Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ment

Fresh food for the body politic at the 71-year-old Con­sti­tu­tion Club

India Today - - LEISURE - —Pho­rum Dalal

FFood gurus Ashay Dhopatkar and Neha Lakhani, aka the Trou­ble­some Duo, aim to stir up a lit­tle tamasha at the 71-year-old Con­sti­tu­tion Club— which has been serv­ing the same pedes­trian desi sta­ple to min­is­ters and other MPs for decades.

“When we came on­board as culi­nary di­rec­tors in Septem­ber last year, our brief was to modernise the en­tire op­er­a­tions and bring it on par with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards,” says Dhopatkar, who has worked with Miche­lin-starred chefs Her­bert Berger and Gor­don Ram­say.

Set up shortly after In­de­pen-

dence in 1947, the Con­sti­tu­tion Club “was opened with the idea to have a place out­side the precincts of Par­lia­ment,” says MP Ra­jiv Pratap Rudy, who took up the task of re­vamp­ing the club in 1999. With a gym, spa, bad­minton court and swim­ming pool, it’s a neu­tral ground for politi­cians to meet, Rudy says. But it’s also be­come a so­cial spot for mem­bers and their fam­i­lies.

The menu at the club’s Cof­fee Break can­teen cur­rently fea­tures nos­tal­gia favourites like desi piz­zas with a top­ping of sautéed cap­sicum and onion mix tossed in garam masala, and pineap­ple pas­tries flavoured with ar­ti­fi­cial essence. But with three new res­tau­rants planned, the Trou­ble­some Duo aims to add a se­ri­ous dose of so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

“We want to change the way min­is­ters eat,” says Dhopatkar. To do that, the con­sul­tants have fit­ted cook­ing sta­tions with cast iron French cook­tops, and added fire guns, siphons, and pipettes for molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy to the kitchen arse­nal.

Thin-crust piz­zas topped with buf­falo moz­zarella and truf­fle, mus­tard, basa and even a BBQ-pulled chicken top­ping have re­placed the Nir­ula’s-style pizza of yore. And the team has added fresh sal­ads, pani­nis, sand­wiches and pas­tas, along with con­duct­ing tri­als for a healthy de­tox menu which will in­clude pro­tein shakes and smooth­ies for the gym and spa.

In the bak­ery, too, old-school pas­tries have been ditched for cook­ies, muffins and French del­i­ca­cies like Mille Feuille and Choco­late Eclairs.

“We have in­her­ited a rich legacy and the pres­sure of mod­ernising the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of the po­lit­i­cal di­as­pora in the coun­try is both in­spir­ing and chal­leng­ing,” says Lakhani, an MBA and Cor­don Bleu grad­u­ate. “Ini­tially, the club menu was very ba­sic. The kind of menu that would keep your hunger at bay but won’t blow your socks off!”

Pho­to­graphs by RAJWANT RAWAT

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