This month we dine at the table of Chef Shibojyoti Basak, Chef de Cuisine of Stills, at the Crowne Plaza Yas Island. The menu underwent a revamp late last year, so FACT was excited to sample some of the new delights…
Stills , at the Crowne Plaza Yas Island , is one of the city’s most popular social hotspots. However, a great venue and buzzing atmosphere only goes so far, unless they’re complemented by good food as well. And the menu at Stills takes pub grub to another level, thanks to Chef de Cuisine Shibojyoti Basak.
Chef Shibojyoti boasts almost 14 years of experience in fine dining restaurants around the world. He began his career at the prestigious Oberoi Group in India, before moving on to work for Michelin-starred chefs Georges Blanc in his restaurant aboard a cruise liner, and Raymond Blanc in the UK, before moving to the Middle East. In the Gulf, he spent time at the Movenpick Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, before bringing his considerable experience to this fab venue. Chef Shibojyoti revamped the menu at Stills in October, taking all the old menu’s favourites, and adding his own elements and style to it. “In developing the new menu, I wanted to develop the seafood side of things, and do more with the steaks, more cuts on the menu, as well as giving a more modern touch overall to what we were doing,” he explains.
We were there to experience exactly what he was talking about with the dishes that were to come. The first was the Prawn Vampino, which is prawns prepared tempurastyle, but stuffed with crabmeat and wrapped in Nori, and served with Cholula sauce and salsa verde. “This was an inspiration that I got one day when I was in a sushi restaurant, where everybody wanted to have the sushi wrapped in the Nori,” Chef Shibojyoti recalls. “So, I thought why not have the prawns wrapped in Nori, and present it in a tempura style? We then take the taste from the American south, where we serve it with the salsa Verdi, or the Cajun Aoli. So we take a Japanese concept, and give it a modern touch,” he says.
Along with the prawns came the Pacific Crab Cakes, which are served in a crunchy golden crust with corn succotash and tarragon cream. “Again, the succotash is made with lima beans and corn and some roasted peppers, and served with salsa Verdi, so again it’s a classic dish with a modern American twist,” Chef Shibojyoti says. Next came a firm favourite, the Braised Beef Brisket, which is served with creamed sweetcorn and sweet potato fritters, and a rich delicious gravy.
“We cook it for around 16 hours, because the brisket is from the front quarter, near the belly,” he explains. “The fibres of the meat are really tough, but there is also a lot of flavour in it, so the best way to cook a brisket is slow, so that it breaks down the fibres and makes it tender, and keeps in all the flavour. It’s marinated overnight, and cooked at 100 degrees for 16 hours.”
And our final main was the Duxelle Stuffed Confit Chicken, which is stuffed with mushroom and herbs, and accompanied by braised leeks and cherry tomatoes, and topped with a wild mushroom sauce. “This is our take on a classic French dish. We take the chicken, de-bone it and stuff it with a mixture of different kinds of mushroom. Then we cook it in a steamer for 22 minutes, at 100 degrees, then take it out, and serve it in a gravy made from the juices of the chicken and the mushrooms.”
Then came two desserts, the Banoffee Pie, and the Tangy Lemon Posset. “With the Banoffee Pie, it’s a traditional thing that everybody loves, but we present it in our way, in a glass, in a deconstructed style, something a little different,” Chef Shibojyoti tells us. “So, keeping the taste the same, as it should be, but giving a modern look to it, that’s how I like to approach things.” And in our opinion, it’s a highly successful approach!
GO: Visit STILLS at CROWNE PLAZA YAS ISLAND. Call (0)2 656 3000 for more information.