This is a review of stay & food at Dar es salam hotel Srinagar, Kashmir, India
This is a part of our travelogue on Kashmir. Read earlier posts below:
Part 1 – Srinagar
Part 2 – kashmir beyond Srinagar
Part 3 – food in kashmir
In a nutshell:
A beautiful heritage house, erstwhile stately home, now converted to a boutique hotel by the Nigeen lake, only 7 km away from the hustle bustle of the main city, very good food, amazing warmth of staff, while being efficient.
Thought a lot about ‘what is not so good’ at the hotel. Could not figure. Planning to book a short trip again here in winter.
Address & other details: Hotel dar es salaam
Instagram: Hotel dar es salam
Facebook: Hotel dar es salam
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 an honest account of the same to you.
YUMMRAJ rates all the food items & then gives 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
Cost of the trip paid was paid by YUMMRAJ to Vana Safaris by UPI payment transfer. From that, Vana Safaris have paid all the expenses of the trip.
Short description- in case u r in a hurry
I have been to this hotel on a work offsite in 2018 & I fondly remembered it. My partner also remembered the place through my pictures & stories. So when Avijit Sarkhel, founder of Vana Safaris, our travel consultant for this trip mentioned Dar es salam, we were really excited.
The visual memory of the place I carried with me was that of a pristine white retro building standing alone in a beautifully landscaped garden, next to the Nigeen Lake, a houseboat floating in the middle of the lake & the fort atop Hari Parbat visible in the background.
What I also remembered from last time was not only the hand crafted antique furniture & artefacts all over the property, in the rooms, in common areas etc., but also the immense warmth of the staff members.
It was great to find both the above exactly the same. The garden, trees & lawn were in much better shape in June end than my memory of February 2018.
Loved sipping nun chai, kehwa on different occasions, sitting on the lawns.
We were amazed to see the elderly owner of the property, himself mowing the lawns, to keep himself fit.
A century back, this building was a stately home, now converted to a boutique hotel. We got to know that Dar-es-Salam is the only hotel next to the Nigeen Lake, with just a short drive (7 Kms) to the main city.
The hotel has 14 double rooms, including two suites. The hotel is a heritage property that was not built like a hotel – hence the rooms vary in terms of size and décor but are identical in terms of the facilities provided.
The rooms are all traditionally furnished, with attached bathrooms in each, added later, I guess. The rooms had Hot and Cold Air-conditioning Units hotel is centrally heated winter months.
Many of these rooms are done up in seasoned pine wood panelling and many have a classy contrast of white walls with a wooden ceiling. I remember staying in one such room on first floor, last time.
There are two rooms on the ground floor, made with pine wood wall & wooden floors. We stayed in one of these this time.
The dining room, Khasa was really nice. Loved the period crockery, furniture & looks of the place.
From my earlier visit I remember a bar-be-que, Shahi Tandoor, by the banks of the lake. Not sure if that still happens.
The main meals were always buffets. There would be some dishes from the Kashmiri Wazwaan as well as some from miscellaneous North Indian cuisine.
The food was always made with seriousness, with no short cuts. The flavours & textures suggested this.
Phulkas would always be served piping hot, one by one.
Detailed description – In case you have the time to enjoy reading:
While there were few more options on the buffet, this is what we chose to eat:
The welcome drink to the hotel – kelwa was really enjoyable.
Dinner day 1
Brinjal yakhni – This was very good to taste. The gravy was curd based & was sour. The gravy was thinner than the ones in Kashmiri restaurants in Delhi NCR but was way thicker than what we ate at people’s homes in Kashmir during this trip. The taste was very good. Rate the brinjal yakhni 4/5.
Gushtaba – Wood hammer beaten meatball curry with a curd based gravy was outstanding. The gravy was again thicker than at homes but it was very tasty. The meatball was juicy & just full of eat flavours. Rate it 4.75/5
Gosht roganjosh was excellent. This fiery red lamb curry was not anywhere as hot as it looked. Loved the flavours & the texture of the meat. Rate it 4.5/5
Breakfast day 2
Home-made baked beans were really nice. Way better than the usual tinned ones. Rate it 4/5
Lamb keema matar was really enjoyable. The flavours of lamb were intact, the mince was juicy & the green peas added a nice texture twist in addition to the visual relief. Rate it 4.5/5
Loved sipping chai sitting on the lawns before breakfast.
Dinner day 2:
Mirchi gosht was very good. We had this for the first time. Loved the flavours of the chillies. Rate it 4/5
Palak rishta was outstanding – this combination was new for us. Loved it. The gravy had beautifully incorporated the best of palak & meat. We finished off the gravy till the last drop. The meatball was excellent. Rate it 4.75/5
Gourd yakhni was again outstanding. Square ½ cm thick gourd pieces in a curd based gravy. Never had this so good. Rate it 4.75/5
Haaq was very good. Personally we like the one at Matamaal. Rate it 3.5/5
Breakfast day 3:
Chholay was really nice. The texture was soft enough to be enjoyed but firm enough to suggest the texture. Rate it 4.25/5
Harissa was good. The one at Matamaal is way way better. Rate this 3/5.
Loved sipping Noon chai sitting on the lawns before breakfast.
Loved the stay & the food
Look forward to revisiting in winters