Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Special Lunch | the Square, Novotel

Santa was listening when I wished for a Christmas event I guess! Fruit mixing - oh yes, I would have loved that! But he was still getting his sleigh ready at that time of the year I reckon. Well, next year for sure. You listening Santa?  I was happy to receive an invite from Abanti, Manager Marketing Services, Ibis and Novotel, for a Christmas special lunch. Super! Specially excited since this was going to be a first for me!

Expectations were high as we had thoroughly enjoyed a very delectable spread previously . And had then heard very good things about the brunch there. More of Chef  Kailash Gundupalli's fare!

A huge Gingerbread house, more red and green greet you as you enter. A Gingerbread house I think, is one the most charming Christmas sights. Wonder when I will actually get to making one! Much as I would have loved to, I did not stop for a picture as I was already late. the Square decked with Christmas trees beckoned! With mulled wine, cocktails and mock tails for the less adventurous like me, the meal began. I had an Orange Fizz, a pleasant mildly fizzy tall drink to sip on.
The amuse bouche was one which made all of us sigh! Goat's cheese with balsamic, garnished with a bright chip of beetroot. Creamy, subtle, delicious.

Next came the Roasted Pumpkin Soup With Truffle Oil. Subtle, hearty, not at all sweet, very nice!  We ate it with the selection of crusty breads. Simple yet satisfying, could happily have a large bowl of it for a meal ! With the temperature dipping, I guess I would have to make some of it soon.

I am not a huge fan of salads, though I do enjoy them once in a while. The French Bean Salad was salad with beans, poached pears, orange segments, blue cheese, pine nuts and honey mustard dressing.  It would have tasted better if the beans had been really tender. Sadly not, the beans were anything but tender, made me leave my salad unfinished. The slightly on the sweeter side Pineapple And Black Pepper Sorbet felt more as a misfit in the meal served after the salad. Sorbet lovers may appreciate it, but maybe at the end of the meal?

I was really looking forward to the main course as it read Mille Fueille Of Crisp Potato, Cottage Cheese and Vegetables with Herb Cream Sauce . The layer of grated potatoes was a struggle to cut it as it was very chewy. Gave up on the potato layer, relished the cottage cheese and  vegetables with the creamy herb sauce. The dish was mild but flavorful, a savory mille feuille is an idea I loved and would like to try. Had the potato layers been crisp and delicate it would have made a huge difference to the dish.  

Then came the dessert platter, with enough dessert for at least 2 people! A slice of the Christmas Cake, very rich, sweet, dense, loaded with fruit. If that's how you like your cake, you may enjoy it. Unfortunately, I fall into the category who like the cake less dense, less rich.

Plum pudding with brandy sauce was a tad lighter compared to the cake. Since the brandy was not very assertive, I did not find the sauce a deterrent to have more than a couple of spoonfuls! The stollen (a fruit studded rich bread) was toasted with generous amounts of butter, seriously indulgent, but you will enjoy a couple of bites of it. The vanilla bean gelato was pleasant enough, helped cut down the sweetness and richness of the other desserts. I certainly would have appreciated a more assertive flavor of the bean in it.

It can't be a Christmas dessert platter without mince pie! Mincemeat filled in a buttery pie crust and baked. Again, very rich. The heavy dessert platter ensured I was way too full to think of having coffee, though it did seem like the perfect way to end the meal on a cold day.

Going by the previous experience at Novotel, this experience was a bit of a let down. If you are a vegetarian, your choices are really limited. You stand a better chance of enjoying the experience if you are open to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and of course enjoy the alcohol - mulled wine and in the desserts.  Fruit cake, mince pie,  plum pudding all seem to be a category in themselves, leaving little by way of variety. A slice of Yule Log or Pecan pie or even Pavlova would be lovely and add more variety. 

Apparently, it was thumbs-up for a few dishes and not-quite-there for the other dishes in the non-vegetarian options.

Thanks Novotel for having us over, we had fun! The special Christmas 4 course menu will be served for lunch and dinner on 25th December, the price 999 + taxes.

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