Thursday, 16 December 2010

Graffiti Restaurant, New York

In March this year Jane and I went over to New York for the wedding of our daughter Fiona to Juan Fernando Nunez. Actually it was the the first of their TWO weddings -- a complicated situation, difficult to explain. Simply put, Juan got posted from New York to Geneva, potentially throwing into disarray all the previously-made plans for a wedding in upstate New York in June, so they decided to have an official wedding at City Hall in Manhattan, and stick with the arrangements for a big family occasion in June, despite the fact that not only relations and friends, but also Bride and Groom would have to fly in from different continents!

Anyway, we stayed with Fiona and Juan in NY for a couple of days, and they took us round to eat at some of their favourite restaurants. One of these was the unique Graffiti restaurant at 224 East 10th Street [See their website], run by the very unconventional Jehangir Mehta. His cuisine is showcased in a book called "Mantra - The Rules of Indulgence", which is a highly desirable object in its own right, even if you have never eaten in the restaurant.

Turmeric Yorkshire Puddings

Graffiti is the smallest restaurant I have ever eaten in. I think it seats about 12 people. You sit at tiny high tables, sharing with whoever else happens to be in. You cannot have "your own" table. The decor of the place is shall we say, eclectic. A mixture of things from all over the world, as far as we could tell, and all delightfully unpretentious - the place-mats on the tables were pages from a Chinese-language newspaper! The main emphasis of the restaurant is on the food and drink and not on flashy decor. Even the exterior of the restaurant is very low-key: we had some difficulty even locating it.

The chef / proprietor, Jehangir, was incredibly welcoming. He greeted us (and treated us throughout the meal) as if we were old friends. When he discovered that Fiona and Juan were to be married the next day he provided us all with champagne, on the house!

The food was absolutely exquisite, although served in very small quantities. The way it was presented was as communal dishes for all members of your party to share. Each dish was delivered separately (the kitchen was so small I think they could only manage to cook one dish at a time), and the staff explained in great detail what the dish was, and often how it was made. I don't remember exactly what we ate, and I have been looking at the menu on the Graffiti website to remind myself. The trouble is, I now want to go back there again! If my memory serves me right, the dishes we ate included (but were not confined to):-

Chilli pork dumplings with grapefruit confit
Graffiti burger, with fingerling potatoes and chipotle mayonnaise
Duck portobello confit, with mustard onion gratinee
Warm truffle almond strawberries, with black pepper ice cream
Three cheeses (I forget what they were -- but they were GOOD!)

Jehangir Mehta's style is certainly not conventional. He challenged all our preconceived ideas about flavour combinations, but I have to say, all his dishes worked really well, and there was nothing that we ate that we disliked in any way.

I have no hesitation in saying that if you ever find yourself in Manhattan, you really should try to find the time to visit Graffiti!


  1. My nephew lives there, so I must past this on to him! thanks for the info--it sounds like a delightful place.

  2. Hey! I'm so glad you had a wonderful time while you were there. I'm originally from 125 miles upstate in New York. Congrats on the wedding!

  3. Hi Veggie PAK; Do you know Palenville then? (Near Saugerties)

  4. I like little restaurants like this. They almost always have great food, and they give a very different atmosphere


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