Let’s Get Fresh. And Fabulous.
Weekly Restaurant Review | Red Fork, Indiranagar | Priya Bala
The restaurant critic’s life may seem like an enviable one. That’s only from the outside. On the job, it’s littered with mediocre or, worse, pretentious food, encounters with pushy restaurateurs and the struggle to find adjectives for dishes that refuse to rise above the ordinary.
But once in a rare while, along comes a restaurant that blows you away with its food. It could be anything – from a gourmet class dinner with fine wine to an eat-and-scoot restaurant that serves, say, the perfect kothu parota. I had such a wow experience at the Red Fork on 12th Main, Indiranagar, a few days ago.
There could not have been a more unlikely setting for the meal. It was a small space, including a tiny outdoor area, with casual furniture and no-frills table settings. The Red Fork is, in fact, a part of Daddy’s Deli, which has a loyal clientele for its Parsi fare. The new restaurant is the creation of Xerxes, whose parents have been running Daddy’s for just over a decade.
Xerxes, all of 23, is a Cordon Bleu chef and has trained and worked in Sydney which is one of the exciting food capitals of the world today. Put it down to the idealism of youth or his commitment to uncompromisingly high standards, but Xerxes has a very clear idea of what he serves at the Red Fork and how he goes about it. The best fresh ingredients are treated with understanding and care, given a subtle creative touch here or a flourish there and emerge as dishes that dazzle and delight the diner.
We had a pasta, fresh tagliatelle with prawns. The pasta was thin and silken, the prawns super fresh, for Xerxes doesn’t believe in frozen meat and seafood, and all the elements, perfectly balanced, combined to make a perfect and elegant dish.
The Red Fork’s blackboard menu is small, but that is as it should be, when the chef is using fresh, seasonal produce. So, you won’t find 100 dishes to pore over here, but what’s there is superb. The lamb chops on quinoa with a pomegranate jus was recommended and did not disappoint in the least. The chops, beautiful specimens each of them, sliced beautifully and tasted even better. The quinoa salad was nutty and sparkled with dices of fresh vegetables. The intense jus brought everything together.
I also tasted the braised pork belly. And I’m going to stick my neck out here and say it’s the best I’ve tasted in Bangalore. And that includes in the award-winning restaurants in town. The dish came, drizzled with an Asian-style sauce, scattered with a salad of fresh, sharp herbs, including mint, and the crackling crowned the whole. The meat was cooked to a luscious tenderness, with the slightest hint of sweetness, the fat melted in the mouth. This is a dish from pork heaven, I am convinced.
Even as I gush about Chef Xerxes’s unquestionable ability to create superb food, I wonder if it needs a better showcase than this casual café. And if he scales up, will that mean he’ll have to compromise on the stringent standards he has set for himself? It’s a dilemma, to be sure. I just want the lamb chops to be that perfect, always.