|Smiling Chef Somnath|
Fine dining at Palmyra restaurant, in Hotel Bristol, Gurgaon turned out to be our best experience ever. In spite of the fact only veg food was served during Navratra, the absence of non veg food was not felt at all! The credit goes to Chef Somnath Porel, who made his way to our hearts with his innovation at food.
Reach him on twitter at @Chef_Porel
The spread comprised Daal Makhni, Stir Fry Vegetables, Makhana Kaju Matar gravy, Paneer Butter Masala, Veg Biryani, Potatoe. Needless to mention, there was a huge layout of salads, curd and sprouts for the health conscious ones. Let me save the best for the last. So I will come to desserts later.
With Bon appetite we tried tasting everything from the huge platter, ensuring not to regret later by missing anything nice.
The most interesting pick was Dofinose Potatoes. What looked like Lasagna tuned out to be a potato dish! With the first bite of it, my eyes started looking for Chef Somnath wanting to ask him the recipe of the fabulous item. He acknowledged our query and revealed the recipe. The layers of raw potato, spread with cheese & spices were baked and simmered together, letting the starch of potatoes act as the binding agent. It tasted fantabulous! Had never seen or thought of a unique recipe before this!
Somnath loves to experiment with food and his skills were clearly seen in the dishes served. He wanted to give a twist to more dishes, but was asked by the manager not to go overboard since too much of experiment is also not welcome often.
Chickpeas or choley what we have at usual restaurants is always spicy and loaded with fat. I always visualized choley in Punjabi style tadka and spices. But here Somnath gave a surprise twist to chickpeas with so much creativity. Eggplant, tomatoes, capcicum in the dish of chickpeas and auberbine tagine which traditionally is stew of spiced meat and vegetables prepared by slow cooking. Somnath had smartly replaced meat with chickpeas. Now, who in a restaturant wants to have an eggplant? You surely can’t say no after tasting this! The preparation was light, not spicy and very well prepared. We savored every bit of it.
Stir fried vegetables made with baby corns, broccoli and red bell pepper was another mind blowing item. I can have it as snacks for my hunger pangs! The dish was in low salt while the vegetable stock acted as the soup. I also went gaga over the colorful Kaju Matar Mushroom Makahana. As I started to feel hungry again while writing this, you would feel the same just by looking at the pictures!
|Chikpeas and aubergine tagine|
|Kaju Matar Mushroom Makahana|
Paneer Butter Masala and Daal Zaafran were the usual but without fatty cream or hot spices. The veg biryani was the best with the right amount of spices and aroma. Somnath agreed Biryani is not about oil. It’s the combination of flavor, color and appeasing aroma that should keep you asking for more. He had ensured less oil and calorie in every dish he prepared. A health conscious chef who also had the heath of diners in mind.
Now coming to the best spread and revealing the surprise- Desserts! Chef Somnath’s magical touch to sweets were fascinating. The one I loved the most was Banoffee Pie. After relishing the whole portion, I ran to Somnath again asking for the recipe. (I just could not stop myself). With base of biscuit crumbs, he layered the glass with caramel, mashed banana, dry fruits, muesli and whipped cream. The first bite I took rendered me speechless. I dug into it till I gorged the whole of it, only wishing to have more but wasn't able to.
While hubby enjoyed the Red Velvet Tiramisu, I tasted a bit of it. Less sugar content and absolutely light, it melted in mouth. With a full tummy, I gave kalakand a miss, though had a bite of the yummy rabri with jalebi. I over ate that evening completely ignoring my calorie intake count.
As a food blogger, I rate the place an easy 4.5 on 5. While a good ambience of a restaurant for fine dining is a minimum requirement, it cannot be ignored while rating the restaurant. Many restaurants don’t bother to look after the seating, which should be upto a certain level making customers feel easy. At Palmyra, the seating was comfortable, lighting was pleasant and the service staff was excellent. One can dig into a huge variety at this restaurant.
Highly recommended place for fine dining.