Michelin-starred Recipe for Success

Food writers describe his creations as ‘sensational’ and ‘dazzling’. Vineet Bhatia arrived in London in 1993 and from then on left his distinct flavour on Indian cuisine.

By Raziqueh Hussain

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Published: Fri 23 Jan 2009, 2:31 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:42 AM

Rasoi Vineet Bhatia (rasoi is Hindi for kitchen), located just off the posh Kings Road in Chelsea has been voted the best Indian restaurant in London time and again.

The high point came in 2001 when he was the first Indian chef restaurateur to have been awarded a Michelin star.

“That was a historic moment,” Vineet reminisces in an exclusive chat with Khaleej Times from London. “I felt as if I had received an Oscar!” In Dubai, Vineet opened Indego at the Grosvenor House. This was in 2006. Fine dining presentations along with traditional spiced dishes are the drawing power. “Dubai has turned into a mini-Europe, which is incredible! The restaurant was a little baby and now it’s a three and a half year old boy!”

And what would be his personal pick from the menu? “Ah, I have a sweet tooth so I’d definitely go for the chocolate and almond samosa. It was in ’94 when a guest enquired as to why chocolates aren’t included in Indian recipes. That gave me an idea, but as usual it was laughed at. And now you see it has worked and is popular the world over.”

The chocolate and almond samosa consists of slivers of almonds, dark and white chocolate mixed with fresh cream curds as the filling and is encased in the traditional pastry of samosa and deep fried. Served with cardamom ice-cream or simply vanilla ice-cream, with a touch of chocolate sauce, this is a delightful, sweet sensation.During his successful stint as a wizard of the kitchen, there have been many unforgettable moments. In London, in the mid-90s, for instance, a fellow chef “messed up around four kgs of pulao. He added extra water and it turned out to be like khichdi. I couldn’t throw the rice away as we had used expensive ingredients, so I thought of using an inventive combination. I used the khichdi as a bed and added lobster with ginger and chilli and had a perfectly new dish to serve!” Vineet remembers with a laugh.

Other than two fine dining houses in London and Indego in Dubai, Vineet has Safran at the Le Touessrok Hotel in Mauritius; Tantra in Los Angeles; Agni in Moscow. “We opened one in Geneva and recently in Saudi Arabia. Our plans are to move to Doha and Libya.” He also takes care of the British Airways First and Business Class in-flight catering service.

The first cookbook from Rasoi will be out around October this year, says Vineet, who will be in Dubai for the Taste of Dubai event to be held in March and also for the Dubai World Cup.


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