Aish takes you to a time when kings reigned. Dining at this exclusive Hyderabadi and Andhra restaurant at The Park is a truly royal experience.
If you want a truly royal experience then I’d suggest dining at Aish, an exclusive Hyderabadi and Andhra restaurant at The Park. As I stepped into Aish I felt like I’d been transported to another time altogether — a time where the royals reigned and I felt like one of them. The large ornate silver door beckoned as I walked towards a royal experience. The play of beige and silver in the restaurant’s décor (it was designed by Tarun Tahiliani) works perfectly well for the theme and the restaurant’s Swarovski lights give it just the right ambience.
The courteous staff seated us as we were offered a choice of dishes from their À la carte menu or the newly introduced Royal Thali in a choice of vegetarian and non vegetarian. Intrigued by the menu that is aimed at the corporate crowd that prefers a quick lunch, my friend and I decided to settle for the Royal Thali. We started our meal with a refreshing welcome drink – a concoction of orange juice and mint, followed by the soups. For the non-veg thali we were served some wholesome Gosht ka Marag (lamb broth with freshly ground spices) while in the vegetarian thali it was the flavourful and spicy Kaddu ka sherwa (curried butternut squash soup).
Chef Mandaar, who designed the menu, sure believes in giving traditional dishes his own little twist. For instance, he gave the usual tikki a green twist with the delicious Hari Gobhi ki Tikki made of broccoli and dill. Crunchy on the outside and soft inside, it was the perfect starter for a monsoon lunch. The Gongura Paneer Tikka, a tangy offering was the highlight of the meal. In the non veg thali we were served Sunheri murgh kebab, succulent morsels of roasted chicken, and some Shikampur kebab. For me, the Shikampur took the cake. The minced meat cutlets were seasoned perfectly and melted in my mouth. Delicious!
The main course was the thali itself with a naan, lachcha paratha, papad, anaari raita and palakura pappu. For the non vegetarians the thali offers Safed Qorma, Methi Kaju Murg and Chatpata Paneer. What made the choice of dishes interesting was the fact that the chefs at Aish have trained with some of the royal families of Hyderabad. The Safed Qorma, succulent pieces of lamb simmered in a cinnamon and dry fruit infused milk, is a recipe that they got from the Jung family. I’ve usually eaten mutton in a range of spicy and heavy gravies. But this one came as quite a surprise to me, with its subtle yet delicious flavouring. It didn’t leave me with a greasy feeling. The Methi Kaju Murg though, was a tad too bland for my palate, but the Chatpata Paneer more than made up for this with its tangy tomato and onion gravy.
For the vegetarians there Dum ki Bhindi, Dhuyen ki Paneer Kakhina and Dosakaya Tamato Curry. My friend who tried the vegetarian thali was mighty pleased with the smokey paneer and the dosakaya, although she felt a bit let down by the Bhindi. We were served the Subzi Biryani along with the main course, which I didn’t particularly enjoy. It could have done with a bit more of spices and I don’t mean the tongue-numbing kind, but the more flavourful ones.
The dessert, was by far the highlight of the meal. We were served some Maple and Walnut Kulfi, which might sound very strange to many conventional kulfi lovers. But don’t judge this dessert without first trying it. Right from my first bite to the last I relished every bit of this creamy ricotta cheese concoction infused with some maple syrup and crunchy walnuts. It is every dessert lover’s delight and a wonderful twist to the traditional kulfi.
So if you want to sample some authentic Hyderabadi and Andhra cuisine, with a twist of course, do try out the Aish thali. It is definitely one you’d want to sample.
Aish, The Park
When: Lunch (till 3pm)
Meal for two: Rs 1,500 plus taxes
(with a glass of house wine) Rs 2,400 plus taxes