Blurb: Fine dining at throw-away prices
Atmospherics: This column has reviewed Amaranta before. The menu now encompasses most of the country; not just the coast as it formerly was. The food has more emphasis on tasting menus rather than a la carte ordering (though there’s that too). However, what has brought in the crowds from nearby offices is the lunch-time deal for Rs 1450. Here’s what is offered. One soup (on the day of my visit, it was tomato and raw mango rasam, but is subject to change). Then, you order a choice of one main out of a total of four: two vegetarian and two meat/seafood. Plus, there’s a dessert. You eat in the company of the movers and shakers of the neighbourhood and though the service is in the finest tradition of The Oberoi, you actually can order, eat, pay your bill and be off in half an hour.
Table talk: the tomato and raw mango rasam was a sinus-clearer of a soup: hot, sour and spicy. The main course listed just one preparation. I chose Kerala fish curry and my companion Chettinad Chicken. The food arrived in tiffin carriers with four compartments. One contained four mini uttapams, the other poriyal – a dry vegetable preparation from Kerala featuring chopped beans and carrots with grated coconut. In the third container was an Andhra tomato pappu or dal, with a whiff of pure ghee and the fourth was the fish curry. A choice of brown Kerala rice, Mangalorean sannas and appams was offered. I chose brown rice. Firm and nutty-textured, it went perfectly with all the elements in the tiffin carrier, but you could, if you have a gargantuan appetite, order all the starch plus seconds and thirds of each of the main courses. The fish curry had been made slightly sour with kodampuli or fish tamarind (a vegetarian ingredient that grows on a tree; the ‘fish’ in its name is rather misleading) and would have done a Kerala specialty restaurant proud. My friend’s Chettinad chicken was redolent with the fragrance of two rather special spices that together define this Chettinad preparation. My share of the bill would have come to Rs 1727 including tax, except that I had ordered a glass of coconut water at Rs 297. The de facto dessert of the day was filter coffee ice-cream, but I was given a sugar-free phirni.
Plus and minus: It took us more time to cross the road by car than it took for this extraordinarily delicious, true-to-type meal to finish. They are open to customization too, within limits.
Food: 4, Service: 4, Décor: 4.
The Oberoi Gurgaon,
3rd floor, 443 Udyog Vihar, Phase V, Gurgaon
Offer open only from 12 noon to 3 pm
Meal for two: Rs 3500