On the last leg of our month-long India sojourn, we were treated to the finest cuisine Delhi had on offer. Bursting with vigor, flavors and smells, Delhi has in many ways imparted its character to its diverse and internationally-influenced cuisine. Unlike most small towns and cities in India, the major metropolis gyrates with a new-found energy injected by international cultures and ethnicities.
The past decade has seen a flow of expatriate workers streaming in to the country, with many of them landing in the capital, New Delhi. As a result of that, European fine-dining restaurants and Chinese chains are popping up all over the city. At ITC Maurya, Delhi’s finest trio of restaurants, headed by the city’s top chefs, dish out exquisite platters from the Indian, Chinese and Western culinary worlds.
ITC-Welcomgroup’s well-established Bukhara brand has a ringing fame in both India and abroad. Its inception as a specialty Tandoor restaurant has started a legacy throughout the world. And the legacy started here at ITC Maurya.
Over the years, Bukhara has emerged as one of India’s most popular restaurant brands. Although the menu hasn’t changed in the last twenty years, those who have eaten here just always seem to come back again and again, each experience different from the other. That is exactly the restaurant’s aim : to defeat convention and win its customers over with its unchanging consistency in food quality and service.
The head chef of Bukhara at ITC Maurya, J.P.Singh, has a prominent role to play: he was the mastermind behind this specialty Tandoor restaurant concept, and still is the restaurant’s supporting pillar today. We were fortunate enough to have the master himself pick out the best dishes in the restaurant and serve them up one by one.
Bukhara’s menu is heavy on meats that are marinated and grilled in a tandoor. I’d been told by many not to miss out on the murgh malai kebab (boneless chicken marinated with cream cheese and green coriander) and it didn’t disappoint. Another centerpiece that the head chef specially dished out for us was the tender sikandari raan (leg of lamb marinated in herbs) – crispy on the outside, tender red meat on the inside. Bukhara’s dal (black lentils simmered overnight with tomatoes, ginger, and garlic) is its trademark dish, so famous it’s now sold in grocery stores.
Stepping foot into the hotel’s European fine-dining restaurant, it’s easy to fall for the rustic charm of establishment’s exquisite decor. The air is rich with country-style cottage charm: parquet flooring, teak furnishing and a giant burner lamp as the centerpiece. Porcelain plates hang on the walls, while brass ornaments hang from the fireplace. It’s hard to imagine you’re still in India.
But what really blew our minds away was the sumptuous, authentic Continental cuisine the restaurant dished out. Chef Akshay hit the right spot and achieved perfection with his stone-grilled lamb chop, high-fire sizzling ribeye steak and simple yet delectable caviar. Alberto felt like home here, and was equally impressed by their selection of European cheese and cured meat – jamon, chorizo and German sausages.
Speaking to Chef Akshay, I could evidently tell the charming culinary expert had spent years perfecting his skills in European cooking. Having spent the last 11 years working as a chef in Florida, he’s mastered Western culinary techniques and secrets and now has returned to his homeland in the hope of spreading his knowledge.
I couldn’t have asked for a better gastronomic experience than this one at West View – one that offered a voyage into European gastronomy right in the heat of Delhi.
My Humble House
Both restaurants above stood out for their outstanding cuisine, but this particular one at ITC Maurya definitely tucked at my heart strings. Serving up modern fusion Oriental cuisine, My Humble House is a contemporary Chinese fine-dining enclave that has got every single bit of detail perfect.
The restaurant is the masterpiece of a fellow-Singaporean chef who’s had years of experience heading the kitchens of several renown Chinese restaurants in Singapore. He tells me, “Chinese cuisine is getting very envogue here in India, and we’re pulling in more crowd than before with our creative dishes.”
One dish in particular that caught my attention was the wasabi prawns: fat, juicy prawns drenched in a light wasabi sauce and fried to crispy perfection. For someone who doesn’t have an inkling for wasabi, I devoured the prawns whole-heartedly, tearing it apart inside out just because it was the best prawn I’d ever tasted. Next came the fried vermicelli wrapped in a thin layer of omelet – for such a simple dish like that, it exceeded any sort of expectations I’d had. The highlight was definitely the braised pigs’ trotters, a traditional home-cooked food that I’d fantasized about everyday since I’d left home –and the head chef made my dream come true.
Disclaimer: My experience was sponsored by ITC-Welcomgroup, but all the opinions above are my own.
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