Savour signature cocktails, world cuisine at this luxury city resort

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New Delhi: Signature cocktails that raise the art of mixology to new heights and world cuisine that leaves you spoiled for choice, preceded by a yoga session and soothing spa treatment — all this and more is on offer at the Dusit Devarana luxury resort within the national capital, a stone’s throw from the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Dusit Devarana is perhaps the only five-star hotel in India that will soon welcome guests to a Michelen Starred restaurant.

“It’s extremely rare to find a resort like this within a city. We wanted to take the five-star experience – both in staying and dining – to a new level,” Devarana’s area general manager, Jaideep Anand, told IANS of the sprawling 8.5-hectare property, where the built-up area is only 1.5 hectares and some 1,000 trees and innumerable waterbodies abound.

“We didn’t cut a single tree. In fact, we inherited all the trees you see around, along with planting many more, as also hedges and the like,” Anand added.

“Our food and beverage philosophy is in line with the grandeur the architecture and design. Our dining options are distinct in their identity, true to their taste and we deliver service from the heart,” Executive Chef Nishant Chaube told IANS.

The property, the first luxury venture of the diversified Bird Group, is located on National Highway-8 and sees as its catchment area upscale south Delhi neighbourhoods, the diplomatic enclave and nearby Gurgaon.

My journey began at the Iah Bar, an architectural marvel complete with a grand piano and what seemed a stairway to the moon – and a twist. For the Devarana Tom Yum Mojito, out went the white run for vodka while the other ingredients – lemongrass, galangal, basil, and Demerara sugar – remained the same.

The lingering masala-tinged aftertaste was heavenly.

Also recommended are Burnt Peppers (tequila, charred peppers and pineapple that is refreshing, tasty and light) and Fizzy Granny Smith Martini (vodka, dry vermouth and a slice of green apple that will tickle your tounge).

Declining a second mojito, one resolutely headed, past three towering pillars capped by elaborate domes and across a waterbody, to the deliberately understated Kiyan restaurant to sample its farm fresh produce, authenticity in taste and a picture perfect plate.

The 108-cover outlet seats 76 indoors and 36 outdoors and features a chef’s table for eight that is expandable to 12, for an enhanced dining experience.

The signature drink here was a Devarana Vodkatini comprising vodka, green apple and basil and a mere hint of lime juice that made it just perfect.

Chef de Cuisine Dhiraj Dargan, who had specially crafted a taster’s menu for me from the larger three set menus – European, Thai and Indian – then served up a classic pomelo salad of grapefruit, Thai spices and gently browned onion whose consistency was just right.

This was followed by a torchon of foie gras – toasted broche, wine soaked prunes and caramalised onion jam – a fascinating intermingling of tastes which pleasantly did not clash.

It was now time for the soup – and it came in style. Into the soup dish went two inch-long compressed chicken rolls and corn, over which was poured the soup broth to make for a rather uplifting experience.

That was the Country Chicken Corn Soup and to ensure that vegetarians don’t lose out, there’s the Roasted Tomato Clementine Soup served in the same fashion with young orange confit and basil crostini.

The highlight of the main course was the Thai Duck Curry with litchis, tomatoes and pineapples and served with jasmine rice – the first two ingredients giving a new meaning to the dish, which normally entails a choice between chicken, mutton or fish.

By now, I was pretty stuffed but Chef Dargan insisted I try the lamb chop with cherry tomatoes, prunes and thyme and one bite revealed the reason why – it couldn’t have been better done!

The thought of dessert made me wonder if there was room for more but one look at the Devarana Sticky Toffee Pudding with a sesame crispy and ice cream banished all those thoughts and it disappeared in a jiffy.

There was still more to come: A Gaeng Phed Ped Yang yummy Thai dessert of glutinous dumplings with coconut sauce and a differently poached egg in the sense it took the shape of the fried variety.

In sum, an afternoon well spent and to relish the thought of the soon-to-open Kai Michelin Starred restaurant that promises a contemporary take on Chinese cuisine.

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