It doesn’t rain but pours. To have two high profile hotels opening in the same week is a windfall indeed. Who is going to win the food sweepstakes? Let’s wait and watch: the Leela Palace hasn’t yet opened its two restaurants that boast international tie ups. The Oberoi Gurgaon has two restaurants, both of which have opened to the public. Watch out for the review of Amaranta on these pages. Meanwhile, the all-day dining is called threesixtyoneº and is large, light and high-ceilinged, that seeks to take threesixtyº to the next level, hence the name. It will be interesting to see how the new restaurant shapes the city’s dining culture: six years ago, when threesixtyº opened, it spawned a sushi frenzy, which has still not faded.
The restaurant has several open kitchens: the Chinese one has two chefs, one cooking Sichuan food and a dimsum chef. There is a Japanese sushi master (as opposed to the Filipinos that other Oberoi and Trident hotels have), a few people to keep the pizza oven busy, a small Indian section and a teppanyaki section. In addition, there is a wine library with a sommelier: a real one, as opposed to just any old wine waiter!
The Chinese chef has a wide repertoire. If regular fare is up your street, there are several things on the menu for the conservative palate. If however, you want to sell your soul to the devil, there is a highly recommended boiled sliced lamb in chilli bean sauce, garlic and hot oil. Every bit as fiery as hell, it costs Rs 888 and probably qualifies as the Spiciest Dish in the NCR. However, amidst all that heat, the garlic and the chilli bean shine through clearly. It is the true cooking of Sichuan and it is completely brilliant. The other signature from this wonder chef is Chongqing lazi ji (Rs 888). It is a classic of the city of Chongqing, formerly a part of Sichuan province. Chopped red chillies and Sichuan peppercorns are fried in hot oil and diced chicken on the bone is added to the oil. There’s not much chicken to eat: the chillies, on the other hand, form a mountain on the platter. However, with a glass of chilled beer, it is a perfect formula, while seated facing the cobalt blue water body outside the all-glass walls of the restaurant.
In the western section, thyme roast chicken with carrot and ginger sorbet and Guinness sauce (Rs 1400) sounds as if it could be a best-seller. Braised Turkish lamb with yogurt, onions and tomatoes (Rs 1300) was served with couscous and was an excellent choice for its generous portions as well as its rich flavours.
I asked the Japanese sushiya Masato Toida for a plate of sushi (Rs 2200) of his choice and was presented with a platter that contained nigiri, maki and futomaki. I was struck by how perfectly the rice was cooked, seasoned and rolled. Every grain was separate yet held together on the plate. After a couple of visits to threesixtyoneº and its sushi counter, it is going to be difficult to go back to the sushi served by wedding caterers and most standalone restaurants.
One of the best aspects of the restaurant is the bread baked continuously and served to you warm and fresh.
The Oberoi Gurgaon
443 Udyog Vihar V
Open from 6 am to 1 am
Buffet and a la carte for lunch; a la carte for dinner
Meal for two: Rs 3.500
Credit cards accepted; alcohol served