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ITC GRAND CHOLA, CHENNAI

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Royal Vega, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

Posted by: gqindia On Monday, Apr 15, 2013

Source: http://www.gqindia.com/content/review-royal-vega-itc-grand-chola-chennai/#s-cust0

Tags: Dining

At a time when most Indian chefs prefer flaunting their International culinary credentials, veteran ITC chef Manjit Gill is busy deep diving into the art of Indian cuisine. ITC’s most successful restaurants have always been Indian classics like Dum Pukht, Peshawari and Dakshin and their newest culinary venture at ITC’s Grand Chola, that offer up cuisines from the royal kitchens of India. But this might be ITC’s most bold move till date.

Bold because Chennai, despite popular misconceptions, is largely non-vegetarian – it is one of the few cities where KFC completely outnumbers McDonald’s. Not only is this restaurant’s menu entirely vegetarian but every member of the culinary team is also a certified vegetarian to boot. By now we are sure we’ve lost all you carnivores, but do stay with us. Royal Vega is not a restaurant you want to skip solely on the basis of its vegetarian fare.

 The menu is the perfect blend of the familiar and the exotic, like the delicious Gucchi Basmati: a patty with Himalayan morels and Basmati wrapped in gold leaf. The best way to explore this new experience is to order their platter (thali) that rounds up all the day’s specials into one overwhelmingly gratifying meal. The ingredients are rich but not greasy; you won’t need to loosen your belt after. Typically Indian gravies tend to combine too many spices, taking your taste buds for a spin. It’s refreshing to see just one or two spices stealing the spotlight on this menu, as evidenced in the tomato infused Paneer Khaasa with a hint of fenugreek, or the Ganika – a basmati rice flavoured with freshly picked jasmine flowers. 

 The menu is built on the science of Ayurveda and is fit enough for royalty. The cuisine is from an era when India had six distinct seasons (ritus) and the food was modified for each. Ayurveda might not be synonymous with scrumptious cuisine, but thankfully Royal Vega strikes the perfect balance between goodness and flavour.

 In a hotel where size is everything, Royal Vega is nestled in a refreshingly intimate space. The interiors are aimed at transporting you to the inner sanctums of an erstwhile palace, and they do. With five private dining rooms, it can be a perfect setting for a closed door corporate dinner or a private gathering with friends (you can finally call that strict vegetarian from your college gang too).

 Either way, whatever your occasion, a visit to Royal Vega just might convince all you carnivores that it is possible to go all-out vegetarian, but definitely not skimp on the fun.

 

GQ Recommends:Paneer Khasa, Kesri Aloo, Pithi Poori, Kheer Sagar

Service: Enthusiastic and efficient  

Innovation: From milling flour to grinding their own masalas, most of the ingredients are crafted in-house

Snooty factor: High

Celeb-o-meter: Local corporate honchos and visitors to Chennai like Rakesh Mittal and Vir Sanghvi. 

Classic Potential: High. Can attract corporate entertainment at lunch with their platter (Currently a dinner-only restaurant).   

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