Rest : Dum Pukht
Meal : DinnerLoc : ITC Grand Maratha, near the International Airport.
It has been a while since my last visit to Dum Pukth, nearly four or five years, i remember that Mrs and I going there a reasonably newly wed couple(post here) So to give you quick run down, the cuisine is all about slow cooking of the dishes in their own juices and is said to have originated in Awadh during a famine.
What we have here is of course the refined version which was developed for the Royal Palate and the dishes are heavy, creamy and full of dry fruits and other such ingredients that the cuisine requires.
On my last visit i mentioned how the decor didn't quite work but to be honest i had plenty of time to sit around and have a look this time. The place is actually very different from many of the kitted out places one goes to. The decor actually does work and not only that i got seated on a couch and man, that really is the way to dine. Couches, not chairs is the way to go.
The glasses too for water and wine were intricate, weighty and one can really get into character as some sort of a mughal/awadhi despot. However they used white china/plates to serve the food on which is unlike a royal dining experience and that really did stick out as a sore point. Like the glasses some well designed plates would really go better with the whole experience.
Their wine selection is actually pretty decent, i always thought thar Rieslings go well with Indian food, i chose a Kabinett (700) and it was pretty good but a tad gassy which was a first. Not bad however.
The first thing we ordered was the Qasr E Pukhtan (1500) which was a paneer gravy with spices. I really do feel foolish having ordered something so cliched and was justifiably punished when it turned out to be strictly an okay dish.
The Paneer itself was a little too hard (perhaps refrigerated) and when i brought this to their notice all hell broke loose. I had to explain this to four people and they were sincerely apologetic and took this almost personally.
As we refused to send the dish back they let us have it but insisted on a replacement (more on that later)
This was the Rogani Roti (175) soft, intricate and flavourful all on its own, this was quite a piece of bread. the last time i had something so delicious was a Sheermal at the Shalimar.
The Aloo Dum Bukhara (1900) was a heavy kofta in a rich gravy, very good, breaking into the kofta was quite difficult as its stuffing clung on but it was quite a different taste to the regular gravies one gets. The staff brought this out to make up for the Paneer and they did pick a good dish. Its important to order away from ones comfort zone at times
The roomali was interesting, unlike the whitey white roomalis you get everywhere which i guess has to do with the flour, these were more like a roti in look and texture. While i really liked the way they tasted, one wonders if the generic roomalis are more likely to please a despot.
The Dum Pukth Biryani which is pretty much a signature dish was excellent, they also offer a mushroom version which the mrs shot down outright. This was delicious and one of the reasons we skipped the starters and shorba to make sure we had space for it.
The garlic infused raita was served as an accompaniment to the biryani and i must say, you take the dal, the raita and the biryani and you have a pretty strong combination right there, they make an amazing team.
Kulfi is hard to do correctly and the longer it freezes the worse it gets. this though wasn't too bad, I am not a fan of Indian desserts but this certainly was not bad.
the meal is topped off with a helping of mouth freshness as well as paan in a nicely inlaid pan dabbi, reminds me of the ones my grandmom used to use when she still used to make her own paan.
Overall, the place is pretty good, the decor and ambiance does work with the cuisine and the motif, the food is good, the dishes are heavy and one cannot eat a meal like this often however that is a hallmark of the cuisine.
The service is epic and i dont use that word often. The one off kink in my case was immediately rectified by the team and there was genuine concern at my complaint. That just goes to show the amount of training and effort that goes into running a world class outfit and stand alone restaurants will never be able to compete with five stars in the service stakes.
The dishes the food is served are quite counter intuitive and plain, need to work on those, perhaps pick something which has a little more intricacy to it, to fit with the experience. The prices of course are unbelievable but befitting the royal motif.
They apparently serve a sunday brunch with serves one/two dishes from each course and is priced at 2300 with wine which offers good value if you are open to others selecting your dishes for you (that did not work well for me at Kebabs n Kurries the last time i was there but if you call ahead and find out whats on the menu it could very well be worth it)
Food : 8/10
Service : 9/10
Damage: Dinner for two with a glass of wine 6000