Now everyone knows that the ITC is the leader when it comes to great tasting, simple food. They stick to the traditional methods of cooking and maybe that’s what makes them so damn good. Let it be The Bukhara’s or the Peshawari’s there is some kind of magic in their Indian Food which has kept these restaurants at the top of the best restaurants of India.
So when we were invited by Ms. Jacob to try out their new menu the their coffee shop Peshwa Pavilion we were expecting great things, and it did not disappoint.
In an absolutely stunning Maratha Fort shaped building near the International Airport stands the ITC Maratha. We remember crossing it many times and been here a few times for weddings and other functions, the outer building always looked as majestic as ever! With its domes, arches and a grand entrance the Maratha is definitely one of the prettiest looking hotels in the city. As you enter, there is a massive coffee shop and this, The Peshwa Pavilion is where we had to meet Ms Jacob.
After pleasantries were exchanged she along with Chef Sourabh gave us a quick run through of the menu and the plated meals were kept for photography. We were given tasting portions of the dishes such that more food could be sampled. Starting off with a Prawn Cocktail with a Kokum and Curry leaf mayonnaise and a trio of healthy juices. The juices were Carrot and Honey, Jamun and Mint and Tender coconut and dates. They were a part of the breakfast juices but were still very refreshing. Using local ingredients and sourcing from farmers and fishermen nearby, the Prawn Cocktail was an interesting appetizer. Lacked a little salt but full marks for creativity. Gone are the days when we would get gloggy and sweet and heavy prawn cocktail; this one was light and fresh.
What followed next was a pure stroke of genius and we’d want to really really give our appreciation for that dish to the chefs of the ITC. An entire baked molten Brie cheese, coated with Pretzel and nuts served with Apple Chutney, Beets and Radish and the Singaporean Laksa. One word to describe them: Sex! The tart of the chutney cut straight through the molten Brie, the crunch of the beets and radish complimented the cheese and chutney perfectly and this was one of the most perfect appetizers we’ve had in a while. The Laksa on the other hand had bold lemon grass and spice flavours which was a total contrast from the mildness of the Brie appetizer. Served alongside were traditional accompaniments of fried garlic, boiled egg, scallions, noodles and pok choy.
Then came the Chicken Katsu Burger and the Bombil fry which were good dishes but not as amazing as the appetizers. Well the Bombil was fried to such a crispy extent that the fish (Bombay Duck) itself got lost. As a result the rawa (Semolina) over powered the fish and the masalas. Although the presentation was a good one, the inclusion of a lemon wedge is a must. The Katsu burger consisted of a fried thigh piece served in a multi-grain bread with Lettuce, Katsu (Sort of Japanese BBQ sauce) and a Scallion and Gari Mayonnaise. Interesting flavor combination but needed just that little more (maybe more Gari or a spicier Katsu sauce) to zing it up and elevate it from just a normal burger.
To end our meal, we were presented with two beautiful looking dishes, one a simple Chocolate Fudge with a caramel sauce and the other was a White Chocolate Cheesecake with hints of orange. Both simple dishes but the accompaniments really brought out the best in them. The Fudge had a caramel sauce, vanilla ice-cream, berries and a walnut sponge. It wasn’t too sweet, it wasn’t too warm and everything just went together. The Cheesecake was ourfavourite, soft, smooth, and not over powering. Again served alongside berry coulis of Strawberries, Blackberries and currants.
We were really looking forward to some Indian dishes, but what we got really did not disappoint. Yes, a few dishes can get a little more boost when it comes to spices and more flavour, but the others did deliver. What they are doing at the ITC (Across India) is something called as Responsible Luxury, and this idea is also put in their menu. They have different icons depicting Pure Vegetarian food, Nuts, Locally sourced, different type of fish and also their specials. This benefits the customers as they get the freshest ingredients and don’have to move around a lot to try the local dishes of the city.
(The BombayFoodies were invited to the ITC Maratha and did not payfor the meal. Honest views and opinions have been given irrespective.)