Friday, May 17, 2013

80 North: Berkeley, Ajanta


Previous Ajanta update.

Owner Lachu Moorjani is again exploring new paths with a Chef’s Tasting Menu.  I visited recently to sample the vegetarian menu ($24) (a non-vegetarian menu ($27) is also available).  Note that it is a requirement that everyone at the table order the same dinner.  Our spread began with complimentary papadam lentil wafers and mint-cilantro sauce.  Then came fleshy portobello mushrooms with a delicate sauce of cashews, cilantro, mint, tamarind, and yogurt.  Tandoori asparagus arrived with a low-key sour cream-cashew sauce.  And then came our last appetizer--a vegetable samosa stuffed with potatoes and fresh peas and a side of cilantro sauce topped with tamarind.  At this point things revved up, and our entrees arrived all at once:  Navrattan korma (seven different vegetables in a rich creamy curry sauce with nuts and paneer); khumb jahanara (a mix of shitake mushrooms spiced with onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger cashew paste, coriander, cardamom, and cloves); bheh kofta balls (formed from lotus roots, potatoes, breadcrumbs, and spices and served in an orange-colored sauce of onions, garlic, tomatoes, yogurt, cashews, and more spices); and our hands-down favorite—red and smoky achari baingan (eggplant in a highly spiced sauce composed of tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and Indian pickling spices).  Surprisingly, we had room for dessert, which was a choice of pistachio kulfi, exotic and refreshing cardamom gelato, mangoey mango sorbet, and the best gulab jamun I’ve ever had—swimming in a honey sauce.  Ajanta will celebrate its 20th birthday in June.  Expect some surprises. 

Ajanta on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley.   

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

No comments:

Post a Comment