Michelin Star · Restaurants · Travel · Vacations

A lunch date at Campton Place in San Francisco

I have run out of excuses for having long gaps between blogs, but let me try this! I received a lot of criticism after my last food blog. M said that I did not do justice to the experience we had at The Restaurant at Meadowood. So on our next fine dining date, I was busy cranking up notes so that I could do justice when I write about that dining experience. Did it spoil my actual dining experience? Read on to find out…

I love trying different foods, but I am very Indian at heart so ever since I read about Campton Place and Chef Srijith Gopinathan’s Cal-Indian creations, I wanted to go dine there. So, we decided to do a lunch date for my birthday at the Restaurant at Campton Place. The restaurant is located in the Taj Campton Place Hotel in Union Square, San Francisco. Decor at Campton Place is decent and the ambiance is quite classy. The tables all had a lovely center piece of a flower that reminded me of “lotus” – so the decor definitely had an Indian touch. Since we went there on a weekday, it was not crowded at all. Our server was quite friendly and courteous. We had already decided to go for the tasting menu since I had read about Chef Shrijith’s delicious idli dish. I did ask the server if they were going to serve us that in the tasting menu and he nodded a big “yes”. With that nod, I started looking forward to our culinary odyssey 🙂

Spring "Idli" sauteed with Sugar Snap Peas, Raisins and Black Mustard
Spring “Idli” sauteed with Sugar Snap Peas, Raisins and Black Mustard

Amuse bouche was a wild arugula, avocado and green apple foam. It was more of a palate cleanser. I am not big on foams, but I could taste all the different flavors. Then we were served a cold heirloom tomato and strawberry gazpacho. Frankly speaking, I missed the Indian touch in this dish. It was good, but I couldn’t distinguish any Indian flavors in the dish. I would expect that any highly rated Michelin star restaurant. It has the Californian flair, but where was the Indian flair? I was slight disappointed when my next dish was a soup too. The second course was corn and mushroom soup made with buttermilk. I have to admit that the buttermilk added a nice touch to the dish but I was still missing the Indian spices. M was served butter poached lobster with coconut curry as his second course and me mentioned that the dish had a lot of South Indian flavors to it, so I was hoping my next dishes would satisfy my craving for that Indian touch. After all, this was the primary reason why we had picked the place.

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Post appetizers/soups, we were served our first main course and the much awaited “Spring Idli” dish. After I had the first bite of this dish, I finally started getting the Indian touch. The sugar snap peas and raisins gave it the sweetness, and the sambhar curry the spice. The dish matched up all the expectations I had created in my mind for it after reading rave reviews about it. My next course was “String Hoppers” with korma sauce and seasonal vegetables. It was served with a side of papadum which is basically a deep fried crispy wafer. It went really well with the noodles and the spicy cashew korma curry. It was so mouth-watering that after having the korma sauce, I forgot about the first course of strawberry gazpacho not having any Indian flavors. M’s final main course was a duck samosa and it was by far his favorite dish. He said he could eat 4 more of these and we were already at our fourth course, so I can only imagine how good it much have been.

Last but not the least, my favorite course was the Basmati rice dessert served with mango tart and candied rice. I eat Basmati rice on a day-to-day basis as a staple, so to create a dessert out of it was definitely very creative of the Chef. The mango tart was delishhh and it went really well with the tamarind paste served along with it. Couldn’t have asked for more! Ofcourse, we finished with a classic chocolate cake to celebrate my birthday. I left the place extremely happy. The place surely has a Cal-Indian flair. I would love to go back some day 🙂

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