On Invitation

New Delights on the Pavilion Menu

Thursday, December 22, 2016Me! In words

I love the old world charm of ITC Windsor. That grand chandelier in the lobby, the Accordion player who sits atop the grand staircase in the evenings, the white pillars of Raj Pavilion, the friendly staff who have become good friends over the years... and yes I could go on. We were recently were invited to an interesting launch of a new menu across all the Pavilions at all the ITCs in India. This was a social media event, one where click and upload were of priority. And so that is what we did.

The beautifully decked lobby of the ITC Windsor. The Royal Scotsman Train in the center of the lobby is quite the eye-catcher. While I do have a video of that adorable train,
its a bit too shaky to upload here.

We had two welcome drinks - One with Apple and the other with dates as a base. Both very interesting. Both the kinds that will appease different palates. And that was a copy of the new menu that we were browsing through. Some highlights of this menu were that there is now a great deal of importance being given local produce and local food as well. What I loved about the new menu is the fact that there are kiddie portions included as well, which as a mother I totally appreciated.

Now coming to the actual food, first up was the Burrata with Anise Poached Pears from the Best of Pavilion - What a cracker of a start this was - The Burrata has a lovely shell and was filled with cold goodness that scooped up very well with the bread. It was the poached pears with the sauce of anise that stole the show on this dish. Strong flavours of anise that found the ideal foil in the poached pears.

Next was another cheese dish - The Molten Brie with Pretzel Crusts, served with roast beets and a spicy green apple chutney. The sorrel leaves on the side were an interesting addition with their touch of bitterness. But that Brie was of the OMG! kinds, crusty on the outside and lovely sticky on the inside. And that apple chutney! I would love to take home large jars of them - the tartness of the apples beautifully muted with a sweetener that I can't really recall now, but what a surprise that little jar was.

Soup was served next. Both of them poured out at the table - the first (above) was the Caramelized Mushroom and Barley Soup. This health soup is velvety smooth when poured out of the tureen and garnished with some celery-leek blitz that comes in a little squeezer. The puffed up barley and the thinly sliced mushrooms add that nice bite to the soup, making it very wholesome with the multi-grain bread served with it.

The second soup was the Singaporean Laksa, with shrimp, fish and chicken tenders with a fragrant, thin broth laced with coconut and poured over all the ingredients, along with rice noodles. The bowl looks amazing, with and without the soup. The soup, though lovely however, felt a little thinner than a classic laksa should be. Nevertheless, I personally loved the taste.

The Singaporean Laksa 

The two soups once they were poured

Up next came a starter that was very unusual in its combination of ingredients, but brilliantly thought up and executed. The Pavilion Shrimp Cocktail with a Curry Leaf and Kokum Mayo. Boiled shrimp are tossed in this gorgeous mayo with a strong touch of curry leaf and the lovely tinge of kokum, both in colour and in the flavour profile. The boiled egg on the side again act as a lovely foil for texture and taste. So lovely was this jar of shrimps that we had more come to the table.

We had four mains come to the table - The Lamb Rib and Broad Bean Tagine. Beautiful in presentation, but needing a wee bit of work on the flavour profile. A strong touch of cinnamon had permeated down into the meal and sauce, making it a little too strong on the palate. The cous cous however, that was served as part of the dish was beautifully done. With the feedback passed on, I am sure that this will not be an issue going forward.

From the Local Love section came the Bisi Bele Bath. Yes you heard right. And served alongside it were some very interesting accompaniments - some pachadi, spicy boondi, banana chips, a papaya relish, oven-dried carrot shavings and mozzarella cheese. Now the cheese became by far my most favoured accompaniment.

Another dish from the Local Love section was the Gratinated Meatballs and Spaghetti. A slightly Indianized version of the classic.

The Mushroom and Bean Fricasse is what soul food is made of. Served with bread and garlic tossed broccoli. The flat beans needed to be a little more mushy for my liking... but this was a lovely homely dish.

There is a secret that ITC Windsor has in its culinary arsenal - Alrich - the pastry chef - The three desserts that came to the table evoke taste sensations that you did not really know exist (not to mention a lot of suspect moans that his desserts tend to elicit - all in joy I assure you).

The lovely cheesecake

The Milk Chocolate Parfait with Darjeeling Tea Namelaka - The chocolate layer envelopes the Darjeeling tea layer. This is blended together when hot chocolate sauce is poured over it. The jaggery bits and the candied berries together create a dessert unlike any other I have tasted.

This was the chocolate fudge with a caramel jaggery sauce. We just stood around it with spoons and licked that black slate off clean

And if you like to view pouring shots of all the amazing dishes, here are some videos for you to ogle at. This is what food porn is made of. 

A meal for two is approximately Rs 4500. The ambience, the service and the food are outstanding, but naturally. Try out the new menu and let me know what you think!

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