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Dine under the sky

The Alfresco dining (open air) at Hotel Taj Krishna entails quiet dinners in a green ambience.

TAKE YOUR PICK: Combine any ingredients for the meal.

A `MUGHAL garden' atmosphere under the open sky, with fountains and small patches of greenery and fishes in the water bodies at an elevated height in a luxury hotel would be a rather unique choice for open-air dining. Many would wonder whether such a place exists in congested metros. Well Hotel Taj Krishna at Banjara Hills provides such a `medieval' ambience in a contemporary setting. One could perhaps go back in time and space - to the Mughal era and the capital cities where such surroundings were available. Though not replicated on the same lines, the Alfresco (taken from a French word) dining at the Taj Krishna sure is enchanting.

This first-of-its-kind dining area is approached from `Encounters' - the Coffee Shop. Wrought iron furniture is spread over the green patch around the water bodies. There are alcoves too for those who want privacy. Since this is an open-air restaurant the emphasis is on cooking in the open too. What best but a barbecue. But it is not just the usual kebabs and tikkas. It is a little cosmopolitan - rather international - with Western, Indian and Oriental.

The menu is simple - not too many items to confuse you. In the continental section a person can opt for chicken, beef steaks, grilled fish, prawns and lobster marinated with exotic fillings and grilled over charcoal with accompaniments like baked jacket potatoes, grilled potatoes and `boqutiere' of vegetables. The food is grilled and cooked in front of you. The vegetarians have cottage cheese, Hawaiian shashlik and unbeatable stuffed mushrooms These are served with various sauces - choose one from caper butter, pommery mustard, red wine mushroom sauce, spicy tomato salsa, barbecue sauce and pepper sauce.

The Indian section for those who have strict Indian tastes comprises a murgh tikka adraki, tawa machli ajwaini and a paneer tikka achari (veg).

LIVE COOKING: Chef Sachin Joshi whips up a treat.

The highlight of Alfresco is the Mongolian selection - which offers fish, chicken and prawns cooked in a sauce of your choice (hot garlic, Szechwan, black bean and oyster) or the Mongolian combo (any combination of mushrooms, tofu and assorted vegetables of your choice for the veggies and any combination of meat and vegetables of your choice). Here one can suggest the combinations or go by what the chef creates on the Mongolian grill (a slightly angular one where the oil runs off from the food leaving the food healthy).

"This Al fresco dining was introduced last year and it was popular so we decided to have it this year too between October to February - the cooler months of the year," says Vijay Banja, executive chef. "The idea was to have something different and we worked out this menu," he adds. Chef Sachin Joshi cooks up the goodies for the gourmets. Some of the accompaniments like breads, rotis or rice are provided free of cost.

One needs to go with a heavy purse for this meal as it is in a five star hotel. One may not be used to eating the various kinds of sauces (barring the Chinese ones). One has to cultivate a taste. If you are willing to experiment with different kinds of food then one can check out this open-air dining. But it is healthy food - not food dripping with oil. And this is one of the main USP's besides the ambience. On a full moon night the dining experience away from the hustle-bustle and din of city life may be one to cherish.


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