Whenever I come across the word “opulence”, my mind automatically draws the picture of a rajgharana. I imagine a Rajput prince, dressed in his royal attire of Bandgala Jodhpuri suit, seated in his dim-lit dining room that exudes rich hues of red and gold. The table is set with fancy cutlery, a different set for each course. The stewards serving him a variety of delicacies, from appetisers to desserts, prepared with the best of the ingredients and plated with so much style.
Replace the Jodhpuri clad royal prince with a city boy in western casuals, and it would pretty much summarise my experience at Jamavar, The Leela’s signature Indian restaurant.
I’ve been to a couple of city’s star hotel and The Leela is one of those few hotels that give a classy Indian vibe. To add to that Indian ethnicity is Jamavar. It was such a pleasant change to be greeted with a Namaste by a beautiful lady dressed in a saree.
The moment I stepped foot into this restaurant I was welcomed by an ambience that defines richness. Jagjit Singh singing in the background, a luxurious decor accentuated by big Indian style chandeliers, families enjoying their meals, and tables placed at a distance that is sufficient to give patrons enough privacy, the first look of Jamavar impressed me.
The Leela is currently hosting a culinary festival called 2 States at Jamavar. As part of the festival menu, they serve dishes from the state of Punjab and Kerala. I was invited to experienced the Punjabi menu and I must say that the experience was a sheer delight.
The affair started with Kesar-Pisteywali Lassi Pedhe de Maarkey. The lassi was a bit sour but the khoya pedhe were incredible. The pedhe were so soft that almost instantly melted in my mouth.
My appetiser platter consisted of Multani Tikkey – paneer imbued with herbs and spices, wrapped in yoghurt, glazed golden in the tandoor, Bharme Aloo Pothohari – potatoes filled with vegetables mashed with herbs, cashew, raisin and Bhutta Palak Ki Tikki – satin smooth spinach and corn cutlets. All of them were equally good.
After a hearty serving of appetisers, it was time for the curries. The entrée menu enlisted six gravies out of which my favourite one was the Aloo Bukhara Kofta – creamy bottle gourd dumpling, stuffed with dried plums and almonds, simmered in tomato gravy and ginger. It was finger licking good. I also loved Punjab’s staple, Sarson da saag – a gravy made with mustard leaves, radish leaves, spinach, ginger, gram flour and a dash of mustard oil. It was certainly the most delicious saag preparation I’ve had by far. They say that getting this saag right requires precision and Jamavar seemed to have done it perfectly.
The other subjis in the menu were Kadai Paneer, Aloo Vadhiyan, Pindi Channa and Maah Choliyan di Daal Mothi de Naal. While these subjis were alright, the Daal was absolutely delicious.
The subjis were served with Assorted Indian Breads and Aloo Gobhi Mutter ka Pulao.
For desserts I was served Badam te gurh da Halwa – a traditional sweet meal of jaggery and semolina with almond, Pinni – ground urad dal sauteed with flours and cooked in sugar syrup and kulfi with rabdi. Call me desi but in my opinion Indian desserts beat foreign desserts every time.
I truly enjoyed my experience at Jamavar. It was after a real long time when I got to sit patiently and enjoy every morsel of food.
The 2 States Festival will be going on until the 30th April so reserve your table soon.