Tuesday , 19 March 2019

Fantastico, on land or sea

Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ

Tierra Y Mar is a hidden gem that is so worth a visit, because the odds are you will keep coming back for some lip-smacking traditional Spanish and South American cuisine. Tierra Y Mar that translates into ‘land and sea’ isn’t boastful. Its food does the talking – the place is quaint, rustic and easy going. You can choose to sit at the open bar or enjoy with pals at the tables that’s spread loosely over the yard.

Entrepreneur, Anirudh Maheshwari, chef Benpramar Laitflang – who always thinks out-of-the-box – and ex-footballer Nishant Mehra make up the dynamic team. They not just bring in hands-on experience, but are there literally, doing that extra bit to give you a great dining experience.

And that’s what you will get here: some great tapas and mains. The food sojourn began with an assortment of Baja fish, braised spicy beef and mushroom soft shell tacos. Hands down a brilliant start; especially for those who love a variety of flavours yet enjoy simple stuff. The food is made using locally available produce, and yet chef Ben ensures it retains the charm of the traditional recipe, with his tweaks here and there.

For those who enjoy raw food, the ceviches shouldn’t be missed. Popular as ever these are traditionally made with raw prawns, fish or meat marinated with citrus juices. So, though I would have preferred the prawn and avocado ceviche, due to an allergy to the latter, I had the red snapper and apple ceviche which was perfect.

The bacon wrapped prawns is the way to heaven. Unlike some places where either the bacon is tough or the prawns aren’t fresh, these were soft, juicy and heavenly. We literally didn’t want to part with them, even though other food kept coming on the table. A usual non-vegetarian fan, I devoured on the porcini parfait brulee (light mushroom custard, caramelised with sugar) with bread. Simplicity at its best here!

I gave into gluttony and was unapologetic while I also soaked up on some terrific concoctions created like the orange cinnamon martini, a Lynchburg lemonade and the sour Feni that had the chilli thrown in giving it that oomph. Choose your alcohol base, and take off to enjoy high spirits.

Seared Beef Chimichurri, of delicious slices of prime-cut beef, sizzled to a crispy perfection resting on a bed of fresh greens is one of the favourites here. You should definitely try the Chicken Confit. Here, the chicken gets this crispy golden-brown layer on the outside yet is tender inside with the meat sliding off the bone easily because of the slow-cooking process in fat. I was having a great time there not just with the well plated servings, but also the custom made crockery used was interesting, and it was all homemade.

The crusted fish with buttered cucumber and shrimp is not just a pretty sight to look at, but a classic mélange of flavours heightened by the buttery residue that could double up as a perfect sauce.

The menu here is always under construction, with new additions and innovations. The goal of this restaurant, as Ben tells us, is to serve some great South American flavours, making it accessible to all. The pricing is what makes this place all the more inviting, as it is easy on the pocket.

All this simple flavourful food was thoroughly enjoyed as we discussed FIFA World Cup, digital marketing, food and more. While I planned to finish the meal that night in an hour, with good company and great offerings on the table and our candid discussions with the chef and Rudy (Anirudh), we didn’t realise that a good three hours went by in a jiffy.

But, at the end even after a scoop each of some Italian gelato, we left without feeling guilty about the food we ate; it was a lot, but very light and easy on our tummies. I’m definitely going back, but on my next visit it has to be the ramen, that chef Ben puts his heart and soul into.

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