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International jumble

PREETI ZACHARIAH
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EATING OUT Flavours of the World, a special themed buffet available every Saturday night at Melange, Park Plaza showcases fare from all across the world

Medley of optionsAt Melange
Medley of optionsAt Melange

It is a pleasant Saturday evening. After battling through the inevitable traffic we have finally reached Melange at the Park Plaza. Pradeep, the manager of the restaurant steers us through the hotel and into the restaurant where 152 dishes from every nook and cranny of the world are laid out, all ready for us.

“Flavours of the world is all about bringing classic dishes from all around the world under one roof,” says Executive Chef Amitabh Choudhry. “It is all about reviving the classics,”

The interiors are bright and cheery, a vivid collage of ochre, buttercup and tangerine toned down with a soupcon of grey. Equally colourful are the drinks we order — virgin mojitos bursting with citrusy, mint-flavoured freshness. They are just right, not too sweet nor too tart, setting the right tone for the evening.

An array of starters begins to arrive at our table. Grilled chicken smothered in barbeque sauce and a slightly blackened sausage from Louisiana. Indian kebabs — murg malai tikka, chicken Afghani, galouti kebabs, fish tikka, hara bhara kebabs. A skewer full of rather unremarkable chicken satay. Corn and cottage cheese marinated and grilled over an open fire. Next comes a bowl of Laksa – a thick, spicy soup with distinct Asian flavours.

The fish based gravy is spiked with coconut milk which lends a certain sweetness and velvety richness to the broth. This is followed by pizza — a slender crust of dough layered with tomato sauce, chicken and mozzarella cheese. Not particularly complicated but undeniably yummy.

By now we are rather stuffed and loath to stir out of our chairs but duty beckons and we amble ponderously towards the long line of food that has been laid out on the buffet table. I eschew most of the main course — the biryani, curried potatoes, steak, koftas, roast lamb — and head straight for the salad bar.

Which is when I fell in love with the restaurant — I really like salad but in most places it consists of nothing more than a pile of soggy vegetables, slathered in mayonnaise with a few croutons and bits of meat thrown in. But this salad bar was nothing short of spectacular. Fresh produce, innovative dressing, exotic meat, novel combinations — I couldn’t help but make vast inroads into it.

My companion tried out a few interesting looking dishes in the main course — stuffed zucchini, beautifully cooked lamb, buttery melt-in-the mouth mashed potatoes — and pronounced them all excellent.

Last, but certainly not the least, comes dessert. It is 14 in all — 10 with international flavours, the rest are Indian. Full as I am, I cannot resist the chocolate laced bread and butter pudding, the rich strawberry cheesecake, the custardy crème brulee and a fruity summer pudding. Satiated, I lean back and listen to gentle strains of music that pervade the restaurant.

Perhaps my only complaint is that there is so much variety that it is difficult to do real justice to the spread. Melange is at the Park Plaza, Marthahali. Call 8049094909.

PREETI ZACHARIAH

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