Last year during the Citibank Restaurant Week we went to House of Ming, Taj and Dakshin, Sheraton. The former was fabulous and the latter was not bad either. This year, we planned to visit Dum Pukht, ITC and The Grill Room, The Lalit. Coincidentally, it was our wedding anniversary and I decided to book a table at our favorite place, Dum Pukht. But it was booked out within hours and we were waitlisted at 8. It was decided we would go to Westin for dinner on 18th and try out The Grill Room and Varq at Taj on 19th. I couldn’t get a reservation at Varq before 10 pm which was a bummer because I had an early morning flight and would not be able to sleep before midnight.
We went to Prego, Westin for our anniversary dinner. They refused to take reservations after 8.30 pm and told us a table may or may not be available. When we reached at 9.30 pm, the restaurant was mostly empty. I hate it when 4/5 stars act pricey and pretend to be overbooked. It isn’t the first time this has happened. We ordered a pizza which was soooo bland, I wish we would have gone to Fat Lulu’s or Crusty’s instead. The pasta was no better. The tiramisu was not as good as the one at California Pizza Kitchen. And then the server overcharged us in the bill. When I pointed out the mistake- he had charged us for a ‘large’ pizza instead of a ‘small’ one, he told me the difference in price is only Rs 100. I mean, if am paying 4500 bucks for a meal, what is another 100 bucks, right? This completely pissed me off and I asked him to correct it. I wasn’t parting with even 1 Rs more than I have to. And what is with these hotels charging 180 bucks for a Rs 25 Catch mineral water bottle? I mean.. WTF. We were so pissed off, we decided… this was it. No more 5 stars. No matter what. We could have eaten a better meal at Crazy Noodles for 500 bucks. This is our 2nd or 3rd bad experience in a 5 star. Who wants to pay 10 times the amount for mediocre food?
The next day we headed to The Lalit for lunch with extremely low expectations. I have heard a lot about this place and was surprised to see only 1 more table occupied. They generally don’t open for lunch. The restaurant is on the 28th floor and has a great view of Delhi.
The fixed menu included veg and non veg options. KC opted for veg while I decided to have non veg. The next 1 hour was a gastronomic delight.
Chicken and fennel salad. Yummy.
Goat cheese tart. This was my absolute favorite. It has so many flavours – goat cheese, sprouts, figs, pine nuts. So many flavours in each bite.
Main course was barbecue chicken with red wine jus and gnocchi. I cannot find the picture of the former and I didn’t photograph the latter. Barbecue chicken was what you would find anywhere but the gnocchi was soooooo yum and melt in your mouth.
For dessert we had the mango symphony trip. I had a hard time getting a bite of the mango mousse because KC loved it.
And that is the New York Cheesecake with a strawberry/cherry compote.
What I liked was how the quantities were sufficient for one person. You need to be able to do justice to 3 courses after all. Loved the food. At the end of it the Chef approached us for feedback and that was such a nice gesture. She told us that a meal for 2 would cost anywhere between 6-10k since their ingredients are the best and mostly imported. It was great that we had a meal for less than 3k.
For dinner we headed to Varq and as usual we ended up at Taj Palace Hotel instead of the Taj at Manshingh road. This happened to us last year as well.
I have read words like “customer delight” in marketing textbooks but experienced it for the first time at Varq.
The ambiance of the restaurant is quirky and quite good.
We started with a creamy chicken (on the right) served with minced chicken on a sugarcane stick dipped in mango chutney. The creamy chicken was soooooo good.
KC had the fish tikka and loved it… and he does not even like fish.
The mocktails (I don’t drink and drive… ever) – Pineapple/lychee/coconut drink and a Guava Mary – strictly ok.
The palate cleanser. I love all the drama.
For main course I ordered the chettinad chicken with ghee rice. I knew ordering this in a North Indian restaurant was a risk and well, it didn’t pay off. I love Andhra food and this just didn’t meet the mark.
KC ordered the Paneer anardana which was served with methi paratha and mirchi (jalapenos) parathas. This is the best paneer dish I have eaten in my life. And the parathas were…. swwooooonnnnn. Orgasm in every bite.
Desserts – jalebi, apple kheer and maal pua. I am not into Indian desserts at all and just had a bite of the jalebis.
The meal ended with a refreshing rose tea. The server gifted us a small bag of rose tea.
These have been the best meals of my life. Completely worth the money we paid … and more. And they exonerated the bad food ghosts of Prego. It was destiny because if Dum Pukht would have been available we wouldn’t have gone to Varq. I think Varq is much, much better than Dum Pukht when it comes to the drama and presentation of food. Now we are wondering if we should eat out less and visit 5 stars more often.
Btw, the manager at Prego called today after reading my review on Zomato and apologized. He urged me to come again and give them a chance to make up for a bad meal. Right!!! If they couldn’t get it right the first time… why bother.