Restaurants & Bars

India & South Asia

5 days of business eats in Gurgaon - April 2014

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5 days of business eats in Gurgaon - April 2014

Nevy | May 11, 2014 12:04 PM

I had a whirlwind trip to New Delhi where the business meetings dominated most of the days and we were escorted to 'safe' choices by the hosting company. Even though we expressed interest in trying local specialties, it was clear the restaurants and host thought otherwise. So even though we ate fairly well, I felt we missed what could be offered and I wanted to just give a review to other business travelers so they don't make the same mistake as us.

We stayed at the Westin hotel and though it's remarked as a 5 star hotel, it's more like a 3.5 in the international stage. Sure, everything looks glossy in the restaurants in the photo but the wear and tear plus really poor service standard just brought everything down. Westin has 3 restaurants and we went to 2 of them.

The first was EEST which is their east Asian offering. The menu was large and it included everything from Chinese (hodge podge of Sichuan and Cantonese), Japanese, and Thai. It did have a generous portion of the menu dedicated to vegetarian dishes and I appreciated that. The service had no clue about the dishes... we would ask specifics and they would point to the menu and read exactly word for word what was printed. It was like they didn't comprehend the question and instead of asking what we were trying to find out, they just read out loud what we previously questioning. The other problem was that they were ridiculously pushy on their drink offering. I guess they were trying to sell the sake and we told them 3 times none of us liked sake. After the 4th attempt by the same waiter, someone in our group said if they remembered the 3 previous questions of sake and our repeated answer. I think the server finally understood that 'no thank you... we don't like safe' really means 'no'. We ordered a variety across the menu... sashimi and sushi for one, another ordered cantonese dishes, the other colleague ordered Japanese izakaya based dishes, and I ordered thai and a bit of cooked Japanese. There were some dishes that were lacking like the sushi. They were tiny... as in 0.5 inch across! The sushi was not great as they really put little fish to balance a larger piece of shari. The tuna was a bit too chewy. The fried rice, stir fried chicken, grilled chicken skewer (Japanese), and thai green vegetables stir fry was all decent. Though I have no proof, all the vegetables seem to be frozen vegetables as they were all mushy and torn edges that I commonly see in frozen broccoli and beans. The only item that was pretty good was the chawanmushi for it's texture. It claimed to include shrimp and other items but they were either very tiny or absent in the dish. The texture though was a perfect jiggly smooth savoury custard. I was happy to have ordered it.

The other restaurant we tried is Seasonal Taste which is their 24 hours lobby open air restaurant. The kitchen sits directly behind the food. I ate here for breakfast and one dinner. There are plenty of options as it caters to the Japanese, Chinese, American, and traditional Indian palates. For food quality, it was decent with some highlights. Their Asian area (Japanese and Chinese) tried to offer dimsum but it was chewy and overcooked. They had miso soup, various cooked fish (which sat under a heat lamp), jook (or congee) with various available mix ins, stir fried vegetables (which went a yucky yellow because it sat boiling in the pot), and a large variety of traditional sauces. For dinner, they did have thai curries available and a few more stir fries that seemed Asian. The American section for breakfast was truly all American... breakfast fries, bacon, sausage, quiche, eggs prepared as requested, sliced ham (I think), and more perhaps a meat patty? The Indian section is where I think they had the greatest variety. Lots of various meat and vegetarian curries, masalas, and chutneys plus lots of freshly made breakfast 'bread' options like dosa, idli, samosa, uttapam, parantha, and bhaji. I had a freshly made dosa and wow, definitely good stuff. Loved the crispiness without the heavy oil and the sambhar/chunteys were a great flavourful punch. I ended up getting sunny side eggs, dosas, and mixing all the chutneys with everything for bold tastes. They also had a decent section of fresh fruits, juices, and cold cut meats/fish. Lastly, they had a bread area where muffins, donuts, croissants, quick breads, and other baked sweets were available. On a good day, most things were pretty good but it's clear that they do keep old stuff for the next day as the Tuesday morning breakfast was really horrible. The croissant was as limp as a wet sponge and the donuts were stale.

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