Staycation at Howard JohnsonMonday, November 28, 2016Me! In words
Once we were settled in our rooms, we were taken a tour of the hotel, coupled with an interaction with Chef Bose, who took us through the thought process of the creation of the hotel as well as his specialty, the food. This conversation took place at a spot in the hotel that is now casually being called the Library. A lovely nook, with a skylight placed a few stories higher giving a lovely hue to the space. From the classic Victoria Station clock, to an old gramophone to the ornate dial pad phone - the space is a lovely one. Whether you are looking to read from the collection of books in the glass door wooden cupboard or play a game of chess with some really beautifully designed chess pieces, this is the space to do it. We were told that the area will soon be converted to a whiskey bar and I can't think of a better use for the space.
At this point, Little A got a little tired of hanging around with the grown ups and requested permission to go up to the room. Paranoid mum that I am, I hesitated, only to be told that the hotel is home to a lot of children, who are quite comfortable navigating on their own. So whether A wanted to go to the room or the restaurant or even the lobby, she would be safe, sound and happy. Nevertheless I did send her along with my phone, which I am happy to say she never used.
The hotel has a pool and gym on the campus but a highlight is Sohum Spa. A small outlet, with just 2 rooms, this spa offers massages and facials. Ever willing to surrender to experienced hands for a massage, I went in for a 30 minute back massage. The petite young lady who took me on has magic in her hands and I can say, for fact that I was reduced to a puddle of happiness, the glow of which lingered long into the night.
Now coming to the food at Nest - We had the Saturday lunch buffet and the Sunday Brunch. Both times, the spread included a range of salads, meat and vegetarian, some served straight up, a few others with simple dressings. While the Saturday buffet gives you the choice of a vegetarian or a meat soup, on Sunday you will find a specialized soup such as a Laksa being assembled before you. Sunday also sees the addition of sushi to the spread - simple ones of salmon and vegetarian. You then have a mixed board of Indian, Chinese and Continental, this last being the strong suit of Chef Bose. The dessert spread also offers a mix of Indian and international sweets.
Sunday Brunch sees the addition of live counters serving up pasta, kothu paratha, kheema pao, and paniyaram. But with these counters placed in closed confines, the aromas can get a bit too heady. You will also be served a host of starters at the table - a really good ones was the Chinese Fish that was served which saw multiple helpings being called for. The kebabs were also quite pleasant.
The dishes that stood out for me on Saturday and Sunday were a superlative Baingan Bharta that I had with a simple Lasson tadka dal and rice. The Eraichi Kuzambu and the Fish curry were also quite impressive. In the continental section, the Chicken au Gratin stood out. The Kothu paratha and Kheema pav on Sunday were both really good. Among the desserts, the bread and butter pudding as well as the Chocolate Financier, though not in its classic version, were wonderful treats. Sunday Brunch also offers you drinks from the bar.
Overall, across both meals and the launch of the new menu, it was the Indian food that stood tall for me.
Here is a link on how to get to Howard Johnson