132 State Street in Los Altos.
Open for outdoor and limited indoor dining. For menus and reservations, visit aurumca.com.
Chef Manish Tyagi’s whimsical potato presentation has such a prominent potato presence that it practically has its own personality.
This is an imaginative riff on a classic potato-and-chutney Indian snack — or chaat — by the talented former chef of the much-missed spot August (1) Five in San Francisco’s Civic Center area. Charming downtown Los Altos is a world away from that neighborhood, but Tyagi’s contemporary Indian cooking is just as delightful at the Peninsula’s top new restaurant Aurum, thanks to dishes like Mr. Potato. Here, the central character gets twice-fried, spiral cut and served on a kebab stick over tender yellow peas accompanied by sweet yogurt and a duo of chutneys — one tamarind based, and one featuring mint and cilantro. Then the whole ensemble is topped with a flavorful roasted cumin-led spice dusting, and a dusting of mint and cilantro.
Tyagi sums it up as a sort of abstract nachos, with multiple textures and layers. In reality, it’s just so unique that there is really no comparison.
Wine Pairing: From Aurum’s list, Tyagi recommends a 2018 Santa Barbara County pinot noir from Liquid Farm or Pence Estate.