Compressed WatermelonVivanta by Taj, Gurgaon recently appointed Chef Arzooman Irani as the new Executive Chef of the hotel. With 22 years of culinary experience tucked under his hat, Chef Irani started his journey with the Taj Group in 2005. Born and brought up in Pune, Chef Arzooman has a Diploma in Hospitality from Australia, a degree in Professional Cooking from the Baltimore International Culinary College, USA and a Diploma in Management studies from the Swiss Hotel Association – Les Roches, Switzerland. Chef Irani joins the hotel after his last assignment in Sri Lanka as the Executive Chef of Vivanta by Taj, Bentota.

Punctually landing up more than fifteen minutes before noon, for the Chef’s Table at Latitude. I was more than surprised and a tad bit irritated when, after repeated requests, we started with the first course precisely one hour ten minutes later than the invited time.

20160113_135946Maybe what I need to share here is that it was a big table of around twenty plus people all huddled in one corner of Latitude. What is screaming to be mentioned is that the service was one of the most underwhelming experiences that I have ever had. The servers were clueless about which course and how many heads they had served. With an added disadvantage of closely placed seats, there was no room for the servers to move. Before I got to taste my first course, the second was served at the other end even though I was placed at the head of the table at the serving end.

Alas ! These headless chickens surely spoilt all of Chef Arzooman’s hard work.

We began with a Compressed Watermelon Salad with spaghetti vegetables, feta cheese, balsamic pearls, baby basil. The only thing good about the salad was the pretty plating. An unsweetened watermelon, with practically no feta and dressing, could very well have done without the painstakingly cut vegetable spaghetti as they did nothing to add to the flavour.

Coriander PrawnsCoriander Prawns had a lovely thick marinade of coconut, coriander and basil seeds served interestingly with an orange and lemon pipette. So well cooked that I could have had a second helping.

After the pre plated two courses, now we come to the shared dishes….

Tangri butter masalaTangdi Butter Masala was a stuffed chicken leg served like a stuffed breast of chicken cut in roundels over which butter chicken gravy was poured but which, sadly, was not enough. I must add though that whatever I could taste was good.

Another interesting thing happened – when you had a gravy on your plate, then there was no sign of any breads and vice versa. Need I add that on a cold winter afternoon, the food was served almost cold.

The forestThe Forest –rigatoni, enoki mushrooms in basil pesto sauce. This was a miniscule portion where the goodness of all the lovely ingredients used didn’t quite shine through. On repeated requests, I got this after the dessert.

Lasooni Rasgulla Palak was cottage cheese sweet dumplings on a satay stick topped with garlic flavoured spinach. This was a lovely way to present the age old spinach and cottage cheese.

Srilankan vegetable black curryWhat I loved was the “Sri Lankan” Vegetable Black Curry. A robust, spicy curry with a hint of coconut milk, just enough to take the edge off the spices without overpowering the dish.

Sarsoo Macchi was an absolute winner even though I am personally not a big fan of food cooked in a mustard paste. For the first time there was rice and fish together as it was pre plated.

BaklavaThe curtains closed with an outstanding Baklava. Thin, crisp, outer covering stuffed with pistas and other nuts, served with honey caviar. I could go back to Latitude just to have this again.

What I am looking forward to is some Sri Lankan and Parsi dishes from the Chef in the future. He very politely came and met each one of us at the beginning of the meal. I could see the beads of perspiration/tension on his forehead and had offered him a napkin, asking him to relax. We got a parting gift of a very unique, homemade rose petal jam which I would love to get my hands on again. Penning the whole experience down, my heart goes out to Chef Arzooman though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Food: 3.5| Drinks: 2.5 | Ambience: 3.5 | Service: 2.0 | Overall: 3.0

Meal for Two: Rs. 2000 | Credit Cards: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Timings: Open 24 hours | Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes

Address: Sector 44, Near Fortis Hospital, Gurgaon Haryana 122004 | Telephone: 0124 6671234

Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgment and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.

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