Have you ever tasted caperberry ? No, do you get these things in Bangalore ? My questioner was equally puzzled by my answer as I am to hers. She meant the restaurant on Dickenson road and I thought it is a kind of some berry or fruit !
The cloud of confusion soon whisked away when I went to Caperberry to attend the non- vegetarian edition of cookery workshop “cooking with caperberry – a spanish fiesta” organised by foodlovers club A welcome drink upon arrival really put me at ease and I took some time to look around what Caperberry is all about.
Caperberry on the heart of downtown Bangalore is an European restaurant largely inspired by Spanish cuisine. Decked with beech wood furniture and adorned with abstract art it can host around 60 plus guest. The intimate spaces at the lounge exudes warmth and when the natural light filters through its large glass windows and plays with the different elements, it creates a dramatic ambiance and uplifts the moods with its refined music.
A quick orientation on Spanish cuisine and workshop is given by chef Abhijit Saha whose brainchild is the “Caperberry”. The event trails us through the sun soaked coasts of Spain to the high mountains of Andalusia with helpful guidance from the chefs and culminating in the sumptuous lunch with a glass of beer.
We started with the Jamon Serrano and Pear salad whereby fresh pears are cut into wedges and are spread out evenly in a circular pattern on a serving dish alternately with the pickled caper berries cut into halves. The pears are then capped with cones of jamon serrano or cured ham slices and the marinated lettuces along with the fresh mint leaves forms a luscious green central mound with generous shavings of Parmesan cheese all over and the mustard sprouts brings that innovative touch to the salad. A dash of extra virgin olive oil in the end make the salad perfect and complete.
Tip from the chef – never cut the mint leaves, always tear them.
Caper berry: a small deep green berry or fruit of Mediterranean shrub called caper and is enjoys mostly as salted or pickled.
After this heavenly spread of pear and ham salad we moved to chicken paella (l’s don’t speak here !) a wholesome dish in its own right. Paella is a Valencian rice dish from the eastern coast of Spain made from bomba rice, cooked and baked in a paella pan. It can be made with vegetables, chicken or seafood depending upon your moods and the base ingredients are sofrito and picada.
Sofrito is a culinary combination of skinned and blanched grated tomatoes with finely chopped onions, a dash of paprika powder and seasoned with salt and pepper, slowly cooked in olive oil until dry.
Picada is a Spanish flavoring made with garlic, herbs and some nuts, many variants exists but we chose to flavor it with cloves of garlic, fresh leaves of parsley, a spoonful of paprika powder and blend it with olive oil.
Chickens are marinated with salt and black pepper, seared in olive oil on a high heat for couple of minutes and then rice is added to them along with the mixed beans, sofrito and picada, cooked for few minutes. Chicken stock is then added to it and cooked till 80% is done, saffron adds the required color and flavor to the dish which is then baked in the oven for few minutes. Paella is usually served in paella pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and alioli.
After a delicious bite of chicken paella, the next on the offing was White wine and Garlic chicken skewers. Chicken dices are seasoned with salt and black pepper and marinated in white wine blended perfectly with picada for half an hour before searing them on high heat for few minutes until the color changes to golden. Pleasantly flavored chicken dices are then served with some lettuces and Julienne of cucumber, carrot and radish to compliment it perfectly.
Fideua (pronounced fioe-wa) with seafood was the most unassuming delectable Valencian dish whereby roasted vermicelli are cooked in paella pan with seafood stock and sofrito and picada forms the base of fideua, saffron brings the color and flavor. Pan seared sea foods are added just before the baking and finishes with extra virgin olive oil and alioli.
Next was the much awaited desserts – Orange Crema Catalana and Spanish Almond and chocolate cake.
Sounds interesting ? Yeah !
Crema catalana is Spanish custard made with yolk, milk and sugar, topped with crisp layer of caramel and flavored with lemon or orange zest and cinnamon. For orange crema catalana an orange reduction was made by reducing orange juice and sugar to 1/6 th of its volume. The custard was made by mixing milk, cream, sugar and yolks flavored with orange zest , poured on a caramel base mould before set for baking in the oven. Served with a spoonful of orange reduction and freshly chopped fruits, garnish with crispy and tart rind of orange, honeyed textured crema catalana was soft , smooth and delightful from inside and was gone in 60 seconds ! Whew ! I managed to get a single bite only !
Spanish convents are famous for its cakes, pastries and almond is the most favored nut that is being enjoyed through out in Spain, the second largest producer of almond in the world. This cake is a wise combination of dry almond powder, with melted chocolates, mix with softened butter, sugar, egg yolks, milk, rum, finger biscuits and the lightness is being added by the soft peaks of egg whites, blended thoroughly and bake to perfection. Dusted with icing sugar and dressed with soft pastry creme and chips of chocolates, the almond and chocolate cake was perfect and pleasant ending to this Spanish fiesta.
After thoroughly enjoying and experiencing the workshop on delectable Spanish cuisine, a sumptuous lunch was waiting for us. From chef’s select lunch menu, I chose a
Catalonian style roasted vegetables with asparagus, truffle oil and chilli garlic mojo in the main course
and supremely delicious tiramisu in the dessert, which gives a royale finale to the event.
Well I have tasted Caperberry and it was superlative !