In a NUtshell:
A brilliant, hardcore, authentic, Assamese tribal food pop up by gitika that marked the end of first month in Assamese calendar.
Address & other details: gitika
Meal for 2: ₹3400
Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian
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I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
Short description- in case u r in a hurry
We have earlier eaten at pop-ups by Gitika in Mumbai, starting from the one at the Bombay Canteen followed by a pop-up at Panvel for which we travelled more than 40 km each way. After these two, we have ordered at different pop-ups by gitika and I have always been amazed at her guts and bravery to put up hard-core authentic dishes to a set of people who are not exposed to it, instead of tweaking it for taste buds of Mumbai people. Great thought I would say, considering most restaurants sell indian regional cuisine in a watered down version. it’s sad to see that nowadays some pop-ups also end up doing the same!!!!
This time the highlight of the meal in our mind was a dish made from ant eggs. we saw this item on the menu and decided to take a plunge. This lunch was serious business for us because my partner actually took leave from work to attend this pop-up and it was totally worth it.
The pop up was done at APB cook studio owned by Rushina – at APB we had a fantastic Garhwali pop by Rushina herself, last month.
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
Pork meat & smoked pork cooked in Szechuan pepper leaves, baby potatoes. The pork had been smoked in the traditional way by Geetika herself, while she was on leave & was visiting her village home – a rare thing for us to have, sitting in Mumbai.
The baby potatoes were lovely. The resultant gravy of the pork & smoked pork was insane flavourful & tasty. I could keep on drinking the gravy just like that. The pepper leaves and the potato was just unbelievably good. the pork pieces were super supple, while they held their texture firm. They were very very tasty as the meat was not from the usual commercial pig farms. Rate this dish 4.95/5
ant egg curry – by the time I got ready to eat the ant egg curry, it was finished as it got so popular that it just got wiped off before any of the other dishes. See the white bean like ant eggs gitika is pointing out in the picture below
Gitika made a special second round for few of us who were left out & this give me a unique experience as she took out ant eggs from a banana leaf wrapped. the eggs were fermented as I cud get the smell immediately after these were unwrapped.
Gitika tossed the ant eggs with onions and a bit of tomatoes – was very good to taste, it was totally different from anything else I have had, it had no particular texture & it was Slightly sour to taste & had a fermented feel. Rate it 4.25/5
Fish in boiled leafy greens Was a super thin, watery gravy with no spices in it – plain simple boiled leaves and fish in it. lovely, simple, pungent, flavourful broth. The fish pieces were not fried separately before putting in the soupy gravy. rate it 4.25/5
chicken with tender banana stem was excellent. the banana stem was not crunchy like it is in Bengali cuisine. here it had a certain texture. it was surely not a paste but was very different. it tasted very very good. the chicken was super soft and nice. rate it 4.5/5
steamed pond fish mash was interesting. it was pond fish with bones mashed – I would say smashed with boiled potato. the flavours of the fish were very well incorporated in the mash. the texture of the fish was lost. the Taste of the fish got added to that of the potato and the crushed bones of the fish Made the mash grainy. Rate the dish 3.5/5
black Dal with Rattan shoot was excellent- it was so refreshing to have this so very different version of black dal as compared to the punjabi restaurant food version. For the uninitiated, Rattan is the plant product that is used to weave for backrest or seat of a kind of furniture that was popular in this sub continent in the Raj era. Like bamboo shoot is eaten, the Assamese also eat rattan shoot.
As I chewed on the rattan shoot, I loved its distinct flavor that had a peppery feel to it. Super loved the very simple daal. Rate the dish 4.75/5
stuffed teasel gourd fry was made by deep frying the gourd in besan. The seeds were removed & a filling was put in its place. Very good to taste. The gourd retained its crunch inspite of being properly cooked. Rate it 4/5
bamboo shoot pickle was very good to taste & had distinct flavor of bamboo shoot.
poison berry & potato mash was a bit dry & was a bit bitter to taste. Good. Rate it 3/5
black Chana with banana stem was very interesting again – super simple, no spices in the face, chana flavor was predominantly present. Unlike the banana stem dishes of Bengal & Odisha, the banana stem in this dish was not crunchy. It was smooth & lumpy. The taste of course made its presence felt, of course in a different texture. Rate it 4/5
paneer in black sesame was outstanding- the paneer had very little water & was tight but not hard. The sesame coating on top was flavorful , Rich & super yumm. Rate it 4.75/5
Masoor Dal Vada in Tangy gravy was another terrific curry. Once again there is a similar Bengali dish that has the same vada & a thin gravy. However the tanginess of this Assamese dish was way high. The taste was way more robust. Inspite of this, the daal was able to retain its flavor. Rate it 4.5/5
Super loved the Axone (Akhuni) bhut jalokia Chutney – robust flavors of axoni (fermented soybeans) & hot aftertaste of the bhut jalokia mirchi. Rate it 4.5/5
So far the best rice beer we have had was at mrs lakhiprobha Deori’s traditional deori house in majuli assam. The rice beer at gitika‘ was almost as good in terms of taste & flavour. The strength was slightly less than the one we had at deori village. Rate this 4.5/5
Coconut topped with fresh cream puffed rice and liquid jaggery was our dessert. Simple. Not too sweet. Flavors of jaggery. Loved it. Rate it 4.25/5
Overall rating of food at gitika’s pop up averages out to 4.3/5
Look forward to the next one