restaurant review

“Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.”
Chinese proverb

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary celebration, Hyatt Regency DelhiI was at the Hyatt Regency Delhi a few days ago to shoot part of their new menu as the season changes. It was a fun, exciting and colourful shoot as always. My last one covered the very sweet stalwart corporate pastry Chef Bungla. This time around I was in for another exciting day as I spent a large part of it shadowing the energetic, persevering and friendly Chef Rohilla, chef de cuisine at TK’S Oriental Grill. With TK’S Oriental 20 Anniversary celebration starting from 21st September 2015, the timing couldn’t have been better!

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi

It’s always a great learning experience to shadow a chef, this one seemed rather young and new. Yet once he got down to business, he sparkled! Passionate, efficient, good team leader and very easy going, he’s another feather in the Hyatt’s cap. An Indian teppanyaki specialist who has trained under the experts, Chef Rohilla adds his own set of secret sauces and creativity to this popular restaurant.

Lamb Chops, TK’S Oriental, Hyatt Regency DelhiAn avid fan of cricket and Hindi movies, this young spirited chef  is a jovial, meticulous and down-to-earth person. With nearly 11 years of experience in kitchens across the Indian subcontinent, Chef Rohilla has built a strong foundation for his preferred cuisine type, oriental cuisine.

Chef Rohilla. TK’S Oriental, Hyatt Regency Delhi

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi 4Tossing eggs as high as vegetables, he enjoys every minute of what he does, and the attention he gets. I watch with my fingers crossed. He’s good at it! As good as he is with stirring a mean sauce, as making a spicy chicken salad, as adding that special crispy touch to the lamb chops. The chef animatedly talks you through his experiences, his food influences and much more. As busy as he is clearly popular, his young team exudes the same positivity and enthusiasm.

Chef Rohilla and his team, TK’S Oriental Grill, Hyatt Regency Delhi

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi

Chef Rohilla and his team, TK’S Oriental Grill, Hyatt Regency Delhi Working in perfect sync, it was an absolute delight to see them get the menu together. Bit by bit, each bowl is plated with love and care, each platter lavished with attention, the aesthetics balanced beautifully, the passion shining through. Here is some of what you might savour at  TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary celebration.TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi Ever since it’s opening in 1995, the reputation of TK’S Oriental Grill has been built on its fine food and  lively atmosphere. Widely recognised as one of the first teppanyaki kitchen-style dining venues in Delhi, it is also one the oldest restaurants to serve authentic Japanese cuisine.. The live sushi preparations and the drama of the chefs in action behind the hot grills makes TK’S Oriental Grill an entertaining dining option.

Do join them as they celebrate their 20th!!

{The celebration is on from September 22 to October 1, 2015 & October 20 to 29, 2015. Only dinner. For more information, please contact Chandan on + 91 98713 45577 }

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi

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“My two rules of cooking: keep it fresh and keep it simple.”
Mike Isabella

Unlock the destination with Chef Tanveer, Exc Chef, Le Meridien Gurgaon 600It did seem like a daunting idea to jump onto a chefs bandwagon at 7am. Yet with an itinerary that promised some fun unlocking of a destination, the journey was full of promise. That it was going to be so so fun was something I didn’t envisage. I would do this again in a heartbeat, so what if the mercury rose to almost 50C that afternoon as we literally spilled into the fish market! This is just a peep into the day we spent with the young, very affable, energetic, creative and impressive Tanveer Kwatra, the executive chef at Le Méridien Gurgaon.

We joined Exec Chef Tanveer Kwatra on a typical day as he took us on a culinary journey unlocking CR Park, microgreens, exotic seldom used local produce like phalsa berries and mango ginger etc. Later, he went on to create magic with the food we bought!

A step into the lobby, and the mood is set.  So pleasing to the senses, what welcomes you is a visual delight, a celebration of art! A Pareesh Maity work greets you as you enter, warmth exuding from the yellow figurine. A number of sculptures by Satish Gujral add to the character, as does the large  art wall behind the reception which illustrates natural forces weathering rock shores and land and has been beautifully depicted by PR Daroz.Le Meridien, GurgaonThe hotel has numerous art pieces which starts from the Tree of Life at the entrance by Vibhor Sogani to the chrome installation at the lobby that depict the transformation from day to night. Vibhor Sogani, Le Meridien, GurgaonCreative, creative, creative …it’s a feel good ambiance! ’twas a cracker of a start to the day as the three of us, Sangeeta, Ruchira and I, landed up in the well lit airy lobby, to be greeted by a bright and cheerful Tanveer. He’s one of those people you take an instant liking to – easygoing, friendly, enthusiastic, and as we learnt through the day, large hearted and very talented. Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, GurgaonWith Eye Opener shots that offered intriguing local flavours – ginger coffee {very new to me & refreshing} and mango jeera, we soon headed for a culinary tour of the property. Our first stop was Latest Recipe, the signature dining restaurant at the hotel. It offers bright, picturesque views of the garden outside the hotel and draws in natural daylight that lights up the space. We returned to the venue for all our meals that day!

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, GurgaonWith a delicious double espresso shot and a smattering of fresh tropical fruit  to awaken our senses, we headed into the chefs den. Well organised work spaces, the men were all busy at work. With the breakfast service already underway at Latest Recipe, the lunch menu was being prepped. Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon We were in the ‘Indian’ kitchen, such a delicious space. Local produce, native ingredients, native cooking utensils and methods of cooking. Butter paneer, dhungaar-e-butter chicken {the gravy smoky, earthy, lip-smacking good; very rich too}, a kachchi gosht ki biryani had our taste buds on red alert. Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon The chef of course got dizzily busy {was hard to keep up with him} readying up a line of the Le Meridien Gurgaons signature breakfast for us. Duck Khurchan Dosa with Mulligatawny Soup, Brioche Burger, Crab Omelette! Latest Recipe at it’s very best. Great beginning. Need I say more?

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, GurgaonLatest Recipe : An all-day dining restaurant featuring global cuisine presents guests with a sensory world cuisine experience. Located at the Lobby Level, the restaurant exudes a warm contemporary feel and a visual delight for the eyes; the bespoke music, styled to suit the mood of the day, the alluring aroma of food wafting through the restaurant, authentic & delectable world cuisine. It revolves around five interactive show kitchens displaying a sumptuous array of food, a dining concept that brings the excitement of cooking from the chefs.

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon What strikes you is the creativity at every meal, the small touches, the rustic and earthy feel, above all the chefs personal connect with how he presents things. Bursts of colour from Stappu and Le Crueset dance in the daylight, fresh fruit to make your heart sing, eggs sitting sweetly in ‘nests, ceramic baskets of spice, live counters functioning.

Chef Tanveer KwatraA young lad from Agra who has studied Down Under, he gathers experiences from as far as Fiji to closer at home doing Marwari wedding cuisines, his stories reflect how he picks up and learns on the go. For someone who is as enthusiastic about Agra ki dalmoth and flash fried prawns, Benaras ki chaat and okonomiyaki from Japan, food talk lights up his eyes! Mind you, through the conversation, nothing escapes his eye, what his staff are doing, if anything is incorrectly placed, a runaway crumb. The place runs like clockwork.

Chef tanveer Kwatra It was a packed day. As you read on, {LONG POST ALERT}, you will wonder how much we packed into a day. The chefs day was busier actually. He took loads of time out for us. Before lunch we took a recce of his well organised and well maintained stores, , we sneaked into the pastry room, watched the pastry chef make a TON of choux, piped some wriggly eclairs, inhaled the sweet smell of soft buns baking, then saw them get slathered with butter, got heady with the aromas of lavender and tonka beans … we were welcomed into every nook and corner!Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon That worked up an appetite and ‘those’ colourful dishes with the lunch menu beckoned our famished selves. We ate right off the kitchen counter! Roasted thyme garlic pumpkin with Evoo and feta {we polished it off}…I think it’s the best pumpkin I’ve ever had. Potato daphnoise, fish in a citrusy burre blanc, meaty mushrooms with chicken were just some of the fare. We couldn’t stop eating, pampered under the chefs indulgent gaze…

…and yes, love him or hate him, he swallowed anchovies with great pleasure!

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon Rolling out were colourful Le Crueset dishes prettily dished with dal, smoked butter chicken, gobhi masala, butter paneer…so much more. In the meantime the kachcha gosht ki Hyderabadi biryani that started cooking on dum in the morning was ready and was being lavished with ghee, saffron, vevetier. We dug in. WOW!! One of the best I’ve had, very authentic, fragrant and done right. On the side, their was a spicy, bursting with flavours mirchi ka saalan!

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon A quick pit stop at the lab, nice and neat, where food testing is carried out, and we tripped along to stop by at the cafeteria. What a well organised place, with huge vessels with a finger licking good dal, chicken, paneer, boondi raita and the works. Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon Stuffed as we were, we queued up to taste the communal lunch served to all the staff. Completed with refreshing glasses of Roohafza and crisp cucumber, pickles too, it was yet another meal to remember! We were joined in the cafeteria by David Hopcroft, GM Le Méridien, Gurgaon.

Fish Market, CR Park, New Delhi

CR Park, New Delhi With the day flying by, it was time to hop into cars and head into the city. Tanveer was going fish and vegetable shopping to CR Park and even though it was 47C, or more like 50C, we leapt to it. I have a never ending fascination with India {in particular Indian markets and sadhus in no particular order}. My first time in CR Park, my first time at the fish bazaar, and I was fascinated!

CR Park, New Delhi Later when I shared a few fishy images on FB and IG, I was welcomed by the local Bong community as one of their own! “full Bengali accredited” as one said. I was loving it. Tanveer bought loads of fish for dinner that night – hilsa, seabass, rohu, sardines. He was in his element!

CR Park, New Delhi Being a non Bong meant getting the right royal ignore when I tried to buy some block printed fabric. Was far more successful shopping for kasundi and earthenware matkis after we dug into the best mishti doi ever on Ruchira’s recommendation. She knows!! Tanveer bought some more mishti doi for a surprise back at the hotel, while we continued the food indulgence finally wrapping up with an addictive radhabollobhi kachauri. Sigh, the deliciousness!CR Park, New DelhiJust a little more shopping, vegetables this time, and the spring in ‘his’ step was infectious. There too he was in his element – mango ginger, jamrul or wood apples, falsa/phalsa berries. There was a glint in his eye as he thought of what he would make with his loot! One more stop on the way back, a small microgreens unit, where we picked up some beautiful beet greens etc, and we headed back to Le Méridien Gurgaon.Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon While we were ready to expire and were packed off to a much needed and very relaxing spa, the good Tanveer zipped off to get dinner ready. How we were pampered all day! Daylight was ebbing, but not our appetite! An hour or so later, back to the ‘now bathing in sunset’ Latest Recipe, we were gobsmacked to see his creativity. Out of the box thinking, fresh ideas, great pairing, perfect balance of flavours, a party on the palette I tell you! Here’s what he bought that day … CR Park, New Delhi and here’s what he did…

Falsa berries – Burrata with Balsamico Scented Falsa and Ciabata Toast
Jamrul & Mango Ginger – Cabbage Onion and Edamame Bean Salad with Jamrul and Mango Ginger, Ponzu Dressing and Wakame
Seabass & Mango Ginger – Pan fried Seabass with Mango Ginger Chutney and Pan Roasted Sweet Potato
School Shrimps & kasundi – Crispy School Shrimps with Kasundi and Apricot Sauce and Burnt Garlic
Mishti Doi – Mishti Doi Eclaire topped with White Chocolate and Popped Amaranth

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon Well here’s what we did. W I P E D  I T  A L L  C L E A N!! Not a crumb left. I thought I wasn’t a fish person. I’m not, but am certainly a cooked by Tanveer ‘fish person’! Gosh those school shrimps in the kasundi and apricot sauce with burnt garlic. Mind blowing flavours. Each and every dish was outstanding. I could eat that burrata all day. Paired with falsas & pine nuts, it was to die for! The edamame bean salad saw the flavours waltz off the palette, making magic with textures. And the sea bass with pan roasted sweet potato and beet greens was brought ALIVE with a sharp chili mango ginger ‘kutti’ chutney. AMAZING stuff and so well presented!

Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Gurgaon …and an amazing way to finish the day! I LOVED that there is huge focus on local produce, an inclusion of native flavours in the menu, that as far as possible, the ingredients are locally procured. There is a system in place, efficiency is high and the place runs like clockwork. It was a day I will remember for a long time, twelve hours that flew by in a heartbeat in the peak of Indian summer!

Thank you Chef Tanveer and Le Méridien Gurgaon for hosting us.

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“Recipes don’t work unless you use your heart!”
Dylan Jones

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef BunglaIt isn’t everyday that you get to shadow a corporate pastry chef at a hotel, so I was in for a pleasant time. The Hyatt invited me to spend ‘A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla‘ … a behind the scenes of the chefs at work! I’ve met the ever so sweet, down to earth and very humble Chef Bungla before, and was more than happy to peep into his happening kitchen.

Valentines Day, Hyatt Regency, DelhiMore so since it was close to the red letter day of love, Valentines Day. I knew the creative chef would be painting his kitchen red, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at his creativity, the ease which which he churns out the best of goodies to ‘feed’ Sidewalk. It was a virtual Charlie’s Chocolate Factory in there behind the steely cold kitchen doors.

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi In the kitchen at 7am every morning, a well oiled schedule and a well choreographed team, he is at his creative best. It’s pin drop silence in here. Everyone on his team knows what to do, and they go about doing it professionally and perfectly.

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi A candid moment sometimes comes by with an old hand carrying a vintage willow basket that catches the eye. I want to grab it and make a beeline for the door. Oh yes, the envy for old rustic things! I try to ‘capture‘ the man and his basket and the whole kitchen peeps in to see what caught my eye! Then they get back to their routine…

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi A giant Isfahan macaron is being prepared under the chefs watchful gaze. Handpicked red strawberries, each chosen of the same size, tops neatly sliced off, then hulled and filled with cream. With clockwork precision, the team works around the huge white marble counter tops as I smile seeing deft hands gently pulling trademark Hyatt red ribbons to complete the V Day look. Ribbons are such a feminine thing in my humble opinion… here you see how male dominated the kitchen is! A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt DelhiThe chef gives his look of approval, then does the honours. A sprinkle of slivered pistachios, a dusting of red rose petals… and we are all set for V day! This is just one of the surprises that they are creating. My favourite of course is the English Mix Berry Cake topped with colourful fruits, decorated for V Day. So European, and to my delight, one of the most popular cakes that comes out of the kitchen.

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi The other very popular one and a huge V Day favourite is his luscious Red Velvet Cake. You can tell that V day is around the corner as strawberries paint the kitchen red. Strawberries in white chocolate lay in neat rows on the counter. Not just those. There’s beautiful raspberry mousse for two as well! So much love in the air, what’s not to love a kitchen like his!

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi What’s also not to love about a kitchen that has huge loads of bread dough being kneaded, sourdough the all time call. Chef Bungla treats each loaf as his baby, proudly tells me that no yeast is ever used. All bread is baked using sourdough, the culture over a 100 years old! He walks me through the ‘bread basket’ pointing to the slightly bubbled crust one some loaves. This is a sign of good bread he says.

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi Having honed his skills mostly in Europe, Chef Bungla is one well traveled chef. He’s been in the Hyatt since 1982, and has mastered every baking and patisserie technique in his time here. To my absolute amazement, ten years ago he even worked under the God of macarons, Pierre Hermes! Yet he is so humble, so nonchalant, so passionate about the bakery.

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi We talk about heart shaped chocolate truffles, macarons, choux pastry, profiteroles, recipe development, European trends, Japanese bakeries, panna cotta sans gelatin {you should have seen the twinkle in his eye}, bagels {sourdough again}. He relies on his authenticity, techniques, tradition and finally his intuition to invent his creations. The passion shines through, his humility endearing.

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi He accompanies me to Sidewalk, and as I take pictures of his creations, you can sense his pride. Take a shot of this one quick he says. Cakes get sold very fast here. After 4pm we don’t bake. Only the days’ bakes reach the counters, never anything from the the previous day. Sure enough, a patron stops by at Sidewalk and orders 7 cakes. Goodbye beautiful cakes, all boxed and expertly packed on their way to delight someones taste buds!

A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi We stop by the Café for a bit. It’s buzzing with activity. At the heart of the cafe is the dessert bar, like a candy shop! It’s close to 3pm and there is a heightened sense of activity around it. The chef hovers around, a keen eye, a quick look over, then we head back for Sidewalk where a guest is waiting for him.

A day in the kitchn of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi After a happy animated chat, he calls the kitchen below to hurry up and get ‘the cake for the lady from South Africa’. With a huge grin across his face he tells me that she has been a guest at the hotel for years, and the Orange Almond GF Cake is her favourite. She knows him by name, he knows what she’ll ask for… and he always obliges. A day in the kitchen of Corporate Pastry Chef Bungla, Hyatt Delhi In all this, I am the very fortunate onlooker who benefits. I get served a slice as well. I have to say, this is the best cake ever! Simple, flavourful, decadent. My type of cake. No frosting, no unnerving sweetness… just good good flavours. It’s one I like to bake myself, but being served by the chef himself, makes it the best ever!

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