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Luxury on your plate

Aiming to please The elegant interiors of Hamsa  

Sometimes, it is the small things that make or mar an experience, especially when it comes to food. At Hamsa, it’s the artfully created menu card, more importantly what’s in it. A tiny disclaimer says the bill includes a service charge, but if the diner is not happy with the quality, he/she can ask for a waiver.

The happy experience continues in the food department. Something resembling a magic lamp is placed before me. A tiny rasgulla, the welcome sweet, is nestled in the centre of a small bowl — akin to a pearl in a oyster. I start off with the delicious makkai muthia chat, which fuses fried corn and a salad of diced onion, tomato and coriander, topped with sev. Next up is the kacche kele aur anar ki tikki, a concoction of creamy raw banana, spices and pomegranate pearls, which hits all the high notes. The paneer saunfiya is like a toasted sandwich with a delicious filling flavoured with fennel. The paneer is made in-house and Chef Robi Roy is more than willing to speak about how they ensure the cheese stays soft and crumbly.

In between mouthfuls of the kebab, slurp on rich thandai and sample the panchamritam smoothie; it’s nice, in a strange way, to drink something you’ve always eaten from the palm of your hand. The main course is served almost immediately, before you can take in the well-lit surroundings. Designer Vivek Karunakaran and his team have worked on a wall, featuring various artistic traditions. The brass chandelier in the centre adds to the ambience.

Crisp, near-sweet rotis (kulche, an interesting olive naan and cheese naan) accompany the dhingri hare pyaaz, where mushroom plays a medley with a creamy base. The kamal kakdi kofteh is a must-try — the lotus stems stuffed with ground prunes and apricots and simmered in a tomato gravy tempt you to go back for seconds. The maah choliyan di daal is sublime, as a good dal must be; the creaminess speaks of the hours it has been simmered, and the spices lie low.

The chef also sends up an urulai roast — the baby potatoes, slow-roasted for nearly an hour with Chettinad spices, have best-seller written all over them. In the rice section, I’m served a fragrant vegetable biryani. But, do check out the intriguing thengaipaal saadham, cooked in coconut milk, and the gongura annam.

The dessert section has been designed in a way to break even a dieter’s will power. How does one refuse a halwa featuring figs and ginger or a kheer with lychees and tender coconut? You could also choose from the delightful apple jalebi or the gulab jamun brulee.

Where the 47-cover restaurant, with a eight-seater private dining space highlighted in silver, scores is intent. They want to serve good food in luxurious surroundings, in that order.


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