It has been a pretty interesting and intense week for me both with my work and my blog, picking up to a good start. The main highlight, which put a spring in my step was getting invited to one of a kind fine dining experience called “Stones and Malts.” I was intrigued and at awe, a first for me – food cooked and served on Himalayan Salt Block.
Himalayan Salt Block or plates as they are called is not a new cooking technique, but one that has been around for centuries. These are imported from Pakistan and/or around the Himalayan region, and do not come cheap. They come in the form of blocks and are used to serve either chilled food, or you can cook on it, by heating the salt plate on a grill or a stove. Healthy barbecue this!
“Did you know – Himalayan Salt is one of the purest forms of salt which is packed with 84 nutrients. It is both healthy and locks in the flavour of the dish, without the need for any seasoning!”
The food cooks fairly quickly and should be eaten as soon as its ready, else if the food is a bit moist, it soaks up more salt that needed. The plates can be used about 10 to 15 times, depending on the food items cooked on it. It is fairly easy to clean, just use a wet cloth and it is done. The salts are anti-microbial, so can be stored.
What’s in my Glass?
As the name on the menu suggests, pairing fine food with fine Malts was well thought of. For all you whiskey drinkers, this is a must try. The Lalit Ashok has some of the finest Malts to chose from., so take your pick. The chef is at hand to guide you with your selection. To begin the evening, I began with a glass of Chardonnay, whilst I waited and watched in anticipation, the stone blocks being prepared for cooking.
I had the liberty to taste all of the below, Glen Elgin 12yo, Clynelish 14yo and Talisker 10yo, all of these were carefully paired, each had their own distinct taste, and the spicy edge and the maritime notes of the Talisker went well with the seafood for the meats I stuck with Glen Elgin, over all it was the marriage of the drink and the meats the made the dining experience just brilliant.
What’s on my Plate?
Amuse Bouche – Compressed Melon soaked overnight in Himalayan honey, lemon juice and finished with Himalayan pink salt. This was as refreshing as the chilly wind blowing across the roof top restaurant. The burst of flavours from the peanuts hidden inside was just parfait! The basil leaf just added to the zest, then the marshmallow had another round of flavours tingly the taste buds and what very interesting was that the salt added its own zing.
Main Course – All dishes are served a la carte, you can take your pick of the spices for marination!
There are various sauces to accompany the meat, if you so wish to.
Scallops – I adore scallops, and just asked the chef to go ahead with what he felt best. So here they were gorgeous sizzle and in a couple of minutes they were ready – and just like that they disappeared and melted in my mouth. Highly recommended to try with Sesame and Coriander marination. Loved the finishing touch – tiny sea shells just did the trick!
Tiger prawns – If there is anything I can just continue to eat and never get bored or full, are Prawns. Here the chef marinated the prawns with a Trio of Thai spice. Again, I highly recommend this.
Yellow Fin Tuna – Tuna is a gorgeous fish, and the chef I have to admit out did this one, I have no comments and will let my pictures do the talking, the marination used was Oko Spice.
Chicken in Chilli Soya and Honey – a lovely sweet glaze and tinge of chilli had the chicken taste delicious.
Lamb Chops – Marinated in Sesame and Coriander, and a few minutes on the Himalayan salt block, and voila, so succulent and rare. Another highly recommended dish.
Pork Belly – For the love of Pork, just melt in your mouth this one, the chef used Chilli Soya and Honey. Sweet perfection!
Beef with Trio of Thai Spices – Thinly sliced beef just sizzled away on the block of salt. Again, served rare, just divine.
Duck Breasts cooked in Oko Spice – I was almost stuffed by now, yet the Duck meat looked so tempting, i just gobbled it as soon as it was served!
This specially curated menu is served a la carte with an exclusive festival that is on until the 07th of August. Apparently, this will be an added and regular feature on the new menu at OKO in the days to come, so looking forward. For table reservations, call: +91 80 3052 7777
To add to the beauty and charm of the evening, there was a slight nip in the air, but sitting by the grill, the warmth along with the delicious food just kept me sated. I also, met some lovely people, who made the evening even more memorable. Thanks Ahmed, Rajwa, Lorin and Sam. And not to mention Chef Bharat & Chef Mayank.
About Chef Mayank Istwal – is an Executive Sous Chef at The Lalit Ashok, Bangalore. He brings to the table over eight years of experience and specializes in Italian, European, Mexican and Indian Cuisine. He took to cooking at an early age, and now is a profession he loves. He credits his Grandmother for passing down some of the cherished and unique recipes across. He has numerous awards to his collection and speaks of food and cooking with such high regard. We spoke of how back in his home town, cooking with Himalayan Salt Block is a daily affair. He is proud of some of the in houses sauces he help prepare for OKO.
About OKO – located on the top floor, this rooftop, award winning Pan Asian restaurant, serves some exquisite and enticing cuisine with Japanese and Thai to Vietnamese, Mandarin and Malaysian influences. It is open for both lunch and dinner.
About The Lalit Ashok, Bangalore – This is one of the finest luxury hotels in the city that is spread across 10 acres of sprawling landscaped. The hotel is known for its fine and contemporary dining. With a elegant interiors, and spruced with modern amenities, this hotel has redefined luxury. It is the first hotel in South India to be accredited with ISO 22000 standards. To know more “Click Here.”
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**Disclaimer: Even thou the invite was complimentary, all views expressed are my own.