Even as the festival kicked off at the Gurgaon outlet, some of us were invited to review the first offerings.
Words & photographs: Ambica Gulati
Some foods make you healthy, some make you think while others leave you wondering—that’s what the ‘Tacomosa’ festival at this five-year-old restaurant did for me. While restaurants are going out of their way to find authentic cuisines, bringing street food into fine dining, restaurateur Inderjeet Singh Banga along with his brother Jasmeet, has worked upon combining two popular global snacks with his team of brilliant chefs. “Innovation is the key to retaining customers in this highly competitive world of food as well as giving the team the room to express their ideas and turn them into reality,” says the young entrepreneur who refuses to accept accolades without taking his team into account.
Food, food chains and food courts, that’s probably the mantra in urban cities in India–we are after all the second most populated country in the world. To top it, our diverse variety has given us tremendous freedom to enjoy all kinds of foods. Added to this is the global exposure. And the new vibrant Indian is game to experiment, which is what young Banga has caught on well to. And he realizes the mindset of the fast paced world of urban India, which is why he has dared to experiment with global snacks and pulled it off too.
Coming back to Tacomosa—where the Mexican taco is woven with Indian samosa in myriad ways, I found most of the meal light, provided you are not in a hurry. For the novices, this chain offers unlimited buffet at a nominal price of approx Rs 800 plus taxes. This festival is part of the package where unlimited 12 snacks are served on the table, then there’s the main course and a lavish round of desserts.
The festival kicked off on our tables with specially made mocktails—which had lots of tanginess and zing, nothing harsh and over the top syrupy, but more masalas, juices and limes. There is a new drinks menu on the anvil too in the coming months.
What we dug into: Progressive taco chaat with tamarind elaichi curd—yes, it was chaat alright, but the tacos were crispy. I liked that precisely. If I wasn’t going to try all the other offerings in this festival, I would have ordered one more plate (which has four portions).
Next came the deconstructed samosa with aloo basil rasa. If you are an aloo poori or kachori aloo fan, then this rasa with its twist of pineapple is going to please you. The idea is to take a lesson in how to eat from the chef—crush and put the rasa on top, let the flavours mingle before you take a bite. We learned this from Chef Harangad who was busy cooking for this ‘esteemed table of reviewers’.
Another dish which I feel would be a hit with children was peanut butter tarkari in home-made bun. Soft, crunchy and tasty, you kind of want more of it after the first two bites. It also seemed healthier than burgers to me.
Something which I relished for the dip was oriental pepper chicken with Indian samosa crust. I am not much of a sausage and lamb fan, but for those who love hot dogs, a bite into the secret recipe sausage with soft bun and mayo drizzle can be a satisfying experience. The lamb lovers will find their favourite biryani in this taco snack of baby lamb tawa biryani with raita foam.
Probably sinful for women, but going to be a hit with children—vanilla cream with chocolate-dipped tacos and banana caramel. It came in a small tub with a small spoon but slunk down the stomach and probably stayed there for a while longer than desired.
“We have to keep progressing and innovating. It’s a challenging and fast moving industry but that’s what keeps us motivated,” says the dynamic entrepreneur who also owns the well-known fine-dining outlet, Prankster. “Food has to be fun and at Pirates, it’s a more difficult task as speed, quality and quantity are of utmost importance.”
The outlets are open for lunch and dinner and constantly packed. Even as we were about to kick-off the tasting, two groups had already celebrated their birthdays. Over the next two hours, three more did the same here, as the place suits office crowd and families very well.
Coming from an agricultural state, Banga has skillfully combined India’s love of large families celebrating all their special moments with loads of food and turned it into a successful restaurant. With his feet firmly ingrained in the world of food, the young turk hopes to make food even more fun and progressive in the coming few months. On numbers, he knows he is selling at a competitive price, but that doesn’t deter him for the ‘pulse’ has to be fast, is what I gauged in my interaction with him. There are going to be more festivals and more innovations in his kitchens.
Tacomosa travels to the other five outlets (Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jammu, Noida, Delhi) in the coming few months. It’s on till September 20 at MGF, Mega City Mall, Gurugram.