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A food trail to Niche Lounge and Bistro

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New Delhi: In today’s age where the fine dining restro-lounges face tough competition to survive in a sea of plenty, we find one such lounge and bistro which stands out in the crowd. The Niche Lounge and Bistro scores full in terms of food, presentation and ambiance.

Here the cocktails are served in perfume bottles and the food is a breath of fresh air.

Located in the outer circle of Connaught Place, opposite the Statesman building, Niche is spread across two floors, including an al fresco dining area. The indoor-seating area has stylish interiors dominated with plush leather upholstery and panelling on walls. It also boasts of a stage for performance, a 20-seater Long Island-style bar and a cigar corner.

The menu is quite restricted, not offering an array of dishes like a lot of other places where customers get so confused that they end up ordering just a pasta or a pizza.

“Our aim is to make people taste everything that we have to offer. Our menu is limited, the portions are small and reasonably priced. We want to promote a culture of consuming three starters, four mains and a dessert between two people,” Assistant General Manager Matthew Radalj told reporters.

Niche is also big on its signature cocktails which are presented in things like a perfume bottle and the inside of a book, priced at Rs. 1,000 each.

“The pricing of our signature cocktails is a little high compared to the classic cocktails since we try and make as many ingredients in-house as possible since a lot of the things that go into producing a cocktail – like tobacco liqueur – are not available in India. So, we have taken a culinary approach to the drinks, producing the flavours ourselves,” said Radalj, who takes care of the bar.

Asked about its many competitors in the area, Radalj said: “We want the dining experience to be a memorable one and not having to leave unsatisfied after eating the same regular things.”

To begin with, we were served two of the signature cocktails; Daisy – a chamomile tequila based drink served in a Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume bottle. This drink does look very pretty especially to someone who loves perfumes but the taste is just the opposite. It is a very strong drink, a little towards the bitter side due to the addition of grapefruit bitters, not recommended for people who likes sweet, flirty drinks.

The second was The Cask of Amontillado, a Hennessy V S cognac-based drink with cardamom and grapefruit bitters. It was very warm and rich, excellent for a cold winter night, sitting by the fire, gorging on a piece of rare steak. The amount of alcohol was very generous in both cocktails.

The drinks were quickly followed by the star of this entire dining experience – pulled pork spring rolls served with sweet chilli glaze. Crunchy on the outside with a juicy and generous amount of pulled pork on the inside. A definite conversation starter along with drinks.

Three dishes really stood.

The first was the French onion soup rings – creamy, rich soup served with crisp onion rings and gruyere cheese. The soup was not heavy and the rings did not have any trace of oil, very light and full of flavour.

The second dish was Malabar prawns served with dates and olive tapenade and capers.This dish was one of the finest examples of fusion food and the prawns were of the melt-in-the-mouth type.

The third dish was the smoked salmon nicoise salad with gazpacho. When it was brought to the table, it seemed like the colours of spring had arrived on a plate: the pink of the salmon, the green of the olives, the red of the cherry tomatoes and the yellow of the gazpacho. The dish could very easily be dominated by either the salmon or the gazpacho, but on the contrary, the flavours were all well-balanced and could be individually tasted.

The dishes that did not really stand out were the chili aam papd pork ribs with strawberry chips and jus. The pork was dry, not well seasoned, the strawberry jus was delicious but did not do anything for the pork.

The second was the lamb shank served in a rogan josh gravy, ginger foam and sauteed vegetables. The meat was undoubtedly very tender, and of the fall-off-the-bone type but the gravy again was a little off in terms of seasoning.

The third was the chicken breast flavoured with mace and cardamom butter and chili korma. The chicken had a little char on the top but it was bland and dry.

The last dish was a complete mind-boggler. It was the dessert, a ganache served with chocolate mousse, white chocolate shavings, mango jelly cubes and chili ice-cream which gave it a ‘kick’.

Niche’s setting with the great cocktails, sumptuous food and a fabulous location, makes it a place where dining turns into an absolute delight. (Karishma Saurabh Kalita, IANS)

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Beware! Frequent dining out can harm your health

The new study looked more broadly at dining out -- not just at fast-food outlets -- and found that it was significantly associated with increased exposure to phthalates

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Dining out regularly can harm your health. IANS
  • Frequent dining out can affect your health
  • It can have a bad effect on your health
  • High level of phthalates is the cause of this

Next time you order a sandwich from your favourite fast food joint or plan a dinner with your friends at a nearby restaurant, you must give a try to home-cooked meal first.

According to researchers, dining out more at restaurants, cafeterias and fast-food outlets may boost total levels of potentially health-harming chemicals called “phthalates” in the body, especially among pregnant women, children and teenagers.

diet
Dining out is not as good as it may seem.

“Phthalates”, a group of chemicals used in food packaging and processing materials, are known to disrupt hormones in humans and are linked to a long list of health problems. “This study suggests food prepared at home is less likely to contain high levels of ‘phthalates’, chemicals linked to fertility problems, pregnancy complications and other health issues,” said senior author Ami Zota, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.

For the study, published in the journal Environment International, researchers used data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected between 2005 and 2014. The 10,253 participants in the study were asked to recall what they ate and where their food came from in the previous 24 hours.

Also Read: Food Preservative Shows Promise In Schizophrenia Treatment

The researchers then analysed the links between what people ate and the levels of phthalate break-down products found in each participant’s urine sample. The team found that 61 percent of the participants reported dining out the previous day.

The study found that sandwiches consumed at fast food outlets, restaurants or cafeterias were associated with 30 per cent higher phthalate levels in all age groups. The researchers also found the association between phthalate exposure and dining out was significant for all age groups but the magnitude of association was highest for teenagers. Adolescents who were high consumers of fast food and other food purchased outside the home had 55 per cent higher levels of phthalates compared to those who only consumed food at home.

Remain healthy during winter with these healthy tips
Homemade food is healthier. wikimedia commons

“Pregnant women, children and teens are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals, so it’s important to find ways to limit their exposures,” said lead author Julia Varshavsky who did the work while she was at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health. A previous study by Zota and colleagues suggested that fast food may expose consumers to higher levels of phthalates.

The new study looked more broadly at dining out — not just at fast-food outlets — and found that it was significantly associated with increased exposure to phthalates. The findings are worrisome because two-thirds of the US population eats at least some food outside the home daily, the authors warned. IANS