Head to Worldmark 1 to find the world on your plate, and a very artistic plate it is.
Words & photographs: Ambica Gulati
I knew tapas in Spanish meant small helpings but I didn’t know that this new world tapas bar has taken traditional flavours to another level. Inspired by the tapas served across the world, Chef Akshay Bhardwaj has crafted an innovative menu.
‘Tapas’ comes from the Spanish verb tapar which means to cover. And in the pre-19th century Spain, travellers across the country were served tapa as few could read or write. Tapa was pot cover. “Tapas were thin slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst,” Wikipedia explains.
Going by the dome-like ceiling and the horse-shoe shaped bar, we could have been in ancient Spain. But the lighting and the flooring remind us that it is the 21st century. Designer Sumesh Menon was inspired by the cathedrals and Spanish architecture during his travels and all that reflects in this 110-cover restaurant.
Our tasting began with some delicious cocktails from Nectar—the bar which does not believe in sugary concoctions. Cold pressed juices, fresh herbs and home-made infusions are the forte. I opted for Saffronisation, which comprised coffee and bourbon. And the second round had Scarlet with berries, flowers and strawberries. But I didn’t cover these with meats between sips and bites–no one expected me to go the ancient way!
The Beetroot Carpaccio was a good beginning. There is a mean fresh eel nigiri on the menu too. And the pork ribs are to die for, and that comes from someone who doesn’t like pork—absolutely soft and melt-in-the-mouth. Another dish that I would recommend is the Pork Khurchan Bao. The soft and clear dim sums too make for a good dish. Scallops, Pistachio and Cauliflower was something new for me—never had these with these flavours and they were a delight. And there’s ample choice for vegetarians.
We ended our meal with Peanut Butter and Jam and the signature Coco and Soil. This tree made of five kinds of chocolates is a visual and flavourful meal in itself. It must be savoured, not rushed.
The Chef has travelled across Denmark, Canada, South America and Singapore and more places. The influences and innovations are a result of these extensive travels. The ingredients are fresh and the presentation an art. Good music, peppy lighting and small helpings—La Roca is a place for long luncheons and lots of gossip for sure.