The Flavours of Europe: A Culinary Extravaganza
“Sabor de Europa”, or as its literal translation goes, Flavours of Europe introduced Manipal to an array of European cuisine in a fine dining experience. The dinner was held on Valentine’s day. Some came with their friends to celebrate and some with their significant other on a romantic date.
WGHSA, over the last few years, has been doing simulations in which their students prepare and serve delectable food to the students and faculty of Manipal. But never before has a simulation taken place on such a large scale. There was participation from about 100 students, with the second years captaining the ship.
The dinner took the diners across a cross-country tour of Europe through their taste-buds. The success of the night was marked by the coordination with which all students worked. The decor team worked their magic to transform the simple classrooms and a mundane library into a Parisian fine-diner. The ambience was specially made romantic by the dim lighting and the slow music playing in the background. The walls had a distinctive European look, with paintings adorning each one of them and wine bottles adding a touch of the finesse.
The menu for the night was donned by ten different courses. There was a waiter for each table and as the order was being taken, the tables were swiftly cleared by their junior servers.
The first course, named Rudyard Kipling and Socrates, was an appetizing start to the dinner. Socrates referring to grilled watermelon with feta mousse, which simply melted in your mouth. The consistency of the mousse perfectly complimented the fresh watermelons. Rudyard Kipling was a name for Avocado coconut wasabi mousse.
The second course had in store Roasted chicken skin, which cracked in the mouth, providing a rich flavour, contrasted by quail eggs, which had been specially imported from Bangalore for the night. Rasputin, as it’s known was completed by a salad comprising beetroot, apple juliennes, and walnuts. For vegetarians, the second course consisted of the salad along with Karbocha tempura.
Following the first two courses, there was a Seafood Ambergris, a soup with a thick velvety consistency, encapsulating an amalgamation of seafood in one mouthful. The vegetarians had a cold leek and potato soup which was a savory retreat from conventional soup served elsewhere.
The fourth course of the night received extremes of reaction from the diners. Some calling Nero Di Seppia, a rendition of black squid ink pasta with roasted vegetables, pine nuts and basil emulsion, the best dish of the night and others giving a very neutral response. The black squid ink, specially brought from Udupi, added a coarseness to the pasta, which made the dish immerse in flavor. The dish was a novel experience for almost the entirety of the diners.
After the savory experience, there was a sorbet to cleanse the palate and prepare for the next few courses. The Zucchini and tomato sorbet was refreshing and the coolness of it seeped through the neck.
The sixth course comprised roasted duck with fermented braised red cabbage, potato and leek galettes and scallions with jus lei. The dish named Canard Roti was infallible and there was not a single emotion that it failed to capture. The dish was a reminiscence of Grandma’s kitchen with the sauce and the duck taking you back to Christmas eves spent at the family table munching on roasted duck.
This was not all. Right after, the seventh course was greeted with prawn thermidor, polenta, crispy cauliflower and hazelnut gremolata. The prawns transcended the diner to a complete Mediterranean experience and they could taste the Grecian seaside through the prawns and the creamy sauce which accompanied it. Vegetarians were treated to eggplants with a reduction of tomato pepper coulis.
The dessert itself was two courses. The first of the courses was a collection of four small cakes. The cakes were all prepared in the bakery where a group of about fifteen students managed to create sweet delights in the form of four petit cakes. The second course of dessert was a Swiss surprise. The hero of the night, Jaconde sponge with strawberry mousse and chocolate sauce with vanilla Tullie stole the show. Everyone was left mesmerized with the orgasm that the last course left them with. It was a Valentine’s aphrodisiac, no doubt.
To complete the ten courses, black coffee was served to encapsulate the variety of flavors of the night.
Generally, the complaints associated with fine dining is that it isn’t filling, or it is too expensive. Sabor de Europa managed to counter both those claims by providing a filling menu of food and providing an experience well worth the Rs 800.
Mention must be made of the plating. Each dish was an artwork by itself. It was a great opportunity for social butterflies to make stories on Snapchat and post on Instagram. The plating techniques seen in series like Masterchef were on full display. The rush in the kitchen was similar to the Masterchef before and during a service. The waiters and servers maintained a great amount of professionalism and courtesy throughout the night.
Overall, the experience of Sabor de Europa was a great one. There was not a single negative that could be pointed out. The WGHSA students did not leave a single stone unturned to make it a perfect Valentine’s dinner.