The minute I walk into Roseate House New Delhi’s recently opened Indian restaurant, Kheer, I double back. Is it really a part of the same hotel? While the rest of Roseate House is dimly lit by evening, a warm yellow glow envelopes Kheer, perhaps to reflect its vibrant Indian antecedents. The space itself is sprawling—it can seat 250 guests across four sections: the live kitchen with three tandoors and a chaat bar/street food station, the main dining area with wooden tables and multi-patterned green chairs, bar, and the lounge.

Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director of the Bird Group and proprietor of Roseate Hotels, is here to introduce Kheer to us. He tells us how the restaurant takes inspiration from celebrity chef Rainer Becker’s Japanese restaurant chain, Zuma, which, while authentic to its roots, has food updated for modern times. In fact, Zuma’s designer, Noriyoshi Muramatsu, was roped in to give Kheer a Zuma-inspired look. I am told about the use of old wood in the décor, and that everything here is Indian made and handcrafted—save the jaali (latticework) and stone walls.

Certain design elements stand out. An arrangement of square fabrics in different shades of red is found above the bar. The bar lies adjacent to a cabinet with dozens of alcohol bottles. The custom-made bells above the centre table, the rows and rows of spice jars above, and the intricate jaali, combine to create timeless cool.

Murg Malai Tikka at Kheer
Murg Malai Tikka at Kheer

And, finally, coming down to brass tacks—Kheer, courtesy of executive sous chef Anuj Wadhawan, goes for a unique interpretation of fine Indian food as well as street favourites. Dishes are pan-Indian, and the restaurant has no ‘first course, second course’ system; food comes to your table as and when it is ready. There’s also the Zuma-inspired Japanese ‘robata grill’, used to slow-grill food over hot charcoal. The jheenga machhalee (grilled lobster, served with coriander butter and lemon) is one of the nicest looking dishes to emerge from a robata.

I particularly enjoy the murgh malai tikka, with charcoal (which lends a smoky flavour) and served with red pepper chutney, the chukandar chilgoze ki tikki (beet and pine nut croquettes with a beetroot chutney; the standout among the vegetarian dishes) and the gucchi (morels, khoya and cheese). And then came the desserts, of which the badam cake (zucchini pudding with orange sauce) and kalakand tart (milk cake tart with caramel sauce) are my recommendations.

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