This tasteful contemporary-meets-classic hotel is a haven of tranquility and relaxation and if you want to just EAT, chill and pamper yourself silly then Fairmont Jaipur is great option to indulge & splurge!
A palatial hotel that combines the glorious past with the modern-day comforts in the lap of serene Aravalli Hills on the outskirts of Jaipur- a city I simply love.
The architecture, decor & food is the amalgamation of the Rajput & Mughal ascetics & sensibilities which is apparent in the showering of rose petals at the entry, intricate frescoes or be it the many artifacts in the hotel – every inch of the space is about royalty, refinement & luxury.
The charm of the location, the view, the knowledge that who’s who of the world dine here – ensures that every evening spent here, is going to be an evening of lifetime.
ITC Maurya has been part of Delhi’s Landscape for around 40 years now. Though a slew of modern and luxury hotels have opened in Capital and NCR, they have not taken any charm away from this luxury hotel, located in Diplomatic Enclaves of New Delhi. Well known for hosting executives, ministers, leaders and head of states from all over the world – the hotel is equally popular with denizens of City of Delhi – thanks to many culinary aces that they keep up their sleeves including Dum Pukht and probably the most famous restaurant in India – Bukhara.
West View been a part of the hotel for couple of decades, it never was as busy or famous as other restaurants in the same hotel, however it always had its cult following – a dedicated audience who swear by the place as well the lavishness of their Sunday Brunches. Infact when ITC wanted to introduce Ottimo to this property, which has been a great success at their hotels in other cities, they decided to keep the ‘West View’ name (unlike other properties) where Ottimo is a standalone brand, here it became Ottimo at West View.
I have been told that Ottimo means excellent in Italian and is lead by Chef Vittorio Gecco – who after working for several Michelin Star restaurants around the world, joined ITC and started Ottimo at ITC Chola – their signature property in Chennai.
Now that you know more about the place, let me start at the start. West View has been fully redone and we were invited by team ITC Maurya to experience what they have worked really hard on.
We landed their at 7 pm – just the start of their Dinner service. Walking into the restaurant it felt like a drawing-room or just an extension of the kitchen – a very classy one at that. Occupying a table for two on the west windows of West View – the view and the location started to dawn on us. When you can see a sprawling green forest and a setting sun on horizon, it becomes hard to believe that you are bang in the center of a City like Delhi. We jumped from our seats and leaped towards the terrace area – now called an Infinity Theater and a sky bathed in colors of sunset was out there to welcome us. The terrace now has a few tables along with some greens, which technically are their kitchen garden, also housing a pizza oven in a corner.
Coming to food offered – it can primarily be divided into 3 parts –
Ottimo’s Italian a la carte menu- Pastas, Pizzas, Soups & More.
The Grill – Array of meats and vegetables for you to choose and ready to go on the grill.
Cold Buffet spread – with choicest of cheese, meats and salads.
Rs. 1200 gets you to the cold buffet, while you can order other things A la carte, then comes Rs. 2500 option where you get access to the Cold Buffet Cart, choice of one Soup and choice of a pasta. For Rs.3500 you get access to the Cold Buffet, Soup, Pasta, Grills as well as the desserts. All the prices are exclusive of taxes and service charges may apply.
We started off with assortment of cheese, olives, sparkling wine, bread basket and some goodies from their Cold cart. As expected from an establishment of such repute – all of them were of highest quality and set our tummies for gastronomical delights that Italian Chef was about to dish out for us. A special mention to the Pesto sauce served to us with our breads – it has to THE finest and most aromatic pesto I have tasted till date, closely followed by Naturellement in Auroville, Puducherry. No wonder both of these restaurants are growing their own basil.
We started again, this time with Risotto – topped with crunchy asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes. Simple but robust flavors and beautiful texture defined this European Rice preparation. In pastas, we chose Ravioli – and were served one stuffed with wild mushroom and ricotta and truffle – topped with Parmesan reduction which added the magic to this dish – definitely among the finest that I have laid my fork on.
How can visit to an Italian restaurant be complete without trying their Pizza? – we decided to go for one with Mascarpone Cheese, Tomato, Mozzarella and Parma Ham. Very simple combination, made exotic by availability of Mascarapone and Parma – both of them still a rarity across pizzerias in town. By this point we were at the end of our appetites, however succumbed to our taste-buds, which demanded more food. Still curious to try the main courses, we went for the lamb chops.
Tender lamb chops stuffed with Parmesan and truffle crusted with almonds and bread crumbs, served with vanilla mash potato, spinach and sautéed vegetables. That is the literal translation from menu – wonder how they managed to get cheese and truffle inside the chop. The texture definitely felt that it has been worked on – reminded of a very fine hand pounded gustaba – coated with crispy goodness of nuts and bread most probably used as a binder. Beautiful texture of meat was accentuated by the rich nutty crust, while the the potato mash served with it was as creamy as they come. The way zucchini was ‘buttoned’ and served, talked a lot about the art that went behind this dish.
We ended the meal with couple of desserts – Handmade Mango Icecream topped with cherry compote and a Tiramisu – came in a jar and was served with three different chocolates on the side. Not the most bitter or intense Tiramisu, however light, airy and still full of flavors. That said, would expect the Italian chef to produce a show stopper – which this definitely was not. In Mango Cherry ice-cream would love to see more play with the cherries, instead of being a compote or sauce.
As detailed as I have been about the main dishes, I would say that this place is more about a relaxed dinner experience. The kitchen type setup of the restaurant is very inviting, very casual, still exuding that classy feel. You can just go for the cold buffet and the amazing assortment of ‘Tapas’ made of produce from their garden, meats and cheese would keep you great company while you nurse your favorite wine or champagne. Add to that the charm of the location, the view, the knowledge that who’s who of the world dine here – ensures that every evening spent here, is going to be an evening of lifetime.
Restaurant Review – NYC (Coffee Shop) at Hotel Radisson Blu Plaza, Mahipal Pur, Delhi
Meal – Sunday Brunch
I was a regular to NYC from 2008 to 2012 but then somehow, it just slipped out of my frequent list. Not for any particular reason but, just like that. I revisited this restaurant on a friend’s invite, after a gap of around 2 years, over a relaxed Sunday Brunch.
My first observation was that buffet layout and spread has been changed, with more number of dishes on offer and are tried to fit-in to the limited space they have. It’s a 90 to 100 cover restaurant and it was almost full at 1:30pm which is a good sign.
I started with a mild cocktail of White Wine Spitzer and Gol Gappe / Chaat counter, which is a new addition. Average to good stuff with options of Gol Gappe with various flavours of water, bhalla, paapari, bhel puri, dhokla, matra kulcha, aaloo tikki but what surprised me most was Khandavi made to perfection. I enquired and was surprised to know that all the chat items were prepared in-house and nothing was outsourced.
There were around 7 types of Veg and 7 types of Non-Veg salad options including smoked salmon and prawns cocktail with various dips, a full cheese platter and a separate full Mezze Station with Babaganoush, Tabbouleh, Hummus, Mastvakhyar, Lubia bi Zayt, Marinated Olives and normal as well as Whole wheat Pita. The salads and Mezze were fresh and crisp. The dips were perfectly flavored.
I next moved to the live starters counter where there were many options like lemon grass seared fish (Average), Grilled prawn with mango sauce (Good), Chettinad chicken satay (very different flavor- good), Chutney filled Paneer Pakora (Star dish of the counter – Excellent), noodle and tofu spring rolls (Crisp – Good) and Chicken Shawarma With Pita, Tahini, Pickled vegetable (Good). There was fresh Pizza with various options and combinations which I did not taste.
There were two soups on offer as Potato and Leek soup and Tom Yum Goong. The Veg soup was very mild and flavorful but what surprised me was Tom Yum Soup. Absolutely authentic and with perfectly balanced flavors. This I guess, is the benefit of having a Thai specialty restaurant and a specialty Thai Chef in-house.
By this time, I was so full that I could not do justice to around 20 to 25 main course dishes on offer. I could only taste a little bit of Gosht Biryani which was ok, Vegetable Hakka Noodle and Wok Fried Chicken with Sichuan Pepper which again were average. The Dal was excellent, thanks to the recipe and expertise of The Great Kabab Factory in neighborhood.
Out of the 20 to 25 desserts on offer including Chocolate Fountain with Condiments, I could only taste Walnut Tart, Gulab Jamun, Kesari Phirni, Strawberry Gelato and flavored Yogurt. All these items were very good. I rounded off with a cup of excellently brewed hot lemon tea.
A special mention about the efficient service. Despite the restaurant was almost full to capacity, the service was fast and accurate.
All in all, I found the buffet to be better than what it was 2 years ago. There are much many options to choose in each section and the service is efficiently better. However not all the dishes are super tasty but not bad either. The quality ranges from average to good with few dishes to remember for their great taste. But on the other hand, I guess that’s what a buffet is all about. A mixed bag of experience for everyone.
Looking in to the competitive pricing, the Sunday Brunch at NYC looks tempting VFM. However, there are better Sunday brunch options available elsewhere in Delhi NCR but at a much higher price.