Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Junnoon in Palo Alto

Sea Bass at JunnoonNow that many friends and colleagues know about my interest in discovering new food and restaurants, they tend to invite me to their favorite places when I am in town. This time I was invited to an Indian restaurant that has been making waves in Palo Alto.

Junnoon is the brain-child of first-time resturanteur, Sabena Puri. While she pretty much had no background in the food business, she does have an interesting background. Sabena is an Harward MBA and worked in the software industry for a number of years as a Product Manager. She also happens to be the daughter of the person who founded Moser Baer, one of the largest manufacturers of DVDs and CDs in the world.

Old Delhi Chicken at JunnoonJunnoon is also among those new restaurants in the USA that have managed to elevate Indian food into a fine-dining experience for their predominantly Western clientele. The food is more Mantra than Amber, two other similar Indian restaurants in the heart of Silicon Valley. Actually, Junnoon is located in the same building as Facebook.

They have an interesting menu of appetizers, but we went directly to entrees. We decided to share two entrees: the Rice-flaked Sea Bass and the Old Delhi-style Chicken. The Sea Bass was a Kerala-inspired, New Zealand blue-nose sea bass preparation with a rice-flaked crust. The fish was served in braising greens and a kokum sauce. The Chicken dish was a tikka masala inspired chicken dish served in a fenugreek seasoned tomato and onion sauce.

Dessert at JunnoonThe fish was moist inside with a crunchy crust. While the fish was good, I must say that the Sea Bass I had in Mantra was better than Junnoon's version. The Old Delhi Chicken was good too, but I like this dish more spicy than it was here. In retrospect, I probably should have begun with their starters which I hear are pretty good.

In any case, loved their desserts! The Baked Apples in Cinnamon Rabdi was quite delightful and innovative as was the Pumpkin Flan with Pumpkin Seed 'Chikki'. Apparently, the molten chocolate here is very good too, with an east-west combination of flavors and taste.

Dessert at JunnoonThe modern and chic decor goes well with the fusion cuisine. Techo-raaga plays in the background, and a palette of metallic colors in the lounge area and the sheer ceiling-to-floor silken drapes makes for a great ambiance.

Floyd Cardoz of Tabla fame is the executive chef of Junnoon. Here is a podcast interview of Sabena Puri if you are interested in more details. Junoon is located at 150 University Avenue, Palo Alto.

6 comments:

backpakker said...

Ive always been interested in podcasts ..am wondering when it will actually become a hot thing in India
lakshmi

foodette said...

The food looks so yummy in your pictures. Not everyone in my life knows about my blog - but those that I tell are always anxious to have me try their favorite restaurants and then wait impatiently for the post to arrive. It's a lot of pressure!

Brayman said...

Hi, I was wondering if you could please tell me how you did the "Read More" code on your page. I would really like that feature on mine! Get back to me.

brayman1490@hotmail.com

Thanks!

Kate / Kajal said...

My friend, u might be looking at a new career !! a food critic. U should consider it. u're pretty good at giving frank reviews. And hey ... nice to know u're a taurean too !
when ur bday ?

Shantanu said...

@backpakker: I would think so, given that home bandwidth speeds are now comfortable enough for audio or video streaming.

@foodette: I know what you mean... :)

Shantanu said...

@brayman: Will do. I picked it up from someone else.

@kate/kajal: Haha! Thank you. Actually, I had someone from NDTV leave comments on Kabab and Biryani posts inviting me to a panel discussion on their Good Living channel.