We had been rattling about in our car for about two hours before the driver pointed out the huge, glass-covered edifice that was the Hyatt Regency Gurgaon. Inside the hotel, we were to be taken on a ‘multi-sensory gastronomic journey’ at the hotel’s latest restaurant, the Kitchen District. As we glided up the escalator to the first floor, the anticipation too was rising.
Space. That’s what Kitchen District is about. The restaurant is spread over 7,000 sq. ft and can seat up to 166 guests. On entering the space, a display of wines and champagne greets you. You turn right and stop square in your tracks… in front of you, in a cavernous room, are three open kitchens — Mediterranean, Asian and Indian — with tables set at a comfortable distance from each other and a long dessert bar crowded with sweet somethings of every shape and size. Walk down the length of the kitchens and turn right again to see light streaming in from floor-to-ceiling windows, along which inviting sofas and tables are arranged and across from which is a sushi bar. Walk further down and you’ll enter the Long Bar, which boasts a 60-ft-long bar, billed as the longest in the NCR. The most appealing aspect is the bar counter itself, which, unlike those in other bars, is as low and wide as a regular dining table with comfortable seating along one side. Also within Kitchen District are a wine cellar and two private dining areas.
Our tour of the huge space done, we settled down for our meal at one of the sofas near the sushi bar, and ordered our drinks. We’d heard that the bartender at the Long Bar was quite an expert mixologist; cocktails had to be the order of the day. So we went for a Rusty Nail each (Black Label whiskey, Drambuie, star anise and cloves). While we were waiting for our drinks, Chef Senthil Kumar gave us an introduction to the kitchens’ specialties. Spoilt for choice, we asked the chef to decide what we would eat — boy, was that a mistake. Soon our table was groaning with the weight of the innumerable dishes that had miraculously appeared in front of us within minutes of the chef returning to his counter. The mixture of aromas of the dishes from all over the world was intoxicating. In the midst of all this drama, arrived our drinks — whiskey glasses with an inch of the golden liquid and a huge sphere of ice. All our senses were stimulated.
Onto the food then. Our food journey started in Asia — chicken meatballs and shitake mushroom yakitori (Japan). The meatballs melted in our mouths, the sauce was perfect, but the mushrooms were slightly undercooked. A steaming hot bowl of Laksa soup (Malaysia) with prawns, tomatoes, baby carrots, bok choy, broccoli and mushrooms came next — refreshing. We went back to Japan with a sashimi and sushi platter, and then to Indonesia with a tangy lamb stir fry, which was accompanied by sticky rice served from a cane basket, nestled in a plantain leaf. Our next stop was southern India. Chef Senthil had been showing off about his era varuval (prawn fry), and we were raring to dig into it. With the era varuval came a kori curry (chicken curry), a kai curry korma (vegetable korma), fluffy egg paranthas and appams — we were in food heaven. Typical south Indian flavours washed over our tongues. Being from the south myself, I was able to recognise most of what I was tasting. There was, however, an unusual, but delicious, flavour to the prawns; Senthil explained that it was the flavour of the stone flower (also known as kalpasi).
We were just about to call it a day when a platterful of casarecce pasta and a plate of pork belly arrived at the table. We just couldn’t do justice to the beautifully cooked pork belly — crispy on the outside and melt-in-the-mouth delicious on the inside — and the pesto-flavoured pasta. With just enough space in our stomachs for something sweet, we headed to the dessert counter and chose the chocolate mousse with sea salt, vanilla and olive oil, the chocolate dome with raspberry sauce, fruit and praline mousse cakes and a double chocolate tart — sinful, to say the least.
The food had a soporific effect on us. On our way back to Delhi, as I slipped into a deep slumber, I wished I was a cow; maybe with four stomachs I could have done justice to the meal.
Address: NH8, Sector 83, Gurgaon, India, 122004, Tel: +91 124 618 1234, gurgaon.regency.hyatt.com
Cost for two: Rs 3,000 (a la carte). Weekend dinner buffet: Rs 1,500 per person (without alcohol)