Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An Indian degustation dinner at the Mandarin Oriental



Last night, in Manila living a Travelife, I enjoyed a delectable Indian degustation dinner consisting of 12 dishes over five courses at the Mandarin Oriental.

The Mandarin Oriental has a new Indian chef, Chef Laxminarayan Ray, who just joined the hotel straight from India, where he worked in prestigious luxury hotels like the Park Hyatt Goa and the Oberoi Shimla.

Scroll down to read more about this delicious dinner...



A HAPPY TRIAL GROUP

Mandarin Oriental Manila's executive chef and sous chef.
Chef Ray is on the right.


So far Chef Ray is impressing everyone with his cooking skills. His food is basically very authentic Indian, but ocassionally with a slight twist.

Our group was basically the "guinea pig" for his Indian cooking, as his dishes are going onto the all-day dining a la carte menu at Paseo Uno as well as into room service.

That should make a lot of diners and hotel guests happy.

 A PRESSURE COOKER OF A DINNER

The Indian ambassador borrowed my camera and took this photo of me
and Charisse Chuidian, Director of PR at Mandarin Oriental.
I like this very much.


But yesterday, he had a pretty high culinary hurdle to clear as my "guineau pig group" included the Ambassador of India and the Ambassador of Singapore, both of whom know their Indian food very well.

Talk about pressure cooking here.

Fortunately, both ambassadors were all praises for the food. It was really authentic, reminding me of my non-stop eating holiday in India just a few weeks ago.

12 DISHES OVER 5 COURSES



Last night we had a five-course meal, including a very delicious amuse bouche of broccoli soup with hot yoghurt.

What a promising start this was, as it was unique and creative but so very tasty. None of us had ever had hot yoghurt in a soup before, and especially not with broccoli.

But this strange combination worked surprisingly well.

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The four courses that followed actually consisted of 12 dishes. I felt like I (happily) ate enough for three days.

LOVE THE BIRYANI WITH THE RAITA
AND A GENEROUS SERVING OF DAL

Assorted tandoori -- all delicious


And if I had to choose a favorite among the 12 dishes, I would have to pick the tandoori plate which arrived with delectable pieces of minced lamb, chicken and prawn.

It was wonderful with the mint sauce.

The lamb biryani, which consisted of aromatic rice and very tender lamb cooked with spices, was excellent as well.

That's the biryani with all the trimmings.
Makes me wish I was having Indian food for lunch today.


We each got a bowl of biryani in front of us, and it arrived covered by a thin piece of dough that looked like a pie crust.

When we lifted the thin dough covering, a wonderful aroma wafted in front of us, making us hungry again, in spite of the fact that we'd each already eaten about eight dishes so far.

The meal came with excellent Indian bread.


A SAREE FOR AN INDIAN DINNER

As it was an Indian degustation dinner in the presence of the Indian ambassador, I decided to wear a saree to dinner.

I chose a fuschia saree that I'd bought in a silk store in Gujarat, India on the same day that we flew out to Mumbai from under-the-radar Gujarat.

Gujarat, India

This store was our last stop in Gujarat before the airport, and I'd already bought a suitcase full of exotic clothes by then. But this simple fuschia saree called out to me.

I asked my friend Mr. Jaded for his opinion, while we were in the store: "Should I buy this one as well?"

He looked at it and said: "That'll stand out at night."



That was all the encouragement I needed to hear, to add a few more kilos to my luggage.

And tonight, I was really glad I'd bought that saree in Gujarat, because I got to wear it to a proper Indian degustation dinner, on another wonderful evening in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.




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