Not a café, bar or restaurant. It’s a foodhall.
Serving: Indian and western
Atmospherics: Airy, bright with primary colours (the juice bar and dessert counter are positively radiant). Inside the main enclosure, cleverly broken up into open kitchens and seating spaces; chairs and sofas, you can order your entire meal at the table, or choose to have a drink (alcoholic or fruit juice) or just dessert at the appropriate counter. You can even use your meal time to pack in a little shopping from the range of merchandise including spices on sale inside AnnaMaya (which, incidentally, means grain and illusion respectively). A word about the (non) service: plates are piled up at each table, as are cutlery and bottles of purified water. So, servers just come to your table to take orders and bring food to the table. For all else, there’s self-help. The system does break down when you run out of cutlery and can’t catch a server’s attention. But Andaz is an un-hotel, if there ever was, and very possibly the fore-runner of the future.
Table talk: The food menu is exactly one page long and stresses on the local and organic (only the second hotel to follow this principle, after Fire at The Park). Burrata lime and honey, roasted tomato with basil naan (Rs 880) was classic in its simplicity. The excellent lamb and spinach patty (Rs 720) is sprinkled over with timur – a pepper from the prickly ash plant, related to Sichuan pepper. Such an off-beat ingredient is the kind of detail you can expect at AnnaMaya, so I was a bit nonplussed to spot not only murgh makhni (Rs 520) but also kadai paneer (Rs 380) on the same menu. On the whole, however, the menu consists of unnervingly randomly juxtaposed ingredients like roasted carrots, Himalayan honey, black onion seeds (Rs 460) and lemony finger millet, chickpeas, and avocado (Rs 380) rather than bona fide preparations. One familiar preparation was doi maach (Rs 580) that turned out to be a far cry from the Bengali original, sadly. However, the desserts of the day more than made up for the meal.
Plus and minus: one of the challenges of reviewing a brand new outlet is that the first few weeks of a restaurant making mistakes and quickly learning from them puts it under the spotlight. I hope AnnaMaya does not mistake whimsicality for substance.
Must try: coffee cardamom pistachio lassi; char roast pork belly; caramelized pumpkin, ginger & cinnamon
Food: 3, Service: 3, Décor: 3.50
Asset No 1, Aerocity
Tel: 49031351, 8588804222
Open 24 hours
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 3,000