I’ve never been to India, but I am a fans of Indian food. Back in 2010, I remember (probably) my very first attempt at eating an Indian dish, which was Samosas, the very famous Indian snack. It was a quite horrible experience. The samosa was disappointing and I didn’t like it at all. Luckily that wasn’t the last Indian dish I ate. Fortunately I am surrounded by a lot of good friends who are big fans of Indian food so they constantly ask me to join them to eat out at Indian restaurants in Jakarta or even in Yogyakarta. It was so easy to fall in love with Indian food!
Being a lover of Indian dishes, the invitation, from the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, to try authentic Indian food was something that I couldn’t miss. They are holding an event called the Colours of India from October 2 to 17 at Signatures Restaurant in celebration of Diwali festival.
Last Tuesday, October 7 two of my fellow bloggers, Indri, Olive and I decided to have lunch together at Signatures restaurant. I remembered when I entered the restaurant the Indian atmosphere burst forth. The woman at the front, wearing a beautiful red gold short sleeve salwar kameez, without the long scarf, passed us by smiling. Hey, am I in India?
The decoration was simple and not too much. There were pink, purple and orange fabrics used on the ceiling and decorating the door. There was also several brass decorations here and there.
This was my first time eating Indian food buffet style. I quickly got up and started to explore. I had a short chat with Chef Ashwani, a chef de Cuisine at Kempinski Ambience Hotel in Delhi, India, about puri. The tasty Indian bread and the difference between how to cook this compared to naan and other Indian breads. We also talked about how he cooked the lamb chop, which made me wonder how tender the lamb was! It took more than 4 hours to cook it.
Chef Ashwani added a spoon of pickles and asked me to try it, but my plate was already full with Prawn Biryani (Basmali rice and prawn cooked together with spices), Masala Chop (batter-fried lamb chops), Puri and Potato curry. I had been tempted to also grab a piece of barbecue chicken tikka, but I held it since I was afraid that I couldn’t finished it all. Still, I added the pickles…
Back at my table, enjoyed the food. The crispy, golden puri bread was really tasty and surprisingly it tastes fantastic with the pickles. I challenged myself to eat the puri with the sweet pickles and the chilies. It was memorable; a blast of the sweet tangy and spicy flavours blended together. Funnily enough, I can say it was a great twist! The biryani was quite interesting as well since I never had a prawn biryani before. I always had mutton biryani. It was tasty! And the lamb chop was completely tender!
When I had a light chat with Indri and Olive about the decoration and the dishes, chef Ashwani pop up and offered us a taste murgh korma (chicken curry). Oh, we couldn’t say no! Who doesn’t love a chicken curry? Not so long afterwards a bowl of chicken curry was delivered to our table. It was so good, though for me it was a bit too spicy, but the chicken was really tender and the curry was really nice and had a balanced taste.
Being spoiled with yumminess, I decided to walk around and have a closer look at the decorations and then reached the dessert area and had doubt on trying it. I have never tasted any Indian dessert that suits me.
I saw several desserts like Nariyal and Kajoor Ka Gujja (stuffed with coconut and dates), Raw mango pudding plus Phirni or pounded rice pudding. One of the local chefs greeted me and said that I should give a try. While I was deciding, he provided me a plate and grabbed a few desserts for me to try.
I went back to my table with a plate with two Nariyal and Kajoor Ka Gujja, some raw mango pudding and a small bowl of Phirni. My favourites were the Phirni and Nariyal and Kajoor Ka Gujja. I swear it was so good that I closed my eyes and slowly tasted it.
Btw, you know what? India is on my travel (big) bucket list. I constantly dream about. I am sure that someday I’ll have the chance to explore India and enjoy eating samosas along the way. For now, the Nariyal and Kajoor Ka Gujja makes a sweet ending to this enjoyable dining experience.
Thank you Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, especially chef Ashwani for the experience. I was invited by Hotel Indonesia Kempinski to taste their authentic Indian cuisine during their Colours Of India promotion, but all the opinions (and happy tummy) are mine.
Travel to Jakarta this October 2-17? You should give a try!
Colours Of India at Signatures Restaurant
Hotel Indonesia Kempinski
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1, Jakarta Pusat – Indonesia