Amidst so many trying hard to be uniquely themed, flogging cranky concepts out of reluctant right-brain hemispheres, there appear to be a few who believe old school works best. This, when applied to the general theory of “Grander is better”, brings to the fore projects such as Ambrosia Bliss. Seriously. The shortage of themes is hitting us hard. Can diners really walk into a restaurant that doesn’t have a theme drawn up by two PhDs, a 75 year old art director and six bright eyed and bushy tailed interns from the PR company? Will it not hit their self esteem, to be seen eating at a place that does little more than serve good food? Most apparently believe a theme and the decor matters more than the food and service. To my mind, the ridiculousness surrounding the need for a theme in food businesses reached a peak in early 2013 with the advent of Toast Cafes in the US, especially the San Francisco area, which did little more than slice bread, make toast, spread them with different sorts of spreads, including several varieties of butter and serve them to customers at prices that went up to $4 per slice.
Thankfully, that’s not so with Ambrosia Bliss at Connaught Place.
The name, the layout and the decor remind me of Janakpuri in the 1990s – shiny dangling things in a layout built to a grand scale accompanied by loads of shuffling, bowing and scraping and a nice, thick multi-cuisine menu. Of course, “multi-cuisine” then, meant 50% of the menu would be Punjabi, 20% Indian-Chinese, 10% south Indian and perhaps 10% continental. Today, it’s a different story. Depending on where a restaurant is located, it’ll dish out north Indian, south Indian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan, Thai, British, American, Chinese and and any number of additional cuisines.
Similar is the case with Ambrosia Bliss. Now, I don’t really care for the shiny danglers or the in-your-face decor. What I did like, was the fact that they were multi-cuisine *and* they did a fine job of nearly every dish I tasted. Given that the menu promises Western, Chinese, Burmese, Thai, Mediterranean, north Indian, American, south Indian and Italian fare, expectations are bound to be high and I would think, equally difficult to meet. The elves in the kitchen however met my expectations with ease. Be it the flavorful Roasted Chicken Soup, the Chicken and Bacon Ranch Salad with a lovely dressing and full of chicken and bacon, or the Indian Vegetarian Platter, all of which were brilliantly executed, especially the Indian Vegetarian Platter that I thought featured a particularly well thought through selection and was also very well done. Not that they didn’t screw up at all. The spicy Japanese Soba Noodles could have been the highlight of the Harinagar Tuesday Market, the Chicken Chettinad was so well suited for the palates of north Indians that it had entirely ceased to be south Indian and the Kung Pao Chicken was essentially a Chili Chicken with fried cashew nuts. Having groaned so, there are precious few restaurants in Delhi that are able to pull off a large, diverse menu with the same élan as Ambrosia Bliss. They serve up a Chorizo, Feta and Arugula salad with the same panache as a Chicken in Black Bean sauce both of which tasted as good as did the Nalli ka Korma, which I must impress upon you, is no mean feat.
If you’re in Connaught Place for lunch, looking to host a family meal, searching for a place to wine and dine clients, or just want to have fun with girlfriends over a regular kitty party, Ambrosia Bliss is versatile enough to take you all the way with ease and set you down gently at the end of a journey I have little doubt will be memorable.