The Red gleam of entangled fairy lights resting on a giant dice, decks of cards queued up to test your luck, decorated spiral stairs that lure one into a grand “Casino” experience- This was the first sight you’d see of the “Las Vegas Themed” food festival organized by the Department of Culinary Arts.
Before jumping into the subject of the article, which is obviously the thirst of the tongue, let here is a brief picture of the ambiance that was created. The event was set up on the third floor but walking up the stairs, one could see the magical flambes by bustling chefs and chefs in the making, concocting the perfect color, aroma, and consistency. The very sight of this reminded us of the sensual experience yet to come. The second floor was the was a dream of all mankind with a sweet tooth, a contender to ‘Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory visit’. The welcome drink and the dessert were made here. The description of the dessert creation process put our minimal gourmet vocabulary to shame and left us sweating in an air-conditioned room. “Vanilla based bombe Alaska with cherry filling served with lemon Muhallabia sauce, brandy snap guava chilly gelly and tropical salsa.”
The third floor had a seating arrangement for about a 50 guests at a time in various combinations ranging from roundtables for just a couple to a group seating for close to 15 guests. The turnout reflected the popularity and success of the event. And then came the food.
It was a seven-course meal based on Latin American cuisine. Each table had a separate waiter who served every course in quick succession without any delay and explained what each serving contained. Each dish was given a unique name related to Vegas.
The first was a welcome drink which was based on ice tea, a mock tea sangria which was served with lemon, mint and pomegranate seeds. The dish was named ‘Dusk in Vegas’. It had the basic taste on any good ice tea, but the munchy and tangy taste added to it by the toppings set it apart.
The second was an amuse bouche called ‘Buzzling Angels’. It was a crunchy Murphy basket stuffed with a mini ratatouille containing capsicum, tomatoes and a Basil leaf. The tangy taste of the tomatoes dominated the bite-sized starter. The third was a bowl of burnt garlic pumpkin soup served with a crunchy lavash. The gritty feeling of ground pumpkin with the taste was garlic was indeed a delight to the tongue. It was a perfect soup in that it was neither hard on the taste buds nor heavy on the stomach.
The fourth course called Charleston Boulevard was an empanada stuffed with vegetables or chicken cooked with salsa. The crunchy outer layer and the juicy filling brought a certain glow to a lot of eyes. The filling had the right amount of spice and salt, hence befitting all groups of eaters- children to adults, spicy to bland. The fifth course was a palate cleanser served called “Cabernet Givere”. It was a red grape sorbet Served with a hint of fennel and ginger. The taste of ginger stood out the most. The feeling of the cold sorbet dripping down your throat was a perfect herald to the main course that was to follow.
The penultimate course was the main course called “Manoeuvre of Sin City”. The vegetarian meal had herb crusted Mexican vegetable loaf served on the bed of spicy quinoa salad and twin sauce. The non-vegetarian counterpart had herb crusted chicken roulade filled with olive tapenade served with arancini and bigarade sauce. The tender chicken with a crunchy green layer on the outside left a completely new impression on all its patrons about Latin American cuisine. The dominant taste was salt, however, the garnishing sauces and vegetable carvings cut out into roses were sour. The toasted bread served along with it added the popular and much essential butter and salt to the palate.
Last came the dessert. It was called “Eventide of Beverly Hills”. Completely contradictory to the rest of the dishes, the dessert had only one prominent taste- sweet and was quite filling.
The berry filling would catch a tongue by surprise. One could see guests licking off their spoons clean. That we believe, perfectly summarizes the Monte Carlo experience.
Written by- Vinay Reddy