Peninsular Kitchen is located on the third level in Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, adjacent to the Pizza Express outlet here and the place radiates an aura of its own. Being one of the pioneers of South Indian cuisine AND Coastal cuisine in a city like Delhi which is the hub of North Indian delicacies, Peninsular Kitchen is coming across as a breath of fresh air.
PK, as a brand has risen above only run-of-the-mill and known-to-all South Indian fare like Idlis, Vadas, Uttapams et al to expand their horizon and make available to its patrons, authentic coastal cuisine and dishes popular in South India. Since PK focuses on presenting the specialties of states located on the Peninsula, hence the name Peninsular Kitchen.
It was my first visit to this outlet on the occasion of a Blogger's Table with a pre-set menu, and I must admit that even though the outlet is modest with its seating, the designing of the interior scores nicely with hues of orange and blue and wall motifs of a sunrise and explorer's map. With anchors as table masts and tables in the shape of boats, one of tables filled with sand, sea shells and mariner's equipment covered by glass, and paintings of coastal trinkets on table mats, Peninsular Kitchen emanates the look and feel of being somewhere near the Peninsula.
The Kitchen too, was an open one, with glass walls, so that one could witness the dishes being prepared and plated for us to enjoy.
We begun the meal with one of PK's signature mocktails - Peninsular Sunset. The flavor as well as the presentation was nice - with a punch of strawberry and a cutesy topping of a pineapple slice.
Next up was Deccan Emerald - another mocktail - the flavor of tamarind lent it a tangy taste - though sweetened with a bit of Sprite.
Lastly, we relished some Coconut Mojitos which were (pleasantly) loaded with coconut slices too.
Other than these, two of the alcoholic drinks on offer were Spice It Red and Cosmopolitan.
Moving to the starters, apart from the usual Podi Idlis, we also had Travancore Chicken Fry (not boneless pieces), which was flavorful but a bit high on my spice quotient, and PK's special Butter Pepper Garlic Mushrooms as the vegan choice and Butter Pepper Garlic Prawns. Both were relished.
The presentation of all the dishes at PK is worthy of applause, and also starters were accompanied by a choice of South Indian relishes, one of which was Coconut Chutney and Fried Poppadoms.
The Main Course was elaborate with Goan Fish Curry, Chicken Chettinad, Vegetable Stew, Diwani Handi, and Vendakal Pulusu on offer.
While Goan Fish Curry could have been a tiny bit smoother in texture, and Chicken Chettinad was just right, Peninsular Kitchen scored with their vegetarian preparations - on the portion size and the thick consistencies of gravies.
The Diwani Handi and Vegetable Stew are a must-have out of all the dishes, while Vendakal Pulusu was essentially fried Okra pieces, again just right.
Accompanying the Main Course were quintessential Malabar Parantha, Appam and Red Rice from Kerala, with another option of the humble Steam Rice.
Topped the meal with the authentic Goan Bebinca with Vanilla ice-cream and a mint leaf on top. They source the same from Goa, twice every week, I was told.
Also, on offer was decadent Khubani ka Meetha, topped with nuts and accompanied by Rabri and some classic Payasam Kheer.
Rounded off the visit with refreshing, classic Filter Coffee.
Being a niche setup, Peninsular Kitchen knows their preparation very well. The stewards also know their job well, being attentive and informed, but not intrusive towards their patrons.
All in all, a fantastic first visit. I'm looking forward to a second one soon.