Padharo Mhare Desh! This is the hospitality that Rajasthan reflects in its culture and food. The royal Rajasthani meal has been one of the most sort things not just for a food fanatic but for the masses. So how do you try to make your mom fell special on her birthday, by taking her for a royal meal, and so did we. Maharaja Bhog that boosts of large Rajasthani / Gujarati spread does not have all the attributes to make you feel royal is what we concluded.
From the designers perspective!
We had to wait for a little over 45 mins before we could get a table to try what is called the royal meal. Being located in the busy Oberoi mall, it wasn’t very difficult to spend that time but waiting outside the restaurant area could be a challenging as one has to dodge the colossal mall crowd. Just across a glass wall at the main entrance of the restaurant they place a fully loaded Thali to woo the passersby and they are quite successful with the attempt as visuals are not most perfect representatives of an experience.
The interiors are simply yet elegantly done and give the feel of a fine dining place if you avoid looking at the not so clean floor. The place is well lit and the main attraction in the interiors is the mammoth thali that is kept before you as soon as you are seated.
Drink it baby!
We were welcomed with a flavourful drink made of saffron and sandalwood. It was a sure opulent feeling to sip on it. We had already started to feel crow headed. To accompany you throughout your meal they serve unlimited chaas (buttermilk). The smoked buttermilk is rich in texture and has a prominent flavour of mint leaves.
For the love of Food!
The enchanting experience started when the servers one by one took turns to serve us a variety of delicacies. First arrived the chutneys in two varieties, green coriander chutney and sweet chutney followed with papaya salad and a slice of lime. Then came steamed idli topped with coconut chutney and fried potato tikkis as farsan. Although the steamed idli was soft and spongy, it tasted average with the coconut chutney topped on it. The tikkis were crisp and tasted fair with the green chutney. We were not served pickles which are a part of their menu and also an important element of an Indian meal. However we disregarded this on account of the spread that was coming forward.
Four varieties of veggies were served namely parwal, sukhi moong dal, potato veggie and panner mutter. These were accompanied with Rajasthani dal and rajasthani kadhi. As per their menu they have both Gujarati and Rajasthani options for dal and kadhi but we were served the rajasthani option without asking for our preference. Their service and food had started to disappoint us.
Amongst the veggies the parwal had a scrumptious taste whereas all the others were just about average. The parwal was fresh and crisp with appropriate spices and we survived through the meal with this one. The dal and kadhi were just decent and do not require any special mention.
They furthermore served us dahi wada. This dish was palatable with simple and delightful taste. The wadas were soft, the curd used was fresh and appropriately sweetened. The curd was given a tadka and that enhanced the flavours.
We had to wait long for crisp chapattis and asking repeatedly for it ruined our experience. They served fryums instead of papad. We love fryums but nothing can replace papads.
To complete the meal we were given an option to choose between pulav and khichdi. We chose khichdi, it was just the home made marwadi khichdi with generous amount of ghee to be poured at choice.
Mango season is here and to our disappointment they only serve aamras as a mango special to respect the king of fruits. However the Aamras was scrumptious and it had a perfect natural taste. We repeated it throughout our meal as this was the star amongst the wide spread.
Almond halwa was served alongside aamras and Kala gulab jamun was served as an optional sweet. Almond halva was decent but the Kala jamun was hard and not satiable.
How may I help you!
We were not pleased with the service. The Manager just knew one attribute and that was to smile and say Namaste. He was not trained to take feedback; he just kept nodding with a smile when we pointed out our displeasure with the service and he made no attempt to raise our shallow experience. There was lack of mehmaan nawazi that is expected of this place which claims to serve a royal meal the royal way. It does not stand up to its name and we were thwarted with both the food and service.
Hawk Eye View!
Put in a nutshell the experience was shallow considering all parameters. It is not a value for money place and although they attract a sizeable population of gujratis and marwadis we are not sure of giving them a next visit.