November 24, 2013

MTR 1924, Singapore…dosa that sets my tastebud into overdrive

The appeal does not immediately suggest itself; the décor is strictly no-frills. But this was a place to eat with seriousness and vigour. This place is a bit pricier, but it’s honestly so worth the cost.  If you want full-bodied food with flavour and spice, this is your place. The food is noticeably high quality, fresh  and amazingly delicious.

The uddin vadas are a traditional South Indian dish which can be eaten as a main course, side dish, or snack. This crispy deliciousness is made from lentil and fried in donut shape dumplings. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Served with sambar and coconut chutney, it was quite exceptional.

So what about the dosa?  The menu describes it as a pancake made from rice batter and black lentil. When it was served it was a large triangle crepe.  The dosa was the perfect texture–light and fluffy, yet crisp and thick, if that makes any sense. It came with coconut chutney and sambar, a lentil broth. Did the combination work? Oh my lordy lord, YES!!!

This is probably one of the best South Indian restaurants I’ve eaten at (it’s even better than some of the food that I had in India…shhh!). This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


January 17, 2010

The tipping point at The Grand New Delhi Hotel

It is customary to tip service providers at hotels in India. You can tip the bellman, the room service in-charge and the person who brings you food in the room. Giving Rs.20-50 is ideal. However, the staff of The Grand New Delhi Hotel take “asking for a tip” to a new art level.

I stayed in the hotel in Delhi for 2 nights with 4 other colleagues. We all had the same experience. The bloke who brings in your stuff to fill up your minibar (one wonders why they don’t fill it up BEFORE we checked in as is the practice of most hotels) keeps going on about “I have filled up your minibar,” “I have finished,” “I’ll be leaving” without moving a single muscle in his body to leave the room. Another colleague had a problem with his room key card and requested a housekeeping staff nearby to help him get into his room. Upon doing so, the housekeeping staff took three eternities to leave the room, while waiting for a you-know-what. Long story short, every encounter we had with a hotel staff in our room waas the same. We figured it must be some kind of effective training program the hotel put the staff through. They were so competent…waiting for their tips.

We are natural born tippers who wouldn’t hesitate to leave 10-15% for good services rendered. But for helping a guest get into his room when the key card didn’t work (it’s the hotel’s mistake) and filling up the minibar (when the minibar is supposed to have been filled)??? At the rate they were going, it made me wonder if I should start tipping my everyone who does anything for me, including my mother. Perhaps I should tip the postman for delivering my mails. Should I tip the guy who signs my paycheck?

Tipping aside, the hotel is a stunner. Great spacious lobby, a sprawling landscape, nice rooms with even nicer beds and a fantastic wonderful set of staff in the restaurant. They were so attentive, cheerful, accommodating. The chef and kitchen staff were great too. I’d requested a dosa (thosei) made in a way they are not accustomed to, but they produced it and did a fine job with it too.

Location wise, the hotel is located within a whisker of the DLF Promenade which houses designed boutiques like LV, Gucci, etc great food outlets like Zest, Smokehouse Deli, HRC, Italia  and leisure outlets like cinemas.

Stay at this hotel but don’t get pressured beyond the tipping point. This is certainly the true truth as I am still saying it as it is.

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