The headline is not just applicable for Delhi’s scorching weather... it’s true even for the plush Indian restaurant Monsoon at Le Meridien hotel. Our last visit to the restaurant was on the hotel’s invite and it turned out to be a near perfect experience... something that can be said for most reviews where the staff knows you are there for a purpose.
That’s why this anonymous repeat visit to Monsoon enlightened us with a lot more. The visit, on a weekday lunch hour, was greeted by... well, no one, as there was no wait staff at the entrance or even inside to guide you to a table. There wasn’t really a need anyway, as the place was practically empty... of diners as well as staffers.
Someone decided to turn up as we got seated... and asked us if we needed water. Now maybe that’s a welcome step to those alarmed by the water scarcity in the country, but the culture of Indian dining still makes one expect to be served with water to begin with.
The complimentary shot of cauliflower capaccino to tickle the palette was very nice... except I’d strongly advise you not to pay heed to the staff’s instructions of having it as a single shot unless you are hell bent on burning your throat.
The starter — Chicken tikka on
bread with pineapple curd jelly on the side was truly excellent. So was the Goan fish curry, accompanied with garlic
on the side. In terms of food, Monsoon has mastered the art of blending traditional Indian with Avant Garde, but in terms of service... it has to get even the basics right.
Barely an hour into our visit, we were told by the wait staff to ‘carry on our conversation in the lobby’ as they’d to set tables for dinner. This at 3.30 in the afternoon.
One wonders if it’s worth spending a fortune having a fancy meal in a five-star hotel if you are going to be asked to carry on in the lobby. Maybe not.
And so my battle with the ‘last order’ menace in Delhi’s restaurants continues...