Flush out the last 25 years from the culinary chapter of the world and you step back to the zone, where food was only about tradition and techniques handed over by nannies, grannies and mommies; where food was supposed to bring families along, with the pleasure of eating every meal together. There was no internet; no social media not even the easy modern day camera’s that would distract us; It was time of sheer joy and pleasure. When a cuisine comes across as a non-platable one it has already spoken lengths about the culture that got into one simple dish placed in front of you, where many people would sit across and lay their hands in the same dish. Indian food has always been a part of this just like Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Armenia to name a few.
Armenia is one such landlocked country in Eastern-Europe tied between Turkey, Iran and Georgia picking up food and cultural habits from these regions and former Levant. A stark fact for most Indians would be that once there was an Armenian colony in Indian remotely spread across West-Bengal which is now reduced only 100 odd people confined in Calcutta. Chef Sabyasachi Gorai who was bought up amogst handful of same people, has created his latest magic names Lavaash by Saby at Ambawatta one, Mehrauli which is inspired by Armenians who became a part of India.
The place is unique in every sense may it be the laser cut hangings, the chandeliers, the woodwork or the jhoola’s placed in open. The menu is an amalgamation of local Bengali cuisine, Mughlai from the region of Bengal, Irani and Armenian. Lavaash is a traditional Armenian bread and the only food item to be listed in UNESCO’s Intangible cultural list.
I was greeted with a soft Lavaash with asparagus and zatar which comes along coated lebneh balls & white-bean (lobia) hummus on side. The bread is soft like a Kashmiri naan, the lebneh rich and creamy while the hummus is unlike the chickpea hummus from Turkey, with more robust flavour and smoother texture.
The Jurassic cheese pizza is has two indigenous Indian cheese, the smoked Bandel cheese from the Portuguese homes and the seasoned Kalimpong cheese over a lavaash that is as hard crusted and is a close relative of Lebanese Man’oushe. The Onion prawn Tolma is a modern take on traditional Armenian tolma which was just meat covered in wine leaf and cooked, this one could have just about any filling, the one i tried was hollow onion stuffed with prawn, coconut milk and mustard, this beauty melts in your mouth.
The Mughlai Indian touch is clearly visible in Mutton Rezala which is succulent and creamy, I opted for Matnakash claypot bread over the govind bhog rice and it was a wise choice. This bread clearly decimates any form of bread may it be a French Baguette or the Dutch Tiger bread with its stark richness and subtle flavours, this could very well be a healthy snack away from most of its fried companions.
The dessert section has cheese cherry cake, nolen-gur icecream and orange pound cake. In all the experience is new and stellar but a stronger Armenian menu with traditional Harissa, Ghapama and Alani over Caucasian Kefir is what would take this establishment leaps ahead in my eyes.
The PLF (pocket loosening factor) is 2000 INR for two, the number to contact is (011)-33106315 and they are open for small parties and bookings while my suggested orders are Lavaash with Asparagus and Zatar, Mutton Rezala and Matnakash Claypot bread.