By Arushi Sakhuja
Nestled in Mehrauli’s upmarket Ambawatta One, the leafless metallic tree and beautiful interiors at Kakapo never fail to leave me awe-inspired. Designed by architect and interior designer Aatika Manzar, the romantic outdoor and al fresco dining area, with breathtaking views of the enchanting Ghitorni forest always makes for a great dining out experience. Kakapo has revamped its menu. The former restaurant bar associated with pan-Asian food now brings a delightful array of global cuisines to your palate. From dim sums to pizzas, continental meaty mains, salads and even a vegan menu, you can travel around the world from your plate.
Keeping innovation as the starting point, the menu boasts innovative elements in all its courses, leaving the gobblers on a high note. The skillfully crafted menu draws inspiration from the diverse and tantalising flavours of dishes from around the world. Championing a celebration of flavourful excellence it is a testament to the rich tapestry of global gastronomy and a symphony of tastes. Awakening a sense of wonderful and palate cravings, the menu transports food enthusiasts to corners of the world with dishes such as the Peruvian Chicken Skewers, Burrata Chaat, Pecking Duck- and many more umami choices with vegan and gluten-free options. With an aim and passion to offer the patrons an exclusive and holistic experience, “Kakapo’s new menu is nothing short of a gastronome and a traveller’s dream combined. With travelling at heart, we make sure to bring back comestible wonders from our journey across the globe with the traditional elements and techniques passed on by local chefs of different regions.” said Mr Udit Bagga, Managing Director, Kakapo.
The new cocktail menu wasn't to miss either. Artistically presented, each sip elevated the dining experience from the Guzzler Geisha for gin and the prosecco-based Beachy Brew to the Venetian Valentine, these tipples swayed me away. Behind the bar, the team infuses spirits and liquor with notes of chamomile, lemongrass, hibiscus, berries and many more natural ingredients and flowers.
To get a glimpse of the new menu, we attended a special chef's table with Udit Bagga, Managing Director, Kakapo, who curated a divine 5-course menu and every course was seamlessly paired with a cocktail to enhance the dining experience. Think chicken, lamb, salmon, an assortment of mushrooms and all the possible variety of liquours, the new menu is expansive and exhaustive, to say the least.
We started the meal with an Amuse Bouche which was a modern take on gol gappas. Made using modern techniques the frozen liquid instantly bursts in your mouth. Leaving a delightful hajmolah-type finish, it works as the perfect palate cleanser to begin a feast. The first course comprised of a choice between Japanese rice toast with avocado, duck Kibbeh and Salmon carpaccio (our favourite) paired with a sake shot. While the avo-toast is a fail-proof pick, the Duck Kibbeh paired with hummus and pita and the Salmon Carpaccio with avocado tartare were melting in our mouths. The course was paired with sake further transporting us to Japan.
Moving onto course two, I love how Burrata was paired with caramelised peaches as opposed to grapes, and the modern interpretation of Caesar Salad with bacon and pancetta was a highlight. A generous amount of bacon and burrata in course two satisfied me to the brim. To savour the exquisite course, it was paired with white wine. Following the second course was a palate cleanser, and contrary to the usual it was a coconut sorbet that was smooth, silky and perfect in texture. Although I'm not a fan of coconut this was truly to die for!
Then came my favourite course of all – Dim sums paired with a gin and Aperol cocktail Venetian Valentine. While the chicken and shiitake dim sum didn't blow our minds, the Mushroom Har Gow deserves a mention, especially using six different kinds of mushrooms. And the Duck Puff with a falky filo pastry and ample stuffing was just what you need on a cheat day. The Venetian Valentine also proved to be my absolute favourite cocktail of the night.
I was already pretty stuffed by this time, but the divine flavours didn't let me stop. Finally came the main course. The Summer Kataiffi with Zucchini, herb creme emulsion and broccoli is a great pick for vegetarians but being a non-veg I had a plethora of choices. From the sea bass to the Za'atar Roast chicken and Pressed Lamb Shoulder. For me, the freshly cooked sea bass being unwrapped and dressed in front of my eyes was a gastronomic experience in itself. But the potato roasti and turnip puree in the Za'atar chicken is worth mentioning. Paired with heavy-weight red wine, the last savoury course was indulgent.
Then we moved onto a course I ALWAYS have space for - Dessert! Ending the night on a sweet note with a bourbon hit was the AFFOGATO with Bourbon and the classic Kakapo Nest with lemon curd and chiffon sponge - a theatrical dream. The dessert has a complete resemblance to the rare nocturnal bird Kakapo, the egg-shaped dessert is a delight for sensory and spatial exploration with diverse flavours of banana, passion fruit, yoghurt mousse, soft-boiled egg paired with kataifi pastry and chiffon sponge. But that's not all... you can pick from the choicest picks, especially their signature Kakapo’s Nest, Traditional Basque Cheesecake, Brownie, rose-scented Ghevar with rabri and more.