Friday, March 21, 2008

Jamavar and The Spa at Leela

Leela Palace BangaloreOf the three restaurants in the Leela Palace, I decided to try the Jamavar. This restaurant was recently voted as one of the world's top power dining spots by Forbes. Luxurious interiors resplendent with chandeliers and jamavar textiles combines with al fresco dining, facing the lush green oasis in the center of the hotel.

Leela Palace BangaloreChef Farman Ali’s culinary journey takes you through Mughlai and Nawabi India. The fixed menu I chose came in three courses. In the first course of kababs, I began with the Jheenga Sultani, jumbo prawns marinated in spiced yogurt with a hint of saffron and star aniseed. The next was the Poda Chapa, crispy fried seer fish sprinkled with spices. The Gosht Nawabi Raan was leg of baby flavored with Awadhi masala and finished in a tandoor. The Murgh Chandni was juicy chicken marinated with cheese, cream, green chillies and scented with green cardomom. While the kababs were good, I have had better.

Leela Palace Bangalore
In the main course, I began with the Rogan Josh, chunks of lamb simmered in a red Kashmiri gravy. The Murgh Handi Lazeez was chicken cooked in a gravy of yogurt, cardomom, saffron and other spices. But the best one was yet to come! The lobster neeruli, their signature dish, was certainly the best. This is the must-try dish here. The rest of the curries were good, but not particularly great. Both the kababs and curries in this restaurant were milder than is usual. I am guessing they get more western guests than Indians in this hotel.

Other items I noticed on the menu were the Dum Nalli Korma made of lamb shanks in bone marrow curry. South Indian inspirations include Telengana Lamb Chops stir fried with spices, Meen Kuzhumbu which is seer fish in a tangy spicy curry, Prawn Manga Kuruma which is a mango and coconut based curry and the Vendakkai Mulakittathu, okra in a tangy spicy curry. The deserts were nothing to write about: a gulab jamun and a badam kulfi flavored with saffron.

Leela Palace Bangalore
The Leela has two other restaurants. Zen, the Oriental restaurant has Japanese, Chinese and Thai items. Al Fresco dining, fixed and a la carte menus and a good dimsum selection make this an interesting option. Citrus is where the buffet breakfasts and lunches are served and serves a combination of western and Indian food. However, it was probably good I didn't venture into these restaurants! Charles, who left a comment in my previous post says the food is aweful in both of them.

The Library Bar and the Cigar Room are plush, opulent and can make you feel like a maharaja as you nurse your favorite drink or cigar late in the day. The picture below are of white, fluffy idlis at the Citrus.

Leela Palace Bangalore
The Spa at the Leela is spead out over a large area that has fitness equipment, therapy rooms specially designed for western and Ayurvedic body treatments, a sauna, steam room and Jaucczi. The Ayurveda section with its special rooms and therapists seems more authentic than the ones I have experienced in Goa. This may have to do with the fact that the Leela is run by a family who came from Kerala, the Indian state that first made Ayurvedic spa treatments popular in recent times.

I tried the Abhyanga Snana followed by Shirodhara (see picture below). In this, you are bathed in oils and massaged with long, fluid strokes in traditional Kerala ayurveda tradition. They use a wooden massage table with grooves on the sides for the oil to collect. The therapy room had an attached shower room. The medicinal oils, herbal body scrub, herbal drink post-massage were all pretty exotic and cool.

Leela Palace BangaloreAyurveda massage differs in two ways from western massages (which are also available here). In Ayurveda, the techniques differ, the oils are medicated and the table is of wood and you get a loin-cloth to wear. Western massages here are administered by a female masseuse and the massage technique depends on what you selected. The steam room here is quite good and recommended as is their large Jacuzzi.

4 comments:

Zhu said...

The food looks yummy for sure but the massage... wow, I'm dying for one right now!

backpakker said...

the food is quite good here ...but am not a fan of the Leela..

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Shantanu said...

@zhu, backpakker: Thanks for the comments.