KC and I are on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to food. He can eat the same food at the same restaurant every week while I love to try new places. We were deciding which places to check out through Citibank Restaurant Week this year and we decided to go back to Varq, The Taj Mahal Hotel and The Grill Room, The Lalit and try out Kiyan, Dusit Devarana and Yauatcha.
(You can read about our earlier experience here)
The way CRW works is that 2 or more people (they don’t have the option of 1 person) can have a meal at Rs 1100-1300 per head in Delhi NCR at the 5 star hotels. The charges differ from city to city. Like, a meal in Chennai costs Rs 900. You have to pay Rs 100 as the reservation per restaurant and book a table.
Why I love CRW:
- I get to try the food at 5 star hotels at a decent rate. Not all 5 star hotels serve good food and we have had bad experiences. Worse, they have cost a lot of money.
- This helps us decide where we would like to celebrate special occasions- like birthdays, anniversaries etc.
What blows me away about a restaurant is not just the food. Lots of places serve good food, why should a 5 star charge so much? The service should be impeccable. The ambience should be great. The food should look good. And the menu should have items you will not find anywhere else. This part is actually the most important. It sounds simple but you won’t believe how many places do not get this right.
Varq, The Taj Mahal
The food was great. The service was awesome. There was enough drama in the meal to keep us interested. I love how Varq makes that extra effort.
The palate cleanser.
This is the chicken tikka. It was wrapped with a dough. Does it change how it tastes? No. But it looks good and that is what I like about Varq. Even our breads were not normal breads- there was methi paratha, mirchi paratha etc.
This is a chicken kebab. The one on the left has minced chicken mounted on a sugarcane stick and dipped into a mango sauce. I cannot even contemplate the kind of imagination one needs to come up with a dish like that.
A vegetarian version of the above.
Moong daal wadis in spinach gravy.
Kiyan, Dusit Devarana
KC had heard about this place and we went for dinner here. It is located on NH8- one of those places where people go for staycations these days. We had to walk quite a bit to reach the restaurant overlooking a body of water.
I loved that the menu had mixed cuisines- Indian, Thai, Italian etc. There are such few 5 star restaurants which serve regional cuisines (why is that) that we are very happy to go to one. Why isn’t there a 5 star serving Gujarati or Rajasthani or Bihari or Andhra food? Why?
KC ordered the pahari chicken which was yum.
This is the potato gnocchi in Wasabi cream and it is the best and softest one I have ever eaten.
The dish of the night- rajma khichi with moong daal wadi. It is a signature dish on CRW menu.
Signature dish = You pay Rs 200-300 extra for it.
Creme Brulee- I barely got 2 bites because KC gobbled it up.
We are definitely going back to Kiyan for a meal and it is the perfect spot for celebrating an occasion too.
Yauatcha, Ambience Mall
I don’t have too many pictures because something went wrong with the phone camera. This was the least favourite of all. When we entered, the server didn’t know what CRW is. He handed us the menus and could not explain the items properly. At all the other places, we got recommendations but nobody bothered here. We ordered Singapore noodles, vegetable poached dumplings, chicken Shanghai dumplings, chicken fried rice, Kung Pao chicken, raspberry delice etc.
Why would you have Kung Pao chicken on the menu? How about something innovative and new in chicken? Sure, they had seafood and stuff but we eat mainly chicken. The desserts were strictly ok. Definitely not going back here. Would you believe that it is a Michelin star restaurant? I don’t.
What you should try here are Peking poached vegetables dumplings. Loved them. I don’t like vegetables dumplings but these were better than the chicken ones. What I don’t understand is- why would they serve 3 pieces? It is an odd number- for one person or even 2 people.
The Grill Room, The Lalit
We were not blown by it this time around. Maybe because the desserts were the same as last time. Maybe because we got charged 900 bucks for a bottle of water and nobody even asked us if we wanted bottled or regular water. We were served the bottled water without asking for it. Or maybe because the main course didn’t blow us away.
The view from the 28th floor of Central Delhi is awesome though.
Goat cheese tart. This is a signature appetiser and a must try.
Barbeque jerk chicken with a peri peri sauce
Mushrooms and asparagus Tortellini. I found this too cheesy for my taste. It wasn’t heavy though which is a sign that the best quality of cheese has been used.
The desserts were the same as last time and not very innovative. This is a trio which has a chocolate mousse, mango mousse and a cheesecake.
Lemon cheesecake. It was quite heavy and not lemony at all.
Overall, it has been a week full of great food and am looking forward to the next edition of CRW.