As a teenager, I remember reading noted Indian journalist Vir Sanghvi’s superbly written article on ‘fine dining’ or rather what is the definition of it. At the end of the piece, he very crisply summed up fine dining as “It is a gastronomic experience par excellence, consisting of the multiple components of ambiance, service & food; one which we would not be able to recreate everyday in our own homes. Something which would make us feel special & pampered “ Those words are etched in my mind forever and whenever I go out for ‘fine dining’, I ask myself at the end of the experience – Have I felt special & pampered? And only if the answer is a resounding yes, do I categorize an establishment as providing the experience of ‘fine dining’ (which it claims).
A dinner with my foodie friends at Varq, Taj Mahal Hotel , Mansingh Road in Delhi turned out to be a truly excellent fine dining experience. One of Taj Mahal Hotel’s most celebrated restaurants, Varq offers contemporary Indian cuisine, which it claims is a harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary sophistication. Varq has been rated among the 101 Best Restaurants in Asia by The Daily Mail and has also been featured in the top 50 restaurants in the Eleventh annual listing of The S. Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants Asia List.
We were hosted in the Private Dining Room of ‘Varq’ and were ushered in warmly by the maitre de and other staff. I liked the decor of the restaurant, which was subtle, yet artistic & gave a sense of traditional sophistication. There are artworks by the celebrated painter Anjoli Ela Menon (done 35 years ago) adorning the restaurant, which have been recently restored and add a surreal dimension to the ambiance.
For the 2nd Course, I had Palak Patta Chaat (layers of crispy spinach leaves with spinach chaat). It was awesome!! The crisp double fried spinach leaves with fried balls of spinach & chickpeas soaked in sweet & sour chutney was really agreeing to my palate. Even friends who had ordered non-vegetarian for this course (Haleem aur Kebab) tried this Chaat and loved it. We were also served hibiscus tea along with the courses, but
somehow, I found it had more of kokum flavours; it was definitely not hibiscus!!
In the last course, I had Martaban Chole (piquant chilli spiced chickpeas) with kofti pulao. It was sour & tangy, which I liked (since I prefer to make Chole at home a bit tangy and always add amchur). But some of my friends did not like it, mainly due to the sourness of the Chole.
It was amazing dinner at Varq and I loved the ambiance, the service and most of the food. I liked the contemporary touch Crand Master Chef Hemant Oberoi has brought to the Indian cuisine. Recommending Varq for a true ‘ fine dining’ Indian dinner in Delhi.
You can also read my other friends’ opinion about Varq:- Parul – The Shirazine
Charis – Culinarystorm