Hyderabad's famed food trail has a new flavour... brought in by none other than the recently opened ITC Kohenur
The ITC Kohenur is inspired by the priceless 13th century famed diamond, the Kohinoor, referred to as Koh-e-nur, mountain-of-light in Persian, which is widely believed to have been found in a mine close to Hyderabad and reflects the art, culture, cuisine and heritage of the region in a contemporary milieu.Albeit one might add, there’s the obvious challenge – To offer a new food destination is an incredibly daunting proposition, considering that outstanding specialty cuisine options in Hyderabad have already stamped their name in this city of celebrated gourmet fare. One can well imagine that for ITC Hotels, where creating internationally renowned signature restaurants has always been a preoccupation, the very thought of opening a hotel in India’s legendary food capital, would have sparked much introspection and excitement.
How does one match existing cuisine brilliance?
The ITC Luxury Collection decided to debut three outstanding signature fine dining restaurants serving speciality cuisine at the ITC Kohenur. Ably led by General Manager Tejinder Singh, who has a keen eye for detail, ITC Kohenur, in its short four months of opening, has done the nigh- impossible. It has confirmed that it has a winner on its hand, which is on its way to being a food destination in its own right, amidst hallowed legends of yore.
The culinary concepts are clear. The elegantly casual rooftop Italian restaurant Ottimo–Cucina Italiana, ITC’s signature pan-Italian brand, is a brilliant masterstroke as it perfectly complements the mood created by the adjoining SkyPoint Bar, with its indoor and outdoor tall ceilings and a warm brick and cedar wood setting. A constant mellow breeze whips up spirits and is a natural high – pun intended – as guests take in the picturesque view of the Hyderabad skyline, Durgam Lake and the historic Golconda fort while sipping the finest premium spirits.
Taking this ambience to the next level, Ottimo creates magic with cuisine that is so well balanced in its flavours that melt-in-mouth dishes follow one after another, from its interactive, live kitchen and walk-in Cellar. The stunning floor of Travertino Rosso, pale dusk-pink brickwork, copper accents and polished wood tables brings in oodles of character, which the restaurant uses to its advantage.
At Yi Jing, a new culinary brand from ITC, classic and creative Chinese cuisine showcases delicate flavours and gourmet offerings.
The rich interiors of Dum Pukht Begum’s, reflects another famous diamond that originates from the region – Noor-ul–ain (Light of the Eye), a tribute to the Princesses of Hyderabad who gave to the world an appreciation of fine things. Dum Pukht Begum’s showcases the ‘Grand cuisine of India,’ including influences from the royal cuisine of Hyderabad. Well established on the international culinary circuit, the cuisine sources recipes from the royal kitchens of India and presents it with a contemporary take.
Golconda Pavilion, an all-day dining restaurant, showcases a large selection of Indian and inventive international cuisine. A refreshing highlight is the ‘Local Love’ repertoire, featuring Telangana and Andhra favourites – both buffet and a-la-carte options.
The crystal-clear glass facade of the Peacock Bar, inspired from the Daria-e-noor (River of Light), also known as the Kohinoor Diamond’s ‘sister,’ is the lobby bar featuring an extensive collection of fine beverages and presents a great watering hole for the city’s elite.
Fabelle offers a unique, luxury chocolate experience boutique by ITC.
Indulgence and Gastronomy
Pairing a great wine collection with such splendid cuisines calls for sensitivity and flair from the sommelier. Vivek Batra, F&B Manager, does the honours with a perfect selection to complement and accentuate food flavours.
Thus, during dinner at Ottimo, the rooftop Italian restaurant, the wine pairing menu begins with a melt-in-the-mouth Beetroot Bouche, paired with a fabulous white wine. Antipasti offerings include Scallop with Cauliflower Coulis and Buratta Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto.
The soup choice was between a Seafood Broth with Couscous, followed by a preparation of Mushroom & Black Truffle. In the ravioli section, the offer was of a Rabbit Ravioli & Balsamic Reduction and Pumpkin Ravioli with sage and butter.
Setting off the next note is a big lush wine, The Chocolate Block, to complement the famous pork creation, prepared with two days of ritual care. The wine is mostly a Syrah, Grenache or Cabernet, with a smattering of possibly Cinsault & Viognier, but the blend changes every year. The mystery behind its name spawned off a graphic novel !
Accompanying the main course is a fine Brancott Estate, Sauvignon Blanc, considered to be a benchmark of New Zealand wines, lending its crisp freshness and tropical fruit aroma to a well balanced and a perfectly cooked Lamb Chop with gin and red wine sauce, as well as a delicious Eggplant Parmigiana. Dessert showcased a vegetarian Pannacotta and a flawless Tiramisu.
At Dum Pukht Begum’s splendid repast , the menu features servings of Mahi Lagan Zaffrani, Seb Zamini, Murgh Khatai Shikanja, Arvee Kebab, Pathar ka Gosht and Seekh Nilofari. Dum Pukht Begum’s food is a rich style Indian cuisine with some spice, and a fine white, lightly dry Italian style Zonin Pinot Grigio wine was well paired with the first course of prawns and Pathar ka Gosht. The elegant red wine that followed successfully offset the main course. The main course selection is a collection from the Royal Kitchens of Awadhi and Hyderabadi Nawabs and offers a grand menu with imaginative descriptions: Tarare Jhinge, Begum’s Mahi Qaliya, Nizami Dum ka Murgh, Osmania Lagan ki Boti, Baghare Baigan, Dakhni Chowgra, Asifia Badami Aloo do Pyaaza and Dal Badshah Pasand.
There is a further choice of fragrant Hyderabadi Gosht Biryani, Shahi Qubooli, Mirchi ka Salan, Dahi ki Chutney and Khwaan-E-Shireen.
Accompaniments include Warqi Naan-E-Bachmuch or Naan Nazuk or Shahana Kulcha. Rounding off the dessert section was the aromatic Kesari Phirni.
Yi Jing – the Chinese Speciality restaurant , has a beautiful ambience that stimulates and enriches on account of an open kitchen and a inspired ambience. The menu repertoire celebrates culinary traditions from Sichuan and Hunan provinces.
A sparkling Moet & Chandon sets the mood for the set menu of a mouth watering selection of Dimsum: Sake and Edamame Dumplings, Steamed Mushroom Buns, Seafood Tobiko Dumplings and Chicken Char Sui Dumplings.
For the Appetizers section, a choice of delicious fare includes: Cantonese Style Lotus Stems, Hunan Style Chilli Tofu and Sichuan Style Crispy Prawns.
The next course was delightful with a intense white Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc offering notes of capsicum, and tomato leaf, dried herb, and passion fruit. It balanced a delectable Chinese Barbeque featuring Beijing Duck, Quinoa and Tofu Soup, Crab Meat and Egg White Soup.
A deep velvet Bordeaux Bad Boy comes into its own with the Main Course offerings of a braised Mushroom Jewel Box with Truffle Oil; Purple Potato and Vegetables in Gung Bao Sauce, Hot Braised Chicken with Homemade Chilli Powder, and a Lamb with Black Pepper and Wok Tossed Asparagus.
Accompaniments feature: Noodles & Rice, Yi Jing Fried Rice and Hand Pulled Noodles. Desserts are to splurge with: a selection of Jasmine Tea Tart, Madagascar Milk Chocolate and Apricot Sponge