Grand market pavilion (ITC Grand Royal, kolkata)

In a NUtshell

A Royal mess in terms of managing the restaurant, cold, over worked & badly trained staff who reminded me of Sukumar ray’s ‘ram garurer chhana, hanste tader mana’ (people who don’t smile), good ambience but nothing Royal about it, HOWEVER, a truely grand spread of dishes & very good food – our taste buds were super happy.

Address & other details: grand market pavilion

Meal for 2: ₹3000 onwards

Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian

Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.

I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster

Short description- in case u r in a hurry

‘ITC grand Royal is royally mismanaged’ is the perception I got after two back to back visits to the restaurant Grand Market Pavilion.

Full of probably overworked (that’s not my problem), Arrogant people with plastic smiles. Probably I am too used to Oberoi or taj‘s warmth & professionalism. I would put the onus on Royal’s training team for doing a pathetic job & also the senior guys. The junior boys & girls on the floor did not come from Saturn – they are the same breed of people who others are able to train better. Young boys running around with stern looks on their faces as if they are defending the earth from alien invasion, with big frowns on the face & having their mind somewhere else when speaking to you.

Was there a shortage of people? Maybe yes. More people should have been flown in from other places to manage KOLKATA during durga pujo.

Booking a table was a nightmare. Could not be done thru Zomato. When we called, we were told ‘sold out’ by the front desk person who picked the call. She transferred multiple times to the restaurant but no one ever picked the call.

If the rush is so high, am sure people would be willing to pre pay for the meal to book tables. That wud increase seriousness of booking. Why not book pre paid slots thru Zomato / own site. We customers are used to doing that for food pop ups these days at people’s homes or thru authenticook.

The restaurant was supposed to open at 7pm. It opened at 750 pm. Whoever came first among the people who had prebooked, were not given preference. No system was put in place. A mad rush happened when they finally opened the door. The feeling was like 50 people starving trying to get free ration from an army truck during floods!!!

On 2-3 occasions we asked someone from the hotel to click a picture of all of us in the group. Facial expressions suggested that I had asked them to sign off their ancestral property in my name!!! Really??? In Oberoi / Leela/ taj palaces, even malis & sweeping staff have offered to click a picture on their own, with a smile.

After main course we needed new spoons as eating sondesh with Nihari flavours isn’t surely a great idea. Dessert spoons were conceptually not present. We asked someone to give us 5 dessert spoons for the table. The guy gave 2 tablespoons & fled, never to b seen again. We begged for spoons from other people for some more time, then wiped the forks & ate dessert with fork!!!

Worst 5 star hotel experience in india after long time. I wud hate to revisit, leave aside recommending to others.

On a separate note, the lighting in the common areas of the hotel are very bad for phone photography. They leave a shadow on the face. In today’s Instagram world It’s strange that this was not kept in mind by the architect while designing this new hotel. I was also surprised when a girl from the hotel walked up & said ‘DSLR photography not allowed’ – surprising in today’s social media led world , unless the management thinks they are above social media!!! Have heard ‘video camera not allowed / allowed with a permission’ elsewhere though.

The layout of the grand market pavilion restaurant is very smart. As we entered, there was a live counter of Asian food in the right. Along the walkway was European food, order to fry & order to grill. Straight up was a super interesting salad bar with so much variety & innovation that one can have a full meal with just salads.

On turning left there was a rectangular open kitchen surrounded by live counter of chaat, kababs & Indian food. On one corner was a dedicated section of north east food – a great initiative to showcase the food from this region who most others give a miss. On both the days there were different dishes & they were very good. Don’t remember anything from Nagaland, though, except the chutneys.

We went here on two occasions – one for lunch & another for dinner. We tried the salads, continental & north east food on one day. We tried Asian, north Indian, bengali food on the other.

Loved the food in general. Great attention to detail. Many dishes beyond the ordinary, beyond the usual.

The meat pieces in Indian Curries were too big in general. While people appreciate that in a la carte, sometimes it becomes a challenge to eat that big a piece of one wants to try many dishes. Also, in few cases the meats were suboptimally tender probably due to this reason. Live counters were excellent.

Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:

Day 1

The spread of the buffet was enormous. Here is what we tried.

Salads

There were two elaborate & separate sections for vegetarian & non vegetarian salads. We were blown out by the wide offering at salad bar & also very highly impressed with the innovations & occasional quirky names.

Seafood salad was very good. Perfect texture of seafood. Tinge of sour. Rate it 4.25/5

Kochi patha liver salad was excellent. ‘As soft as it can get’ mutton liver salad. Super loved it. The liver pieces were perfect. Overall the salad tasted great. Rate it 4.5/5

Bhindi mutton chaat was quite a unique combination for me. Loved it as it is & also the mutton pieces. Rate it 4.25/5

Prawn salad was made with good, fresh prawns. Simple. Nice. Rate it 4/5

North east

Iskus koh subzi – Himalayan winter squash curry was home like. Cooked with minimal oil & spices. Texture of the vegetable was retained. Very enjoyable. Rate it 4/5

Arhar dal – the texture was lovely. We cud get the dal in the mouth , yet they were perfectly soft. Rate it 4.25/5

Cheau – Sikkimese style stir fried mushroom with onions, tomatoes & chilly was another simple curry made with mushrooms. Nothing fancy. Different from most Indian mushroom curries. Rate it 4/5.

Loved the perfectly cooked Black rice.

Newari style fish curry (Nepali) has a brilliant thin gravy – flavorful & very tasty. the fish was fresh & good. Rate it 4.25/5.

Assamese style mutton curry with cumin was very nice. Of course very different from most mutton Curries due to use of one major spice. Thin gravy once again. Very flavorful. Rate it 4.75/5

Raja mircha coriander chutney, Raja mircha mint chutney were super hot as expected , & flavorful too.

We also tried some Chicken pickle & Garlic pickle with the food.

Continental

Octopus grilled – raw octopus was kept on the counter. We requested it to be grilled. Perfectly done. Soft, full of flavour. Great taste. Rate it 4.5/5

Grilled tenderloin – I asked whether it was cow meat or buffalo. Chef confirmed that it was cow meat. I had requested medium rare. It was perfect. Super juicy, full of flavours. Perfect balance if taste. Rate it 4.5/5

Very few restaurants in india make a good Seafood paella. Loved the one that we had here. Fresh seafood, perfectly cooked paella in terms of texture, flavours of seafood beautifully merged into the paella. Excellent. Rate it 4.5/5

Classic lamb stew was outstanding too. Perfectly cooked mutton that stick to the bone but fell off the bones with a slight nudge. The texture was too good. Flavours of the meat were beautifully captured. Rate it 4.5/5

Dessert

Pineapple caramel pudding was the best among the desserts we had. Perfect balance of salt & sweet. Loved the interplay of textures. Rate it 4.5/5

Kalo jam (kala jamun) was very nice. Semi hard bitter outer color, soft & tight inside – not too sweet. Rate it 4.25/5

Chhanar pulao was good but the ones at Balaram mullick radharaman mullick are better. Rate it 3/5

Baked doi was excellent. Rate it 4.5/5

Day 2

Continental & Asian

Lamb ossobuco was simply outstanding. Super soft, melt in the mouth lamb with outstanding texture that generally comes thru a slow cooking method. The sauce was just too good. Rate it 4.75/5

Mixed seafood in creamy dill sauce was excellent. Perfectly cooked seafood (usually a lot of kitchen staff in india don’t get it – they over cook sea food, resulting in chewiness). Flavours of the seafood was very well maintained. Rate it 4.75/5

Pork in barbecue sauce was super enjoyable. Perfect ratio of fat & meat in every piece, small bite size pieces, super soft, bursting with meaty flavours – just too good. Rate it 4.75/5

Thai soup from live counter was made to order from ingredients kept in the counter. Once again it was a masterpiece. The soup was thin & very flavorful, like in Thailand & unlike most Asian restaurants in india (who use thickeners to make the Asian soups to butter chicken gravy consistency). Rate it 4.5/5

Meat dumplings were outstanding- exactly the way it is made & served in the Far East. Thin outer layer, juicy meat in the middle. Rate it 4.5/5.

Bengali & other Indian

KOLKATA biryani – ITC makes undoubtedly the best biryani among 5 stars. The mutton dum Awadhi biryani at dum pukht is many light years ahead of most other biryanis. So when the same ITC had kolkata biryani on the menu, I decided to try.

The biryani had long, aromatic, independent grains of rice that were perfectly soft. The flavour of the rice was excellent. Fat used in the biryani was much lower than is used in the Awadhi biryani by ITC & is also less than that in the popular biryani joints of kolkata, like arsalan, Royal etc. rate the rice 4.5/5

The meat pieces were bigger than what usually are. They looked & felt drier & not juicy. They were fibrous too & we’re getting stuck between teeth. Flavours of the meat were very good. Meat did not seem to be from a small animal. The supple texture of meat in KOLKATA biryani that we are used to, was missing. Taste was very good though. Rate the meat 2.5/5.

Overall rating of biryani averages out to 3.5/5

Saag chingri was very good. Perfect texture of chingri (prawns), good flavours of saag & prawns. Rate it 4/5

Murgir jhol – thin gravy of chicken. Loved the jhol – fully flavorful. Rate it 4.5/5. The chicken pieces were again big & some of them chewy & fibrous. Rate the meat 1.5/5. Overall rating averages out to 3/5

Thande masale macchi was good. Rate it 3/5

Mutton curry was again tasty. The meats were sub optimally tender. The animals used were big ones. Rate the gravy 4/5. Rate the meat 1/5. Overall rating averages out to 2.5/5

Somewhere between the meal, one of our co diners got something from the Chaat counter, which turned out to be good. So we went back & tried dahi Bhalla & gol gappas.

Dahi Bhalla was delicious, though not comparable with natraj dahi bhalley of Chandni Chowk , delhi. It was chatakdaar. Rate it 4/5

DIY Gol gappas were good. Rate it 4/5

Dessert

Really liked the Dulce chocolate tart – intense, quite dark. Rate it 4.25/5

Loved the Baked yoghurt – dense, low sweet. Rate it 4.25/5

Caramel pudding was outstanding again. Rate it 4.5/5

Bonde (sweet boondi) was way below average. The general para shop does better. The bonde at balaram mullick radharaman mullick is way way superior. Rate the bonde 2/5.

Overall rating of food averages out to 4.3/5

I wud only revisit this place on official trips organised by my HR / any of my business partners. Unlikely to revisit again on my own. Had the restaurant been a specialty one like dum pukht, I wud hv kept going, even if they had a similar non culinary mess. But this restaurant grand pavilion is not even a specialty. The food served here is found as good in many top end restaurants in the country.

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