Tuesday 8 August 2017

Signature Menu Review | Neel-Tote On The Turf | Food Review | Restaurant Review

Neel - Tote on the turf. Been hearing this name since half a decade but did not get a chance to be here till very recently to try out their signature menu and celebrate a deliciously rainy saturday afternoon. Situated on ground floor near gate no. 5-6 of Mahalaxmi Racecourse is this formal and quietly elegant spacious dining place with outdoor as well as indoor seating options. The huge arches, decorative ceiling, artwork on the walls as well as old timey lamps throwing shades reminiscent of early 20th century British castles, the ambiance is enough to win over anyone. Impeccable service and Fantastic food just seal the deal :)

It would be tempting to describe the food here as 'north Indian', God knows enough of my friends did *roll eyes* - making me think that some glorious version of Punjabi food was served here. Well, food is glorious but it is a mix of royal Awadhi, Lucknowi, Hyderabadi and Kashmiri cuisines. There is no choley kulcha simmering in the air. There is more than enough authenticity in every dish to make one both aware of the rich royal foodie traditions of India as well as hook them to come back. Excellent use of spices and techniques ranging from broiling to simmering on slow flame for hours done for that perfect flavor. Vegetarians have as much choice as Non-Vegetarians. Splendid!

We tried small portions of a lot of dishes and were floored. Started off with hearty Asparagus soup, lovely, creamy, silky. Complimented with beverages, best of the lot being Kokum Fizz and their specialty Homemade Ginger Lemonade which we had 3 rounds of! A special mention to some accompaniments they serve. The mango-mustard combo as well as fried tomato chutney are mindblowing and mom really loved their in-house pickle too.

Soft, well-marinated spicy Angaara Paneer Tikka started off our starters round, followed by button mushrooms well rubbed with olive paste in Jaituni Kumbh, very meaty in texture and a pleasure to gorge onto.

Absolutely loved Asparagus ki Galouti, THE most perfect veg representation of world famous Lucknowi galouti, served on a little maida bread so that the soft as cloud texture of asparagus could be enjoyed completely and mess-lessly :D The STAR of starters round is Kandahari Aloo, a dish I probably wouldn't dream of ordering on my own (it's just potatoes!) but this has to be THE BEST Aloo based starter we have ever had. Little potatoes stuffed and cooked in tandoor with a sweet-mildly spicy marination of beetroot based paste, out of this world really.
It was equally difficult to choose any main course dish to try, they all looked so tempting and well, everything we tried was perfect once more.

Paneer Gustaba Kalia was my personal favorite with soft paneer kofta cubes in sour-ish tomato gravy Kashmiri style, I can have this everyday even with simple rice,

Dad quite liked Hyderabadi Paneer aur Mirch ka Kut which was mildly spicy and had these flavorful Bhavnagri chillies to munch onto too,

Nadru Shingada Palak brough lotus stems and water chestnuts in earthy spinach flavor to life, the most unique main course vegetable to ever have, a delight with the bread basket on offer!

Along with the regular Rotis and Naans, it is a pleasure to have specialty Indian breads such as Khameri Roti, Taftan and Afghani Magaz Naan (my favorite!) alongside Dal Panchmel (5 different types of lentils cooked together) which is a must-have according to my dad,

Even though we were almost full by now (even on small portions), could not help but try their Nawabi Subz Biryani and absolutely LOVED it, with real biryani flavors, spices mix coming through - no over-garnish of dry fruits, no Kevda essence, no elaichi used, rather a true feeling of having real Biryani, just made better with Raita and Mirchi ka Salan served alongside,

Desserts were another feather in the cap here, with KALAKAND prying its way into our hearts (there are 2 different types here!) followed by rich, not-too-sweet, wholesome Bhutte Mewa aur Makahana ki Kheer (it doesn't get any more royal than this) and our combined favorite of Banarsi Thandai ka Rasgulla. Enough said.

The best of royalty is here at Neel and we will be returning soon to try everything else on the menu too :)

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