Swans are best described as elegant and graceful. Add this with serene intricate, exquisite and rich beauty and there, you have something that would take your breath away. Enter Hamsa for this experience. As you walk into this modern, minimalistic looking building, the interiors would be a completely unexpected hit of sophistication right from the lobby. The vintage wallpapers on the left and the cages with BEAUTIFUL coloured flowers on the right welcome you to the modern lift, leading to the restaurant on the first floor.
The room has this regal opulence sprayed all over with the majestic Jalis, the spiritual 108 little bronze lamps and lamp chandelier and the exquisite stretch of elements of nature expressed on one piece of cloth, designed by Vivek Karunakaran. This is a treat for the eyes that is better seen than read about. Once this ambiance sinks in, you feel like you’ve been transported to some palatial dining hall.
While you can see the efforts and dedication seen in each and EVERY piece of decor that Hamsa displays, they make sure this is spread all through your experience. The menu is also exemplary of this. Carefully chosen dishes which feature ingredients right from those everyday home staples to exotic, the Executive Chef Robi Roy has made sure that each dish is as exquisite as the next irrespective of what it showcases. The options are many and unique as opposed to the mainstream ubiquitous vegetarian gravies. Being wholly vegetarian, the diversity entices even the non-vegetarians and makes it a GREAT place for a celebration, no matter what!
We were invited for a lunch meet here. We requested the Chef to serve their signature dishes and it’s intense soulful preparation was what impressed us the most. The food keeps up with the ambience. As you are graciously seated in the plush furniture, the elaborately designed silver dome shaped metal box on your table attracts you. This box contains the amuse-bouche, Rasgulla it was that particular day. The ‘ROYAL’ has kicked in by now.
For the first course, Soups, we had a Tomato Dhaniya Soup. The vibrant red soup was super tangy yet perfectly spicy. The ‘slightly thicker than Rasam’ consistency made it a perfect beginning for the heavy courses to follow. From their beverage section, we tried the Nannari Sharbat. Strong, refreshing and FRESH.
Next came in the plethora of appetisers. Absolutely loved the Paneer Saunfiya. The description might seem unusual. The dish was brilliant. Fennel in paneer? Uber soft chunks of grilled paneer with a stuffing of fennel spiced morsels made it a perfect appetiser. The tamarind chutney that accompanied this was actually what enhanced this exponentially. My favourite of the lot. Next came the Makkai Muthia Chaat, which was a crispy corn-based starter. It seemed slightly greasy. But the crispy corn dumplings with the mix of chaat sauces and masala was an interesting combination. We also had the Hamsa’s Leaf Enclosed Paneer. Their in-house cottage cheese was glorified in this dish! It was way softer than the paneer in Saunfiya. This appetiser is based on the idea of a Kerala dish. The spices and marination inside the banana leaf were in coherence with the idea. It was subtle and flavour-packed.
The main course was an even more interesting affair. Shoutout to their Olive and Cheese Naan at the very outset. Star dish, that afternoon. It was perfect on it’s own. It was also brilliant with the Kamal Kakdi Kofteh! This gravy was super rich, smooth and DELICIOUS. The Kofta had bits of lotus stems in it and with the gravy and the Naan it was perfect. On its own, I felt the Kofta wasn’t as great in flavour, though. Exquisite? Definitely. Other than this we had the Urulai Roast and Maah Choliyan di Daal. The Chettinad spiced potatoes were quite spicy and authentic and went well with some rice. The Black Dal, however, didn’t excite me much. It was quite creamy and thick, but flavour wise it wasn’t as good and wouldn’t be something I’d order again here. The other breads we had were the Mutter Paratha and Mixed Vegetables Amritsari Kulcha.These were also well prepared; soft, filled generously and portioned well. From their rice, we were suggested we try their signature Leaf Enclosed Hamsa Rice. This was the other dish I could do without. The leaf carried Onion Pakodas, Steamed Salad, Rice, Kurma and a Paneer Masala. It was said to be a Sri Lankan inspired rice preparation.
Desserts here was my favourite course. Both of the desserts we had were scrumptious and perfectly ended our meal. Amrud Phirni won between the two with the rich guava flavour and nuttiness in the creamy rice pudding. Shahi Tukda had it’s own merits, doused in ghee and condensed milk, the nuts, and silver added to that richness. Both these weren’t overly sweet and were perfect for my palate.
Hamsa has another, private, dining space on the upper level called the Chandibagh. OH. MY. HEAVENLY. GOD. The walls of this shiny dining space are bejeweled with silver panels carved to create a continuous pattern. Sheer royalty. This private dining hall can accommodate 8 people with a fixed per head cost. It’s magnanimous splash of shiny metal all around is nothing but a sense of absolute luxury.
On the service side, their hospitality is impeccable. Expect nothing short of prompt, undiluted attention. While you feel pampered this way, the time they take to serve the dishes would require quite some patience. Their dishes are prepared with utmost care and diligence so it takes quite some time to get to your table. All dishes were quite generous in quantity and were presented beautifully. A look at the menu indicated the prices to be slightly on the higher side where a meal for two on an average would range between Rs.1500-2000. While it is quite high if you consider the food alone, it felt like the experience warrants such prices. The exquisite menu, the earnest dedication and care of the staff and the Chef and the soulful decor are definitely noteworthy and impressive. This attracted me a lot more than just the food as such. They provide free Wi-Fi on request. They also have uber comfortable shawls on request for those who would feel cold in the air conditioned room. Talk about hospitality! The experience as a whole is passionately delivered and savoured.
WTF METER FOR HAMSA, ADYAR:
Ambiance – 10/10
Quality & Taste – 7/10
Quantity – 8/10
Beverages – 8/10
VFM – 7/10
Wifi – Yes
Reservations – Recommended