Tag Archives: Ankur Chawla

K3 Alfresco at JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity : A Perfect Winter Rendezvous

Some of my fondest memories of winter are centred around food. Sitting around a bonfire eating peanuts and gajjak in Jammu during Lohri; driving for masala tea and hot pakoras to a road side tea stall in Rajpur from our house in Dehradun; plucking fresh spinach and mustard from our kitchen garden in Kaka Nagar, New Delhi, cooking it over an open fire and eating it along with home-made “makki rotis”.

Countless nostalgic food moments like these, associated with places where I have lived. Somehow I feel less guilty about over-eating at this time of the year. The weight gain that invariably happens, gets camouflaged by layers of clothing, which is a blessing.

During winters, the urge for a barbecue usually takes me to a nearby “dhaba”, or to Old Delhi, where you can stand around numerous roadside makeshift charcoal grills, and devour delicious kebabs and skewered meats.

But there are times, when I really yearn for a nice juicy lamb chop, paired with a robust red wine or some top quality grilled fish. For this, however, I head to a fine dining restaurant, preferably having outdoor seating, as this kind of food is best enjoyed when it is fresh off the grill, and cooked right in front of you.

When I read that K3, the all-day dining at JW Marriott, Aerocity New Delhi, had added an outdoor extension called K3 Alfresco serving barbecues and grilled dishes, it seemed like the perfect solution for my yearnings and I decided to check it out.

Luckily Delhi has had an unusually mild winter this year. So the thought of sitting outdoors did not seen very daunting.

K3, with its elaborate menu and popular Sunday brunches has already established its reputation as one of the best fine dining destinations in Delhi -NCR. I was not disappointed with the new addition, K3 Alfresco, either.

K3 Alfresco at JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity
K3 Alfresco at JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity

The menu at K3 Alfresco is limited since it is predominantly about grills. Prawns, Scallops, Goat Cheese Tart and something called Provolone Brulee are offered as the appetizers. For the mains the choice is wider and the several options include Lobster, Fish (Sea Bass, Black Cod, John Dory), New Zealand Lamb Chops, Pork Chops & Chicken Breast. Vegetarians can choose between Charred Polenta and Wild Mushroom & Asparagus Gougère.

There is a wide variety of sauces to go with the mains, Béarnaise, Caper Beurre Blanc, Red Wine Jus, Pepper, Mushroom etc. Plenty of interesting sides too.

I ordered Grilled Jumbo Prawns, Goat Cheese Tart (absolutely delicious and must try) among the appetisers and Sea Bass & New Zealand Lamb Chops from the mains. The wine I chose with the seafood was Dr Loosen 2013 Riesling and with the lamb chops it was Frescobaldi Pater Sangiovese, both by the glass. The deal here is that if you order one main dish ( Rs 1500-3500) from the grill; the soup, sides and a pre-plated dessert come free of cost.

Grilled Sea Bass; Grilled Prawns; New Zealand Lamb Chops, Goat Cheese Tart, Dr Loosen Riesling, Dessert Platter with Creme Brulee & Valrhona Chocolate Mousse.
Grilled Sea Bass; Grilled Prawns; New Zealand Lamb Chops, Goat Cheese Tart, Dr Loosen Riesling, Dessert Platter with Creme Brulee & Valrhona Chocolate Mousse. All food pics are mine except the Sea Bass

Now Sea Bass is a delicate fish which requires minimal cooking. Executive Chef Vivek Bhatt and Executive Sous Chef Ishika Konar had respected that. The fish presented to me was white, soft, flakey and just melted in the mouth.

The Prawns were a wee bit over but Chef Ishika nailed the lamb chops. I had asked them to be done medium and this is how I got them, succulent with the juices intact. The cooking techniques of the chefs was spot on. They understood the ingredients and respected them.

Chef Ishika Konar, Executive Sous Chef, JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity. She specialises in Mediterranean, German, & Mexican Cuisine and her forte is western hot kitchen & garde manger.
Chef Ishika Konar, Executive Sous Chef, JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity. She specialises in Mediterranean, German, & Mexican Cuisine and her forte is western hot kitchen & garde manger.

One reason why I like going to K3 is the well thought out wine list and some great offers by the glass. Plus there is Director Beverages, Ankur Chawla, one of India’s best sommeliers, whose advice can always be sought, when in doubt about which wine to pair with your meal.

K3 Alfresco is a dinner only, season bound offer (during winters till mid-Feb). I loved the romantic ambience. It seems like a perfect place to take your date on a cold winter evening.

In case you need additional heating, there are enough tower heaters which don’t let you feel the chill, even though you are seated in the open.

So if you are looking for a special evening to try out some delicious grills, you know where to head to.

By : Lavina Kharkwal

Berries & More at Akira Back, JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity

Give me berries over any other fruit as for me personally there is nothing more delicious than biting into a ripe juicy plump berry, be it strawberry, raspberry, blueberry or blackberry. Other than the taste I find them visually appealing as they come in vibrant colors. And they are “health treasures” as these little wonders come packed with cancer fighting antioxidants which neutralize those dangerous villains called free radicals that cause cell damage in our body. Berries contain tons of vitamins, anthocyanidins which can slow down ageing and something called flavonoids (also found in red wine) which have a slimming effect on our bodies as they inhibit fat absorption.

You must be wondering why I am extolling the health benefits of this luscious “super food”. Well that’s because a few days back I got a chance to try out some great berry based dishes at JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity’s contemporary Japanese restaurant Akira Back, where currently, there is food festival called “Berries and More” going on. It was a revelation to see seasonal berries being presented in a non-dessert form as they were incorporated in savory dishes and combined with seafood. I thought it was a brilliant way of making dining out a healthy option.

Hawaii born Chef Corey E Asato who heads the team at Akira Back, suggested I begin my meal with Strawberry Salad featuring juicy strawberries, thinly sliced cucumbers, mixed greens and balsamic reduction served with an amazu pepper dressing. The salad, though simple, packed quite a punch. Fresh strawberries and balsamic reduction have a natural affinity for each other and the sweet tangy flavors in the salad were balanced nicely with the salty sharp amazu dressing.

The next dish I tried was Tuna Tataki with Berry Tosazu. Tataki, which is basically pan seared meat or fish, is a very popular appetizer in Japanese restaurants. So in case you have a fear of eating raw fish (sashimi) I suggest you try Tataki as it’s a great way to eat tuna. This dish had some interesting components like truffled amazu ponzu shaved onions, micro pea shoots & renkon chips (Japanese lotus roots same as our nadru or kamal kakri). Berries were used more than just a decorative garnish here as the berry wasbai tosazu was layered with acidity and umami flavors and helped in bringing the dish together.

Strawberry Salad & Tuna Tataki with Berry Tosazu
Strawberry Salad & Tuna Tataki with Berry Tosazu

Negami with Raspberry Ginger was next on the table. In simple English this was skewered grilled chicken basted with a delicious raspberry ginger glaze, macha salt, the chicken pieces interspersed with curled negi (Japanese onion). This is a great option for the non-fish/seafood eating Delhi folks. The vegetarian version comes with roasted vegetables with cranberry ponzu (a tangy soy-based citrus sauce)

The last berry based savory dish presented before me was Smoked Salmon with Berry Ratatouille served on a bed of Inaniwa Udon with lemon grass coconut broth. Since this was the first time I tried these noodles, Chef Corey explained that Inaniwa are hand-stretched & thinner than regular udon and are counted as one of Japan’s 100 best local dishes from rural areas. The noodles had a distinctive feel in the mouth as they had a firm body. As for the salmon,  we all know it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and when combined with the goodness of berries, this was a super healthy delicious dish that I finished in no time.

Smoked Salmon with Berry Ratatouille and Inaniwa Udon : Photo courtesy Akira Back
Smoked Salmon with Berry Ratatouille and Inaniwa Udon : Photo Courtesy Akira Back

I ended my meal with Panna Cotta garnished with fresh raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and a berry tuile providing a crunchy textural contrast.

Talking to Chef Corey Asato who along with Chef Tomoyuki Kiga has been entrusted with executing the vision of Chef Akira Back, I could easily see his passion for cooking and desire to learn and better himself by experimenting with various techniques and ingredients. Here he takes a classic cuisine like Japanese and with subtle twists, turns it into something so palatable that it suits Indian taste buds perfectly. It is not without reason that Akira Back has firmly established itself as the top fine-dine option for Japanese Korean cuisine, not just in Delhi but in India.

Chef Corey E. Asato with his team at Akira Back
Chef Corey E. Asato with his team at Akira Back

The pleasure of eating here increases manifold when you have people like Beverage Manager Ankur Chawla, one of India’s most knowledgeable sommeliers, to guide you through the well thought out wine list and explain about the various types of Sake (Japanese rice wine) like Jun Mai, Honjozo, Ginjo & Daiginzo on offer.

Believe me eating out becomes an experience to cherish.

By: Lavina Kharkwal

Sake Cocktail & Grey Goose Martini at Akira Back
Sake Cocktail & Grey Goose Martini at Akira Back

Berries & More 18th -27th February 2016

6 pm -11.45 pm

Akira Back at JW Marriott

New Delhi Aerocity