18 Sep Dalchini Pop-up at Persillade, East Melbourne
Dalchini means cinnamon, and it’s a versatile ingredient found in both savoury and sweet dishes. At the Dalchini pop-ups, chefs Ved Navghare (Coda, Tonka) and Kay-Lene Tan (Head Pastry Chef at Tonka) take traditional Indian recipes and put a modern twist on them, hoping to show off a more versatile version of Indian cuisine.
We begin with a handful of snacks. The tomato shorba is served in a shot glass and transformed into something light and clear, though it’s still flavoured with spices. Idli, cakes of fermented rice, are topped with sea urchin, a garlicky sambar and a fried curry leaf. Lamb bheja puffs are actually made from lamb brains, but it’s much tastier than it sounds. It’s rich and smooth, leaving a coating on tongue.
Moving on to the shared plates, there’s a coddled egg seated on new season asparagus, and a smear of tasty makhani. The curried, spiced flavour is mellowed out by the oozy egg yolk. Fried eggplant bhaja discs arrive with hints of horseradish present on their surfaces. The roti catches the slightly watery contents of the burrata.
Crystal bay prawns are nestled underneath khichdi, a stew-like dish of rice and lentils that’s a tad underdone. Drizzles of prawn oil brings a bit more depth of flavour. Pork jowl sorpotel, a type of curry, brings along an enticing herbal fragrance. The baby turnips cut through richness of the pork, which has a bit of tang to it, and the light and bubbly crackers provide extra texture.
The menu concludes with salted caramel macarons and fig pistachio rose burfi, a chewy and dense milk-based sweet confectionery. The mango mousse, yoghurt sponge and pomegranate is Kay-lene’s take on mango lassi. The sponge is tangy and there’s a mango gel underneath. It’s a beautiful and refreshing dessert that ties off the night rather neatly.
Dalchini’s six-course shared style set menu is available for $85 with matched wines for $45. Pop-ups are currently being run once a month.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Dalchini as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Dalchini Pop-up at Persillade
150 Wellington Parade
East Melbourne, VIC, 3003