RESTAURANT REVIEW – Nueva by Chef Michael Swamy

restaurant review NuevaWith minimalist cooking, stirred by nature and garnished with love, the distance between dull and delicious can be measured in the molecular realm of flavors at Nueva – India’s first Latin American restaurant by celebrity Chef Michael Swamy.

Nueva seems to make a bold statement – embrace newness, and transform chaos to calm. Art comes alive in all forms as tall black, heavy double doors open into a chic, sophisticated space, that disconnects you with the outside world, and induces you with its finishes and alluring lighting.

We’ll tell you a little later why Nueva served us a lunch that was memorable, but first, let’s set the table. The cutlery is outlandish and the ambience makes you feel special. Appetite builds as tall glass panels transcend mystery into transparency, and you watch chefs work diligently in a state of the art kitchen.

The menu is inventive and is devoted to the pleasure of nature. It prefers the flavor spectrum with lots of fresh produce, herbs, vegetables, fruits and a general feeling of health. Staff is pleasant and their smile adds to the adventure at Nueva.

The meal begins with an assortment of indulging in-house breads and spreads. After fresh fruit drinks, we directly dive into our first main serving – the Tea Salad. Yes….tea in a salad. The eclectic mix of nutty, lemony, vegetal, earthy flavors is complex, exciting and inviting. The side of steamed green tea leaves, pounded into a paste with walnuts, adds wonderful texture, and compliments the crunchy ingredients and tea’s traditional bitter-sweet astringency. A legendary salad!

Chef Michael takes the storm outside the cup by keeping our taste buds on full alert with his house speciality, the Tea Smoked Chicken. Served on a bed of black quinoa, with a side of inlaid greens, the presentation is a bolt of surprise and pleasure combined. Tender, moist, herbal chicken is in the harmony of wonderful flavors, induced with the density of indigenous ingredients, smoky finish and a lingering aftertaste. Quinoa is a careful pairing as it cleanses the palate after every tannic bite and compliments the astringent, drying, puckering sensation and mouthfeel. You must order this!

After the shifting, swirling delectable flavors, the desserts have a meditative effect. While Yogurt Coconut Pannacotta is just as delectable as it sounds, with fresh in-house multigrain granola and blueberries. The Cinnamon Tiramisu is sleep-inducing and therapeutic, with delicious, spicy, creamy smoothness. A gastronomic afternoon of flawless take off and a smooth landing.

Some chefs cook. Others create. Chef Michael’s tea-infused menu is an enthralling sensory experience of tastes, smell and even sight. He loves tea and has steeped it in versatile starters, inspired main dishes and tempting beverages. Tea, in its many forms, is one of the oldest ingredients in the kitchen and we love how Chef Michael is bringing the latest global trend of cooking with tea, in India. A trend we adore and promote.

We believe that a good meal experience is like a cup of good tea. The amalgamation of unique flavors, awakens senses and begins a mindful journey –  faraway from our chaotic modern lives. And when it all comes right from the earth, the symphony is magical in the stillness of our minds.

As vivacious as samba, Nueva is colorful, flavorful, exotic, artistic and will make you curious about South American culture, and why it’s taking over the global culinary landscape. Nueva is Chef Michael’s voyage of love between his admiration for South American food movement and his culinary wisdom, which he celebrates with a stunning Tapas bar on the ground floor of his restaurant.

Thank you Nueva for your hospitality and a great lunch. Next time, we won’t hesitate to order your Tea Salad again and again.

Address: Sangam Courtyard, R.K Puram, New Delhi
Reservations: Recommended
Hours: Noon to Midnight

INTERVIEW – In Conversation with Chef Michael Swamy

Interview NuevaChef Michael Swamy, the rising star of the culinary world, talks about his new role as the Chef Patron at NUEVA – India’s first Latin American restaurant in New Delhi. In an exclusive interview with Rangsaa, Chef Michael gets personal and shares his journey and inspiration behind his dream project Nueva…and his insane love for tea!

1. How did your love for Latin American food and tea, both commingle and inspire you to start Nueva, your dream project?
MS: I was brought up on magazines like NatGeo, BBC Wildlife, SPAN and others, which gave me glimpses of global culture and inspired me. One of the magazines had a feature on Spain and I remember getting intrigued back then too. Spanish cuisine is a vibrant cuisine. It’s based on home cooking styles and local ingredients and travel! The Spaniards travelled the world and took ingredients with them. It’s a cuisine that’s close to my heart.

Latin America was another region that intrigued me because of its colorful culture and the brilliant images I saw of the Amazon jungles. When I studied the food aspect that also fascinated me. And tea… I have a deep personal relationship with tea. My Nana (Mother’s mother) lived with us and had been a matron in hospitals during the British Era. So she followed many British customs and teatime was a serious affair in our house. Her friends knew this and those who travelled always brought back different teas as gifts. So I have grown up tasting different kinds of tea and have always loved it. So, when I got the opportunity to do a restaurant I decided I want to do something new and something, which will definitely have some element of tea in it. I also cook with tea!

2. Tell us about your target audience and why Nueva is a must visit place for all our readers?
MS: It’s for the adventurer, the expat, the person who wants to try out new things and most importantly for the person who loves, respects and understands food – not just because some cuisine is trending. It’s for those who understand the timeless quality of food. It’s a must visit place for someone who wants authenticity, flavor and taste, the connect of art on a plate and the ability to enjoy food at leisure. It’s for those who come to a place with an open mind.

3. Share your inspiration behind your unique menu at Nueva.
MS: The menu takes on all the aspects of nature. From nature we receive and to nature, one must give back. It’s about sustainable foods, local ingredients. The exotic is kept to a minimal. The inspiration is nature and the seasons, and so we have divided our menu as per garden, sea, mountains…

4. From interiors to your menu, everything is so artistic and well selected in your restaurant. Are you a chef, who is also a poet and an artist?
MS: I am all of the above. One has been given talents and it would be criminal not to use them all. The designers and architects put together our vision of nature and design and the concept of minimalistic to good use and gave us a restaurant one can walk in and be comfortable. I do dabble in poetry and yes, the artist in me came to the fore as a food stylist and photographer. Having said that, I believe that every chef is a poet and artist… after all the food is the chef’s poetry and art translating onto a plate.

5. Is there a chef you admire the most? Tell us who & why?
MS: Chef Claire Clarke who instilled in me the art of bakery and perfection. She was a chef to the House of Lords and has worked in several Michelin restaurants. Seeing a woman achieve so much in a man’s world as inspiring enough, not to mention her penchant for perfection that she instilled in everyone around her.

6. Which is your favorite tea? And your favorite time of the day you enjoy drinking it?
MS: I drink tea at any time of the day – even in the middle of the night! My favorites are white tea, Lapsang Souchong and silver tips. I also enjoy orange pekoe.

7. Tell us your favorite dish on the menu and what makes it so special?
MS: Since all of them are my creations, I cannot choose any one. All are my favorites also because they have evolved due to my chefs’ inputs and suggestions. The Lamb Osso Bucco Stew, Slow-cooked Pork Belly with Vindaloo Glaze and Duck Moile are my favourites. Also, the Vegetable Lasagna and Mixed Mushrooms with Creamy Polenta would be the ones I would suggest people try out for sure.

8. Define “a perfect cup of Tea” and your favorite tea pairing of all times.
MS: For me, a perfect cup of tea goes well beyond how hot the water should be and how long the tea infuses… my perfect cup of tea is also all about the moment, the atmosphere, the place, the comfort of the silence or hustle around you. Because whether it’s during the day or night, I like to sit back, relax and sip my tea. It’s not just the brewing that makes it perfect. It’s the setting and the emotions running through you.

9. Working in the industry for so many years, what one advise would you like to share with our urban-generation of tea lovers?
MS: Try every kind of tea there is, whether hot, warm or iced, with or without milk, plain or flavored. It’s soothing, it’s comforting and it’s the story of India in a cup so take the story of it to the world.

TEA REVIEW – Instant Green Tea by Instant Teas

Review Instant teasInstant powder – It’s mustard yellow in color and consists of fine, crystallised, non-edgy, silky granules. Aroma is mild – somewhat grassy and wet-wood like.

Infused tea/Unique characteristics – The powder dissolves in water in few seconds, into deep golden-champagne color liquor. Aroma is meekly grainy, musty and hay-like. First sip, and it’s a surprise! On the palate, the taste is nutty, with bold tannic sweetness on the forefront, followed by vegetal undertones. Together, with slight astringency, the flavors compliment the dry mouthfeel and crisp aftertaste.

Infusion – 200 ml pre-boiled water at 85C was added to about 1 gm (generous 1/4th tsp) of instant green tea. The mix dissolved in water within 5 seconds stir. There was no residue build-up in the end. This tea is pleasant, experimental and versatile. I highly recommend it as iced.

Instant green tea will surprise anyone with it’s tea experience. It’s not the usual tea leaf powder mix but 100% natural extract of pure brewed tea, without any chemicals and additives. I am not one for instant teas, but this product has impressed me. The palate experience is an innovation in tea and I believe, whether it’s hot summer afternoon, rainy day or a stormy night – this tea will refresh and satisfy!

Website: www.instantteas.com
Twitter: @InstantTeas
Rating: 4/5

Rangsaa Review by Robert Wemischner

Robert W Quote blogIt’s an honour for us to share Rangsaa experience with Robert Wemischner, a veteran chef, culinary educator and author of four books, based in Los Angeles.

Getting reviewed by the expert on the subject of flavors and cooking with tea, Robert’s review titled, New Winds Blowing in The World of Tea: Rangsaa Tea’ is simply mesmerising.

“It’s as if a breath of fresh air has entered my tea cabinet in the form of a new line of teas, leavened with an element of fun, subverting the expected.”, adds Robert Wemischner, a tea connoisseur who believes tea is timeless and infinite in variety.

Using tea as a cooking ingredient is a subject close to Robert’s heart. His views on the perfect packaging find credence in Rangsaa’s bold color palette that promises a novel and luxurious tea drinking experience.

He details how Rangsaa introduced him to a new palate experience through a delectable mix of flavors and aromas.

“Though an unscented black tea drinker myself, Rangsaa’s blend has opened up my palate to a new experience and has set my culinary wheels turning–will the subtly flavored brewed tea or dry blend be used in a sauce, a broth, an ice cream, or a sorbet?Or maybe flavor a custard, a filling for a cream puff, or éclair? Ideas abound.”

We’ve been introduced to the concept of cooking with tea just lately, but Robert Wemischner’s long-standing interest in the flavor potential of ingredients has culminated in his expertise in using tea as a flavor ingredient since the 1970’s. Robert Wemischner began his career to great media acclaim in the food business in the early 70’s as the owner of a pioneering gourmet-to-go shop in Beverly Hills. Robert has extensively experimented with cooking and has been a teacher of baking and pastry for more than 20 years at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College. He is also the author of The Vivid Flavors Cookbook, a groundbreaking book about fusion cuisine, Gourmet to Go on the business of specialty food retailing, The Dessert Architect, an invaluable resource on building versatile and creative desserts and Cooking with Tea, an exploration of the culinary potential of the humble leaf.

Thank you Robert Wemischner for your review and belief in Rangsaa’s Global Tea Movement. We urge all our readers to check out the complete review HERE!

5 Reasons Why You Should Add Rangsaa to Your Fitness Regime

Fitness lifestyleIf you’ve wandered along your supermarket’s tea aisle over the past 5 years, you would have noticed a massive multiplication in the breadth and depth of choice in ‘herbal’ options, with mostly mundane and uninspiring flavor innovations.

We at Rangsaa are huge fans of powerful herbs, but were fed up of the weak, dusty flavours that ended up in ‘herbal’ infusions replete with chemicals and artificial substances. We realised there existed a gap in the market for innovative, 100% natural teas that also tasted delicious, loaded with the true power of herbs. A fitness and wellness movement, Rangsaa operates in a unique space. Our work revolves around an overarching aim to discover delicious yet effective ways to harness nature’s power in our teas.

The concept of healthy, nutritious tea is fast changing to go beyond green tea bags. Surprising as it may be, tea is becoming the latest fitness power drink around the world. Fitness blends are now a global trend among fitness enthusiasts, sportsmen, athletes and people into target training. However, the trend is yet to catch up in India.

When you work out, an adequate intake of fluids is essential. A healthy body results from 80% diet and just 20% workout, so being conscious of not just what you eat but also what you drink becomes crucial to your fitness journey. Imagine if your fluids came packed with strengthening and rejuvenating herbs. Rangsaa offers just that, bringing the fitness movement to the health conscious.

Here are 5 reasons why Rangsaa blends are a great addition to a fitness enthusiast’s arsenal:

1. Unadulterated delicious power – Rangsaa blends are the best alternative to chemically loaded and sugary energy drinks. Made with nature’s most powerful botanicals, Rangsaa is packed with vitamins and nutrients that improve stamina, boost vitality and reduce muscle stress. 100% pure and natural, our blends help you experience the power of nature with pure deliciousness.

2. Powerhouse of herbs – Our blends are formulated with superfood herbs like moringa, ginseng, seabuckthorn leaves, gotu kola, cramp bark, Indian gooseberry and other speciality target-focused herbs that help you energise and improve stamina.

3. Naturally sweetened with Stevia – Rangsaa blends are naturally sweet and delicious with no added sugar. Stevia helps fight diabetes, thus making for a great option for diabetic patients looking for a sweet treat.

4. Multi-versatile – Not just a hot cup of tea, Rangsaa blends can be transformed into fitness drinks, smoothies, healthy cocktails etc. Our recipes take tea beyond the usual cup. Perfect for people who love experimenting, our blends are easy to incorporate in your fitness journey. If you want power on-the-go, you can use our fitness tumbler to assist you.

5. No-caffeine option – If you want to stay away from caffeine but still want an energy-booster, our blends are here for you. Our tisanes, which are pure herbal infusions, are caffeine-free and boost stamina naturally. They also offer multiple so you can sip power all day.

When you drink a cup of Rangsaa, you sip in the essence of nature and experience a medley of nutritious, colourful, tasty and aromatic molecules that protect against stress and exhaustion. Whether you hit it hard at the gym, run a 10k to train for a marathon, swing kettlebells at home, sweat it out on the yoga mat or do laps in the pool, Rangsaa is your one-stop fitness drink. Our blends help you energise before your workout, keep you going during your session and help you recover and restore post workout.

At Rangsaa we go back to the basics, turn to nature and bring you tea blends and tisanes that help you energise, elevate and feel amazing even after a thoroughly exhausting session. Whatever be your fitness goals, say goodbye to sugary drinks and switch to a cleaner lifestyle with Rangsaa. Gift yourself a healthier, fitter and better you and experience tea like never before.

5 Ways To Train Your Palate With Rangsaa Tea

Tea Talk 9Rangsaa’s tagline ‘Symphony of Colorful Tea’ reflects the various tasting notes in our blends, which come together to create a beautiful, elaborate musical composition, full of orchestral flavor profiles. There are different tasting notes, depth of flavors, aroma, undertones, complexities and spikes before you get an aftertaste. Every Rangsaa blend is an experience in taste, simplicity and purity, making it a beautiful tea drinking journey, something that you want to keep coming back for.

Indulging in novel ideas and events enriches our understanding of life and enhances the quality of our experiences. We at Rangsaa love trying out new notes, taste and flavour profiles with our tea blends. With the finest organic herbs and high altitude tippy tea leaves, we have created a beautiful symphony of unique flavours and notes, distinguishing our blends from the artificial ones that have proliferated the market today. We want people to experience this colourful symphony with five simple steps. Ask yourself the following questions when drinking our teas:

1. Describe your tea blend – How is the appeal? Examine the appearance of the dry tea leaves and other ingredients in the blend. Are the tea leaves whole or broken? Do you see silver or golden tips? How do the ingredients look? What do they smell like? Examine your tea, studying it for clues and flavours that are about to indulge your senses. Rejoice in the moment.

2. Describe the color of the tea liquor – Watch the leaves infuse and spread a cloud of color in your cup or teapot. Is it amber, crimson, golden, or a different color altogether? How does the color change with steeping time?

3. Describe the aroma – Close your eyes and inhale the rich aroma wafting from the infusion. What does it smell like? What are the hints of flavors that you are experiencing? Is it fresh, exciting, warm, spicy, comforting etc.?

4. Describe the tasting notes – Now, slurp the tea (don’t worry about the loud noises). Spread it all over your tongue and mouth. What flavors, notes, undertones do you detect? What are the top notes? Is there a balance? How is the texture and the finish? Try to describe your experience.

5. Describe the aftertaste – Finally, swallow the tea. Is the finish long or short? Do the flavors dissipate quickly or last for a while in your mouth? What flavors remain? Is the mouthfeel dry or creamy? Do you detect sweetness? You are the taster here. Enjoy every sip.

For a heightened tea experience, we suggest steeping the tea for 5-10 minutes and see how you like your tea, detecting the change in density and depth of flavours, thus allowing the musical notes to resonate.

To learn more about the new flavors that you can experience, please refer to our tea reviews on the website. Our reviews will act as an introduction and reference guide and will also enhance your experience by giving you cues on exploring your blends in different ways.

Train your palate and explore new flavors and nuances with Rangsaa’s premium tea blends and tisanes. Drinking tea is fun and we want you to experience the magic with your Rangsaa journey.

Valentine’s Special – Rangsaa’s 10 Tips To Embrace Life With Tea

Get your adrenaline shooting. Shake up. Get up. Make a cup of tea. Relax. Keep walking. Set goals. Live life. Smile often. Laugh loud. Love yourself. Love more. Eat nutritious food. Stay hydrated. Drink more tea. Listen to more music and less advise. And lastly – Never give up on love. Find love in whatever and whomever you can. Find love in people, moments, places, work and things. Love is the essence of everything. It is the core of our existence and the most beautiful element in our lives. It is the ultimate path to inner peace.

Let tea make your journey better. Let it remind you that real love is pure and special. Bring more colors, flavors and aroma in your life. Wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day! Live well. Drink well. Be well.