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    Awadhi, Punjabi and Rajasthani cuisines come together at Tamarind

    While it’s bang opposite the airport, Taj Bangalore prefers not to slot itself under the ‘airport hotel’ category. The luxury hotel boasts two restaurants at the moment, with a third one coming up in a few weeks. And though it is ideal for those who’ve arrived at the airport a little too early or travellers who want a quiet, luxurious meal before heading into the bustle of the city, it is nonetheless worth a trek all the way to KIAL.
    We made our way to their North Indian restaurant, Tamarind to sample their offerings. The menu has been conceptualised and crafted by their executive chef, Alok Anand, who was earlier at Taj Coromandel in Chennai. So, it’s no wonder that the spread that awaited us was thoroughly impressive. Anand’s focus is on ingredients that are natural and homemade. Everything from the masalas to the paneer is made in house, we’re told. “The recipes have been borrowed from my family, friends’ families and acquaintances,” reveals Anand. The attention to detail is staggering. Even the water is flavoured with a different ingredient each day, with coasters bearing a small write up about the specific flavouring agent. The day we went, it was clove.
    Start with the Bakli Salad, a healthy bowl of boiled wheat, crunchy pomegranate, some fresh herbs, and a crescent-shaped golden brown shortcrust pastry. Dressed in a tamarind-based sauce, we loved the mix of crispy, crunchy, and soft textures. The tanginess of the sauce was well balanced by the freshness from the herbs.
    As it started to pour outside, in came the Gosht Pudina Yakhni, a warm lamb bone stock mildly spiced yet bursting with flavour. We then moved on to the Gucchi Malai Bahar. Featuring morels stuffed with thick cream and aromatic spices, the mushroom was succulent and had soaked in all the creaminess. Melt in the mouth soft, the Sheermal Tart Mein Galouti is a must for lamb lovers. Ours was soft and smooth, with the golden tart shell adding a nice crunch. Vegetarians must not miss the Phaldari Bhurji — tandoor roasted raw bananas, with cumin, onion, ginger and garlic. Another hit, was the Qasar-E-Pukhtan — cottage cheese roulade served with a generous helping of squash and nut gravy. “The idea is to showcase the North Indian dishes that are unheard of in Bengaluru,” explains chef Anand.
    For something meaty and decadent, opt for the Nalli E Khaas — a serving of lamb shanks that are slow cooked in a punchy lamb broth. The Safed Masale Ki Murgh Biryani, is another unusual find that simply can’t be missed. The dish, flavoured with yogurt and saffron and juicy morsels of chicken, didn’t have the usual orange tinge that we’ve come to associate with biryanis, but packed in all the flavours, if not more. The perfect accompaniment for the elaborate spread is the Malai Lassi — super thick sweet yogurt with a sprinkling of saffron and nuts, best eaten with a spoon. The meal was rounded off with a sugar free Baked Gajrela — baked carrot halwa in a pie shell made with roti.
    Rs 1,800++. Opposite KIAL.
    Details: 66003013
    — Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo

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