Vivanta by Taj, Whitefield is one of the first luxury hotels that opened up in the area adjacent to the ITPL campus. Despite mainly catering to a business and corporate clientele, the property is not your atypical corporate hotel. Beautifully architected with various natural elements, having several fine dining restaurants in house, and a truly world class service – Taj ensures that patrons from visiting this hotel time and again. My recent visit to Vivanta was after several years, and this time it was to experience delicacies from native locales of Afghanistan at their specialty restaurant Terracotta. This restaurant serves dishes from the erstwhile states of Punjab, Sind, Lahore and adjoining areas, as well as from the expanse of the local cuisines of the Afghans.
The restaurant itself has a contemporary setting with an interactive kitchen, with seating across the dining area, or by the patio; they have private dining rooms as well. We sat down with a view to the kitchen, watching chefs at the live cooking stations making kababs and breads. Doogh was served, which is similar to the buttermilk we have – with mint, followed by the amuse bouche – spicy eggplant salad. The Kala Pacha was the soup we opted for,that’s a spin off from the actual Kala Pacha that’s made with sheep’s head, and definitely not for the faint hearted. This soup had chunky pieces of cooked lamb and carrots in a delicately spiced lamb broth – loved it!
Next came a selection of appetizers in chicken, fish, lamb, mushroom and beef. The Chapli Kabab – one of their signature dishes – was my favorite, mutton mince patty flavored with fenugreek leaf and spices – a beautiful texture and taste. The lamb chop was soft, rich and flavorful as well. I do think the Mushroom ki Galaouti was a stunner, very well adapted to the original dish, which is also a favorite.
For the mains, we got an assortment based on chef’s recommendations. The Kabuli Pulao was fantastic, beautiful flavored rice cooked in meat stock and garnished with raisins and pistachios – loved it. And I had this with the lamb and potato stew – the lamb was cooked very well, and carried rich flavors. The Ashak was the steamed dumplings filled with chives in garlic yogurt sauce, quite interesting – texture almost made the fillings like meat. The Jackfruit Koftas were a nice surprise too – quite a variation on usual vegetarian food, but common in Afghani households.
The desserts were brought in after a break, as we paused the eating to try some refreshing lassi. Sheer khurma and Dates & Pistachio Baklava were our sweet selection, and we loved both of them. While both of these are dishes we eat and come across frequently, Chef’s rendition at Terracotta to both were noteworthy, especially the baklava which were little pieces of heaven!
I would strongly recommend a visit to Terracotta, to experience the exemplary culinary fare from Chef Satya Kedharnath, and open up your palates to the vibrant cuisines of the frontier region.