Indian Desserts Need To Spread Their Wings Chef Manoj Pandey

Chef Manoj Pandey of Piano Man is known for his unique food philosophy honed from his skills acquired over the years
Lamb Chop Photo Credit The Piano Man
Lamb Chop Photo Credit The Piano Man

Outlook Traveller recently had the opportunity to taste the Chef's Table Menu at the Paino Man, Gurgoan outlet.  Chef Manoj Pandey's menu took months, and he put his experiences with food and flavour into it, which was evident in every bite.

Tell us a little about the restaurant and the menu

The Piano Man is a premium jazz club that celebrates the love for music over a scrumptious food and drink menu. Over the years, it has become Delhi NCR's most sought-after hub for art and culture, curating some of the country's most exclusive and unique programmes, including the celebrated Giants of Jazz initiative, Scratch Card, amongst others. Built on the 'Artist First philosophy', the club has worked towards building a thriving artist eco-system that promotes and nurtures artists in India by providing them with a space that brings them an audience that values their talent.

Talking about the recently launched Chef's Table Menu comes in three variants vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and lobster, priced at Rs 2499, Rs 3499 and Rs 4999, respectively. For a truly divine dining experience, one can also opt for some delicious cocktails and the expansive wine collection available at the restaurant. Moreover, it offers eccentric Eurasian cuisine and the chance to enjoy luxury in a classy and artistic setting. The menu offers 16 dishes, including Edamame & Truffle Dimsums, Beetroot Carpaccio, Sushi Tacos, Duck Confit, Lamb Chop, Matcha & Macron, Tom Kha, and Wasabi Prawns, paired best with eight different types of cocktails. 

What was your inspiration behind the chef's table menu

I wanted to curate something that captures my culinary skills and years of experience. Previously, I had curated special menus for many restaurants, but I have always wanted to list something new to the Indian palette.

At The Piano Man, we serve Eurasian cuisine, which is unique and tasty the delectable fusion of Asian and European flavours is not very common, so curating something around it was an exciting challenge. While preserving the essence of the cuisine we serve, I experimented with flavours and palates. Additionally, special attention was given to every detail as I wanted to ensure that the experience of the new menu is exceptional and appeals to human senses other than just the taste, crafted in a way that customers can enjoy the meal and take back happy memories. 

What would you suggest everyone try from your new chef's menu

The menu is very selectively crafted, with attention given to detail on every course element. Of course, as a chef, it's tough to tell which one you like the most, but still, I feel the Sushi Tacos, Beetroot Carpaccio, Chorizo-Crusted Lamb Chops, and Lobster are the must-haves from the new menu.

During your journey as a chef, who were you most influenced by

Celebrities or well-known people don't affect me much. Instead, I like to follow chefs who love to do the basics right. Although I have learned a lot during my stint at The Oberoi Group and Carnival Cruise, my experience with the chef's table has been remarkable too. It influenced me to bring innovative and refined dining experiences here in India.  

When you travel, which two places are your must-go-to for a meal

I love the food from the cities of Hyderabad and Kolkata. A few of my favourites are Arsalan Biryani in Kolkata and Chicken Stew at Gufaa in Hyderabad.

What is the one trend in the global culinary scenario that you wish India to embrace  

I think we can focus more on modernising our desserts. Our approach to desserts has been very traditional and uncompromising perhaps we can experiment and spread our wings more in that area as the range of taste palettes is varied, with flavour combinations from around the world to try out.

What is your food philosophy

Food is an art that transcends science and technology, as many renowned chefs are not technology experts but are masters of cooking miracles. For me, understanding ingredients and sensing aromas in the kitchen are the most crucial aspects. My genuine approach is to cook honest and wholesome food. I prefer to keep it simple and natural, stick to the fundamentals, and experiment with flavours and textures but not with taste.

What's next in your plan

With a new property, The Piano Man Malviya Nagar, Delhi, opening up soon, our attention and focus are on finishing the kitchen. Post that, we will be curating the food menu. We are excited to bring together some new dishes and flavours for our customers.

The Piano Man 
Where&nbsp32nd avenue, Sector 15 Part 2, Sector 15, Gurugram

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