Indian Accent: New Approaches

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Courtesy of Indian Accent

Hurtling toward modernity, how will India package itself to the world? Indian Accent, currently New Delhi's trendiest temple of disposable income, offers preliminary indications — in ways entirely edible, if not always delectable.

Amid the hip surroundings of the Manor hotel, former Taj chain chef Manish Mehrotra, having opened pan-Asian pacesetters in New Delhi and London, serves what he terms "Indian food for the 21st century." Like much fusion cuisine, it doesn't always work. The chicken tikka quesadillas, tantalizing with a hint of melted Gruyère, make no discernible improvement on the Mexican; the peanut-butter chicken is best left to the Indonesians; a lasagna with smoked eggplant looks right but drowns in brownish dal.

Far better is Mehrotra's generous five-course tasting menu — a bargain at around $45 with matched wines. And where else in the world could one sample tasty flatbreads stuffed with bacon, papadums dipped in goat-cheese mousse or rounds of goat kebab both topped and stuffed with foie gras? Indian Accent is at its best when the spicy, local intonations cut through.

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