Getting the right mix of food and cocktails

Merak is designed to include an interesting mix of cocktails and mocktails. The short eats are curated accordingly
Last Updated : 03 January 2020, 13:07 IST

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It is interesting to see familiar spaces being transformed and given a new identity. This is precisely what has been done with the Spice Terrace poolside Indian restaurant at JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru. In its new avatar, Spice Terrace is Merak, an urban oasis.

First of its kind in the country, the outdoor living space, under a partnership between JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru and Corona, has redesigned the menu to include an interesting mix of cocktails and mocktails. The food has been curated accordingly.

Merak was designed as a one-stop-shop for cocktails, mocktails and small plates. Shrikant Parashar, the executive sous chef, explains that the restaurant has not been designed to offer a full meal. “The mocktails and cocktails are paired with short eats. The design process for the two went hand-in-hand. The taste and flavours perfectly complement each other. Through a study, we understood that people don’t want to stick to just one place but love hopping from one restaurant to another. They have limited time and wish to make the best of it,” explains Shrikant.

The chef says that the food menu is unlike the usual. Their best seller is the ‘Naga chilli mushrooms’, which goes well with ‘Merak Gazer’ which is made of Beefeater gin, blue pea flower decoration, Cointreau Martini Bianco and a splash of ginger ale. “This combination of food and cocktail brings about the burst of flavours, activating the chilli and creating a blissful taste palate. We have added our own twist to this dish to make it palatable to people here,” explains Shrikant.

Another dish that is worth trying is ‘Fried chicken served with Bhel’. While this may seem like an unlikely combination, the blend is perfect. Shrikant explains, “We first tried fried chicken with melted cheese. And then tried it with a dose of Bhel. It turned out to be a eureka moment for us. This is quirky and spicy too.”

Another must-try dish is ‘Keema aur bun maska.’ This is best paired with dark Phoenix cocktail (a mix of old monk rum and orange liqueur. Orgeat and activated charcoal blends well with the ten spices). Shrikant says this dish finds its origins in Iran. “Minced Kheema is served with an egg that is broken on top. The egg forms a coating. These appetisers are high on fat, which helps build an appetite for alcohol,” adds the chef.

The menu also includes a starter of lobster. “This is a significant dish and is meant for those who have an acquired taste for such food,” he adds. The Asparagus and Broccoli salad has been introduced with a purpose. “After every second drink, you tend to feel guilty. Asparagus and Broccoli salad has been added to reduce the guilt factor. It does well to balance the alcohol content,” Shrikant says.

Published 03 January 2020, 12:59 IST

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