Inflation has reared its ugly head, leading to hotels claiming 6- and 7-star status, but officially 5 is as high as the ratings go. A 5-star hotel is always
associated with luxury and high prices. The touchstones too are different at these rarefied heights. Luxury is no fun if you can't whine about the temperature of the Bollinger.The Scene
It's a pleasant, rangy and gelid walk down the opulent silence of the Taj Krishna
's corridor from the lobby to the staircase that takes you down to the Firdaus. Footfalls deadened by lush carpets, vast expanses of glass let in the sky while keeping the heat firmly out, busts of long-forgotten visages on gleaming pedestals, and the sheer luxury of this passage lull, pacify, and soothe your nerves.
You descend a couple of short flights to the restaurant. Both physically and metaphorically. Set at the swimming pool level, the restaurant shows a few signs of wear. The carpets on the stairs, for instance, are a little weary and could do with a change. The large U-shaped room is laid out around a stage. One where ghazal singers hold forth in the gloaming. Greenery abounds outside the huge glass windows. The short arms of the "U" can be inconvenient at night you can't see the singers from there. The wooden columns also look a little out of place, bringing to mind Baloo in King Louis' court.
Music in the afternoons is not live, and can do with some improvement. Food promotions are held from time to time, which means you may well be confronted with three menus one for the liquor, one for the regular fare, and one for whatever's being promoted. The service, like the carpets, shows signs of age erring this time on the opposite end of maturity. You'd expect to get expert guidance on what's what, and the maitre'd is indeed knowledgeable. But some of the waiters seem to be learning the ropes.
Pampering delicate egos is an art that takes years to develop.The Food
If you have to ask the price, of course, you can't afford it. That's the maxim at 5-star restaurants the world over. The Taj Krishna's not very different. Soups run to about Rs. 175, starters to about Rs. 350, and the main course can run upto twice as much if you plump for the exotic ones. Exotic, of course, is the way to go. Why eat here if you're on a diet, or, worse, on a budget?
Skip the soups and order a Murgh Churgah. Chicken cooked on a slow fire, seasoned to perfection, it's a divine dish. Vegetarians should seriously consider turning carnivorous, if only temporarily. If you have to be bullheaded, try the Kakari Kababs.
Move on to Zaffrani Parathas, with Dal Firdaus. Jhinge Ka Salan for the non-vegetarians is excellent, while Poacha Aloo works well for the others. Rice dishes are good, without being exceptional. The same goes for the desserts.
Overall, the tastes are well brought out, and the dishes presented pleasingly enough.The Verdict
Were it not for the high standards demanded by a 5-star hotel, the food would easily count as exceptional. But you eat at a 5-star for more than just the food. You need to taste the luxury. By those counts, this doesn't quite make it to Mount Olympus. The overall experience somehow leaves something to be desired.