Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Welcome @ WelcomHotel Dwarka

Partying till midnight on a Sunday is bad news for Monday. Especially when the Monday has back to back meetings planned. More so when the said Monday also happens to be your sixth anniversary.

Waking up with a hangover and groaning out of bed, we went about getting chores done, the fact that the day is also our anniversary and should be special nagging at the back of our minds.Managed to get through the long day somehow and finally at 9 in the evening we ventured out to have dinner and thus mark the passage of this landmark in our relationship. 

ITC's WelcomHotel happens to be really close to our place so we thought of checking out what eats it has to offer. By the time its your sixth anniversary the idea of doing something special gets heavily tinged with the idea of 'Special within comfort zone'.

The property was earlier a Lebua hotel that was taken over by ITC. Walking in we found the hotel getting ready for Christmas celebrations and that is something which always cheers us up. We walked around the lobby to soak in the Christmas spirit.

We found out that they had two specialty restaurants apart from a 24x7 coffee shop. One of these was a Chinese room called Shanghai and the other one offered North Western frontier cuisine under the name K&K. 

We chose to check out the later and were shown towards a cavern like space. The inside of this very dark space was lighted up only with candles. We had landed ourselves a candle light dinner without intending to :) 

The staff was extremely polite and nice and helped me make sense of the slightly confusing menu. unlike most Menu's which are vertical, this one was planned to be read horizontally across three pages. So while the partner chose something to drink, a Jacob's Creek for him and a sparkling Sula for me. I picked up a murgh malai tikka as starter and settled down to enjoy the place. 

A very dark almost cave like atmosphere was lit by as many as 1180 candles and a lady was periodically checking the candles and renewing where necessary. the floor beneath the candles had small pools of water in which small fishes happily swam around. Giving the place a very unusual atmosphere. The low light meant we could hear our neighbors but not really see much of them. Made for an interesting atmosphere.

Conversation, made lighter by the pretty heady wines flowed smoothly as we slowly relaxed. Gaurav who attended to us was a young guy, happy to help and also chat. he had recently done his Hotel Management Course from Kolkata and overhearing us speak in Bangla made him break out in a grin. It was delightful to actually see the 5 star sheen slip for a while and hear him talk in an excited voice about his Durga Puja experience in Kolkata. We had to disappoint him by saying that we had actually never witnessed one.

I must mention the complimentary chutneys were interesting though what really caught my fancy was the green papaya chutney, we call plastic chutney, its a must in Kolkata weddings. Though what it was doing in a restaurnat meant for North Western frontier food I have no idea about. It came in handy when I accidentally chewed on a chilli thanks to the darkness. The candle lit atmosphere became a tad uncomfortable when the food was served since we couldn't really see what we were eating and almost as disappointing was the fact that we couldnt click good pictures either. The soft Indian classical music playing in the background though soothing seemed misplaced as well. ITC needs to fine tune its offerings a bit more and ensure that they stay true to genres.
The main course which I selected alongwith Gaurav was morels in a rich dry fruits gravy and a Bukhara style mutton. I loved the mushroom preparation so much that I reached out for the mutton much later and that is saying a lot. The mutton was very tender and amazingly well prepared with the spices almost permeating the very bone.We had warqi parathas and khameeri kulchas to go with it. 

We had planned to have dessert in the coffee shop however we were so full and satiated that we instead chose to try the paans they had thoughtfully provided and call it a day.We returned home with the fog slowly drifting in behind us bringing to a close a very busy Monday and eventful six years.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lebanese Momos

Dwarka where I live is a big sub city populated by middle to high income families from almost all over India. So it really surprises me why the place has so few 'swear by' eateries to boast of. Every time I think of having a meal to remember, I have to head for South or Central Delhi or towards Gurgaon which in the past few years has come up with quite a few note worthy places.

While I do so my hunt for worth mentioning places in Dwarka continue and as often as I can, I try checking out new places in an attempt to figure out nice options within the sub city.

One such attempt had led me to Baba Ganooosh - a small eatery in the sector 11 market which had an interesting name. I walked in to find that true to name they do serve Lebanese dishes and hummus, falafal, shwarma, labneh etc were all on the menu. Though limited demand meant the owner who had been a chef in Saudi Arabia had to also offer Chinese and Indian dishes to sustain.

Happily I ordered two Shwarma rolls as takeaway and made a mental note to come back again. The rolls sadly didnt measure up and I didnt go back again. Till a few days back when I was in the vicinity, mighty hungry and alone as well.

Since I wanted a quick bite and no other outlet seemed to offer anything interesting I walked into Baba Ganooosh yet again. I ordered a plate of chicken momos thinking that no one can go horribly wrong with it so no matter what it should be bearable.

When the momos came I was truly surprised - to start with these were fresh piping hot momos not the kind which get cooked for hours like they sell by the roadside. Secondly the outer layer was thin and almost translucent.

The filling was well made and the sauce was nice. Baba Ganooosh just made my day. :)

In case you are looking for nice momos do go to these guys. And yes while there do try the Lebanese dishes as well it would be a pity if the only Lebanese food outlet in Dwarka has to convert to chinjabi in order to survive.