There has only been one restaurant to have attempted Modern Indian fine dining in over a decade in Bangalore. So Nimisserie stepping into that space would not seem overly ambitious, especially since it’s mastermind – Chef Nimish Bhatia has been toying in that territory during his previous life as head chef of The Lalit. He now pours his dreams and vision into this standalone restaurant attempting to offer Bangalore a taste of progressive Indian Cuisine, interspersed with his own creative take on food.
The eponymous Nimisserie, sits on the edge of Wood Street. The glass facade tightly wrapping itself against its vast curved exterior, reminds me of a mall display window. With the recently updated large signage that reads “Now Open!” it’s definitely not hard to miss. Extravagant and Ambitious are the two words that pop into my mind as I enter the space. Silver, crystal and glass jostle for space with some gold and red accents. In the afternoon, the massive glass front just acts like a concave mirror, uncomfortably directing all the heat inwards. The evening is supposed to offer some relief – the lights from the traffic outside artfully bounce off the mirrored walls to create an enchanting (disco-like?) space. You can see that no expense has been spared in adorning this debutante – from the hand crafted marble plates to exotic platters customized for each dish on the menu, it’s Chef Nimish’s labor of love. And with all things that we love deeply, it’s easy to go overboard.
We try the Degustation menu to get an overall feel of the offerings. Chef calls it ‘Aspect Cuisine’ and I will begrudgingly replicate that word here. In simple terms – it’s his take on food garnered from his many experiments in Indian and International fare. Fair enough.
I personally think the menu leans heavily on Indian food, but I’ve been told the restaurant resents that stereotype. Dissecting each of the courses will take me into a double post, so I’ll focus on what stood out for me and what didn’t and let you experience the whole shindig when you visit the restaurant yourself.
Chef uses some molecular gastronomy, fancy over-the-top plating, unique crockery, even more unique nomenclature and dramatic showmanship in most of the courses. Point in case – A delicate flower shaped crisp pastry base adorned with pomegranate roe and hung curd, is nothing more than envy inducing dressed-up Papdi Chaat. The Reconstructed Chilled Melon Samosa is a relaunced version of his very popular Thande Kabab at The Lalit. A shaving of melon holding the regular aloo filling, sprinkled with Hibiscus Dust and served with a smear of Nimbu pickle.
The theatrical rendition of salad – Young Chicken Breasts & Arugula, Marigold Flowers, Basil and Dehydrated Pineapple, is served in a mini fishbowl filled with smoke that escapes when you lift the dressing vat.
Or the soup course which arrives in two parts – the consomme in a Coffee Press and the rest of the players, including a spongy floating globe that once was a tomato along with flower petals and caraway seeds waiting to be resurrected in a shallow white bowl. There is much fanfare attached to EVERYTHING and while the final effect is a pleasant mouthful, I can’t fathom how necessary ALL the elements are.
Which makes me quietly appreciate the Rohelkhand style Dal. A simple creamy dal served with crisped Thepla and a wedge of Lemon and Kachumber. The progressive Indian answer to Hummus and Pita? Maybe. But again, instead of leaving good enough alone, it is served with a befuddling Tomato Carpaccio with Truffle Oil – its beauty and complexity completely overshadowed by making it a mere adornment on the plate. The same thing happens with the Nakhalawi Galouti, where incredibly crisp cream horn shells are filled with spicy lamb, creamy chicken and tangy prawn. But wait, what is that smear of cream with rose petals doing on that slab of slate?!
Luckily for the Trio of Fish, each of the elements on the plate contributed to the final ‘ah-ha’ factor. Kasundi Grilled Snapper, Gooseberry Chutney Tuna and Curry Leaf Pesto Seer – beautifully cooked with punchy indigenous flavors from across the country.
Dessert is presumably served in another stunning piece of cutlery – a Limestone Jaali Box. Housed within are three hor d’oeuvre spoons holding Chlorophyll Panacotta (made from Coriander stems), Tarte Tatin Mishti Doi and a Salted Caramel Chocolate ice cream. If I wasn’t so worried that the heavy lid would snap shut on my fingers, I would have relished each dessert at a more leisurely pace!
After a not so cryptic guessing game (like aspect cuisine), if you shake off the mysterious ‘erie’, you will realize that in Nimisserie, the Naanerie is the place where Naans come from. (Think Bacon Naan, Apricot Chilli Naan and Chicken Manchurian Naan served in mini wheelbarrows). What needs some digestion however, is the same tedious play on the words Kebaberie and Tawakerie. The latter being similar to a Teppanyaki where the chefs will customize your dish according to your preferences and serve the same in a live counter set up. Chef uses some interesting alterations to a standard tandoor and salamander to achieve melt in the mouth grills and breads. The second floor also has private dining spaces segregated from the main area using a glitzy red bauble curtain.
In this entire degustation journey of hits, misses, excesses and maybes, one dish stood out for me. The Bihari Pithi Pockets – completely rustic in its origins but given a simple modern twist. Traditionally, Pithi is a paste made of besan, turmeric and rose water, humbly rolled into dumplings. Here it is fashioned into little tortellini like shells filled with spinach, cottage cheese and flax seeds. Customarily eaten with a cumin specked dal, the same is used as a sauce in this rendition. A Bakharwadi roll gives the rich dish a crunchy interlude and the chewy sweet Aam Papdi breaks up the creamy monotony of the dal.
If ‘aspect cuisine’ needs a champion, I suggest using the Pithi Pockets. It takes the everyday and reimagines it, without needing to add so many frills that it distracts from the essence. If you’re in it for the long haul, there’s no need to pull out all your aces at once, right? Right.
120, Brigade Road,
Off Wood Street Off Wood Street (same building as Show Off), Bangalore.
Phone : +91 80 69909068
Cost : INR 3000/++ for a meal for two. INR 1900 – 3900/++ for the degustation menu for 7,9 or 11 courses.
Valet Parking available.