German chef Thomas Bühner pauses. Thinks. He doesn’t mince words while answering a question about the ABCs of the cuisine from his country. “It’s something I don’t like,” he responds much to the surprise of his diners. He says the German kitchen and their cooking techniques are spartan: “They will cook chicken in water, and eat both.” He explains while saying that his approach to food is all about creativity.
Bühner is regarded as one of the top chefs in Germany. In 2011, he earned the third Michelin Star for his restaurant, La Vie in his home country. He went on to open La Vie by Thomas Bühner in Taipei this year. Now, he is India for four exclusive dinners, equally divided between The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai (July 5 and 6), and Taj Mahal in Delhi (July 8 and 9). The culinary experiences are curated by the Rendezvous series, which are closed door events, by The Chambers, the members-only business club of the hotel group. The tickets, priced at ₹12,000 plus taxes, are open to non-members too. The Mumbai dinners are already sold out, while Delhi has a few seats left.
The chef has conceptualised a six-course tasting menu with wines curated by the beverage importer Monika Alcobev Limited. Each dish highlights Bühner’s down-to-earth approach to cooking where he allows the main ingredient—be it vegetables, lamb or chocolate—to shine. They are devoid of frills and drama, and high on flavour and technique. A course named Potato Foam | Curry Ice brings together Indo-German influences and is the most comforting dish on the menu. “I am German and there had to be potatoes,” he says. The meat course with lamb streaked with jus is an ode to the flavours of the meat cooked to perfection. The third course featuring a sea bass with delicate notes of parsley was served with tandoori créme. The dessert course Tanariva Lactée Chocolate, that was shaped like a doughnut, came with marinated cherries and mulled wine sorbet. “The mulled wine is also a German element. It’s a Christmas speciality,” he explains. These dishes spotlight the melding of two cultures through food.
A tasting menu unfolds like a story with crests and troughs. The highlight of such a meal is the chef spicing things up with conversations. Be sure to chat with Bühner for a complete experience.