Dine at the new Ibis for a fine balance between gourmet and comfort, and the chance to customise every dish
BUDGET chic is a tricky act to pull off, but the new Ibis has it spot on. Unpretentious yet smart, its central location off Corporation Circle gives it a real edge over the brand’s existing edge-of-city hotels. Building on this, they’ve added some special touches. Spice It, a laid-back all-day dining restaurant, serves excellent value world cuisine, while many of the rooms (and the compact gym!) have stunning views out over Sree Kanteerava Stadium and Cubbon Park towards Vidhan Soubha. Try Spice It for a corporate lunch, buffet breakfast or family dinner, drop by the bar (The Hub) for a quick cocktail, or even book out the gorgeous rooftop space for a private party.
Dropping by on an overcast weekday, we started our lunch with nihari shorba, a broth that promised to warm us from within, and did not disappoint. Lamb trotters slow cooked with an infusion of spices, including cloves and star of anise, made for a soup with a rounded yet mellow taste, while the accompanying saffron-flavoured shirmal flatbread was perfect for dipping. Finger food starters followed — gosht galouti, kastoori murgh tikka and malgudi tawa fish on the non-vegetarian side, and mushroom galouti and baharva rajma tikki for the vegetarian contingent. The delicate portions of lamb galouti melted in the mouth, but their mushroom-based equivalent was a little over grilled for our liking, leaving an almost burnt aftertaste. Luckily, the kidney bean tikki was much more appetising, with a cheese topping adding extra flavour. While all of the main course offerings were delicious, including the dum ka murgh chaap (whole chicken marinated in yoghurt, cream and spices), rogni naan (which was finished with chili oil) and dal angara, it was the biryani which won the day. Easy on the oil but maintaining its characteristic rich flavour, fine strips of caramalised onion added extra texture to both the chicken and vegetarian versions.
Executive chef Dipak Adhikary is a self-confessed Indian food expert, but the continental and oriental offerings on the a la carte menu are also worth a try. You can pick up everything from burgers and wraps, to thin-crust pizzas, fish and chips and wok-tossed noodles. Sweet offerings include an authentic tiramisu, and a truly decadent chili chocolate mouse. There’s absolutely no excuse for not trying the buffet breakfast, which runs every day from four in the morning until noon. Whichever option you go for can be tweaked to your satisfaction, with the ‘you create, we cook’ concept. So don’t forget to make any special requirements or modifications known to the chefs, who you can watch at work in the fully open kitchen.