Hotel Imperial Delhi
Delhi is renowned for its culinary heritage especially because of the Mughlai-style food introduced to the region by its past rulers. However, no visit is complete without sampling a bit from Delhi’s glorious Raj era as well. And no one does it better than the restaurants at the fabulous Hotel Imperial Delhi – where it’s not just the food but also the ambience that transports guests to a bygone era of elegance and excellence.
1911 Bar & Restaurant
We started our stay at The Imperial with lunch at their renowned 1911 Bar & Restaurant. With its high ceilings, Victorian furniture and a battery of elegantly attired wait-staff, the restaurant exuded an air of sophistication that was hard to miss. Adding to the aura of the place was a plethora of framed black and white pictures and sketches of 19th century India; a priceless collection! For lunch, the long rectangular dining hall was bisected by a buffet table at the center with seating arranged at either side. To the right, a lovely porch runs its entire length allowing visitors to gaze out to the hotel’s beautifully landscaped lawns while seated in shade.
Madhu and I opted for their buffet lunch, priced at around Rs.2000 per head. The meal started off with a yummy ‘Soup of the day’, which was served to us at the table. Then we ambled across to the buffet table for salads, fruits and appetizers, which included Sushi and Satays. I loved their salad selection the best! For the main course, we were presented with a menu from which we could order any and as many warm dishes as we liked. We sampled a fish steak and lamb chops, both of which were fabulously presented, exceptionally tasty and of perfect portion-size. An array of exotic desserts – from puddings to pastries and ice creams – was displayed at the buffet table; just looking at them was a feast!
A swinging set of doors at the restaurant’s farthest end leads to an exclusive bar lounge where patrons can converge on high bar-stools and choose from an immense collection of drinks from around the world. Set in dark mahogany and rich brown leather hues, this section of the restaurant has an understated club feel. Two adjoining private rooms in green and blue hues are stunning in their elegant opulence. It’s not hard to imagine hanging out here with a few friends on the plush leather, reveling in the art-deco environment and club music! No wonder, having a drink here has been listed in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 things to do in Delhi!
Madhu and I are great fans of caf ©s where we can sit for hours over cups of brew, snacking a little, talking a lot. So when we walked by Imperial’s unbelievably gorgeous Atrium Tea Lounge and noticed its open-air feel, we just couldn’t leave without sitting awhile.
It’s a rectangular space at the center of the ‘hash’-shaped hotel building with a 2-storey high glass ceiling. This allows for plenty of sunlight to stream into the gorgeous dining floor, which is furnished with patio-style, white wicker furniture with a stone obelisk fountain in the center. It was like being seated at an elegant caf © in a plaza without being exposed to the outside elements it was fantastic!
The lounge offers several brews of teas and coffees along with small bites like sandwiches and cheese. Madhu ordered a coffee while I asked for tea, both of which were presented beautifully in small trays that contained a brew cup, brew pot, a couple of tea cookies and a side of milk and sugar. We munched on yummy Bruschettas along with the drinks and had a wonderful time!
After having sampled two of Imperial’s restaurants during the day, we had high expectations from its extremely popular Spice Route as well, where we landed for dinner. And to our amazement, not only did it exceed all our expectations, but it also ensconced itself at the top of our ‘all time favorite places to dine at‘ list!
The Spice Route traces the mystical culture of South East Asia by drawing from not just its cuisine but also from its art and architecture. The minute we stepped into this fabulous restaurant, we were transported into a completely different world of dark wood carvings, colorful wall murals, rounded pillars, painted and carved wooden ceilings and brass lamps; it was truly exquisite! The restaurant is designed like the center of a traditional South Indian home where tiled porch roofs slant into an open courtyard. Seating is arranged under the carved ceilings of the porch and at the center, which is also sometimes used to host live music performances.
The kitchen at Spice Route serves culinary delights from 6 countries, from Sri Lankan curries to Thai noodles and fried fish from the state of Kerala. After glancing through the extensive menu, Madhu and I decided that opting for their ‘Tasting Menu’ would be our best bet as it would allow us to sample a bit of all of their signature dishes – it was the best decision ever! From their bar menu we ordered a cocktail and a glass of red wine. Over the course of the evening, we were served with a bowl of Thai soup, 4 different appetizers, 4 main entrees and 2 desserts! A lemon sorbet was served after the appetizers and before the main course to cleanse our palate, which was a nice touch. I loved their Sri Lankan curries (prawns as appetizers and lamb as main course) the most and will highly recommend them!
It was a large meal that was served beautifully over 2 hours with a lot of care by the wait-staff. We were impressed by their attention to detail and general warmth, which helped us relax and truly enjoy our evening. Looking back, I can easily say that this dinner was one of our finest meals in India!Address : Hotel Imperial, Janpath, Connaught Place, New Delhi, 110001