Molecule: The Science & Art of Good Food
Take a few lessons from science. Add some arty strokes. Garnish it with attention-grabbing theatrics. Voila! That’s the recipe for an innovative, successful restaurant.
Molecule makes success look as effortless and as simple as that. If only it was that easy, we’d have plenty more fascinating eateries. Not that this is the first attempt at molecular gastronomy. In fact, there are quite a few already.
- the application of scientific principles to the understanding and development of food preparation.
It takes various ingredients in right measure to make an extraordinary restaurant. And Molecule, the newly opened restaurant is Gurgaon, has them all in perfect quantity. Owners Varun Puri, Manish Sharma, Vivek Bhargava have got the location, interiors and space right; Chef Piyush Jain has used his talent and experience, thorough research and the magic of liquid nitrogen extremely well. No wonder, it has gained popularity and rave reviews even before its official launch.
We went for a review here on a Wednesday afternoon anticipating an empty restaurant (and dreading over-attention from waiters). Much to our surprise, most of the tables were occupied. That speaks a lot for a restaurant that is barely 20 days old and not even wholly ready yet. “You should have seen the restaurant on 26th December. Honestly, we did not have high expectations for the season. But we were amazed to see the turn up not just on the Christmas day but even the next day. People were relishing food, the music and dancing heartily. Packed to the full, there were a couple of them dancing on the tables,” expressed amusement Varun Puri, one of the owners of the restaurant.
By this time, we are pretty amused ourselves. He joined us at the table a little after Chef Piyush Jain had already stunned us with some of his innovative creations and experiments. From Amuse Bouche on a miniature military truck to chilled popcorns that bring out smoke from your nose and mouth – the Chef’s experiments are absolutely stunning. “The menu is not purely molecular gastronomical. It is a mix of that and progressive cuisine,” Chef Piyush ensures he explains it to us. “While most recipes use science, there are many that are non-traditional and hence progressive,” he adds while presenting Veg Biryani Arancini – pièce de résistance in our opinion!
“So, how do you like the restaurant and food,” asked Varun just after we were overwhelmed by the presentation and taste of Molecular Winter Berry Salad. It’s amazing for non-salad eaters like us to fall in love with a salad. In fact, this is going to be one of the many reasons for us to re-visit this restaurant.
To answer Varun’s question….
Molecule’s setup takes inspiration Adolf Hitler’s ‘evil’ chemistry lab. Who would have thought! It is quirky but thankfully not over the top. The food is served in objects symbolic of a chemistry lab. The menu card offers trivia from the Second World War. The waiters walk around in military dress. Art installations, ceiling lights, and interiors blend chemistry and war time memorabilia. There are going to be a lot of live bands in the evenings, we are told. During the day time, when we visited, the music was at right decibels to carry on conversations (which are inevitably going to be around food!) In evenings, the music is loud enough to relish the amazing cocktails and snacks.
What’s on the other table? The food on the other table always generates curiosity. The inquisitiveness here is bound to increase multifold given the theatrics of each and every dish. Presentation is at the core for any fine dining restaurant but is a vital element in molecular gastronomy or progressive cooking. Chef Jain does a fine job of presenting his experiments in the kitchen.
Recommended Food & Drinks:
Upon our request, the chef had a set menu for us. We sampled various things for the review. Some amazed us with the presentation while some flavours left us craving for more. Barring Chilli Chicken Samosa, we were impressed by most of the dishes. While the chef’s version of chilli chicken in samosa-shape is tangy, we found it ordinary as compared to the rest.
This is the first time we tasted something called Air Bread (Rs 110). Crispy on the outside and hollow on the inside, it is filled with four types of cheese and topped with chicken achari. Delicious! It’s veg option is available but is better with chicken topping.
As mentioned earlier, Veg Biryani Arancini (Rs 145) is a winner. Arancini are fried stuffed rice balls coated with breadcrumbs. These are usually filled with peas, cheese and meat sauce. Chef’s interpretation of this dish from Sicily is absolutely succulent especially with the caramelized onion on top and eggplant & chilli sauce and raita sphere on the side. A jelly formation with pink peppercorn, the raita bursts in your mouth!
Puchka Shots (Rs 125)are fun! Make your own gol-gappas with flavoured water from test tubes and chutneys from syringe. Cola and beetroot water combination is finest.
Another first here was Dragon Smoke Popcorn (Rs 125). Caramalized popcorns thrown in liquid nitrogen give entertaining results! Ice-cold, these are freezing but not burning. Available in Maggi and Pao Bhaji flavours too.
We have already spoken about the Molecule Winter Berry Salad (Rs 495). You need to see the chef prepare it in front of you to enjoy its magic.
Slow cooked Makhmali Chicken Tikka (Rs 325) and Paneer Tikka (taking inspiration from Titanic for presentation) are equally good.
Recommended Beverages: Virgin Sangria, Hot Apple Cidar (our favourite here), Vodkatini (Green Apple, Basil and Espresso)
Location: SCO 53, 4th Floor, Sector 29, Gurgaon
Phone: (+91) 8826677705