2nd Floor, South Point Mall (Next to Genpact),
Golf Course Road, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon
Cuisine: Rural Assamese
Timing: 1 pm - 10 pm
Intrigued by tip-offs from foodie friends about Bahi, I make my way to the second floor of the near-deserted South Point Mall. I have been told that this restaurant transforms itself into a gastronomic heaven every Sunday at noon-time, serving the rare Assamese village cuisine.
Chef and owner Leon Baker describes Bahi (bamboo flute in Assamese) as a “no pretense hangout pub”. Having left a successful corporate career, he decided to follow his passions—good food, good spirits, and good music—culminating in Bahi. Sundays are special for him; when he, along with his wife Roshmi, personally shop for fresh ingredients. Armed with authentic tribal and village recipes, the couple then create a chef-d’oeuvre, a meal that changes every Sunday.
It is time to examine the evidence. The starters—aloo pitika (mustard infused mashed potato), pura maas bilahi (roasted fish and tomato mash), pura begana pitika (Assamese baingan bharta), aloo bhaja (fried potato), chicken chops (cutlets), and the assorted pickles—do a great job of making the palate sing. A great accompaniment is anaras ambol (pineapple chutney), with its perfectly spiced flavours and chunky texture.
The main course consists of a gentle yellow dal, veggies stir-fried with bamboo shoot, and three traditional delicacies. The pork mising is tribal in its origin, and easily ranks among the best pork dishes I have eaten. It is a combination of pork chunks and pulled pork, which is slow-cooked with bamboo shoot and the fiery bhoot jolakia chilli.
The kukura aloo jhol is a home style chicken curry, which captures the heart with its sheer simplicity and comforting taste. Bhojor maasor jhol is a mild bhetki fish curry from the Goalpara region. The region’s proximity to Paschimbanga (West Bengal) is evident in the taste of the curry, which is light, fresh and flavourful. I end the meal with a minimalist bora saulor pulao, sweet sticky rice flavoured with cinnamon.
Many little things that make a visit to Bahi memorable. The ever smiling personal touch of the owners, Leon and Roshmi, the comfortable setting, the live music, and the amazingly tasty food. But most of all, their ability to transport you to one of the most beautiful regions of India.