Here begins RWI’s September edition! Restaurant Week India is featuring 12 restaurants this time for diners to experience a 3-course meal at fine dining spots at a fraction of the regular prices. Once in 6 months, these have consistently been delightful gastronomical journeys. For the preview of this round, we were invited to try out Navaratna, Le Royal Meridien. Having been our first visit to this hotel and restaurant, we went in with no expectations and returned with a brimming heart and tummy! 😀 This hidden gem of a place satisfied our Indian and fine dining cravings to the T!
Upon entering this restaurant, you’re teleported to the vintage Indian era with ornate sculptures and paintings and soft ghazal music in the background! The place is heavily carpeted with sturdy wooden structures. This makes the place utterly quiet and peaceful. Their seating is plush and regal. Huge airmchairs, excessively cushioned and comfortable they added to the already calming atmosphere. They also have a platform stage for live performances (mix of instrumental, ghazals and classical music) which are conducted every evening! Courteous, soft-spoken and well versed with the menu, the staff further added to the abundance of class this place reeked of. The ambience perfectly indicated the tone of the restaurant and synced with the detailed Indian menu.
The Restaurant Week India menu at Navaratna is an interesting selection of their a la carte dishes with an equal mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes including healthy and gluten free options! We had a proper RWI experience where we had 2 dishes (1 per person) from each of the courses, except for the desserts for which the Chef insisted we try them all :). We also had a look at their regular menu and wow, there it was, a “Ratna” (gem) for each category in their menu which adds up to Nine and thus, ‘Navaratna’!
So kicking off our lunch, we were served the complimentary Papad with Gongura, Pickled Beets and Shallots and Green Chutney. The Gongura was the highlight in these, perfectly spiced and sharp.
From the RWI Menu, for appetisers we had:
- Multani Paneer Tikki
Crumbled paneer with spices fried to a PERFECT crispy, golden brown hue, these Tikkis were brilliantly balanced albeit slightly greasy. They were light and fresh with the perfect amount of subtle spice levels on it.
- Yerakal Masala (Signature Appetiser)
I’m still salivating at the thought of this dish! One big reason for us to have thoroughly enjoyed here was that at Navaratna it was ensured that everything was as authentic as it came including the levels of spice. This Chettinad appetiser was exemplary of this. Despite being spicy, this dish kept us reaching for more with the amazing flavours that were imbibed in and around the succulent HUMONGOUS prawns. This was THE dish of the afternoon! Truly, a Signature Appetiser.
Both these appetisers set a perfect launch for the main course. Covering both North and South Indian cuisines, the RWI menu at Navaratna gives 4 options each in vegetarian and non-vegetarian appetisers and main course and 1 in each for the Signature dishes, all embracing as many cuisines within the limited options.
From their main course we had:
- Dal Pakhtoon
North Indian gravy preference has always been Dal Makhni at any fine dining restaurant and same was the case here and boy, ‘a heavenly experience’ indeed! The Dal was neither too thick nor too runny and had the perfect levels of creaminess to it. It had a mix of Black and Rajma Dal with the gravy being slightly sweet and subtly spicy. We had a side of the Gluten Free Bajra Roti which went along great with the Dal! The Roti was soft and light despite looking dry, it being gluten free.
- Kalyera Chettinad (Signature Main Course)
Lobster in a Chettinad gravy? Yes, please! It went as well as it sounds! Big chunks of rock lobster in a mildly (yes, after the prawn masala it all seemed “mild”! :P) spiced Chettinad gravy with touches of coconut and other authentic South Indian spices, with the steamed rice it was a perfect Chettinad meal by itself! Wholesome, hearty and authentically presented, this Chef’s secret recipe was a great end to the Indian fare.
For desserts we had a go at all of those from the RWI Menu and our pick would be the uber fresh, in-house prepared, melt-in-the-mouth, smooth and RICH Tirangi Kulfi. Flavours in this were Blueberry, Malai and Pista all layered in one kulfi. Next favourite was the Athipazham (Fig) Halwa. Apparently, this is another one of their house specialities and I would say it is rightfully so! The Halwa was ghee and cashew rich and the subtle sweetness with the fig flavour was an absolute delight! Other than these two there’s Kaju Qubani (which is sugar-free!), a cashew and apricot based dessert which was laden with ghee and was sweet and tart with the apricots and Ada Pradaman, the traditional Keralite dessert with soft bits of flattened rice, coconut and cashews. The jaggery was in perfect quantity which didn’t make it too concentrated or sweet.
Content and satisfied up to our brim, we felt this authentic Indian restaurant is definitely underrated. Restaurant Week India gives you the perfect opportunity to try them out for lunch at INR 750++ and dinner at INR 900++ and an additional INR 100 & 200 for Signature appetiser and main course respectively. RWI menu does not include beverages. Reserve your tables on Restaurant Week India for Navaratna and lose yourself to the authentic Indian dishes the Chef whips up for you!
WTF METER FOR NAVARATNA, LE ROYAL MERIDIEN (RWI):
Ambience – 9/10
Service – 10/10
Quantity – 9/10
Taste – 8/10
Presentation – 9/10
VFM – 8/10
Wifi – No
Valet – Yes
Reservation – Required for RWI
Overall – 9/10