It was the evening of the grand re-launch of the Lavana restaurant at Hotel Hyatt Regency, Gurgaon and the guests were slowly gathering at the lobby of the hotel to experience the look and feel of the restaurant for the first time after the renovation. Located on the first floor of the hotel, Lavana is the Indian fine dining restaurant and is famed for serving authentic Awadhi cuisine. The hotel was closed for more than a year for renovation purpose and now it has re-opened for the guests, ready to serve them the much revered dishes of the bygone rich Awadhi era.
We were ushered to the private dining room (PDR) of Lavana where we all sat for a formal dinner. Chef Agnimitra Sharma who is the new Executive Chef of Hyatt Regency, Gurgaon was the host for the evening and he with his team of chefs curated an exquisitely planned dinner menu for all of us.
As we sat in anticipation, the food from the menu was dished out before us one after another. For Vegetarian starters, we had Karare Aloo chaat, Bhutte ke kabab, Hare pyaz ka bharwan paneer tikka, Karare chatpate khumb and Mewe Mawe ki kakori. While for non-vegetarian starters we were served Teekhe machali ka tikka, Lahsooni jheenga, Zafrani murgh tikka, Murgh chapli kebab and Shahi Gilawat ke kebab. In spite of the dinner being held during Navratri with only a few people opting for non-veg, the F&B staff at Lavana left no stone unturned to make the non-veg menu as special as the veg menu. One of the starters, Murgh chapli kebab that contains shallow fried minced chicken mixed with crushed black pepper, coriander and cumin and is a creation of the chef himself became a big hit among the guests.
Another culinary creation of the chef was the bhutte (corn) ke kabab from the vegetarian menu that was loved by everyone, while Karare chatpate khumb that had mushrooms filled with black pepper and cheese had to be served twice on special request.
We had just finished taking the last bite of the starters when the main course was brought in. The vegetarian main course consisted of Paneer launglata, Paneer Makhani methi bahar, Chena kofta, Zaiq-e-daar, Dal Lavana and the Chef’s special aloo curry patta. In the midst of our food conversation, the chef shared that the preparation time for its special Dal Lavana (the name they had given for Dal Makhani) is almost a day. It is left to simmer for close to 16 hours and that’s how its creaminess is retained after all the pulses in it are finely cooked. He was also kind enough to have shared several cooking tips which I was quick to jot down for future reference.
In the Non-vegetarian section, we were treated to Methi magaz maach, Murgh lasooni, Gosht beli ram, Subz Biryani and Dum Biryani. Kulcha and Paratha accompanied the assortment of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that were laid out on the table.
“Lavana is known primarily for the variety it offers in terms of both veg and non-veg Indian cuisine,” said Chef Agnimitra Sharma, Executive Chef of Hyatt Regency Gurgaon. “We keep in mind the tastes and preferences of our guests while preparing the food and that is what makes our food so special. We have the al-a-carte option for our guests in which they can order food of their choice for starter, main course and dessert.”
Soon after the dessert was served; for desserts there was Gulab jamun and Sakurewali Phirni to which I could not simply say no, in spite of realizing that I was way too filled.
Well, it was indeed an evening to remember, not only for the delightful gourmet experience but also for the hospitality shown on the part of the F&B staff and most importantly for Chef Agnimitra who had been a wonderful host. There are very few places on my list where I would wish to go back again, and Lavana is one of them for me now!