Ananda in Dundrum Town Centre is regarded as one of Dublin’s finest dining experiences, so it was no surprise that last month, Eurotoque Ireland welcomed their first Indian Chef as Comissioner.
The restaurant and its Executive Head Chef Sunil Ghai boasts an impressive array of awards between them over the years, from Best Chef, Best Restaurant in Dublin, to Best World Cuisine.
At Ananda, the very skilled and creative Sunil Ghai offers contemporary Indian Cuisine and he continues to delight us by constantly challenging our perception of what Indian Cuisine should be. His approach is most of all focused on pure clean flavours and seasonal produce.
Using predominantly Indian flavours and traditional cooking methods but no more so as in keeping with his creative goals, he is not afraid to dip into molecular gastronomy often tinged with inspirations from French, Japanese and Far Eastern cuisine and reinvents them into something magical and makes it his own.
Here is his Deconstructed Papdi Chatt, Tamarind relish & Coriander foam
A dessert of Masala Thandai Kulfi, Semolina crisp, Rose gel, Pistachio & semolina sand.
With high ceiling, the décor at Ananda is airy yet opulent, all gelled together with suspended water lilies chandeliers and upholstery in jewels colours.
Tables are well spaced out and service here is slick and attentive.
An amuse bouche of Pan Seared Kilkee Scallops, Goan Chorizo, Pea & Celeriac puree and Yuzu foam.
Beautifully presented, they shone like jewels and you couldn’t but resist the urge but to pluck them off the sombre dark slate and put them in your mouth. It was the right move as they melted like butter, silky, sweet and succulent on the tongue, the Goan Chorizio offered enough saltiness and spiciness in making these a perfect mouthful.
A starter of Duck served 2 -ways consisted of Smoked tikka, Potted Duck leg terrine, Plum & Kumquat chutney, Pickled cucumber was another favourite.
The terrine was beautifully seasoned with plenty of chunky duck meat and ,while it was a pressed terrine, it was still very light. The smoked tikka on the other hand was a robust dish, spicy, bold and full of flavours. With the fruity chutneys and sweet & sour pickled cucumber it was a real treat.
Not far behind was the Robata Guinea Fowl, Indian 5 spice, Aubergine & Pea crush, Parsnips fries and pomegranate.
Unapologetic, sitting atop a mound of vegetables crush, it was tender and beautifully cooked. A perfect way to savour this fragrant free-range supreme of Guinea fowl from the Japanese Robata grill and the more traditional Indian Tandoori clay oven. The combination of both methods of cooking, offered wonderful depth and roundness of flavours.
The vegetable crush and parsnip fries while adding contrast and texture, were equally delicious on their own.
Having eaten here before and sampled other dishes that we knew were equally superlative, this time around,for mains, we wanted to try something more traditional and the Kitchen duly obliged without any fuss.
We opted for Black Tiger Prawns Jalfrezi, organic garlic & onions.
Delicate in flavour but absolutely beautiful. The prawns were succulent yet indulgent. The sauce was tangy and spicy as it is meant to be, with lots of Chevene onions to sweeten and tame the green chillies, while some of the freshness of the Coriander was sacrificed at the alter of flavour, it’s fragrant aroma was still in evidence.
To say that this dish was simply delicious would be an understatement and injustice. It was sublime.
Wicklow Lamb with brown onions, Cardamon & fresh Coriander was another winner.
The sauce alone won me over for it’s wonderful depth of flavour and creaminess. The lamb just fell apart at the touch of ones fork. With a garnish of fresh coriander to reintroduce a lightness and freshness, this dish was just so good that I must pester Sunil for the recipe, for Curries doesn’t get any better than this one.
A Chocolate & hazelnut bar, Orange sorbet, Macaron and frosted raspberries was sinfully good and looked like it was lovingly created in a Michelin * kitchen.
A rich chocolate parfait with plenty of crushed roasted hazelnuts. It was silky , creamy and not overtly sweet. Perfect Macaron with crisp outer shells and gooey centre of tangy orange cream and smooth Orange sorbet completed this heavenly dessert.
This was a perfect meal and evening. Without doubt, we can expect to see many great things from Sunil Ghai. They will undoubtedly be unexpected yet wonderful and rightly so that he has won himself a prominent place among Ireland’s finest Chefs.
Ananda Restaurant Dundrum
Dundrum Town Centre
As an Easter treat. I have a lunch voucher to give away to one lucky reader
A winner will be picked on the 26th April 2015.
A Classically trained Chef, food writer and Culinary instructor having worked in some of Dublin and London Michelin star establishments such as Chapter One, Dublin, Gordon Ramsay, London & the 5* Boutique hotel, The Dylan among others. His work is regularly featured in some of the leading magazines and newspapers in Ireland and he is currently working on a book about Irish Honey due to be published later in 2015.
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