Lock, stock, and Aussie flavours: Dining at Suresh Nanda’s Pickwicks, New Delhi

A place that whispers of subtlety and elegance – Suresh Nanda’s fabled eatery Pickwicks is a frequent destination on every food lover’s bucket list. So, one fine day, we decided to give it a go and have lunch there. To say the very least, Pickwicks is every food lover’s dream come true, perfect for a delightful day out.

Situated inside the iconic, The Claridges, New Delhi, Pickwicks by Suresh Nanda has a warm, fuzzy air around it. Best suited for quiet lunches and sumptuous dinners, the place offers serenity combined with finesse. And from what we had heard about the restaurant, the food was as good as the ambience. So, without further ado, we commenced our lunch.

The day we visited Pickwicks, the restaurant was celebrating Australian Spring Festival, and was offering the choicest dishes from Australian cuisine. We considered ourselves to be in luck – our last trip to Brisbane had left us in awe with the Aussie food. It was now time for us to see whether much talked about Pickwicks had got the flavours right.

We began our meal by ordering a Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Vegemite toast. The soup was cooked to perfection – peeled pumpkin roasted with flavourful ingredients like olive oil, cloves, garlic and onions, made into a puree that’s boiled with salt. The ingredients, put in a perfect proportion, gave the soup a distinct taste that lingers on. The pumpkin seeds lent the soup a nutty flavour, something we liked a lot.

The toast on the side was slathered with Vegemite, a staple in Australian households. For our uninitiated readers, Vegemite is a thick, black food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract. Various vegetable and spice additives are mixed with the extract to enhance its flavour. Thanks to the Vegemite, the toast tasted a bit salty and malty, making it a must try for those who love to explore new flavours.

For the next dish to dig in, we ordered the Australian Open Sandwich with salad on the side. The head chef at Pickwicks has come up with a unique version of the traditional Aussie burgers – steamed bread burgers. The platter consisted of three mini burgers, each with a different, delectable filling.

The mix of excellently done meat and cheese on bread tasted nothing short of heavenly, while the fillings of each mini burger oozed with unique flavours. One had edamame filling, while the others had corn and potato fillings and mix vegetable patty. Served with crispy French fries, Kasundi mustard and a spicy dip, the mini burgers were a great surprise for us.

Next, we tried the Australian Lamb Pie. Also known as the Mini Meat Pie, the dish is quite similar to the Portuguese Egg Tart, albeit the pie is left uncovered with pickled tomato on the top that cuts down the fat from the lamb meat. Full of authentic Australian ingredients, the soft and crunchy pie melted in our mouths. The blue cheese sauce and arugula only added to its flavour.

At Suresh Nanda’s Pickwicks, we were in for a real treat that day. Without wasting any time, we moved on to the main course, for which we were served the star dish of the festival – the Herb Crusted Chicken with plum tomato confit buttered spaghetti. The dish deserved its ‘star’ status for every single bite – it was shallow braided and crispy, tender and juicy at the same time. A simple yet lip-smacking preparation!

For our vegetarian friends, there was the Mix Vegetable and Garbanzo Stew served with prunes, apricots and couscous. Another great vegetarian offering was the Green Peas, Cheese and Macadamia Parcels served with green bean pesto. True to their Australian roots, both the dishes were full of distinct aroma and taste, and were a treat for all senses.

Since we had had our fill by now, it was time for us to finally add some sweetness to the meal by ordering the desserts. We were served Chocolate Chantilly, Australian Sponge Cake and Black Ant Lamington. Although we loved each and every one of them, it was the sponge cake that captivated my tastebuds. Dusted with desiccated coconut, cherry cream and black sesame, the cake left us with a taste to be cherished forever. An epic finish to an epic meal!

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