Introducing Our New Head Chef
And check out our new menu where no veggie is left behind
We recommend booking in to try the new menu before reading, to avoid food FOMO
As many of you will know at the Imperial, vegetables, like our queens, take main stage here. Our new head chef Nikhil Bhanot or as he prefers Nik has re-worked some Impy classics alongside delivering some soon-to-be-favourites for our summer menu. To celebrate the launch of the menu we chatted with Nik to get to know his cooking background, inspirations when cooking and an insight into the new dishes.
Tell us about your background, where you worked previously and how you came to be at the Imperial?
Prior to this I’ve worked with a number of hatted restaurants and busy places within Sydney CBD including; Mercado, Nomad and Rockpool Dining. This is the first time I’ve worked outside of central Sydney.
When you’re cooking – whether at home or the venue, what excites you? Is it working with fresh food, intriguing textures or the varied smells?
When I’m in the kitchen, working on something new and the potential of each ingredient is what excites me. I love to see dishes stand out on their own as opposed to creating complex meals. The eggplant tijane is a great example of this and how I can draw on my Indian background to make sure the spices come through clearly.
When you were pulling together the new menu was there a philosophy or an idea you wanted to impart?I tried to align the menu with what I find most exciting about cooking – having punchy, impactful flavours in simple meals. Priscillas is also known for it’s plant-based options so with all the dishes I wanted the veggies to stand out.
What would you say is your favourite dish on the menu?
Definitely the cauliflower, it stands out clearly but sits in an interesting sauce that is a mix of vanilla and hazelnut. And to circle back on the plant-based influences, when I was growing up my family was basically vegan, as is the case with many Indian families. We had lot of vegetable focused dishes in general. For me, having cauliflower and other vegetables as a main reflects both the ethos of the Impy where dishes like these go from being a side to a superstar and my own background.
What do you feel the menu says about the venue?
Priscillas has been known for it’s Californian & Mexican vibe so that’s what I was trying to do. I wanted it to be refreshing and modern while letting vegetables shine.
And take us through the plant-based pavlova, how does that come together?
It took a lot of trial and error to get right but it was something I really wanted. To create it we used a mix of aquafaba, which for those at home is chickpea water, icing sugar, cornflour and xanthan gum to hold it together. Then bake it a low temperature for a long time. Afterwards, we add in a plant-based cream and these delicious melons for a pop of colour and garnish it with pistachio pralines and edible flowers. It’s a must have on the menu!
If there was one dish you had to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Honestly, I love American fried chicken but there was a point when I would have said specifically Korean fried chicken. It just tastes amazing.
So what are you waiting for?
Take a look at the new menu for yourself