Thursday, 11 August 2016

Spice Kitchen... Food & Hospitality at its Best!

When it’s your bestie’s birthday what better place can there be to ring in a birthday than our favourite chain of hotels. Marriott properties have been our regular haunt for quite a many years now. Memories of her birthday celebrated a couple of years ago at Goa Marriott Resort & Spa still brings happy smiles to our faces. (Posting a birthday photograph from our Goa Marriott trip) As we happened to be in our own city (Pune), our choice of hotel was JW Marriott (Senapati Bapat Road). That Friday evening we decided to try the Thai festival that was on at Spice Kitchen, their 24 hour restaurant.

The carts for Thai starters were beautifully laid out in the open air section of the restaurant. Their chef, Pensiri Pattanachaeng, was in charge of the festival. She was extremely kind and attentive and took us around the buffet counters informing us about the dishes being served that evening.

We started off with a drink made of coconut milk, rose syrup and vanilla essence. It was light and very refreshing. It was an ideal way to soothe the palate in anticipation of dishes that were to come our way. Later we also chose a peach-lime mocktail (the name of which, I’m sorry, I do not remember) and a Virgin Mojito.

The first Thai starters brought to our table were Ho Mok Krok (Fish Curry Fry) and Khai Krok (Egg Chicken Fry). Both the starters were delicious and my bestie and I gave each a look that silently conveyed a message as in, ‘If the rest of the meal is going to be as good as these starters, then this is going to be a marvellous meal and a fantastic evening’. 

Next they brought us a platter Kanom Tokyo (Savoury Pancakes – Vegetarian and Chicken). They weren’t exactly like pancakes. They seemed like a cross between pancakes and a Dosa. This, though, is not a complaint because, both, the vegetarian and chicken fillings, were delicious! As we had told them not to bring us large portions they brought us just one pancake of each variety. As I carefully cut each pancake in half it brought to mind that cutie pie, George Calombaris, from Masterchef Australia who is forever in charge of portioning food into individual plates at a tasting. Sigh! ;-)

Our next starter was Chicken on Toast and I have absolutely no clue what they call it in Thai. It was exactly as named, marinated chicken mince on toast, fried to a golden crisp. When they set the dish at our table, for a minute it did cross our minds that the toast would be heavy and oily. We were pleasantly surprised and happy when we discovered our assumption was totally incorrect. Though fried, the toasts were light and delicately flavoured and not at all greasy on the palate.

They then brought us Pad Kra Prow Gai (Chicken with Chilli Basil served with Fried Egg and Jasmine Rice). The egg was fried to a soft yolk consistency, crisp at the edges; just the way I love it. The Jasmine rice was soft and sticky and the chicken was deliciously fragrant because of the infused basil. The chicken when had by itself was a tad salty but when combined with the jasmine rice and egg developed a flavour that was as harmonious as the love of a newly married couple. ;)

The final starter we had was Gai Samunpai which was fried chicken served with a sweet-chilli sauce. The chicken was beautifully cooked. It was succulent from within and crisp from outside. It was garnished with crisp fried basil leaves which along with the sweet-chilli sauce partnered the chicken perfectly. I liked the dish so much that when I went to pick up a few mains, I got one more piece of this starter to munch on.

Chef Rajan Kandel came over to our table to ask if we were enjoying our meal and whether there was anything special we’d like to have. We mentioned our undying love for Brie and Camembert cheese and Smoked Atlantic (pink) Salmon. 

Within a few minutes we had a platter of Brie cheese with crackers and sweet tuile and a plate of smoked salmon at our table. 

Chef Rajan then returned to inform us he was sending us something special. After having been served the most awesome plates of cheese and salmon we wondered what else could be so special. Oh boy, did he surprise us!

The server brought us two individual plates of Pan-fried Salmon on a bed of mash, with sautéed Asparagus and Broccoli. It was one of the prettiest plates of food I have ever set my eyes on. The salmon skin was crisp and the salmon flesh was flaky and cooked to perfection! We are regulars at the Marriott because their standard of hospitality is like none other but this was above and beyond the realm of kindness and service. Two kittens happily dug into their salmon! 

After having had so much food we barely had any place for the mains but as it was a special Thai festival I did try a morsel from each of the main course dishes. The Noodles, Rice and the non-vegetarian dishes were all very well made. No, I did not try anything vegetarian! (Bite me! :P ) The only dish that did disappoint was the Roast Pork. The flavours were all intact but the meat was tough and chewy. The rest of mains, however, were very good!

For dessert I decided not to have any pastry or halwa and instead opted for piping hot Gulab Jamuns. A pat on my own back for having made that choice because they were superb! I loved them! Greedy ol’ me also requested the chef at the dessert counter to make me a waffle. He made me a wonderful light golden, crisp waffle, served with Chocolate Sauce and Whipped Cream. Yum, totally yum!

As the Spice Kitchen Asst. Manager, Tushar, knew we were there to bring in my bestie’s birthday he very sweetly brought in two slices of cake at the stroke of midnight. He actually wanted to bring us a whole cake but since it was just the two of us hence we thought an entire cake would be wasteful. (Wasting food is not something I advocate) It was such an endearing gesture on the restaurant’s part!

What a superb evening it had turned out to be thanks to the excellent hospitality (and food) we experienced (as always)! Is it any surprise then that we frequent JW Marriott so often? Thank you Director F&B Jomy Abraham / Chef Rajan / Chef Pensiri/ Asst Manager Tushar / Team Spice Kitchen! Your hospitality is unparalleled!
 You guys rock! Please, please keep up the great work!

As we visited them on a Friday evening the buffet was priced at 1350 + taxes. Their Buffet for Friday/Saturday is priced at 1350 + taxes. From Sunday to Thursday the cost of the buffet is 1250 + taxes.

The Chinese – Sichuan Festival:
Another festival begins at JW Marriott from tomorrow (August 12, 2016). The festival is on from August 12, 2016 to August 27, 2016. The festival theme is Chinese, predominantly, Sichuan! Chef Edward Ni has been flown in from JW Marriott, Beijing, to orchestrate this 16 day festival. Fried Shrimp Ball in Sichuan Hot Sauce and Stewed Pork Slices with Sichuan Chilli Sauce and many more signature dishes by Chef Edward Ni will be an integral part of this festival. I’d love to check it out and will do my best to visit the restaurant during the festival days but in case I don’t, you guys check it out and let me know how it was. With the personalized attention Marriott extends to their guests and considering their commitment to presenting thoughtful and flavoursome food, I’m very sure you all will have a fantastic dining experience.

Food: 4.5/5
Service: 5/5
Ambiance: 4/5

Address: JW Marriott, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune
Tel: 020 66832345 / 020 66833333

No comments:

Post a Comment