The House Of Celeste, the latest entrant in Gurugram’s 32nd Milestone is reinventing Indian food with panache, all thanks to its prolific chef Suvir Saran. By Adila Matra
Winter at Gurugram’s glitzy neighbourhood of 32nd Milestone is a dreamy affair. A canopy of twinkling fairy lights greet you at the entrance, followed by neon signs of watering holes, dessert cafes, and restaurants. The newest entrant in this gastronomic hub is The House of Celeste, helmed by Michelin-Star chef Suvir Saran.
I walk into the modest restaurant with no expectations at all, but at the end of the meal, I am completely taken by Saran’s vision for Indian food, more than anything else. Fusion food is not a new concept to India. Many restaurateurs and chefs have tried their hand at it. Some have got it right, and others have failed.
And The House of Celeste, undoubtedly falls in the former category. Suvir Saran plays the role of people-pleaser at times and tweaks favourite Indian dishes for his guests and at others, he prods the same palate to take risks and try new flavours. And it works!
The Delhi 6 Taters with crunchy potatoes in yoghurt mousse, topped with chutneys, packs all the flavours of Old Delhi. But the mousse is the surprise element—catching you off guard with its lighter-than-air texture and low-key flavour, unlike the acidic curd that you are used to.
The Masala Pebbles is an innovative take on the golgappa. A very thin shell infused with chilli pineapple soup and tamarind chutney sits on a saffron tart. The presentation at The House Of Celeste is minimal—no unnecessary embellishments, as Saran believes in the mantra that his mom taught him, “less is more.”
The one dish that truly lives up to the celestial name of the restaurant is the Gilafi Apricot Seekh. The mutton is cooked just right—it is not too rubbery or chewy like most of its street counterpart. There is a small hint of apricot, which lends it a mild sweetness, which is quickly balanced by the bell peppers. I taste a dash of saffron in the sheermal paratha that comes along with the succulent kebabs—a royal throwback.
Saran, who just made India his home a couple of months ago, after spending 27 years in New York, is very excited with his new stint. “I have many young chefs on board, the youngest one is 20 years old,” he tells me as I indulge in the delicious Mutton Ghee Roast that is served with the softest Malabar parotta.
And just when I think it couldn’t get any better, the dessert arrives—there’s chocolate cake, caramel popcorn, sweet corn ice cream on the plate that Saran calls Three Indulgences, and on another is a dish named Milk Skin and Chocolate and Milk Fudge. “One plate of milk skin takes about 45 minutes to cook,” informs Saran. I dig into the dehydrated milk, dodha, and the accompanying buttermilk sorbet, and tell him it’s definitely worth it.