Unveil Their Newly Concepted 1936 Salon
by Mick and Di Barker
In pride of place at the newly concepted 1936 Salon at Indian By Nature hangs one of Amrita Shergill’s seminal works, completed in 1936 and entitled “Sumair” – a reproduction which hangs as the centerpiece to this elegant gastro-enclave. Her work is considered so important to Indian culture that the Indian government has stipulated that the art must stay in the country and has declared her works as national art treasures.
Amrita Shergill was one of the most impressive and gifted Indian artists belonging to the pre-colonial era. She was also the youngest as well as the only Asian artist to be elected as an Associate of the Grand Salon in Paris. She is famously quoted as saying, “I can only paint in India. Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse, Braque and others, India belongs only to me”.
Av Kanajou, owner and Executive Chef, has taken inspiration from this great artist to create a reflective salon where she serves a special menu utilizing ingredients rarely found in Indian cuisine together with cooking styles from across India. The private Salon intimately has only two tables with seating of up to 8 people for each.
Mick and I attended the inaugural party, sat in the new salon and admired Amrita’s image. A selection of dishes from the special menu were circulating and bottles of Bridge Road Brewers’ craft beers were being cracked open. Many varieties including Chestnut Pilsnerm Hefe Weizen, Enigma Pilsner and lots more.
A water melon salad (B.180) launched the proceedings. Cubes of sweet melon intermingled with mint, cucumber, a crumble of cottage cheese and dressed with an olive oil and lime juice dressing is the perfect palate cleanser to start your meal. Tandoori King Prawn Quinoa followed. Herbed Quinoa with cauliflower flowerets, capsicum, tamarind jus and topped with tandoori king prawns was a delight especially accompanied by a Hara Pea Soup (B.220). Delicately simmered green pea soup with mint and Cottage cheese pearls, served with baby masala naan.
The extensive menu includes many Indian favourites such as aloo tikki chat served with yoghurt, mint and tamarind chutneys or an extremely tasty Jamavar lobster burjee (spiced scrambled egg with lobster morsels).
Navrattan Platter is a sharing dish for 2 containing a selection of seasonal appetizers.
Biryani Cataplana is also for 2 (B.550) consisting of a mélange of prawns, fish & scallops in scented basmati rice. The open faced Dosa/Crepe with juliennes of Masala potatoes/Lamb, zucchini ribbons, raita & chilli tamarind jam, served with sambar is another big Indian favourite.
There is so much on the main a la carte menu it is not possible to detail it all but the traditional thalis are a big attraction at Indian By Nature and by way of a gourmet introduction to the a la carte menu. Thali literally means “tray” and they come packed with a selection of non-vegetarian or vegetarian dishes. For example the “meaty” version contains, a chicken tikka, fried fish in gram flour batter, a lamb rogan josh (spicy lamb curry), a vegetable Zalfrezi,, tarkeywali dal, raita, naan bread and basmati rice, pickles, chutneys and dessert of the day. The vegetarian selection includes palak panner, paneer tikka, a vegetable Zalfrezi and samosas plus breads, rice, pickles and dessert. They are both priced at B.750 and represent a personal Indian buffet of diverse dishes.
To sum up, Indian By Nature presents gourmet Indian dining in an ambiance of refined elegance. The cuisine is progressive, contemporising on traditional ingredients but executed with the owner/chef’s unique savoir faire resulting in inventive neo-Indian gastronomy. A must visit for all fans of Indian cuisine and also for those delving into this fascinating cuisine for the first time.
Indian By Nature is located on Thappraya Road, towards Jomtien, Chateau Dale Complex. Open daily from 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm. Tel: (038) 364656.