Even before I actually stepped into the warm ambience of Essence in Sheraton Imperial, Kuala Lumpur, the scents of Indian spices, herbs and incense filled the air around me. And then the sight of a colorful kolam and traditional candle lights laid out on a table just after the main entrance completed the whole kaleidoscope of aroma, colour and sensation – an evening of indulgence on exotic authentic Indian cuisine.
In celebration of the fascinating burst of sensations and infinite flavours of spices, an Indian Guest Chef, all the way from The Westin Pune Kregaon Park, India will be flown in to cook up a storm alongside Sheraton Imperial’s residential India Chef, Rajendra Negi.
For the whole month of June, the Indian Chefs will creating various dishes of exotic origins. I was impressed with the lavish buffet spread and the chefs have created enough delicacies that cover 4 different menus which will be rotated every day. The array of sharp zesty salads, pickles, appetizers, mains and desserts was quite mind-boggling. It’s impossible to try every item!
I picked a few of my favourites and among them were the Bombay Pani Puri and Sav Puri… it was really fascinating to watch the chefs assembling these little thin parcels with all condiments and gravies and sauces … and then they have to be eaten immediately!
So there I was, standing by the buffet counter and waiting patiently for my Pani Puri and Sav Puri, and once handed to me, I popped them into my mouth on the spot! What a mouthful of sensational flavours and textures, spicy and tart crunchies, sourish sauces and the thin crispy pastry enveloping everything!
I’ve always liked chick peas so when I saw the Aloo Channa Papri Chat (Mixed Potato, Chick Peas & Crunchy Bread) platter, I couldn’t help taking a few spoonfuls!
Nothing whetted the appetite better than the robust Chicken Shorba - a spicy chicken broth with lots of traditional Indian spiceds. Quite a few of my fellow diners went for repeated helpings of their Dum Ka Murgh (Spicy Chicken simmered in Ground Cashew Nuts Paste) – it’s such a creamy tasty dish for us to dip our naans in. The thing with Indian cuisine is that their curries and gravies are always so well flavoured that it’s very easy to overstuff ourselves with their crispy naans. Their Dal Makhani (Black Lentil cooked with butter, cream and whole spices) is a typical example!
We tried the Achaar Bhara Paneer – an authentic dish of Cottage Cheese marinated with ginger, garlic paste and saffron... and all the flavours just burst in my mouth… if tastes and flavours can be visualized, then this would be like a rainbow melting on my tongue.
On the dessert counters, the Indian desserts stood out like colourful blobs (most of them are round!) and if they are not colorful enough by themselves, they were wrapped in brilliant shiny foils…
There were Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrots cooked in cardamom-flavoured milk), Rasmalai (Milk Dumplings in saffron milk), Gulab Jamun but my favourite has to be their Kulfi, freshly made with condensed milk, flavoured with cardamom and sprinkled with crunchy bits of chopped almonds and pistachios. I ate this on its own (and was so tempted to go for seconds and thirds!) but there are others who love it served with waffle, pancake and caramelled fruits…!
The Taste of India promotion will be on for the whole month of June, available only for dinner. Dinner starts from 6.30pm to 10.30pm and is priced at RM98++ per person (food only) and at RM128++ per person (inclusive of wines).
Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur