One can’t help but gasp in amazement when entering Kheer, Roseate House’s Indian fine dining restaurant and lounge. The enormity (200 seats), grandeur and intricate woodwork transport you to bygone era of havelis. And as suddenly, the look of the cozy bar and modern western lounge music bring you back to the present.
For those who may not be aware, kheer is pudding often made with rice and is usually flavored with cardamoms, saffron, raisins and nuts such as cashews, pistachios and almonds. The understated opulence of the restaurant is a reflection of its namesake.
Kheer has been divided into three parts – the lounge, the bar and the sit down dinner area. As you progress towards the lounge the ceiling lowers and the music gets louder, a rather clever use of space and sound to define the three areas without the use of unnecessary partitions. The open kitchen adds to the dining experience and aromas that manage to escape the rather powerful chimneys enliven your taste buds. Kheer is a visual treat and every corner is a conversation starter.
Chef Anuj Wadhawan explained to us that the menu at Kheer primarily included delicacies of Northwest Frontier cuisine. However they have made a conscious effort to also incorporate certain signature dishes from all parts of the country.
We were welcomed with a bright red mock tail consisting of boiled beetroot juice with spiced ginger ale- pleasant to the eyes and palate. The tasting began with Chukunder chilgoze ki tikki(beet and pine nut croquettes served with beet chutney), Hare matter ki tikki (green pea cutlet, served with mango relish and tomato garlic chutney), Machalee(raw tuna with chopped onions, tomatoes, gari ginger and mustard oil). All three dishes were good but were a tad bland for my taste. Just by adding a dash of lime, theMachalee got the much needed “kick” I was looking for and we gorged on it!
We moved on to Murgh Malai Tikka (a charcoal creamy chicken served with red pepper chutney),Tandoori Murgh(yoghurt and spice marinated chicken served with spring onion chutney) and Barra Kebab (New Zealand lamb chop with tomato garlic chutney),Murgh Tikka(hot chicken tikka terrine served with sour cream and pickled onion), Subz ki seekh (English vegetable kebab with pepper chutney) and Gucchi(morel stuffed with wild mushroom, grated khoya, cheddar cheese and served with pepper chutney). In the first three dishes each meat was cooked to perfection. However the use of charcoal in the Chicken Tikka seemed unnecessary and didn’t do anything to enhance the flavor or appearance of the dish.
Probably the one dish that I could not get on board with was the terrine. Fusing two ideologies of food is tricky and although it was a valiant effort by the chef, the terrine didn’t impress. It takes guts to try something new and the chefs at Kheer deserve to be applauded for their willingness to take risks. The latter two were outstanding and the pepper chutney had the right amount of spice to complement them.
Our main course consisted of Murgh Kolhapur (chicken cooked in Maharashtrian style), Kasundi Machhi(galangal and Bengali mustard marinated sole with spring onion chutney), Meen Pollichathu (sea bass wrapped in banana leaf), Nadru Palak (Kashmiri preparation of spinach and lotus stem), Paneer-kesar-e-pukhtan (cottage cheese with red pumpkin in a red tomato gravy), Yellow Dal(yellow lentil cooked with asafetida), Dal Dungar(smoked red kidney bean and whole gram blacklentil) and Jheenga Machalee (lawa grill lobster served with melted butter and coriander). All of this was served with an assortment of Indian breads including, Roti, Butter Naan, Sheermal, Reshmi, Bakarkhani, Pizza Roti and Kashmiri pulao (rice served with cashewnut and raisins).
The highlights for me were the Dal Dungar, Nadru Palak (the use of star anise was a brilliant stroke) and the grilled lobster. I have a deep admiration for anyone who cooks lobster with such precision. Succulent, faultlessly flavored and a vision on the plate; truly a festival for the senses. The reshmi roti is a must try while innovative pizza roti will go well as a starter with drinks.
Just as we were ready to throw in the towel, a tasting platter of three kheers: Gil-e-firdaus(Rice pudding with bottle gourd), Javvarisi Payasam(Jaggery pudding)and Ras Kheer (Sago or sabu danna pudding) was served. The Gil-e-firdaus was exceptional and we concluded our meal with the delightfulGulkand Shahi Kulfi(rose petal preserve flavored ice-cream).
Situated in Aero city, Kheer works to accommodate the sensibilities of foreigners as well as locals. While the dishes themselves may not require more spice, the accompaniments such as the chutneys could do with staying true to their roots and retain the original spice and tanginess. It is always heartening when Chefs, such as the ones at Kheer, take note and are open to feedback and are willing to consider suggestions. Kheer is on the brink of greatness, a few changes would be sufficient to make this an establishment to reckon with.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Rating– 3.0 | Ambience -4.5 | Service: 3.5 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for Two: Rs3500 ++ | Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes
Address: Kheer, Roseate House, Asset10, Hospitality District, Aerocity, Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, 110037 | Phone: 011-71558800
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement 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.