Why the country’s best known restaurant shifted location and how it’s a good move
Location never did matter for Indian Accent, which was till now nestled in a residential neighbourhood in Friends Colony in the national capital. Its food did all the talking, making it the only Indian restaurant of any reckoning in global listings. Even if sitting at the tables at The Manor transported you to a living room from the Eighties, the food has always been innovative and steps ahead of all others since it opened in 2009. Since then, there have been several inspirations, but Indian Accent retains its aura. So when we get to know that the restaurant is relocating, the first thought is perhaps it’s a deliberate move aimed at a more upscale profile, given that Indian Accent now has outposts in New York and soon in London. But the actual story is sort of ironical.
The ban imposed by the Supreme Court on all establishments serving liquor along highways hit Indian Accent at The Manor. As the place refrained from serving alcohol, the management knew it was time to shift. Proposals from prospective partners were aplenty and the deal was finally signed with DLF-owned The Lodhi. But days after the pact, the apex court relaxed its ban, which allowed The Manor to serve alcohol. However, there was no turning back, and Indian Accent finally opened its new doors this month.
The move might have spelled quite a bit of hassle for the establishment, but for the diners, it’s a welcome one. One, the location could not have been better, sitting right in the middle of Delhi with easy approach and access. Second, the restaurant seats many more now (which should logically make waiting lists shorter, only it doesn’t), and finally, diners get an ambience to match the spectacular stuff on the plate. Glass walls and dark wood panelling, a water body with bursts of flames for dramatic effect give the restaurant a very chic and upscale feel. The bar, appropriately so, is well celebrated with pride of place.
The menu features most of the Indian Accent classics, while adding new dishes in honour of its swanky address. A succulent tamarind crab with beans foogath in a coconut curry is quite a star, as is the butter scallops, rawa prawn dish in a kokum curry. The duck khurchan cornet is as good as ever, as is the stuffed morel with parmesan papad. It’s the right season for Daulat ki Chaat, which is the most ordered dessert, having wowed critics in New York as well under the name of makhan malai, where they find it hard to digest that such a light and creamy concoction is achieved without egg whites.
Chef Shantanu Mehrotra, who is holding fort as Manish Mehrotra prepares for the opening in London, says the change in venue has brought in more footfalls, even during weekday lunch hours, usually considered a dead time for restaurants. Rohit Khattar, chairman of Old World Hospitality, which runs Indian Accent, adds, “We are thrilled to begin an exciting new journey at The Lodhi. ” As the Oberoi next door reopens soon, the area is surely going to be a big food destination in Delhi.