Spice Terrace’s new menu draws from chef Abdul Quddus’ personal experiences
The Spice Terrace at the JW Marriott now has chef Abdul Quddus steering the kitchen and the course has been set for the North West Frontier in terms of cuisine. With Awadh being the primary focus of the new menu, chef Quddus says that this new menu also has quite a bit of his personal food experiences and experiments blended into it. The idea, he says, is to bring forward flavours, techniques and tastes, not only as they have passed down through the generations in his own family but also through the course of life and the evolution of food in homes and on the streets.
Start off your meal with the tender Murgh gilafi seekh made of juicy chicken mince and peppered with garlic, shah jeera and colourful slivers of peppers. The Quinoa aloo bhukhara kebab has that interesting rounded texture of quinoa, which when paired with a mélange of vegetables and potato comes through subtly.
What will truly blow your senses away is the Narangi shammi, a kebab of lotus stem and potato that is stuffed with orange – not just the juice, but actual bits of orange, creating a dish that is one of its kind in this part of the world.
Into the sea
The Zaitooni malai jhinga comes with that wonderful sear from the tandoor, and has a touch of cheese and olives, along with a marinade of hung curd and cardamom. The Paneer tikka lazeez, stuffed with a finely pounded mix of nuts, hung curd and saffron make for an interesting dish though a softer paneer would have put the dish up there with the rest of them.
Considering the poolside setting of the Spice Terrace, a warm shorba would not be out of place. The Subz ashrafi shorba with delicate quenelles of a range of vegetables is brought to the table and the warm spiced broth poured over it from a kettle. The soup has a predominant flavour of pepper and saffron.
Main course is served with a choice of Indian breads and rice. The Khumb mutter makhana qorma is a heavy dish of mushrooms and green peas in a tomato-onion-cream gravy. The Murgh kundan qaliya as well as the Shahi nalli nihari both stand as testimonies to the chef’s ability to handle meat really well.
Finish your meal with some dum biryani. Chef Quddus prides himself on cooking his rice with stock and mixing the meat and rice together to be simmered for hours. It is the Quddus biryani – an amalgamation of three generations of his family’s efforts that constitute his recipe today!
The Shahi malai tukda is a layered version of the dessert, served in significantly indulgent portions. The base of condensed milk, pistachio, saffron and varq make this single dessert good for a party of four! The Shahd-e-jaam is a gulab jamun-esque dumpling of condensed milk stuffed with pistachio and drizzled with saffron honey syrup. The Kulfi falooda has pink stained vermicelli forming the base for slabs of kulfi — pretty and spot on.
Rs 3,000++ for two. At JW Marriott, Vittal Mallya Road. Details:671 89999
— Ruth Dsouza Prabhu