Taj West End Bengaluru is hosting its first ‘Spanish Extravaganza’ in the city from December 19 to 22. Taj is foraying into the land of gastronomic experiences of Spain, this time with Chef Alberto Ferruz. According to the Taj, Chef Alberto is a master of flavours and is known for his innovative take on traditional Spanish Cuisine from the Jávea and the Marina Alta regions. His restaurant, ‘BonAmb’, has just received its second Michelin star and third Repsol Sun within just eight years of opening its doors, we are told.
We were invited to partake on opening night. The multi-course meal on offer for the extravaganza has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. For starters, we were served a rice crisp dusted with seaweed powder and dollops of almond infusion, followed by pickled pumpkin soup, all cold dishes. The soup had cooked pumpkin, delicate slices of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. The entrée course was accompanied by five different Tanqueray and whiskey-based cocktails. The standout cocktail was Mistela, with crème de Jasmine, chili oil, lime juice and Tanqueray gin.
The remaining courses were paired with wine – one white, and two red, from the Marques de Riscal range in Rioja, Spain. The first three dishes in the course were paired with a white wine, Rueda 2017, made with Verdejo grapes. The rest of the dishes were paired with a Rioja 2014. The vegetarian dishes paired well with the two wines, with the downgrading acidity from the first dish to the last complemented by the crispness of the Rueda, followed by the dry, tannic Rioja. The non-vegetarian dishes paired better with the white wine than with the red. Of the meats, the lamb was a bit chewy and hard, served rare, but the smoky jus it was served with added much-needed flavour.
Some of the standout dishes of the evening were curried, creamy cucumber that celebrated different textures of the vegetable – pureed, sliced, slivered. A palate pleaser that went terrifically with the Rueda. The squid – nice, soft and delicious – served with Roman style cauliflower and caviar, is our pick of the non-vegetarian menu. Dessert was common to both menus: an aubergine marmalade, cooked down with spices and sugar into a leathery, rubbery morabba-like jam was the hero of the evening, served with crumbled lemon and ginger cake. A winner of a dish.