Situated right next to the Lemon Tree hotel in Sector 29, Gurgaon, the Peppermint Hotel is a recent addition to the growing presence of business hotels in the country. I visited Eat Etc, the 24 hour restaurant in the Peppermint Hotel for a quick meal and came away feeling they could really have done much better, given a little more attention.
The light, airy feel of the restaurant starts you off on a very positive note as do the little islands of open kitchens. The seating is comfortable and private enough though I did find the menus a little unwieldy. The menu appears to be a smattering of items from different cuisines and does little to build the restaurant’s character. I also wish the categories were named differently. It’s very hard to take ‘Aiyyayo’ seriously. Yup, that’s the name of the south Indian section.[nggallery id=113]
I tried the Chicken Tikka Balle Style [INR 275] (there we go again), Tandoori Chicken [INR 450], Dal Balle , Baked Vegetable Biryani [INR 400], Nali Noorani [INR 450], Coddled Eggs with Bacon [INR 250] and their Chocolate pudding [INR 180]. The Chicken Tikka Balle Style was smeared in a subtle spice paste and cooked perfectly – tender, juicy and a whole bunch of other similar superlatives could be applied to this dish, which is a must-eat when you’re here next. I didn’t however, find any mozzarella in the Chicken as claimed on the menu. The Tandoori Chicken was a bit of a let down as it lacked the rustic feel one has come to expect from a Tandoori Chicken. Fine dining ends where Tandoori Chicken begins IMHO. It did taste good and you won’t be disappointed, that’s for sure.
I agree with Chef Sanjiv Verma of Khyber, Chandigarh when he says that while dishes like Chicken Tikka and Tandoori Chicken are typically colored and have a dry coating of masalas on them, tastes are changing today due to increased exposure and the red, dry variety of Tandoori food is rapidly making way for moistly spiced, better grilled cuts that more often than not result in juicy and easily edible meats as opposed to the high possibility of dry, crusty chunks earlier.
The Biryani was nice, though I’m not a big fan of the Hyderabadi ones. Layered with thick yogurt, vegetables, rice and crisp fried onions, if you’re a vegetarian and like spicy rice preparations, this Biryani is the dish for you. The Mirch ka Salan served with it was good and the accompanying salad and yogurt well matched. The Nalli Noorani was a standard mutton curry, with pieces of marrow bone. Nice, but unremarkable. As in the Chicken Tikka Balle Style, I couldn’t discern any cashewnut in the gravy as claimed on the menu. The coddled eggs were served with a topping of diced bacon, a hash brown and a grilled tomato. Very nice to eat, but in my opinion, wasn’t a coddled egg. The Dal Balle, their version of Dal Makhani really needed some more work on it’s spices rather than the copious amounts of butter and cream used. Finally, the Chocolate pudding, a moist, mildly sweet, round chocolate cake, served with vanilla ice cream was quite nice.
Now that that’s done, here’s two bits of news that most of you will probably like. They have a breakfast buffet for INR 550++ from 6am to 10:30am; something most of us sorely miss and eagerly welcome every new player in this slot. Second, Eat Etc at the Peppermint Hotel, Gurgaon has a midnight buffet from 11:00pm to 3:00am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays comprising Biryani, Kathi Rolls and snacks for INR 299++. How many times have you reached home in the wee hours of a weekend, bitterly cursing the lack of decent food at that hour. This should solve that particular problem.
Some items at Eat Etc do not adhere to the descriptions in the menu, most are overpriced, some plain lazy and others are average; I liked three out of seven dishes, which suggests the food at Eat Etc at the Peppermint Hotel, Gurgaon is hit or miss.
I recommend a visit on a Saturday evening when you’ve forgotten to make reservations and everyone else is full up.