…khrr.. (indistinct radio disturbance).. Cool breeze of this early winter night ruffles through my barely-existent hair.
Helicopter blades whirring in the distance.. Men dressed in black suits and black goggles (- at night! You know they mean business when they’re ready to give up such a large chunk of one of their major senses).
Me, dazed and confused, thinking I’ve come for a tasting, not really fathoming what’s happening. I’m more concerned about my dust allergy looking at all the dust being thrown up by the helicopters, which seem to be approaching uncomfortably close by the minute.
“In the Marvel Universe, that is called a Fan-os”, I hear from behind, I turn around and see, Amit Dharwadkar pointing up at the helicopter.
(…khrr.. ‘what was that?’, I hear a strong voice inquire on the radio. One of the men in the black suits, with a bewildered expression on his black goggles, hissed “Ignore that, sir”.. …khrr..)
I hear laughter from around me, as I turned around and realised I’m surrounded by PEO-ple. I tried to say something or understand what’s happening, but suddenly, from the rising dust, a wild Aniruddha Patil appeared and said, “Comrades, I have a mission for you, should you choose to accept it”
(…tense upbeat action music..)
Suddenly, I hear Rohit Loya comes up behind me and says, “Sir, my new iPhone has so many lenses, I’m ready for anything.” His expression intensifies, as he whispers, ‘It even has x-ray vision, and face recognition’. There are multiple oooohs and aaahs.. Everyone cheers, as enthusiasm and anticipation swells!
(..khrr… ‘Bird’s on the ground’..)
We are swept away to a far off land. Still trying to make sense of it all. Slowly something comes into focus. A beautiful regal house in the middle of nowhere, with a stark blue pool, a huge wooden deck and grounds, as far as the eyes can see.
We are ushered onto the deck in front of the house as the radios chattered again, ….khrrr.. ‘Assets in position, I confirm, assets in position’. We were all befuddled and bamboozled by everything that was happening. Everyone was in intense discussion about where we were and what was it we were going to face. We were furiously trying to figure out strategies and plan of attack while also flabbergastedly taking in all of this magnificence! We just couldn’t take our mind off, of how beautiful and suspiciously “legendary”, the whole set up was.
Suddenly, the doors opened and we assumed ‘defence positions’, fork and knife in hand and waited in anticipation as a very royal, familiar and well loved figure stepped out, his entourage in tow!
“I am, Manu Gulati-en”, he exclaimed, “The Kaiser of Effin-Gut-berg, here to show you an Effin-Gut time. We have gone and doneth something awesome, like we always do’.
‘What all you good folk are summoned here-th, is to savour our new delicacies and spread the word – Effin-Gut-berg will have a new lease of life, great new eats and of course, the legendary ales and drink. So cometh, make merry to our humble abode, and have the Effin-best time of your life!”
We cheered and rejoiced as we gathered around and settled on the wonderfully appointed long-table. Glasses full of ales and wine, beautiful flowers and scrolls describing what our senses would be treated to. The new menus, with a special ‘PEO’ section as well as a whole page dedicated to succulent pork! Magnificent!
Dishes arrived one after the other, as we feasted, surrounded by friends, making merry and engaged in some stimulating conversation with the Kaiser himself. Hmmms and ummms, ooohs and aaahs. Flavours and ingredients with incredible twists!
———– THE FOOD! ————
We started off with the ‘Crispy Corn Jhol‘, a crispy spicy mingling of deep fried corn along with onion, tomato and spices! Like a bhel but with corn. (After reading ‘Jhol’ I was hoping for some mustard, and it would definitely have been a very different and wonderful combination.)
Bacon Swirls – One of the new specialties from the ‘House of Pork’! Imagine 2 breakfast-y things, crashing into each other, from worlds as far away from each other as can be. But fusing to become something just unimaginably scrumptious. Imagine your humble ‘Cream Roll’ you had at the local tapri with cutting chai this morning, had, instead of cream, bacon! Imagine, it being so crispy and crumbly on the outside, like delicate expensive pastry, but with meaty, smoky, fatty bacon swirling up inside like a snake.
All this catapulted into the stratosphere by a dip that will blow your mittens off. Imagine a ‘Makhni Mayo‘! Creamy, savoury with the unmistakable flavour of chicken makhni! And not just any, but Effin-Gut-berg Chicken Makhni!
Something very different, then, fell into our laps. Potato Skins, deep fried to crispy perfection and garnished gracefully with salt and spices. All this to be dunked into the most blessed of concoctions – Wasabi Mayo! Creamy and delicious spiked with a noseful of the green Oriental hurt-y stuff. I would have loved it to hurt a bit more but that, turns out, seemed to be my personal issue.
Thai Devilled Eggs – Taking something as simple as eggs to a another level altogether. The yolk, creamy, with musings of mustard and spices from the Land of the Thai. Lemongrass, kaffir lime and chilly! Delicious affair, I must say.
Spicy Kheema Bunny Chow – Spicy, scintillating mutton kheema, residing within a crisp fluffy round loaf, all topped up with a heart warming and soulful curry, singing merrily with garam masala. One of the best dishes of the evening!
Pork Ribs in Classic BBQ Sauce was the epitome of porky goodness. Ribs from Belgium slow cooked to fall-off-the-bone perfection in a smokey, sweet, tangy and rich sauce! An absolute stunner of a dish, all for you to demolish your meaty cravings. I would have loved it to be a bit restrained on sweetness, though. But you also have many more sauces to choose from in that case!
Prawns Laksa – A generously flavoured Malay curry, exuding chilly, lemongrass, turmeric and shrimp, all wrapped up cozily by creamy coconut milk. Hit of spice and soothing to the throat, this curry does it all. I absolutely loved it! My favourite oriental curry, Effin-Gut-ified!
Sloppy Chicken Burger – Juicy pulled chicken, amazing tangy, spicy sauce between a pair of crisp butter toasted buns. One of the best chicken burgers I’ve had in eons!
Lemon Crusted Fish – A crisp crusty fish with tanginess from lemon, richness from parmesan cheese, served with green garlic pilaf or rice. Abso-fishing-lutely delectable.
For dessert, we devoured a creamy sinful Tiramisu. The creamy and coffee flavours with the rich moist cake was excellent. I did miss the light airy texture of lady fingers, but this is an excellent tiramisu, for sure. Fit for a coffee addicted king!
Well, there it is. This has been a secret for long, but now you know! Kaiser Gulati-en has done it again. With the excellent grub and drink, I assure a long lasting, happy and peaceful kingdom. Long live Effin-Gut-berg!!
-I understand I went a bit overboard and I know many of you are really confused! But this is literally how we felt during this incredible event. The experience, the place, the food, all extraordinary.
-No, we didn’t actually go by helicopters, nor were we surrounded by Eff-BI or anything, but sure felt that way.
-There was a lot edited out, so I did save, whoever is still reading, from an even more unnecessarily long saga. Hope you enjoyed this slightly different take on this tasting. Kudos to the legend himself, Mr. Manu Gulati and the wonderful team who arranged such and exciting and enjoyable evening.
Disclaimer – No PEO-ple or Effin-gut-ians were hurt during he making of this post. Also mutual funds are subject to market risk, please read all scheme related documents carefully.
Disclaimer 2 – Warning! you have reached the end of the post! You’re a champ! #GiveYourselfARoundOfApplause