Ekaa’s Epicurean Voyage Around The World
Ekaa’s Epicurean Voyage Around The World

During its exclusive 3-day pop-up at The Ritz-Carlton Pune, from January 17th to 19th, 2024, Ekaa X Ukiyo aims to narrate stories from global royal kitchens with its innovative Tasting 5.0 menu.

Ukiyo, The Ritz-Carlton, Pune


Culinary pop-ups today have taken on the appearance of elusive art shows or private listening parties, often discussed in hushed tones. The aim is to temporarily blur the lines of commercialization, zeroing in on the art and the artist, with the bonus that you can eat the art you’re looking at. The trend of pop-up restaurants can be traced back to Copenhagen-based restaurant Noma, which did residencies in Tulum and Tokyo.

For Mumbai’s Ekaa, the venue is The Ritz-Carlton, Pune, which is hosting its Ekaa X Ukiyo pop-up that sets out to tell the tales of royal kitchens worldwide through its new Tasting 5.0 menu. “Each course is inspired by a dynasty from different parts of the world, and an incredible amount of R&D has gone into it as many ingredients and traditions are almost forgotten today,” says Chef Niyati Rao, Head Chef & Partner, Ekaa, before adding why Ukiyo at The Ritz-Carlton Pune seemed like the perfect venue, “Collaborating with Ukiyo at The Ritz-Carlton Pune is special; we promise an unforgettable culinary journey through forgotten flavours and cultural blends. I’m thrilled to share this unique experience with Pune and showcase a glimpse of what awaits at Ekaa in Mumbai.”

Ekaa’s voyage starts in the Kingdom of Siam with Yam Som O, a Thai pomelo salad, initially a “culinary treasure for the royal.” It eventually reached common folks who adapted it based on seasonal ingredients. In Tasting 5.0, Chef Rao serves it with fresh coconut snow, providing a unique sweet, citrusy flavour, contrasting with the crisp texture of the whitefish.




The ship sails to the Kingdom Of Tzars, entering the kitchen of Tzar Nicholas II, renowned for popularizing the “eggs on eggs” delicacy. Despite his generally humble palate, the Tzar often hosted soirées for his German princess wife, featuring a blend of caviar and chicken eggs. Rao provides a choice of Trout Roe or Enoki, tempting you for a second serving. The voyage then heads to China’s Qing dynasty, with a stop for a subtle herbal soup paired with pork chops, a contrast to earlier destinations. Next, it’s time to (literally) break bread with the pharaohs of Egypt, featuring 110 per cent hydration bread that captures crispy and smooth textures, complemented by date palm jaggery on the side.





After Egypt, a long voyage takes us to the Aztec Empire, where King Moctezuma was rumoured to be enamoured by hot chocolate, then considered a novelty, reportedly drinking goblets of it. Rao, thankfully, opts for beans, tortilla, pork belly, and…red ants from Orissa, the dish’s highlight thanks to their uniquely tangy flavour. The journey then ventures inland through the Kingdom of the Marathas and Travancore (now Kochi). Through the lens of food, the cultural difference between the two becomes apparent. Staples like Thaalipeet and Kharda Masala pay homage to the ever-travelling warrior kings of Maharashtra, followed by Ekaa’s interpretation of Kerala Sadya, a well-balanced vegetarian meal inspired by children visiting temples in Kerala.





Setting off its final leg, the voyage then travels to the courts of the Meji Empire, where we’re presented with Persimmon and orange marmalade and hand-pounded Mochi, providing a cool and minty taste. The final destination arrives with a Scandinavian course, inspired by the Viking Empire, featuring a sugar-based pickle of green strawberries, paying homage to their foraging lifestyle, light, flavor-ful, and a perfect conclusion for the end of the journey.

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