Hola! It is paella, tapas and more at The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel Mumbai till December 3, 2017. Taj Hotels have brought several Michelin-starred chefs to India this year and yet again, as part of the 4-day Spanish Extravaganza, seven culinary masters have arrived from Seoul.
Before this stellar team heads to Doha, combining their exemplary knowledge, trademark styles and unique recipes, they offer an unparalleled Spanish experience in the city at The Chambers for dinner. People in Mumbai can thus experience a little bit of Spain right here. I was fortunate enough to do so.
Guests can indulge in a five-course fine-dining Michelin dinner experience, specially curated by Michelin-starred chefs Juan Crujeiras and Rafael Centeno, accompanied by live music and an exclusive wine-paired menu featuring Torres Wines with Grey Goose and Perrier. Traditional Spanish wines, carefully selected by father and son sommelier duo, Luis and Alejandro Paadin, enhance the dining experience.
One may also choose to get a taste of Spain’s resplendent culinary history with paella master Hector Lopez, at a Paella and Tapas experience, where live cooking stations bring alive the flavours of Spain, with gala entertainment in the form of traditional flamenco and salsa dances, at The Chamber lawns. That is what I opted for.
Ordinarily, everyday fare in Spain, Paella is something every household serves and yet, it is a coveted dish all over the world. Sadly, very often in Mumbai, Paella is an abused dish with the flavours being anything but authentic.
Naturally then, made with arroz bomba rice, the flavourful Paella Clasica or the classic Paella, cooked in a circular pan, replete with seafood and topped with meats including rabbit, struck me as a real treat. What’s more, there was a vegetarian version too – Paella Con Calabazza Y Leche De Coco with pumpkin and coconut milk, to ensure vegetarians don’t miss out.
Tapas represents a symbol of the rich Spanish culture and tradition of enjoying food as an experience, to be shared, often as a prelude to a meal. At the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel Mumbai too, the offerings from the tapas gurus Lucia Freitas and Benigno Couso, are unique and authentic. From Sopa De Melon To Croquetas De Calamar and Setas Del Bosque with wild mushrooms and poached eggs to Empanada De Pescado, with grouper and spinach with pine nuts, one can savour them all. The ever-popular sangria served in red, white, sparkling wines, further transports diners to the ‘tapas bars’ of Spain.
One could round off one’s meal with desserts like the Mini Tarta De Santiago or the Rocas De Chocolate Negro. I left the Chambers lawns, tapping my feet to the flamenco beats and of course, reminiscing about the rustic and homespun flavours on my palate.
Food critic, features writer and columnist, Mini Ribeiro is a qualified Journalist, from IIMC New Delhi. She specialises in the Food & Beverage and Hospitality space. As an established food & beverage writer, Mini currently contributes to several leading English publications across the country – Asian Age, Hindustan Times, Sunday Financial Express, Hotelier India, Go Getter and Vistara inflight magazines and Rediff.com. She also has her own You Tube channel called Mini’s Food Fundas. Fond of cooking, Mini enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with various cuisines, with Indian regional food, being her favourite. She has recently started, a platform for home talent, called 'Flavours from Home', an initiative which aims to make women who are passionate about cooking, entrepreneurs.