When the Menu Celebrates Luxury Responsibly
ITC hotels have always taken their ethos of ‘Responsible Luxury’ solemnly and the new menu across all ITC Pavilions reflects these values. Designed to focus on ingredients sourced locally, without tampering with the authenticity of the dish, their new menu celebrates traditional ingredients and local delicacies while catering to a global clientele.
Executive Chef Uchit Vohra strongly believes in the goodness of traditional recipes and presented holistically, while using responsible ingredients that bring out international flavours. As he spoke about collaborating with Chefs across ITC hotels to create this spectacular menu, one thing stood out – the group’s intent to make environmentally responsible choices without compromising on quality. The exhaustive menu has been designed to bring to the table refreshing and ingenious dishes, while helping their patrons make informed, healthy choices.
The new menu starts with morning energisers that also come in kid’s portions to minimise food wastage and use only the healthiest and natural ingredients. Interestingly, every page of the menu addresses the nutritional requirements of their patrons, protecting their wellbeing while honouring the need for satisfaction. We tried the refreshing Tulsi Seed and Indian Summer Fruit Muesli served with an orange cinnamon yoghurt whip and was a riot of summery colours! The breakfast menu offers options from the girdle such pancakes and waffles, to north Indian signature parathas, and south Indian classic dosas! For the hearty eater, there is the composite breakfast experience with everything ranging from a traditional south Indian tiffin to an all-American breakfast.
Starters & Salads
It is commendable how even the starters and salads section is brimming with dishes that infuse local inspirations with world flavours, using the freshest seasonal ingredients. The Burrata with Anise-poached Pears with currant celery pistou and rucola is a wonderful balance of spicy flavours and soft creamy cheese. Aptly marked with a ‘Best of Pavilion’ tag, this salad uses locally sourced ingredients without compromising on authenticity – the Burrata is from Father Michael’s Vallambrosa who learnt the art of cheese making during his 8-year stay in Italy, and the pistou sauce is lovingly made using a traditional Provençal recipe.
From the tureen
Anyone who has had the opportunity to try authentic southeast Asian dishes will know how difficult it is to recreate those flavours. Chef Uchit’s Singaporean Laksa however, will leave one swooning with the aromas emanating from the rich coconut soup brimming with perfectly cooked chicken, shrimp, fresh vegetables and rice noodles. The fragrance of lemon grass and kaffir leaves from this soup have the potency to transport you to another world. Chef Uchit picked up on traditional cooking techniques and ingredients, and authentic flavours during his extensive travels in southeast Asia while visiting family. Pleasantly, this dish only uses fish that is available in abundance and its consumption will not create any imbalance to the ecosystem. In creating this menu, ITC hotels have collaborated with WWF-India and CMFRI to present sustainable marine species marked in green to help consumers identify over-fished, fast-depleting seafood choices.
The Caramelised Mushroom and Barley Soup was made lovingly with porcini and thyme. Earthy flavours emanated from this Swasthya dish from the pipetted celery and leek blitz. The ‘Contains Forgotten Grains’ tag alongside this dish is a pleasant reminder of the innumerable health benefits of barley.
The stacks and wraps section of the menu offers a variety of panini, pita, burgers and sandwiches, all freshly baked and with healthy and trendy combinations.
Whether you are new to a city or have lived there for long, local cuisine will always be exciting when done right. And the Chefs at ITC Windsor have got their local food on spot! Karnataka’s favourite Bisibele Bhaath was rendered using local spices and traditional recipes – no messing around there. But instead of serving it with just the conventional boondi and banana chips, they created a twist by adding roasted carrot chips, parmesan shavings and papaya relish to the list of accompaniments in mini bowls. As Chef Uchit patiently explains, these accompaniments are a mix of crunchy and soft, nutty and sweet, sour and salty, and balance the spicy lentil-rice preparation.
A second entrée from the local love section we tried was the Majestic Fish Fry – spicy batter-fried Black King fish served with sabudana vadiyams (fried fritters made of sago), pepper tossed potatoes and gongura mayonnaise! A favourite street food made into gourmet cuisine by blending old ethics with modern presentation techniques, named to reflect a Bangalore landmark. The acidic notes of the gongura pickle when mixed with regular mayonnaise, offer a tangy dip to the spicy fish and potato.
Food from across the World
Kitchens of India is another soulful section of the menu, bringing the best of the Indian culinary heritage. The Express Wok offers an out of the world Chinese dining experience. Artisanal Pastas, risottos and gourmet pizzas from the World Kitchen section are committed to inculcating the theme of Italian cuisine – fresh ingredients put together to maintain balance. We tasted the Lamb Rib and Broad Bean Tagine from the soul food section, that came with stewed apricots and mint couscous. The exhaustive list of dishes from the World Kitchen all come in ‘good for you’ renditions and therefore, the traditional lamb shanks have been replaced by ribs in this Moroccan delicacy that retains all the rustic flavours by using preserved lemons and anise, all cooked together in an earthenware pot.
Very often we order multiple items from a menu but end up wasting food due to the quantity. To keep up with their ethos of Responsible Luxury, Raj Pavilion’s new menu offers WelcomMeal sections from various cuisines that gives you the option of eating everything without wasting anything, as they come in tasting portions served in modern ceramic ware. Talk about commitment to being environmentally responsible!
No menu is complete without indulging the sweet tooth. The experiments from their dessert lab have resulted in the most stunning creations that are an ode to the beautiful amalgamation of flavours. The Kulfi Falooda was an interesting display with the kulfi being served as an ice-cream stick with bite-sized pieces cut-out for ease of consumption, and topped with a titanium hazelnut sponge. The perfect summery dessert that will remind you of your childhood in India, served with all gourmet finesse. The White Chocolate Cheesecake was unadulterated joy as the silky softness of the cheesecake paired with the tanginess of the spiced forest berry compote. However, if you prefer something dark and decadent, the Pavilion Chocolate Fudge is a must-try. Served with jaggery and caramel sauce, this dessert is a riot of textures and flavours! And finally, the Milk Chocolate Parfait with Darjeeling Tea Namelaka, was a heavenly balance of flavours - milk chocolate and dark chocolate blending with the flavour of Darjeeling tea and contrasting with the sweetness of candied berries and tartness of raspberry sorbet. ITC Windsor’s pastry Chef Aldrich Kanchan is a magician who creates the most decadent desserts!
ITC hotels’ chefs have crafted a spectacular menu keeping their ethos of Responsible Luxury intact, while promoting local ingredients, and farmers and their produce, without compromising on the ingenuity of bringing forward luxurious, world cuisine.