Fortunately for those of us residing in Bombay, the chefs of “Rich Table” in San Francisco decided to pay us a visit and put on a dinner in collaboration with Chef Alex Sanchez at “The Table” restaurant. Rich Table, the recent nominee of the James Beard “best new comer” award is the culinary vision of Chef’s Evan and Sarah Rich. With decades of experience in San Francisco and New York high-end restaurants between them, the couple bring a wealth of talent to India.
I had the opportunity to meet Evan and Sarah a couple of days prior to the dinner and I must say it was refreshing to see how focused yet down to earth, chefs of this caliber could be. I listed with interest to their fabulous stories about the pressures of busy kitchens back in the states and the challenges they were facing sourcing basic ingredients here in Mumbai.
I arrived at “The Table” on the night and was immediately served a glass of Prosecco and was presented with the special menu of the night.
The first course promptly arrived on the table; a course I was very much looking forward to as it is one of the signature dishes from their menu at home. Sardine potato crisps with horseradish cream. Being that they were cooking here in Bombay, a vegetarian version was required. This adaptation incorporated spring onions in the same fashion, thus not segregating anyone at the table. The crisps were very flavourful and the sardine offered a different texture without distracting from the crispness. The horseradish cream gave a richness with just enough bite and acidity to cut through the fattiness of the dish. The fresh radishes served alongside were a pleasant accompaniment.
The next course was the beet salad with buratta and quinoa. A very elegantly presented dish with a wealth of flavour and texture. However, I felt the buratta under utilized being served in cut up pieces. The charm of eating buratta is cutting into it and having the creamy, buttery inside ooze over your plate. It almost seemed wasted as you could have used a cheaper fresh mozzarella and got the same result. As for the quinoa, whilst offered a contrasting texture, was a little too hard and tasteless to really offer anything to the dish.
The main course, a lasagna of goat confit was simply presented but the pasta layers were clearly defined and showcased precision cooking and attention to detail. The flavours were not as strong as I would have liked and felt the goat confit was a little bland. The fenugreek salsa verde was the saving grace for this dish.
The California Dreamsicle was a pleasant citrus palate cleanser served as a pre-dessert
The grand finale of the evening was the salted chocolate sable. This dish was true to its description and the flavours really stood strong and gave solid impact. While I have a fan of bold flavours I felt the mint chocolate cream was a little over powering and made it difficult to eat that component separately. However, as a complete dish it worked well and was a great way to conclude the meal.
All in all it was a great evening. The food was good but the limited resources and quality of Bombay’s markets was apparent in the menu. In saying that, this meal has definitely piqued my interest to visit the original “Rich Table” in San Francisco to see what they can really do in their own kitchen with their own brigade…….