Who Wants Curry When There’s Indian Accent…

The night air’s soft and balmy. People lurk near squat fountains, bathing in the mist as if to dissipate the heat of the summer evening, people watch other people and a sudden bit of quiet descends upon us in the midst of the surrounding skyscrapers. Are you with me? Then here is the conundrum. Can an oasis of green and tranquility sit within the chaos of Manhattan? Here lies Bryant Park, a heartbeat away from Times Square.

Then, Magnolia Bakery in Rockefeller Center, a vintage dream woven with cupcakes, puff pastries, brownies and blondies, cookies and macarons. All American-style. Slobbering and giving into temptation with four measly cupcakes when a whole world of goodies wink at you. Oh heart, clad in an iron armour, to not melt in the face of such luscious beauty.

But maybe you have had your fill for the day because why you have just tripped out of Indian Accent, that fine-dining modern Indian restaurant sitting on 56th Street.

Food memories. The dishes you have had growing up have been put on the menu by a renowned chef. His modern take on them is calculated to baffle the senses. Works.

The concept is degustation. Tasting menu. You eat a bit of everything. My usual grievance of not possessing four stomachs is taken care of. One stomach will do just fine.

Every dish, in the four-course menu I opt for, tastes different. Indian dishes do often run the danger of tasting somewhat the same. Adi goes for a three-course menu, so between the two of us, we have a plethora of tastes to sample.

The well-felt pinch on the pocket is redeemed by two dishes on the house. Miniature discs of naan that you pop into the mouth. Chew and a warm molten centre of Danish blue cheese is released into the mouth, piquant and sharp. And before you can crave more, pumpkin soup in a mini mug. Moreish.

It is difficult to choose from the line-up of dishes. Everything’s familiar yet there are unfamiliar pairings which stoke the taste buds and the imagination. The soya keema – that was often a constant on the table at home when I would throw a fit at the daily diet of fish – arrives in a small, deep pan topped with quail eggs. Oh, the taste of childhood all over again, but teamed with a mouthful of butter-slathered fresh mini paos (buns) that are redolent of lime leaves.

Nuggets of cauliflower? Did we order cauliflower?! Ahem. The dismay of the non-vegetarian. But then the realisation as you dig into them that they are crab claws slathered in the time-tested winning combination of butter, pepper and garlic.

Oh let’s not think any more.

After a long drawn affair involving smacking sounds and sighs of pleasure, the final stroke of goodness. A magical affair with a candle sticking on top to celebrate Adi’s birthday.

It looks like cake, but it is not cake, my darlings. Oh no. This is a token of a closely-guarded secret from the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, where the narrow lanes are upholstered with shops selling silver, spices, antiques, sweets and fried food diverse enough to leave the food lover in a tizzy. This is where you want more than four stomachs, my friend. But to return to the frothy matter at hand, it is called Daulat ki Chaat. An ethereal concoction of milk, saffron, sugar and nuts that disappears into the mouth, offering you a glimpse of paradise. Light and airy.

This is how we sail out of Indian Accent – floating on a cloud of heavenly saffron and potent Belgian ale – you could go with wine. Know this that we had already been drinking beer the entire evening and a few glasses of wine would have sent us into the arms of deep sleep. Plus who wants to have just arrived in NYC and already kickstart the process of getting thrown out of restaurants, you know. All in good time.

 

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Blue cheese naans, the signature dish of Indian Accent.
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Pumpkin soup. You can see that I had drained off a fair bit of it before I took a shot. Patience is not often a strong suit of mine.
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A trio of traditional dishes – smoked aubergine, duck khurchan and chicken khurchan – stuffed into flaky biscuits. Khurchan is basically scrapings off the bottom of a dish. In this case, well-cooked, crisp lashes of meat.
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Crab claws in butter, garlic and pepper. Not cauliflower. 
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Chicken kofta (meatball) with pakora in the shape of an onion ring and greens.
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Pathar beef kebab and bone-marrow nihari. Pathar kebabs are a speciality of the southern state of Hyderabad in India. Marinated meat is cooked over pathar or stone while nihari is slow-cooked meat (usually beef or lamb) presented along with the bone marrow.
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Soya keema (minced) topped with quail eggs and lime-leaf flavoured pao.
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Butter chicken-stuffed naan. Guaranteed streak of delight.
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Ghee roast lamb and roomali roti pancakes. Roomal is Hindi for handkerchief, so these breads or rotis are as thin as handkerchiefs.
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Dal makhni (creamy black lentils) chaperoned by garlic & butter naan. 
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Adi and his unusual birthday non-cake. A dewy cloud of milk flavoured with saffron, rose petal jaggery brittle and almonds.
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Neon-lit streets of Manhattan.
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Scandalous graffiti
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Bryant Park
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Steel-and-glass glory of 7 Bryant Park, in rainbow hues.
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There’s always space for more dessert. Magnolia Bakery.
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American vintage bakeries and cupcakes

 

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The top right-hand side cupcake got a bit squished, but hey, what is beauty without a flaw? They were good, bordering on the sweeter side of it, but the lemon blueberry cupcake on the top left-hand side stole the show (whispers: Hummingbird Bakery might still win the cupcake war, but I am not taking on a New Yorker yet).
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Ending the night on a ‘Sex and the City’ note. Carrie and Miranda. Love lives and cupcakes. Shut your eyes and take both.

118 thoughts on “Who Wants Curry When There’s Indian Accent…

  1. Great post and pics! Girl, love how you really described & expressed your day and the food at the restaurant..can just visualize myself sitting there lol! Love Indian food (of course since I’m indian) but those are mouthwatering 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Nurul, I am a biryani lover too. Indian Accent did not have biryani though it featured a similar vegetarian rice dish. But once you step into it you embrace the not so known dishes as well.

      Like

    1. Hiya Lorelle, this was my first go at naan stuffed with butter chicken so needless to say I did it justice. We have just about finished unpacking the shipment that arrived last weekend. Now everything is in place and it feels Grand! Thanks for asking 🙂 xx

      Like

  2. I do know that New York has some insanely good restaurants to suit every taste. All that food looked divine, my favourite was the cupcakes by far. I cannot look (or turn) away any baked goods 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Which is why I love thee so. I have decided that I shall start baking this very weekend. My baking equipment is finally here. Yippee. I have missed my kitchen so!

      We cannot wait to slowly discover the many shades of NYC, Angela. It is a bit exciting even though I miss our summer hikes terribly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A friend who lives in NYC did mention there were a few. I have to do my research and make a list. For the longest time now I have wanted to go to Colorado, Montana, Utah, New Orleans, North Carolina…we have to get around to making plans slowly because there is nothing like the great outdoors 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow I wish I lived in a major city New York, just for the food factor alone 🙂 We have an Indian restaurant in town, but the food is not that delicious. Sadly we have no other options. All those dishes look mouth-watering! Can’t wait to visit Delhi next year and try out all the amazing food 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Pooja, do you live in Warsaw? I am trying to remember if we went to any Indian restaurants while staying there for my husband’s work, but I doubt we ended up at one. I usually replicate the flavours of childhood at home because restaurants tend to let you down. But this particular one was a winner on all fronts.

      Btw Poland is so pretty. We had a long list of places that we wanted to see after Krakow…someday!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I actually live in a city called Lodz which is just 1.5 hours car ride away from Warsaw 🙂 Lodz feels far less diverse than Warsaw, that’s why we don’t have that many choices in international cuisine.
        Poland is pretty indeed! I love living in Europe – so many beautiful places and they’re all so near from each other. I hope I’ll publish some more blog posts about Poland this year. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know about Lodz. I had read about it in this book, Auschwitz: The Final Solution. I am sure it has character. Once you live in Europe, there is no other kind of living that will suit the heart, hun. I will wait to read you posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love places that serve small plates or in this case sampling. You can have a bit of everything and not end up being too full (though that never happens, does it?). Also, I am now cooking kadai chicken for dinner today. Thanks 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha the teaser works. I shall dream of it and slaver. The small portions work for me all the way. I feel sated and yet not too full. My husband however had the beef and lamb and by the end of it he was heaving. But then what do you expect when you have meat cooked in ghee? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You had me at Blue Cheese Naan. How decadent! Your description of food and the senses rival Liz Gilbert’s! Loved the “scandalous graffiti” art. Appropriate for a hot summer night 😉 – Neek

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahhaha steamy alright. I noticed it later when I was going through the photos 😉 The question is do kids have blinders in place?

      The blue cheese naan was divine. An explosion of taste and I cannot recommend it enough.

      You are so lovely Neek to even come up with that compliment. I appreciate your kindness always. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Indian Accent looks and sounds fantastic, I’ve made a note of its location for our November trip to NY. I confess, I’ve already been to the Magnolia Bakery – got the book, didn’t get the t-shirt, have eaten some of their cakes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will wait to hear of your experience there, Sheree. For we all have such different likes and dislikes. But it should prove to be an interesting experience nonetheless, of that I can assure you. Is the book any good? My baking goddesses are usually Nigela Lawson and Mary Berry 😉 xx

      Like

  7. It looks amazing! The whole lot. What a fantastic treat. I wonder if working class British Food would work on a tasting menu – bubble and squeak, toad in the hole, shepherd’s pie…spotted dick.

    Cakes look good too!

    Don’t go all American in your diet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The first few days I had my fill of fried chicken and burgers, and I was convinced that this was it, I was on my way to fulfilling Javon’s prophecy. He was the guy who had sold us our mattress in NYC and had told me, ‘You will become Big now.’
      I was alarmed.

      We are watching portions with gimlet eyes and trying to get back to our usual mode of eating home-cooked food. Btw classic British food in a tasting menu would be great, don’t you think? I am sure there are folks already doing it in London though I have not read about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are on the mission to get some good fish n’ chips in the city next! Adi is pining for some because this is the time when we would be out on our various country capers, digging into hearty pub meals. xx

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  8. Sounds great!

    I have been known to make very average naan bread on occasion – I will be wedging some blue cheese in there next time. Now, can I fit a traditional clay oven in the corner of my kitchen?

    That’s the question.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once an Englishman told me in tones –
      suggesting that it was ridiculous for the thought not having occurred to me in the natural scheme of things – that, ‘Why, everyone can own a fireplace!’

      Inspired by him, I shall say, ‘Why, everyone can have a clay oven in the corner of their kitchens!’

      I smell the start of a path-breaking adventure in the kitchen.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t decide if you were being kind or cruel in posting this. The descriptions of your dinner were already making me drool, but then you had to add pictures?! It’s cruelty. I am going to go in a corner and weep bitter tears for the meal I did not get to savor…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There is no making up for this one until I eat a delicious meal that includes naan and curry. I will work on that asap so we can resume our friendship quickly. 😜 Or I will show Cam the post and use his hunger-induced impaired judgement to buy airline tickets to New York. Then I will be thanking you. Or both… Yes, I think both.

        Oh and glad you guys had such a nice dinner to celebrate. Happy birthday to Adi! 😊

        Like

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