"It's all about the experience" is the motto of Hotel Le Meridien. Your journey begins right at the moment you look up at the huge glass building that soars 20 floors above the ground. There are multiple entrances, and each creates a different impact on you. We were invited to Restaurant Eu de Monsoon - upon entry is a reception desk in front, a dining area on your left and a lounge on your right. The scale of the double height space draws you in; and as you glance around, you spot your destination.
It seemed like a completely different world from the hot afternoon outside. The dark brown panelling, the perfect ambient temperature of airconditioning, seemed to rejuvinate us as we sipped our cocktails and spoke to each other. Mine was fresh cucumber juice minus the vodka (so it was actually a mocktail), and it did wonders to me.
The hotel staff, irrespective of designation or stature, mingled with us cordially and invited us in the wine chamber, just preceding the dining area. There were floor-to-ceiling refrigerators with various wines from different countries kept at the correct temperature, lit so that light does not fall on the wines and a table where a guest can taste some wines before choosing the perfect one to pair with his meal. The sommelier, Sameer, was polite and answered all our queries.
Gradually we stepped towards the dining hall where a plate with three sets of forks and knives awaited us, quietly hinting at the various courses we were about to have! Some brand presentations were made, which are usually quite boring - but these were engrossing. For example, I did not know Le Meridien was owned by Starwood, whose forte was not owning the hotels, but the brands. Also, the hotel had been redone to create contemporary style of interiors, mixed with the original traditional elements. Sure enough, the ceiling above us had lights that seemed to have belonged to a Nawab's palace rather than a 5 star lounge. The edges were again adorned with modern lights. [ I can't stop blabbing about the architecture and interiors, it seems!]
Chef Dawinder Kumar, who had been with the hotel since day 1, joined us to tell us what he would be serving us. It was a sampling menu with small portions, named "Degustation". What followed afterwards was an interesting stream of dishes served in an unique way - the dishes would come pre-arranged in a plate, and once you have eaten it, a new dish in a new plate would replace it. The opening item was an Asparagus Cappuccino - weird it may sound, but was nice: hot at the top, cold at the bottom, served in an ice-cold glass cup, to be consumed in one shot. That's your appetizer. Next comes something named a Deconstructed Samosa: the constituents of a samosa served in a plate. A twin flavoured chicken tikka followed, and a prawn dipped in tangy sauce and basil leaves. The vegeterians got their equivalents in paneer and brocolli. A basa fish preparation and a chicken dish came next. Some lovely white and red wine was served alongside these dishes. Now, as we had finished the first round, we were offered a sorbet with a unique mix of lemon and ginger that cleansed our taste buds and prepared us for the upcoming Biriyani. It was baked in a bowl covered with atta, so the smell was retained till we opened it. We were quite full by then, and most of us could not do justice to the lovely preparation.
Magandeep Singh, a well known wine enthusiast, had cropped up midway between our meal, and he served us a wine called "Desert Wine", which is completely different from the usual wines we have. We were also served some award winning coffee (that's rated best among all Le Meridien hotels). A deconstructed Dosa had come, but we did not taste it, as we were too full. A sorbet came next, this time with an acidic taste of pomegranate and a hint of guava. The desert, titled "Discovery" came next which was an assortment of mango soufle, chocolate and coconut. What I must admire here is that apart from the great food, their presentation plays a key role to the experience of dining at Le Meridien.
Our enjoyment continued as we were taken to the 20th floor to take a look below, and indeed, the paving pattern of the atrium, surrounded by the red carpetted floors was an unique view. We also ventured around to catch a glimpse of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, North and South Blocks. On our way back, we were gifted a box of chocolate and a pot of wheat grass as a souvenir of this lovely afternoon.
Do be at Le Meridien whenever you can for an experience you would cherish and thank me. The experience shall continue even in the washrooms! An insider tip for you is that do not have anything lined up after this; for you would enjoy being there so much that your timelines are bound to get stretched!
This was organized by Team Blogathon.
Photocredits: Sushmita, Myself.