint, lemon rinds and pineapples, setting my taste buds tickling away already. The starters ( refer pictures above ) were the very unusual and tasty Pae De Quicho from Brazil, Guacamole Mexico - that is essentially Nachos accompanied with a yummy dip, Swedish meat balls and Water melon infused jello shots with Vodka. SLURP!
The teacher and eager students :-)
We were then treated into a live-demo of Khow Suey, an intricate but very easy delicacy from Burma/Myanmar. The whole preparation was interesting to watch as Ananya told us about the various ingredients used. It was ready in no time and all of us were craving to have it.
YUM YUM YUM.....
Using roasted besan ( gram flour ) and coconut milk as a base, various vegetables like coloured bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini etc ( for non-veg version meat can be used ) are used in the spicy-tangy gravy. The spices used are Indian and easily available in the market. Once prepared one can add various toppings of their choice ( noodles, mushroom, caramalized onions, sprouts, roasted peanuts, boiled eggs, boiled chicken pieces etc ).
A Meal for an entire army or what! Look at the preparation - simply mind-blowing to say the least. After the delicious round of Khow Suey tasting, we couldn't wait to attack the main course, that looked so tempting. The main course consisted of Mango Salad, Malaysian Nasi Lemak made of sticky rice and chilly+tamarind+fried onion paste on top, Moroccan Harissa Couscous made of Khus Khus sprinkled with promeganate seeds, Bobotie of South Africa which is a layered minced meat baked-dish delicacy having an egg-custard layer on top, Paneer Sate Malaysia and Moroccan Piri Piri Prawne. Each dish had its own unique taste and all are authentic preparations.
Go get the book today! ( also check out my review; coming soon....)
Authoring a book too, of 100 recipes from over 60 countries, hers is truly a-one-of-a-kind book you must get, to explore different world cuisines. A day well spent, it was finally time to head back home. Thank you Ananya & Robin for being such fabulous hosts. Do invite me again :D
( Images - ©Mine & Sayantani Ganguly. )
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