HT: Weekend Planner

Kiara Soul Kitchen: Head here for re-imagined, eclectic vegetarian food

This vegetarian eatery will leave even the carnivores impressed.

"Dining at Kiara is a very JK Rowling meets Mark Twain kind of experience; this is where flights of fantasy meet culinary realities, where fusion doesn’t lead to confusion, and a creative mélange of flavours weave a tale of beautiful surprises. (Photo Jasjeet Plaha/HT)"

If you have always thought that there’s no life without meat, this fine dining restaurant can make you unlearn your bias forever. Kiara Soul Kitchen (God’s precious gift in Hindi) breaks all myths about vegetarian fare as it serves you mood-lifting, flavourful Asian food, topped with a big helping of culinary imagination. Club this with chic, no-fuss, welcoming interiors and cheerful staff and you have a place where you can have a vegetarian meal which is not predictable or unimaginative. Some of the stars on Kiara’s menu can make the most celebrated non-vegetarian dishes burn with jealousy.

As the hors d’œuvre came dainty wasabi topped Japanese rice balls that had enough zest to prepare us for an eclectic meal that was to follow. Our first pick from the menu was the very fairytale-esque Fruity Salad in which fresh strawberries hobnobbed with luxe dates stuffed with goat cheese and honey roasted walnuts, tossed in an invigorating citrusy dressing. We also tried the Virgin Sangria which had a medley of fruits swimming in refreshing grapefruit juice.

Among the starters, we picked up the Vietnamese Rolls - farm fresh vegetables rolled in rice sheets, served with a delicious peanut dip. Delicate and fresh, and with enough colours and flavours, styled as cute little planters, they tasted as good as they looked. Among the mains, we selected Red Rice in Thai Flavour, a delicious rice dish flavoured with fragrant herbs. We loved it for its nutty taste and the perfect chewy texture.

The Gobhi Parantha with pumpkin curry made us look at gobhi and pumpkin in new light. We were served steamed rolls stuffed with cauliflower, floating in a charming curry. We wrapped the meal with the Eclectic Asian Kulfi that clubbed the flavours of pan, coffee and lemon-grass.

We also liked the fact that the kitchen doesn’t use artificial taste enhancers, and the dishes are filling but light with oil and spices used sparingly. The chef also prepares the dressings and sauces in-house, and a number of dishes on the menu are made from Kiara’s farm-plucked vegetables. Dining at Kiara is a very JK Rowling meets Mark Twain kind of experience; this is where flights of fantasy meet culinary realities, where fusion doesn’t lead to confusion, and a creative mélange of flavours weave a tale of beautiful surprises.


Bored Vegetarians, Eat Flower Pots & Bao Bhaji At This All-Veg Fine-Dine Restaurant

Rene posted on 28th March

Ten-Second Takeaway

Say an all-veg restaurant and highway spots churning buttery parathas or decades-old family hotels with menus stained in gravy, come to mind. Shoving these horror images aside is GK’s newest fine-dine, Kiara Soul Kitchen, that’s got an unconventional menu where everything comes with an Oriental twist.

Leaf The Stereotypes Behind

As a vegetarian, our biggest grouse has been limited options, between the usual North Indian dal makhani and shahi paneer, or an occasional thin crust pizza with beautiful olives and rocket lettuce. Thankfully, Manav and Madhav realised that while the whole world was giving a leafy green signal to vegan khaana, back home, the options were sadly limited.

Once back in Delhi, they decided to create this veggie-loving food place themselves. Kiara was born with a thoughtfully curated menu that could indeed only come from well-travelled fellow veggies who understood our predicament too well.

The chief cook was told to forget all precedents and put together a menu that didn’t go by the book at all. The crockery was sourced straight from artisans, and there was a cute little transparent kitchen in place. Finally, a menu full of salads, soups, sushi, kebabs, curries, daals, khichdis and desserts were added, and they opened their doors two weeks back.

Lettuce Try New Things

We began our evening with a Mojito and Watermelon Martini, and if we had to pick, we’d say go for the former. The fresh mint and light sugar make it a summer favourite that no other beverage can rival. Next up was the Kiara Flower Pot, which looked as heavenly as it tasted. A burst of flavours from the broccoli, quinoa, tomatoes, bell peppers and crushed peanuts tasted even more divine with their chilli garlic dressing. We ordered the basic Tom Yum soup next, and suffice it to say, it was the veggie equivalent of the chicken soup for the soul.

The Pok Choy Dumplings were everything we expected, but served as a great contrast to the sweet potato and pumpkin kebabs that made us believe that Indian and Oriental flavours can complement each other. We were hoping to try their Kaffir Lime Khichdi and Bao Bhaji but unfortunately, our appetite gave way and we ended with the churros withorange marmalade, and Apple Crumble with an Apple Miso Ganache. Both sealed our love affair with the fine-dine with their perfectly-balanced aromas and flavours. In fact, they fell in that sweet spot where fusion doesn’t weigh heavy on comfort food.

P.S. Extra points for presentation. Every dish looks totes Instagrammable with the leaves and flowers and veggie flourishes.

So, We're Saying...

60% of Kiara’s menu is vegan, and they are determined to let diabetics and people with dietary restrictions have a good time. So, their menu is very mindful.

P.S. Their bar is all set but it’ll start serving by the end of April. Thank God, they haven’t assumed that vegetarians don’t drink. We’ll go next month only to pair that Garden Salad with Japanese hummus with a flowery cocktail.

By Mr Sourish Bhattacharya, 10th May 2018

Delhi Finally Has A Vegetarian Restaurant It Can Keep Going Back To

THE OTHER DAY, as I was listing my go-to ‘North Indian’ (Mughlai/Punjabi) restaurants for the benefit of a good friend, she stopped me mid-way to ask if any of these restaurants offered anything other than the unholy quartet of aloo-gobhi-paneer-maa ki dal. I could only think of Kwality’s Pindi chana and bhatura combo.

Indian restaurants, surprisingly for a country everyone regards as vegetarian, are infamously unimaginative about their shakahari offerings, although some of the country’s biggest spenders on food are unapologetically vegetarian, some even staying away from onions, garlic, potatoes and mushrooms. Yet, there’s clearly a market for vegetarian restaurants, a fact established by the success of Carnatic Cafe, which brought the original flavours of Udipi to our city, and then of Burma Burma, which has proved that you don’t even have to offer an Indian menu to stay in the business of vegetarian food.

Kiara Soul Kitchen, at the M-Block Market, Greater Kailash-II, is a heartening new addition to this minuscule list. The restaurant is the labour of love of two brothers, Manav and Madhav Windlass, sons of the financial guru and telecoms industry pioneer Ashwani Windlass. Driven by their dream of running a restaurant where they would like to eat out as a family, the Windlass brothers gave up comfortable corporate jobs and spent three months with their chef, Siddharth Chogle (IHM-Aurangabad, Taj, The Oberoi and Cesar Ritz, Switzerland), to create what I predict will grow up to become a durable, scalable go-to restaurant chain.

It’s food that makes Kiara work. After an introductory conversation over makhana (fox nut) poppers and pickled zucchini (a happy alternative to standard welcome appetisers such as papad, prawn crackers and sirkewaali pyaaz), I launched my Kiara experience with a robust Indonesian Tomato Minestrone (redolent of spices and coming with a liberal helping of barley to introduce a refreshingly different texture than what you’d normally encounter in soups).

It was followed by a Fruity Dates Salad, drizzled with fresh orange juice, the dates packed with feta cheese, and Vietnamese Rolls, where the austere freshness and crunchiness of the farm-to-fork vegetable strips inside the rolls were perked up by the accompanying spicy peanut sauce. For mains, I had the visually delightful Gobhi Parantha (That’s Not A Gobhi Parantha) served with a pumpkin sauce that sends your palate into a state of high excitement, and a Bao Bhaji, where the traditional pav is replaced by a Chinese bao to add a dollop of excitement to the popular street food item. And for dessert, we had the most delightful reinvention of the date pancake — the date mash being wrapped around the pancake casing and served on a pool of cranberry sauce.

Excitingly different food, yet not over the top. It’s just the kind of offering that will make vegetarians feel like they finally have a restaurant they can go to.