“I call it progressive, modern, contemporary,” Penkar tells InDaily of the Javitri menu.
“I’m taking Indian cuisine to a different level using global influences.”
Penkar opened Javitri just over a week ago in the space previously occupied by Assaggio restaurant at 92 King William Road in Goodwood.
Originally from Mumbai, he has been in Adelaide for around three years and says he has spent that time working with a range of different chefs – most recently at dessert bar 50SIXONE – to get a better understanding of the local food culture before launching his own venture.
Penkar honed his fine-dining cooking skills in India, where he worked in the Oberoi chain of hotels and resorts, including the fine-dining restaurant Ziya in Mumbai which he describes as “a trendsetting restaurant for the whole country” opened by renowned chef Vineet Bhatia.
He furthered his experience with a stint at Bhatia’s Michelin-starred restaurant in London, and also worked with another Michelin-starred chef, Adriano Baldassarre, at Mumbai’s Vetro Italian restaurant.
This broad experience is reflected on the menu at Javitri, which sees western ingredients such as goat cheese, truffle oil and granola incorporated in the dishes, and the use of cooking techniques such as sous vide and confit which are not part of traditional Indian cooking.
“It’s all multicultural inspiration,” Penkar says.
“We want to break that stereotype of rustic Indian food presented in a bowl … this a sophisticated way of serving Indian food with a lot of thoughtful pairings of food and twists.”
So at Javitri chicken tikka, for example, comes with a trio of flavours: basil and coconut, saffron and chia seeds, and dried tomatoes, cumin and pine nuts.
Other dishes include Green Pea, Spinach and Granola Tikki, served with a cranberry-ginger chutney; Cottage Cheese and Green Pea Lasagne (where the pasta is replaced with paneer); Lamb Three Ways (one of which is a dukkah-spiced tandoori lamb chop); Southern Indian Crab Cakes, served with cucumber and puffed lentil chat, mango chutney, beetroot and cumin coulis; Truffle Ghee Nan, and Tomato Pesto and Basil Laccha Paratha (flatbread).
Penkar says the Malabar Seafood Stew is his version of a French bisque but made using Indian spices, while the Baked Tamarind and Ginger Oysters are inspired by traditional English Oysters Kilpatrick.
The desserts also draw on a range of influences, with one of the most tempting being the Chocolate Tsunami, which has five different components including a dark chocolate, fennel and orange brownie; a milk chocolate, coconut and poppy seeds cigar, and white chocolate pan kulfi (frozen dessert).
Another kulfi dessert incorporates chocolate and rosemary, candied rose petals and green cardamom, Toblerone and Bailey’s cream.
Penkar is confident South Australians will embrace his version of contemporary, refined Indian dining, saying he loves Adelaide and believes it is an excellent place to open a restaurant.
“It’s growing so fast … people are accepting modern food with good chefs, and I want to be a part of that.
“At the end of the day what we want to serve is Indian food in a very stylish and friendly way … this is a modern era for Indian food.”
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