First Taste: Tierra Nuestra

I recently had the misfortune of dining at the newly christened Tierra Nuestra, a purported “fine dining sensation” that offers selections from “Asian and fusion” cuisines. It was the first, and last time. This restaurant is not meant to appease your palette.

Let’s get something straight: “Tierra Nuestra” means “Our Earth.” In Spanish. There’s nothing Spanish on the menu (and boy what a menu it is). Go figure.

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Stained knife

The interior is grand, a definite one-up on similarly priced Asian restaurants in the city. The architecture is conceived and designed by Architects Inc, and blows the likes of Yum out of the water.  Adorned with grey slate and dimly lit, the restaurant gives the mediocre restaurant a high-end feel. The tables for two people, though in the path of servers hustling food, seem practical and elegantly tucked into the dividers. That’s up till the maître d’ decided it would be a good idea to squeeze the three of us on one of them, effectively blocking the passageway and leaving ZERO room for any food on the table. My knife had a large stain on it and someone else’s spoon was splattered with something else. Great start! And so, this review began writing itself in my head.

The menu was massive! Three pages (two columns per page) listed millions of items that they could not have had the ingredients to prepare correctly, ranging from “Korean Henry’s (as opposed to regular Henry’s) Chicken” to “Red Riding Black Mushroom Chicken” to “Zingory Szechuan Beef.” We didn’t order none of that shit. We went with the Dynamite Prawns and Tempura Roll for starters, Mio Shatami chicken, TN Korean Crispy Beef, Red Curry Prawns, and Tierra Nuestra Special Chow mien for our main course.

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We were served welcome drinks that began to make us feel rather unwelcome. The mint margaritas (virgin) evoked creative comments from my table. One diner said, “tastes like my garden, grass and all.” The other said, “someone has constructed a sugar mill somewhere in my throat.” I will reserve my comments here, except to say it was disastrous and we did not finish the drinks. Next.

Our appetizers were fashionably late to dinner, about fifty minutes after we had wanted them. In the meantime, we entertained ourselves by fidgeting with our chopsticks, making up games and challenges. It was the most fun I had all night.

We were served a “Maki Roll” first. We did not order this roll, and asked the waiter if he had made a mistake. He removed it from our table, then brought it back to our table within a grand total of 15 seconds. “You didn’t order this but we want you to taste it, it’s a special one,” the maître d’ offered. Must be good if he’s boasting. It wasn’t edible. We had no idea what went into the Maki Roll and attempts to stomach it did not make it easier. Cardboard, plain and simple. We had it swiftly removed by the apologetic waiter. Oh, and the sushi was served with tongs. Yes, tongs.

Next we were brought something we had actually ordered, Dynamite Prawns. Fluorescent and bare, the prawns were coated in a corn-flake batter and fried, after which they were doused in sauce. I liked the kick that they had and the flavor certainly made up for the shitty presentation.

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The Mio Shatami chicken was bone dry and charred to ashes. It was accompanied by stir-fried peppers and a weird hybrid of egg fried rice and garlic rice. It lacked flavor and we ran through a large bottle of water before reaching the halfway point of this entree, after which we gave up and sent it back.

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The TN Korean Crispy Beef was spicy but not crispy, Thai but not Korean. It was a hot mess of soggy vegetables and had a skimpy portion of meat. Decent at best, but certainly not up to the mark. All in all, there was not much to be said here.

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The Red Curry Prawns were perhaps the best item we had all night. The curry was not as spicy as I would have liked it, with no option to increase or decrease the chili factor. However, it was rich and flavorful, and the prawns were fresh. Paired with steamed rice, it was a nice reintroduction to something more familiar. This was our go to when we found other items unbearable.

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The Chow mien was full on desi style, much like Hsin Kuang. That is to say good for people looking for that kind of thing but disappointing for those who were looking for authenticity. Fortunately, I was looking for the desi kind, and found the combo of beef, chicken, prawns, noodles, and vegetables pleasing and the good kind of eggy.

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Ehhhh

This was also when we got our Tempura Roll, which was a deep fried plastic coating atop jalapenos, rice, prawn (I still refuse to believe there were any prawns present), and what tasted like mango. Or avocado. Could have been anything really. True train wreck.

We were gearing up to leave and never come back when we were told that we didn’t order the best item on the menu, the Thai Grilled Prawns. Shit. Someone ordered the Thai Grilled Prawns for us. Shit.

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The crown jewel of the menu was not grilled, or Thai, or Chinese, or Korean, or Malay… and so on. It was a sorry pile of mismatched prawns on a bed of what I assume was some kind of green. It tasted of leeks and spring onions, and not much else. One bite in and one step out the door.

With exceptional service and a unique setting, Tierra Nuestra has much thinking to do. With a Spanish name and oodles of menu items that need to be seriously overhauled or scrapped, and with a strong inclination to serve each appetizer and main course with tongs, the Chinese/Japanese/Fusion restaurant needs to be axed, restaffed, and re-branded with a different cuisine and chef to make it worth a second visit. And I’m talking bare minimum. Good fucking luck!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Sher says:

    Good stuff. The increasing mediocrity in cusine for this city really needs to be addressed like this. Sushi with tongs, mate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the read and the comment man, I lost my shit when I saw the tongs. Some people can be very touchy about criticism though. (read below)

      Like

  2. Oh what a breathless regurgitation of impressions quite misdirected. I have been to Tierra Nuestra with my family more than once already and i must say, the reality is diametric to what you have said brother. It is a one of its kind oriental fine dining. AMAZING FOOD AND RECEPTION, from drinks to sushi, soup appetizers and main course. What a lovely experience. AND SPOTLESS ENVIRONMENT. I have honestly not been to a better oriental restaurant that offers ambience and food par excellence.

    What you are writing seems like you have visited some place at neela gumbad or chauburji. Stop obliging other restauraunteers and have an objective high class taste for what the likes of tierra nuestra are meant. I have only seen buteauctrats, good politicians and business men there. Your comments are verbose but baseless. Whatever agenda you are serving, raise the bar boy!

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    1. Mr. Khanzada,

      Your selection of words is impeccable; I wish I could say the same about your taste in food. Brother, I argue on fact and not on sentiment, or perception. This is also how you and I are different. When diners like you praise poorly executed restaurants like Tierra Nuestra, it only makes me question how low the standard that defines fine cuisine has fallen. Your presumption that the presence of bureaucrats (that’s how you spell it), “good” politicians, and business men make a place worthy of visiting paints a very amusing picture of how you evaluate restaurants. I won’t lie, I laughed out loud when I read bits of your comment. This considered, I suggest that perhaps you need to raise your bar instead of advising others. If you have not been to a “better oriental restaurant,” I truly feel for you. It seems you have much to learn, and you should be excited.

      While your experience may have differed from mine, I have posted pictures of the stain on my knife, the sad, sad looking sushi, the neglected dynamite shrimp, and the uber dry wok chicken. This is not “baseless”; it’s far from it actually. Perhaps you’re having trouble understanding/using the term. I’d suggest Google as a resource.

      Let me know when you reconsider your stance on a Chinese/Japanese/Thai (it can’t decide) restaurant with a Spanish name. Or maybe a “fine dining” restaurant that serves an iftar buffet. In the meantime, I am certainly pleased that you read the post, and that I made your blood boil by the looks of it- brother.

      Thanks for reading, good sir.

      P.S. Using all caps does not make your point clearer, it just makes you sound like a five-year-old.

      Like

  3. Raheel Butt says:

    Bhai jan hath haula rakho, lagta hai ap kisi dhabay ka kissa biyan kar rahay ho. memory loss i believe? No one can possibly believe this piece of crap- that you have taken such meticulous care in putting together. be objective i agree with Khanzada bhai above. Also, Shaikhs don’t know a jack about food. ask the pathans and kashmiris. Shaikh bus jokes main he achay lagtay ho, khanay pain comment karna apkay bus ki bat nahi hai. Bandar kiya janay adrak ka swad. Aik tum aur aik wo loser Asad Shaikh of Foodies. like seriously!?

    Like

    1. Since you felt the need to comment without adding much value to culinary discussion, I will not engage with most of the garbage that you have spewed.

      I will, however, point out that the fact that you read it and felt the need to comment on it says one of two things: 1) You were bored, so you read my article and decided to use it as a platform to showcase your petty mentality regarding ethnic and regional stereotypes. 2) You’re very, very, frustrated. Whether it’s Ramzan or wifey issues, best not to air your laundry in public- only makes you appear jaahil. But I won’t be so quick to judge, perhaps it’s a combination of both factors.

      Oh and thanks for the compliment, I actually did take meticulous care while putting this article together! How sweet of you to notice. 🙂

      Like

  4. Afreen Raol says:

    Guys relax its just about food. Buhat he wailay ho saray. And if someone did not like a certain place it is ok. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    But Shameel, if thats the right name of this blogger, i have been to Tierra Nuestra and yar it is pretty high end and cool. I agreee with khan bhai. I have gotten hooked to their sushi and dynamite praws and wasabi beef. Yummilicious. Divine!

    Like

    1. Afreen, thanks for your comment. Judging by the comments on this post, it’s clearly more than just food at stake here.

      Your opinion regarding the restaurant is entirely subjective, as is mine. I write a blog about it and express that opinion. You may do the same. I feel the need to point out that a vast majority of my readers have agreed with my impressions here.

      People have the right to disagree respectfully, but if they question something like my integrity or my reasons for writing this blog, I’m happy to engage with their misgivings. That being said, I’m glad you enjoyed the food, but I could name a plethora of restaurants within the same genre of food that would put this one to shame.

      I agree (here and in my review) that the place itself is awesome, and has killer potential. The food is “meh” at best for me. I also did praise the dynamite prawns. Wasabi beef I have not tried, but there’s a reason why it’s called “First Taste,” in the title no less.

      Waila toh mein hoon, unapologetically.

      Like

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