I have never been a proponent of the apple-a-day theory. But a recent apple-centric soirée organised by Saloni and Sameer Malkani of the Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI) at Theory in Kamala Mills, Mumbai, made me change my mind about this fruit.
It kicked off with the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine Clyde Comello and his second in command, Chef Simarpal Singh Virdi, demonstrating a beautiful and easy to make salad with apples done three different ways and a representative of the US Apple Export Council (USAEC) speaking about the benefits and versatility of apples. It was interesting to discover that USAEC is a trade association representing five apple-producing states in the USA (California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia) and is promoting US apples in the Indian market.
After the demo, we settled down to savour our four-course dinner and were held spellbound by Theory’s team expertly showcasing apples course after course, be it aperitifs, savoury or sweet. The drinks on offer were a fruity red wine sangria and a virgin apple and cinnamon sparkler.
I was wowed by the exciting yet complementary flavours and comforting creamy texture of the Curried Carrot & Apple Soup.
The delicate Poached Apple & Goat Cheese Salad that arrived next was simply divine, the sweetness of the red wine poached fruit contrasting perfectly with the creamy goat cheese and the tart red wine reduction that cut through the slight bitterness of the curly endives. Topped with toasted hazelnut bits, it was a party on my palate that I wished would go on until the wee hours!
Of the two mains, I chose the vegetarian one — an Apple Gnocchi — which turned out to be the better choice combined with a cinnamony butternut squash, sage butter and a nice springy burrata. The pan-seared gnocchi was really well made and the apple added an interesting dimension to it.
In comparison, the Chicken Roulade with a not very pronounced apple jus was a tad stodgy, though it looked more substantial than my gnocchi.
For dessert, I picked the Apple Cheesecake, mainly because I was tempted by the Burnt Vanilla Ice-cream it was served with. It looked attractive enough, topped with some tart raspberries, but somehow didn’t come together that well as a dessert for me. Strangely, I found myself craving more apple!
In retrospect, I should have had the Baklava. I had a bite from my neighbour’s plate and loved the scrumptious apple stuffing, the quality of the filo and the uniquely shaped parcels the chefs had created with it. A fitting end to a fine four-course apple-focused meal that was just what the doctor ordered.