Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Fusion 9 - High and Mighty

It was the day of yet another dinner with the foodies at the one of the city's well known restaurants on Sterling Road. I'd never been to Fusion 9 before and I wish Shadir or Doc had warned me earlier about the poor lighting. (That explains some of the out of focus pictures). This was one of the fun dinners I've been on, with Doc Waz and Shadir regaling us with food stories of their college days. Aswin was a last minute entry as Nish and Ali couldn't make it. Divyan and Karthik completed the 6 member group.

Mohan and Mrinalini from the PR consultancy led us with the initial introductions and I'd requested for a copy of what we'd be eating today. (It's too difficult remembering names, and I sure don't want to look at the pics wondering what it was ! :-) ) Sajith was taking care of our table. I'm covering only the vegetarian fare here. (It wouldn't be fair for me to talk about something that I don't eat)

It was a new spring menu that has now been introduced. And me being a veggie, was curious how the new menu helped us. It so happens that this revised menu has loads of options for vegetarians. *big smile* Round 1 to Fusion 9

The dinner kicked off with the barman's special - Irish Apple Mocktail. Not a big fan of apple, this one was a little too sweet for my liking and didn't really make an impact on my taste buds. When I told Mohan about it, he promptly got the bar to get me another drink with orange and lemon and mint, and loads of crushed ice. The orange had no flavor, and all we could eat was the crushed ice. I should have perhaps tried some other mocktail from the menu. Round 2 to me ;-)

The drinks gave way to starters. The first dish on the table was a platter of watermelon and feta titbits with reduced aged balsamic. Round 3 to Fusion 9. Absolutely brilliant. This coming from someone who HATES watermelons - This is a must order when you go there. Fresh watermelon scoops with generous cuts of feta - yummy !

This was followed by sicilian rice cakes, mushroom and smoked scamorza filling, fresh tomato and MTN. Usually, cakes are associated with cubed / rectangular shapes, but this one was round (!!??) Slightly dry, but overall good flavors. The mushroom and scamorza stood out. Round 4 to Fusion 9

With this, came the beirut hummus falafel platter. Round 5 to Fusion 9. Excellent pita and hummus. We could lick the bowl clean :)

After this, followed the spiced tofu katsu with crispy rice noodles. Tofu by itself has no taste. This one was well cooked, and the katsu sauce is a perfect combination with the tofu. I was curious as to what the katsu was made of and Sajith would only tell me that it had peanuts and Japanese spices. I asked him what spice was that and he insisted it was Japanese spices. (Aswin says it's theriyumotheriyadho and Doc waz claims it's nikumonikado :P) Jokes apart, I'd certainly like to know what spice it had ! It did taste a bit like maggi and korma. Round 6 to Fusion 9

What I should mention here is an out-of-the-tasting-menu item - Tandoori broccoli. I am in love with Fusion 9 only for this dish. (We never did get that second plate, did we.. Aswin?)

The salad then came on. Roasted new potato salad with sour cream and dill mayo. Round 7 to me. Potato skin was bitter and there was something weird about this salad. The peas were undercooked and there was absolutely no flavor anywhere. One mish mash of ingredients dumped together hurriedly !

Corn chowder soup came on. I'd rather not say anything about this. It was too creamy and after all the heavy starters, given a choice, I'd have opted for a clear soup, something that would also cleanse my palate. The soup was equally heavy and it didn't quite taste of any particular flavor. Round 8 to me.

Next is Pasta. Yay, I've always loved pasta and was super glad that the veg pasta was not penne ! It was fusili, with fresh spinach, sundried tomatoes, assorted peppers and leeks. Pasta was undercooked (much below the al dente level, perhaps another 30 - 40 seconds in the boiling water, or even a minute may be?). Sundried tomatoes were too little in number and too bad Aswin ate the last piece ;-). Also appears they weren't actually sun dried. Oven roasted may be? Nothing to rave about - this pasta. Round 9 to me

It was already past 10, and we had still not started the main course. Pizza was yet to be served. :-)

The pizza landed on the table, looked delightful. We cut and served, wanting to taste each vegetable on the pizza - zucchini - check, eggplant - couldn't find one, peppers - check, onions - check, mozarella - check, white cream - check. An overall decent pizza, but I've had better ones. Round 10 - draw. 

It was time for the main course. Moroccan Panneer steak with spiced harissa and lemon cous cous- epic fail. Round 11 to me. Panneer was rubbery, and the lemon cous cous tasted like wheat upma. The sauce was decent and the only saving grace here was my favorite broccoli.

I was stuffed. Too many dishes for a tasting session. As I was drooling over the dessert menu, steamed rice with Thai Green curry arrived. I thought it was a little too lemon grassy, (and a few others on the table also did think so, but Doc thought it was perfect). Overall good one, rich flavors, slightly on the creamier side; nonetheless a good way to end a meal. Round 12 to Fusion 9

We were eagerly awaiting the dessert, having stuffed ourselves with all the aforementioned dishes. And it came, regally, on a platter. One bite and we realized the desserts were outsources from Sandy's. Yay ! The chef explained that they didn't have enough space in their kitchen to make these. Of course, the chocolate brownies were from their kitchen and were absolutely delicious. The cheesecake and German chocolate mousse from Sandy's - delightful as always. Round 13 to Fusion 9

On a Tuesday evening, this place was crowded. That should explain that the fact that the crowd loves this restaurant, despite being a tad expensive. A meal for 2 would cost anywhere between 1200 - 2000. I also come to understand that the non-veg dishes were done well. 

On the whole, a good experience and if they can work a bit on sourcing fresh ingredients, especially the leaves (lettuce and basil - which were terribly bitter), and perhaps removing paneer from the menu (I love paneer but it just doesn't fit in here), this would be a great place to dine. 

PS: I also think you should tune into Star world on weekdays from 9 pm so we could watch MasterChef Australia. We were told TLC is your standard channel ! 

PSS: As we wound up and were leaving, the aroma of sizzlers was undeniably dragging us back. Why, Oh why, did you not serve us some of that brilliant sizzler?


Munch on....