I bumped into Hanisha at the pharmacy in Defence Colony market. She was buying nappies and I was hoarding up on all the available Vitamin C. Whilst paying our respective bills, she mentioned an upcoming project – Plats (plates / dishes in French). A project mandate that left me drooling to an extent that warranted the chemist to suggest an appetite suppressant.
You obviously know this culinary duo, sure you do. They’ve fed you enough number of times, you’ve thanked their craft multiple times. If not in person, then their food at well loved establishments peppered across the capital city – EVOO Eatery & Pizzeria, Le Cantine (we’re yet to visit), Shibuya, Tres. Like I said, you know Chefs Hanisha Singh and Jamsheed Bhote.
Located on a busy arterial road in New Delhi, the restaurant looks chic and welcoming. You see Drishty Vaswani’s trademark design accents and intelligent usage of corners and dead walls. She operates in a fashion that is clean and responsive to the design side of your brain, doubling up narrow spaces with angled mirrors, lush plants to mask AC ducts, trendy-but-not-too-trendy lamps and beautiful chairs.
Read more about her work here: Exploring Experiential Design With Svabhu Kohli & Drishty Vaswani: The Artists Behind Delhi’s Leading Restaurants
The menu is neatly divided into small plates, large plates, bowls, sandwiches, sharing boards, dessert & beverages. They are currently awaiting a beer & wine license, till then sip on the refreshing lemonades, homemade shrubs and artisanal coffees. Emanating from their dedicated practise of ingredient-first cuisine, travels, thorough research and great technique, this 40-cover casual fine-dine has operated its first month to rave reviews, with reason.
The magic of Singh spreads across cuisines and culinary trends. Kick-starting my little food company (MLFC) in 2012 as a means to test the waters with her own venture, food consulting soon metamorphose into her calling. Leaving her food-print around the country, the dark chocolate fiend has gone from strength to strength consulting restaurants, conceptualising menus, and curating culinary experiences. Bhote, a proud alumnus of the OCLD, started his career at The Trident Chennai. From his diverse repertoire of work, he considers his tenure at Tres the most impactful & derivative. It was here where he sharpened his understanding of fine-dine and also the operations of an entire restaurant, front and back.
You can read more about her in this #DSSCSecretConversations interview: Hanisha Singh: The Chef Behind EVOO, Shibuya & More Culinary Gems
We opened our tummy roster with the Shrimp Stuffed Chicken Wings with a Chilli Caramel Glaze. The glaze is sticky as it should be, the expertly charcoal grilled wings offer a winning start. Next up is an easy nibble meant to share over banter, Focaccia de Recco, a rustic filled flat bread with charred tomatoes, olive oil and sea salt. We proceed to the Smoked Pork & Chorizo Dumplings in a spiced tomato and chorizo broth and bacon crumb, but no one fights for the last dumpling on the beautifully plated dish. The filling seems dry and needs a perky punch, we wonder if the introduction of a herby oil or pickled turnips could elevate it? The Shroom Buns are delightful light bites with a fungi-licious mushroom and truffle mousse that showcase their solid pastry skills (more on this, later). Vegetarian or carnivore, this is the surprise pleaser – The Charred Broccoli on a bed of spicy romesco (spanish influence) and sambal (Indonesian influence) sauce sprinkled with chilli toasted crumbled peanuts. We know, we know, but contain the eye roll and order it. Don’t forget to squeeze the charred lemon across the charred delight, you will never not order this exact dish at Plats! The table next to ours ordered the Cubanos and boy did they look fantastic (apologies to the guests, we were greedy greedy voyeurs). Instead we ordered the Fried Chicken Katsu Sandwich, a hearty & comforting sammy made in soft Hokkaido milk bread with Japanese egg salad. A good option for a weekday lunch or a hangover recovery, albeit with additional chili tomato relish (home made, of course).
The Single Origin Dark Chocolate Soufflé Tart. Oh, the Chocolate Soufflé Tart. There’s a plastic sheet on the keyboard as I type this to protect it from drool. Maybe that chemist’s suppressant med is a good idea, yikes. The tart casing was buttery and baked to perfection, it gently disintegrates in your mouth. The soufflé rose perfectly, which any baker (or someone obsessed with baking shows) would doff their hats to. If there is one thing and one thing only you can eat this year, let it be this.
The primary thing about Plats is the emotion behind it. The food, the ambience, the beverage is secondary. What you will experience with every dish is a form of emotion. One that stems from the Founder-Chefs, their research, their ambitious menu, their generosity, their goodwill in the industry, their love for good food. The team has put together a complicated menu that can not rest on the luxury of mise en place and pre-made this and store-bought that. It’s a unique (thank god) menu that is not inspired from Pinterest, it’s an authentic account of personal learnings and trials, it’s a sense of genuineness the city is witnessing after Comorin. And like Comorin, that stems from an unwavering focus on correct pricing, dancing between the quadrants of familiarity and uniqueness, diner understanding and striking the balance between authenticity, experimentation and economic viability. Our one piece of advice? The service at Plats needs serious tweaking, especially when it’s a full house.
You may love the food (like us) or leave the restaurant not so tipsy in love. But you will not leave the space feeling underwhelmed, confused or a long-sighed meh.
Where : Plats, C 51, Shivalik Road, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi
Call : Reserve a table by ringing +9188821 55809
When : 12.30pm to 11pm, all week long
Lose wallet weight : Rs. 2000 for two
#DSSCTopTip : Consume no more than a banana before a meal here