Jodhpur – A Royal Dining Experience

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The historic city of Jodhpur—whose origin dates back to 1459 AD—is the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is called the Gateway to Thar, as it is literally on the edge of the That desert. Not too long ago I’ve watched a Hindi movie shot in Jodhpur where the spectacular blue houses were shown. I’ve been meaning to visit the city since but did not make any real efforts toward making it happen because first, I’m already living in the middle of a desert so going to another desert for a vacation doesn’t feel enticing. Second, we almost always visit India during the summer so, yeah, no desert for me, please!

I did, however, looked forward to my lunch at Jodhpur! I’ve been hearing and reading great reviews about this restaurant but have never really gotten the chance to visit until a few days ago when my colleagues and I decided to eat out.

Jodhpur – Royal Dining

Located within the grounds of Al Murooj Rotana. Once you give your car keys to the valet (complimentary), you are then taken on a short buggy ride from the reception to the restaurant’s door.

The place is generously staffed, each one of them attentive, polite, knowledgeable and efficient. The menu has a decent spread of vegetarian choices – a key consideration since we were dining with a vegetarian colleague.

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As you can see, the interiors are a blend of a traditional haveli  and a resplendent palace. The regal setting momentarily transported me to an older era, as if I’ve just been invited to partake in a royal meal with noblemen, princesses, and maharajas.

While most folks visit Jodhpur for dinner, the sparkling chandeliers casting a subtle glow and lending a romantic ambiance to the place, I’m delighted to have visited during the day when I can sit next near the huge glass windows with lots of natural light pouring in and take good pictures of the beautifully plated dishes.

Pre-Starters

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Jeera Khari with Herb Yoghurt

Indian puff pastry, dredged with caraway seeds & served with herb yoghurt. Crisp flaky kharis certainly brings childhood memories back in a jiffy.

While other Indian restaurants would commonly serve the usual papad as pre-starters, Jodhpur surprised us with Jeera Khari, which is usually taken with afternoon tea. It was even more unusual that it was served with this delicious yoghurt dip and, surprisingly, both went together really well.

Amuse-Bouche

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Macaron Chaat

Macaron stuffed with tangy filling & served as chaat with all the elements like sweet, sour, crunchy, chewy. Eating this is like putting a tiny dynamite in the mouth & gives a whirlpool of flavors within.

Made of almond flour, the filling for these macarons contain yoghurt, lime powder, onions and coriander roots. This was another unusual creation. The macarons are slightly sweet and had that characteristic chewy bite to it, while the filling has a sour note.

Starters

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Laban & Ricotta Kabab, Rose Ash

Crispy fried melange of Hung Curd & Ricotta, coated with Rose Ash. Served cold from the centre to allow a contrast in the dish. Bold step for any Indian restaurant to do a cold kabab, however is justified as hot temperatures ruins both yoghurt & ricotta. Crispy coating is derived after flash frying the kabab & then rolling it in dehydrated & smoked rose petals.

I love ricotta. I wondered how someone can pull off creating a kabab from ricotta and laban – both ingredients requiring low temperature. My colleague and I ordered this dish out of curiosity but ended loving it! The kababs are so soft, melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

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Raan, Ghost Pepper Brushed, Sesame Lavash

8 hours braised goat leg & finished in tandoor marinated with Chipotle Cream & served with sesame lavash for some crunch & topped up with Gold leaf on the top. The gold leaf is extremely thin and delicate, and doesn’t seem to show in the picture.

The meat is so succulent and tender that I wondered how it hasn’t disintegrated already!

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Bhuna Chooza, Young Chicken Confit, Spit Roasted

Young Chicken marinated with a unique mixture made with yoghurt, dried mango powder, cumin seeds, yellow chili powder, and mustard oil. It is then cooked in tandoor till nice and tender.

Two of my colleagues wanted to order this dish but they were hesitating because of the words “bhuna chooza”, which literally translates to roasted chick. Looking at the menu, they envisioned a cute, tiny little fluffy thing, and immediately felt horrified that someone would actually roast it! Reluctantly, just to be sure, they asked about it. They went about it discreetly, “How large would a serving of this dish be like?” “Oh, it would be good for 2-3 people. There will be chicken legs and the breast.” Relieved that such a serving meant it couldn’t possibly belong to a chooza, they ordered it. The chicken is flavorful and not too sour, as I thought it would be.

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Amritsari Fish ‘N’ Chips, Jalapeño Cream

Cod fish marinated overnight & panko crumb fried till crisp topped with cream derived from Jalapeño peppers. Served with potato chips on the side. I love fish, specially the crispy flaky ones, and this one tastes just perfect!

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Chicken Tikka Trio, Classic, Lime, Murgh Malai

Assortment of Chicken Tikkas, 3 flavours in form of classic, kaffir lime & murgh malai, out of which kaffir lime being the most unconventional one! There’s also cashew nut paste, lemon juice, lemon rind, garam masala, and butter in there.

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Kale Patta Chaat, Chatpata Tarbooz, Feta Curd

This is a must-try! Flash-fried Kale leaves served over classic watermelon & feta salad. Drizzled with chutney trios & spices surrounded with crunchy yoghurt. There’s mint chutney in there, tamarind chutney, pomegranate seeds, and chaat masala. It’s crunchy, it’s cold, and it’s sweet and a little tangy. My favorite!

Palate Cleanser

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Mango, Cranberry & Kaffir Lime Sorbet

Sorbet to clean your palate so that you get ready for the main course. Served in toy pressure cookers, the sorbet is made with fresh Alphonso puree spiked with kaffir lime leaves & de-hydrated cranberries. Pressure cookers are so symbolic to Indian household kitchens & sorbets are made like popsicles to remind you once again of the childhood memories.

Main Course

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‘Dal Baati’ Multi Grain Choorma, Lahsuni Chutney

This is a very classic dish and extremely popular in the state of Rajasthan. Baked whole wheat flour dumplings soaked in clarified butter & served with lentil preparation & other accompaniments. Ingredients include split gram lentils, moong dal, cloves, cinnamon quills, green coriander, sugar, almonds, cashew nuts, green cardamom, garlic.

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Jhinga Chettinad, Gun Powder Pappad

Golden garlic-glazed tiger prawns tossed in chettinad spiked sauce made with coconut milk & topped up with crispy parmesan papad.

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‘Homemade Chicken’ Pinenut Poha, Sirka Pyaaz

Boneless Chicken pieces stewed in onion-tomato gravy made with chicken stock & seasoning. Plus points for not making the gravy sweet like how other fine-dining Indian restaurants do.

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‘Afghani Dujaj’ Truffle Cream, Masala Missi

Masood’s order. Another favorite of mine! Tandoor-grilled chicken stuffed with mushrooms mixture simmered in cream based gravy spiked up with Truffle oil & served with humble tehri inspired couscous tabouleh. Served with tiny missi roti.

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‘Gatta Curry’ Kurkuri Bhindi, Jalapeño Pepper

Gram flour dumplings simmered in yoghurt based gravy & tempered with spices. A traditional curry with a twist of crispy okra on the top.

This was my order and it was my first time to try gatta curry, a special dish from Rajasthan. This was so flavorful and I love the twist of adding jalapeño in this dish! In fact, I’d love to attempt recreating this dish at home!

Dessert

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Dulce De Leche, SorbetTrio, Kheer Crisps

Caramelized Milk & Rice pudding cooked for several hours topped with trio of sorbets to cut down on the richness, garnished with pudding crisps.

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Saffron Jalebi, Mascarpone Rabdi, Gold Dust

Crisp miniature Jalebis accompanied with Mascarpone Rabdi. Dredged with Golden Dust. We had so much fun eating this. Also, henceforth, I’ll have my jalebi with cardamom-infused mascarpone.

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Ras Malai with Frozen, Crushed Rose Petals

This was complimentary, courtesy of the friendly and delightful folks at Jodhpur Royal Dining!

We were completely stuffed and had absolutely no space for dessert, but couldn’t also help wanting to find out what Chef Pradeep Khullar will create for us! He is such a warm, professional and talented chef! And he was more than happy to share the description for these dishes.

The service is impeccable, the food delicious and beautifully plated. The servings are also large. We had to ask them to pack the leftovers. We were a group of eight people and the bill came to a total of AED 2000 something.

 

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