Monday, March 20, 2017

Trident, Udaipur

We stayed here on the last day of our trip to Udaipur. After having decided not to over spend on palace hotels, this was our attempt to experience a lake-side, yet relatively affordable luxury stay. (I am sure that's a lot of oxymorons together)

Hotel Category - Five Star
Location - Udaipur
The Oberoi Group (of which Trident is a part) is known for endearing hospitality and this was evident not only from the care and affection extended by the front office staff, but also the pleasant surprise they had waiting for us when we entered the room after a small site seeing; they took the cue from our discussion during checkin when we mentioned we were here as part of our honeymoon and had the room decorated with baloons and a heart shaped creating using bath towels, To top that, they had a delectable chocolate cake ready to be sliced. 

Mr. Mahi from the front office, his deputy and the F&B manager require special mention for making our stay a very comfortable one. They also extended their support in suggesting places to visit and restaurants to try in the city during our stay here. 

Room and Facilities
It's a large commercial hotel with over 137 rooms. What this also means is, there are going to be a lot of people buzzing around and this hotel might not be the best option if you are looking for a quaint and private space. 

Our room had a brilliant lake view, but when I look back I tend to think wasn't the lake a distant mile away from the room? Is that worth the premium I paid? Also, the room was compact sized and comparable to a business class hotel you find in Tier I cities. 

For the positives, the room had flawless hygiene and had good quality bathroom essentials. 

The hotel shares its compound with the ultra premium Oberoi Udai Vilas and is easily accessible when in the city limits. 

We had only their buffet breakfast and it was easily the best breakfast we had during the trip. While there may have been a few failed dishes, the lavish spread made up for it. 

On a summary note, the hotel has everything going in it's favor if you are looking for a commercial/quasi business class hotel. While the same may not be the recommendation if you are in the city for a holiday, their outstanding hospitality is BIG enough reason to revisit. 

P.S - used my Citibank premiermiles credit card points to part fund the room booking cost. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Best Places in Chennai to Have Dal Makhani

If you are you a fan of rich and sinful Dal Makhani (mixed lentil curry), here are the best places in Chennai to have it.

1. Peshawari, ITC Grand Chola

The dish is called 'Dal Bukhara' at Peshawari, which is the flagship restaurant of the ITC Group. While this might be an expensive affair, the creamy and rich flavor sets it apart. 

Pricing - Very Expensive - INR 795 per portion

Other Dishes to Try:
They have a brief menu and almost every dish is spot on. While their kebabs are succulent and a treat to your palate, the main course is equally good. 

2. The Great Kebab Factory, Radisson

The restaurant operates on a sit down buffet model and the dal makhani is a part of this course.

Pricing - Very Expensive 

Other Dishes to Try:
Big fan of their lamb galouti kebab; it is easily among the best places to have it. Not the place to overdo the starters as their main course and desserts are equally good. 

3. Zaica

This is the restaurant that introduced me to the world of Dal Makhani. The dish is called 'Dal Peshawari' and is a signature dish of the restaurant. I have always had it as a part of their sit down buffet, but they also have an a la carte menu. 

Pricing - Moderate - INR 230 per portion

Other dishes to Try:
Their sit down buffet is a great value for money and I love the veg kebabs that are served as part of it. Their desserts include hot jalebis and jamuns which are reasonably good. 

4. Pakwan

The dish is called 'Dal Pakwan' at this newly opened vegetarian restaurant. 

Pricing - Moderate - INR 230 per portion

Other Dishes to Try:
They have an extensive menu which includes a lot of fusion food. My personal favourites are: palak kurkure chat, paneer dum anari (starter), kekhsan (main course) and shahi tukda (dessert). 

5. Salt

A restaurant that I frequent for a few of their other delectable dishes but end up ordering the dal makhani almost every time. Their dal makhani goes by the name 'House Black Dal'

Pricing - Moderate - INR 265 per portion

Other Dishes to Try: 
When describing the food at salt, I would always start with the dessert first. My staple order here is their Elaneer Payasam which is the best you would find in budget restaurants across the city (I am told Southern Spice at Taj is another good place to have it, but yet to try given the luxury factor). Egg biriyani is another staple order; while I don't order egg biriyani usually at restaurants, Salt is one place I would recommend trying if you ever want to (even-though recently it hasn't been inconsistent). 

This is my top five, lets hear your views and recommendations in the comments section.

P.s - Few of the images were taken from google and others are from my visits to these restaurants.