I had a dream that one day I'd get to enjoy an evening with Hussein Hadid in the kitchen. It was a dream that turned into reality...
I entered into Hadid's world a while ago as I met him in London at the opening of Brgr.Co and today I'm back to experience what the master is cooking. Yes, the master, the famous, the talented and artistic, Hussein Hadid, is one of the country's best chefs and my personal favorite.
Hussein Hadid welcomes his guests in a kitchen located next to a big saloon spread across two floors. Lebanese inspired decor, soothing music and a team of six working hard back in the kitchen. The best experience is when the chef serves you personally on the long dining table in the heart of the kitchen.
Tonight Hussein Hadid has invited a couple of guests to an Indian dinner prepared by a famous chef coming all the way from London. The table is set, the chefs are adding their final touches while the guests arrive. Two forks, two knives, a fine table napkin, a glass of wine and another of water alongside three small pieces of cutlery meant for dessert. I love it here, it's an enchanting space decorated with style and finesse.
Assisted by his lovely wife, they've created a space for foodies, an upscale space where private dinners and gatherings are held. Spread across two floors, hosting several sofas and saloons which can be transformed into a dining area. Down below is where great food is prepared. Tonight we're dining Indian!
For this special occasion, Hussein Hadid has invited one of the world's eight top starred chefs in Indian cuisine all the way from London. Master of the furnaces at Tamarind London, chef Peter Joseph is cooking fine Indian tonight. He has preserved his Michelin star for the last 14 years. Accompanied by Indian music, we were ready to be seated. I believe at this moment the photos speak for themselves. The setup is majestic!
Chef Hadid's executive chef, Dory, was preparing bread the Indian way stuffed with dates and almonds. Dory is a good friend and a chef I respect and appreciate. He has always amazed me in the kitchens of Pizza.Co, Deli.Co and Brgr.Co. But again... tonight was different and exceptional!
Food is served:
- It started with meat... a piece of beef, another of chicken and a third colored green. Outstanding chicken that's juicy and flavorful - but differently. I really don't know how to explain it but this chicken is like none I've had before. It's intensely marinated, smoothly lemony, truly Indian and leaves end notes of enjoyment around the palate. The piece covered in green is salmon, such juicy salmon, lightly orange and embraced in Indian spiced pleasure. It's so good, literally phenomenal! A creamy green mix embracing the salmon, layers crumbling under the palate, balanced and rich. I left the meat for the end, richly spiced tender meat from the heart out... I've never been a fan of Indian food but this plate is phenomenal! A million spices activate each and every one of your palatal buds taking you on a journey to India and back.
- To share, "Alootikki chat" we received something that looked like fatteh. Chickpeas and yogurt with a certain freshness, some interesting aromas, a kick of acidity and pleasant textures. I fell in love with Indian food that night...
- More food followed... looking like Lebanese mezze, many plates landed in the middle. Potato wedges, giant shrimp, tender chicken breast and rice. OMG... is this how Indian food should be? I fell in love again, fell in love with real Indian food and understood why this amazing guy has a Michelin star. Every plate is a story, every creation is a piece of art, something super delicious filled with passion, love and the real flavors of India.
Dessert was just as good as everything else. Dark chocolate mousse, pistachio ice cream and an orange carrot mixture served warm. A cup of super creamy pistachio, delicate chocolate cream and a crumble of sweet carrots. It's much more than a simple dessert, it's a cocktail of innovations.
I spent an evening in the presence of the famous Peter Joseph, alongside esteemed guests and my good friend Hussein Hadid, I will be remembering it for a long long time. I wish Chef Peter Joseph would visit Lebanon more often: he made me fall in love with Indian cuisine.