Vanille Salée at Mövenpick Hotel

What do you do when a promotion you run is a hit on one continent? You recreate it at your hotels on the other continents you have a presence in, of course! This is exactly what Mövenpick Hotel & Spa is doing, and since Bangalore is the sole property in India, that we get to experience their Vanille Salée festival is all the more special! The concept is simple – take vanilla, which is usually used to sweeten dishes and in desserts, and create half a dozen savory dishes. The festival, a month long, has an exclusive a la carte menu that is available at the Italian restaurant, Mezzaluna, until the 21st of March.

A soup, salad, appetizer (in the surprising form of sushi!) and three mains are on offer, and they are predominantly non-vegetarian fare, with only the soup and salad staying vegetarian. The idea of course, is to infuse vanilla into each dish without making them in the least bit sweet. Of the six dishes, I really liked five, and that’s the same number I felt had managed to capture the taste of vanilla in them as well. They tried to stick to using local produce and meats as much as possible, and to this end, certain variations from the original menu created by the Chef in Europe were necessary – the substitution of turkey for guinea fowl, for example.

And now, here’s a look at what we ate and what you can expect if you visit – and I do recommend you do, for this is a rather unique festival and not something one comes across all the time. The mains each run at INR 999, and the salad and sushi are INR 649, with the soup at INR 449 – and definitely a must-order. So a meal for two will be around INR 3200 plus taxes and alcohol. My thoughts on each of the dishes are in the captions, and as you can tell, each item was beautifully plated and presented.

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White Onions Veloute Soup – the vanilla bite was tangible and came across beautifully, with the onion jam and micro herbs adding taste and texture

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Goat cheese and fig salad – now if only every salad I ate looked so pretty! Edible flowers, whole hazelnuts, and vanilla in the dressing – very nice!

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Sushi?! Well, one could taste the vanilla in this sashimi of tuna and salmon – with the added bonus of a couple seared scallops.

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Pike fish fillet and endives – vanilla flavor on point, perfectly cooked fish – everything went well together.

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Turkey Breast Melba – this was the only dish that didn’t work for me – apart from not being able to discern the vanilla in this, it was rather dry and chewy and needed a good amount of sauce.

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Veal Tenderloin Jardiniere – definitely my dish of the night. Just look at that meat! It was perfection, juices flowing, and pink in the center. The vanilla was just a hint, but that didn’t matter, really!

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