By Gunit Gogia
No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut.
Given the option of a smorgasbord of multifarious cuisines tantalizingly laid out in a perfect setting, the chances are strong that one would end up trying everything. There is no shame in gluttony, an emotion I was overwhelmed with at my lunch session at Tamra, the all day dining restaurant at Shangril-La’s Eros Hotel.
Shangri La has outdone itself with Tamra. Sprawling space, organic, raw wood, imaginative canopy of rolling pins that looks like an art installation, leather straps, glass walled windows, wall of wooden planters with Anthuriums and kitchen herbs, a Michael Wenz baking oven behind the desert bar – nice! These chic interiors are the work of Dubai based Stickman Design. Nearly 186 diners can be seated at a time, in assorted zones as per preference. For a bit of drama, pick the quirky and fun infinity tables, a slightly elevated seating, set in a niche created by two parallel mirrors that reflect endlessly the copper pots and pans overhanging artistically, resonating with the name of the restaurant – Tamra, (Sanskrit for Copper). Some relief for smokers as there is a corner for them too.
Tamra replaces the earlier Chinese cum Japanese restaurant 19 Oriental Avenue. The new, bigger and better version is not the run-of-the-mill mish mash that goes in the name of ‘multi cuisine’, which we were expecting. What we found was five different live open theatre stations, each with its own dedicated chef de cuisine for Japanese and Teppanyaki, Chinese and Thai, Indian and regional, a separate buffet table for Cold Cuts, Cheese and Breads, Tandoori and Grill. A very intense dessert bar that is interactive, with all products made in house, including the ice creams, gelato and frozen yoghurt; and innovatively run by Executive Pastry Chef Sukanto Das. The bar at Tamra is happily well stocked with wines from Italy, France, Spain, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, India; order by the glass, or go for their cellar reserve, which stocks the finest vintage. There is the red wine, Château Petrus, Merlot, Bordeaux, Pomerol, 1996 for Rs 3,75,000 a pop, the priciest one of them all. Nasik’s Sula sits alongside too. Sula rates quite high in my list of good wines. The majestic chandelier with 32 hand blown glass jars, suspended over the bar counter adds to the character.
Warning – High Possibility of Overeating
The table next to the window, overlooking the green vistas, and sipping on a fruity Mocktail, we were ready to dig in. The Mocktail – Big Wave, Tamra’s signature drink, a zingy blend of guava with lychee, their combined sweetness moderated with lime and a dash of cranberry juice, embellished with slices of guava. Delicately flavored starters are supposed to pique the appetite for the bigger foods. Here is some of what we sampled at Tamra. In that order, it is the greens first – a salad of Rocket with feta, candied walnuts, melon, red onion and what not, and the Italian salad Caprese Our Way. The Japanese Chef JunghaChoi cooks up varieties of Sushi, Sashimi, Nigri. I recommend the Maki Sushi. No the salmon was not raw, rather seared just so slightly. Wagyu teriyaki is also on the menu. We didn’t get to meet the Chinese Chef de cuisine David Leung, I would have liked to compliment him personally for the dim sums – filled with chicken, the subtle lemon grass flavor, moist, sticky, cooked to perfection. The taste buds went a little wild as I tucked into the Indian flavors of Achari Fish Tikka, Chicken Cutlets, followed it with Lamb Roulade, a Cajun style chicken with barbecue sauce. The Grill station had choices in smoked lamb, chicken and tenderloin steak. Do let the chef at the counter know how you want your steak done.
For the record, I earnestly tried to check out most of the dishes – the squid and herb salad, Madras fish curry, Rogan Josh, Lazeez Mughlai Chicken, Khao Suey with fish balls, prawns, mushrooms and brown noodles. Did find the spices toned down in some of the dishes, which are traditionally more electric. But Sous chef Binod Singh Bisht informed us that all flavors can be customized on request by the customer, which was the point of having live counters with the Chef de cuisines in attendance. It is common practice in all five star diners, to keep the ‘HOT’ quotient low for the uninitiated, which actually robs a cuisine of its ‘authentic’ flavors.
Chef Bisht, gave us an insight into the sourcing of meats, fish, vegetables, which is scrupulously fresh, locally sourced where possible, unless required otherwise, such as the Australian lamb.
The dessert spread included an array of homemade Ice-creams, Gelatos, Pastries and Crêpes. I chose a Crêpe, a Blueberry Panna Cotta and a deconstructed Black Forest pastry to conclude my meal and each of these desserts were better than the other, although I would really recommend the Panna Cotta and the molten chocolate lava cake. Vanilla Brulee was good too. For the adventurous, there is the Aag Jamun, which is a flambé of rum sloshed Gulab Jamuns, served with Saffron Kulfi. Next time will try this
Tamra has introduced a novel counter, Ghar ka Khana, where a lady chef prepares home style food. On Sundays, the restaurant has a special kids menu. Indian street food has a dedicated space. Pizzas, sandwiches, burgers are available too. The pastas are made in-house, as are the sauces, wasabi, or hummus or whatever. There is provision for a private seating for 10, in adjoining area, separated by folding doors.
Bring a big appetite, good company, ample time. Menu changes daily. Sundays have the most expansive layout. Bar needs to be explored seriously. If it is sparkling, it has to be Prosecco.
Landline Number – +91 11 41191010 / 11
Operating Hours – 24 Hours
Buffet Timings – Breakfast – 0700 hrs to 1030 hrs,
Lunch – 1230 to1500 hrs and Dinner – 1900 hrs to 2330 hrs
Average Spend – INR 1,500 ++ per person (with a beverage) W/day Buffet Pricing – Breakfast – INR 1100 ++; Lunch – 1950 ++ (Kids – INR 1100 ++); Dinner – INR 2100 ++ (Kids – INR 1100 ++)
Sunday Brunch – Yes (Noon to 1530 hrs) Sunday Brunch Pricing – INR 2750 ++ (includes Cocktails, Beer and Mocktails) and INR 3500 ++ (includes Moet Chandon Champagne)
Kids Buffet – INR 1500 ++
Photography-Gunit Gogia and Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel