Friday, 16 July 2010

Dev Biswal opens The Ambrette in Margate Gourmet Dining Event with Matched Wines from Hix & Buck New Tunbridge Wells venue planned

Dev Biswal has opened The Ambrette in Margate on the site of the Michelin-listed Indian Princess in Margate, where he was executive chef. The Ambrette is named after the Indian flower known for its culinary and aphrodisiac properties.

Offering gourmet Indian dining, the highly acclaimed Biswal has refurbished and rebranded the restaurant to distance itself from traditional High Street curry houses. The Ambrette does not serve curry, although you will find pork on the menu – something almost unknown in the UK's 10,000 predominantly Bangladeshi-owned south Asian establishments. The short, eclectic, daily changing menu features exotic treats such as the Fillet of Freshwater Nile perch, pan-fried with peppers, coriander, fenugreek and carom seeds signature dish plus locally sourced game and seafood.

On a mission to transform the Indian dining scene, Biswal, says,” I have great respect for the Bangladeshi community, as the pioneers of Asian food in this country producing undoubtedly tasty ‘curries’, but much of the Indian food served here is stuck in a 1940s time bubble.”
He talks of a vast sea change in the fine dining in his native Mumbai, to where he returns regularly for the latest culinary experiences and source new ingredients. He recently returned with “Beetle Cases” – highly aromatic plant leaves with medicinal qualities, but which lose their flavour quickly. Dev extracts the essence and has created uniquely pungent ice cream dish. A local artisan is employed to create perfectly halved goose egg shells in which he serves his exotic rose flavoured crème brûlée.

His style of cooking is about creating flavour affinities with different textures and tastes to combat “flavour fatigue”. Each dish is a piece of visual, as well as culinary, art. Ingredients such as onion, garlic and ginger, with high sulphite content, are not used.
Despite the “exec” job description, Dev spends a lot of time in the kitchen and also brings many dishes to the table to explain the ingredients and his cooking methods. He knows a large number of the clients by name.
From the molecular school of gastronomy Dev spends two days a week on R&D, experimenting with new food combinations. He also researches the chemical composition of his foods and extends the same scientific approach to his wine selection.

“Traditionally lager is a favourite when it comes to Indian cuisine – the reason why wines do not pair well with a curry from your local take-away is because most of these curries are highly flavoured with cooked onion and garlic,” he said, adding, “These contain sulphur compounds such as allicin, diallyl disulphide and diallyl trisulphide – which clash harshly with the taste molecules present in most wines.”

To prove that you can match wines with Indian cuisine, The Ambrette is hosting a gourmet Indian dining evening with a five-course tasting menu with matched wines from Hix & Buck on Sunday 8th August. Hix and Buck, run by a Bollywood dancer, which imports quality French wines from vineyards that produce on too small a scale to supply giant multiples. Tickets for the evening cost £40

Biswal expects to announce a new opening in Tunbridge wells in the coming weeks.

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