IF YOU'RE a veggie and end up reviewing a restaurant that serves both genres of food, rest assured you spend the entire meal wondering if the potato fry has specks of something not-so-veggie and if your paneer tikka is `tainted'.
So, we were maha thrilled when we stepped into Orchard, an exclusive vegetarian restaurant at Hotel City Tower (Confession: We went in thinking we'll get to taste just hot idlis, dosas and parathas. Who'll innovate for veggies, after all?).
But, what greeted us were a host of scrumptious vegetarian delicacies, some of which you normally don't get to savour.
Departing from our usual lunch routine, this time around, we decided to partake of dinner. The well-lit restaurant has a pleasing ambience, done up as it is in browns and pastels. It was 7 p.m and only three of us in the 44-cover restaurant, all set for the review.
But, hold on! An hour later, the hall was bustling with activity as vegetarian lovers from different parts of the city started to occupy the tables.
Browsing through the expansive menu (more than 70 items), we realised there was something to suit every local palate. "We cater to the individual requirements of people, but retain the authentic flavour. When people come in with special requests (like Jain food), we prepare it according to their specifications. For example, we make paneer butter masala the Mughal way, using a lot of cashewnuts," says A. Rajkumar, the General Manager of Hotel City Tower.
It's a two-decade-old restaurant, and so, everything was well organised. We start with spicy Manchurian soup, a combo of mixed vegetables. We followed it with Mulligatawny soup, made of besan, dhal and jeera. The noodles soup also tasted good.
For starters, you can choose from paneer tikka and chilly vegetables. Both are good. The chilly vegetables are not that spicy and the Manchurian base left a sweet taste on the tongue. The paneer tikka was quite bland, but the mint chutney offset that taste.
Orchard has a Chinese connection to it, too! Shanghai, the Chinese restaurant, is its next-door neighbour.
The connection doesn't end there.
Orchard also offers Chinese delicacies. So you can happily munch on noodles and Manchurian along with your favourite dosas. For the main course, we chose butter naan and paneer butter masala.
Families constitute a major part of the clientele, the manager says. The soothing music and the equally appealing interiors provide you with a wonderful dining experience. But, here, the food is king!
M. ALLIRAJAN &