Along the meandering alleys of the old city, my friend Pallavi and I reached to a 150 year old haveli situated on the east side of the Lake Pichola. A stone’s throw from the Lal Ghat, Udaigarh -the Royal Heritage Retreat is a luxurious hotel imbibing hundred years old heritage, traditional impressions and a breath-taking panoramic view of the Lake Pichola, ghats and the Aravali range.
As it is an old property, climbing up the stairs to reach the roof-top restaurant might be a pain for the weak knees, but once there, the cool breeze and the reflections of the shimmering lights dancing on the lake will make you wonder what is to come next. Udaigarh didn’t disappoint at all.
A table overlooking the Lake Pichola was our gateway to heaven and the door was opened by a heartwarming smile of Kamalji, the steward. Our night started with a menu that held authentic multi-cuisines. Since we wanted to have the best of both worlds, our table laid out a mix of food platters. Mr Mahendra, the owner of Udaigarh was our host for the night!
Far from being a typical appetizer, the Malai Paneer Tikka was rich with dry fruit gravy and melted in the mouth. The fresh cottage cheese cubes were stacked with slices of capsicum and onions following quite in style.
The Paneer Tikka Masala was precisely marinated, with a sultry smoked flavor in each bite. The combination of capsicum, tomato and onions with mint condiment complemented the Paneer Tikka.
A dish that caught my attention was the Reshmi Murgh ka Tikka which appeared semicircle on the plate. My inquisitive eyes gave way to the host’s explanation of how the delicacy was prepared. The juicy and tender meat was mixed with dry fruit gravy, primarily of cashew nuts put into tandoor, wrapped in foil. The egg white was placed on a different base.
The meat taken out from the tandoor is placed immediately over the egg white, rolled over and grilled. The right amount of spices, the exact grill time and the tenderness of the chicken all put together made it perfect.
The open air sitting, the live Sufi music and gazals were hitting the right chords of our hearts as the table got ready for the main course.
Chicken Bhujwa was my ideal food that left an overpowering taste of the spices on my taste buds. The chicken was specially cooked on an iron pan, used in most houses of Rajasthan, giving it a rich taste.
The Maharani Kumbh dish was a mix of lentils, cauliflower, beans, mushrooms and other vegetables in green spinach gravy. I knew this ought to be good. The chef did full justice to the dish, though a pinch of salt may have work wonders to it. The accompaniments were the cheese garlic naan and pudina kulcha parantha, the taste of which I could not get out of my mind.
After a wholesome meal of authentic food, amid the conversations about the renovation of the haveli into a heritage property and the tunes of ‘Piya Haji Ali’, the dessert was the modest choice of ‘Gulab Jamun with Ice cream’. I am still searching for the chef who created this contradictory dish of hot and cold which, as non-compliance as it seems, still manages a distinctive savor.
If you visit Udaigarh, loosen your belt a notch as a wide range of palatable flavors and dishes, available here will not fail to fill your appetite. Whether you like veg or non-veg, you could order something different every night and the courteous steward will be there to serve you the delectable, hot food in no time. The hotel also arranges for Barbecue and authentic Rajasthani dishes on special request.
(Fact: The restaurant purchase fruits, vegetables and dairy products on daily basis to maintain the freshness of the dishes!)
Note: If you want to pamper your Buddha belly and indulge yourself in the pure guilty pleasures of awesome food, once in a fortnight/week, this is the place to be. This might seem to be a lavish affair, but with warm hospitality and a grand view added, you would not regret spending the money.
Price: Rs. 1000-1500/-
Address: 21, Behind Jagdish Mandir, Near Jagdish Chowk, Lal Ghat, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001
:This article was first published in UdaipurTimes.com: