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Just Hold Your Breath, This Feast Will Come Flying To You

Satay Ayam, an Indonesian dish served at Honk:
03 Min Read

This Pullman hotel in Delhi takes authentic Indonesian food to the next level—bringing down a chef from the archipelago to cook you a meal

Manek S. Kohli

Pullman New Delhi Aerocity has become all about the good ideas. In May 2018, they reinvented their menu at Pluck to make better use of the hotel’s sprawling vegetable and herb garden. And till the ninth of this month, they present ‘An Indonesian Food Affair at Honk’, which involves a simple idea: fly down a chef who works at a Pullman hotel abroad and specialises in an international cuisine, to curate a menu that is authentic to the ‘c’. Easy to market, execute, and, most importantly, sell to a Delhi crowd open to experiment with their palate. 

Interiors of Honk at Pullman, New Delhi Aerocity

After the success of the Thai, Burmese and Filipino editions, chef Hary Haryadi from Pullman Jakarta Indonesia is here to bring his flavours to the table. Indonesian food is, for the most part, rich, full of flavour, and filled with influences—even Indian, given its Hindu and Buddhist history—but yet, quite simple, making the best of the locally available ingredients. Haryadi isn’t here to tinker with any of that.

I had the choice of one appetiser (among five—three being non-vegetarian), soup (containing vegetables, chicken or prawn), a main-course item (among six—five being non-vegetarian) and a fixed desert. I let Haryadi surprise me—partly because I am not the best at making choices, and partly because there is no one better to make this choice for me than the chef himself—and I wasn’t disappointment. First came the tahu telur Surabaya, an east Javanese delicacy that is fried tofu and egg with beansprout. I’ll just say it: this was my favourite dish in the entire meal, and the abundance of the homemade peanut sauce-on-top is to thank for that. With crunchiness of the egg and the softness of the tofu, and a Carpineto Dogajolo Tuscan red-wine to wash things down, I was quite sold.

As for the soup of all things, the chicken soto Medan shifted the influence to north Sumatra, and the core ingredient to coconut milk. A bit too sweet and mild in flavour for my liking, but more because of my palate than anything else, my accompanying friend enjoyed it a lot—and if you like such flavours, you will too.

Mie Goreng Java, another Indonesian speciality

The only main-course dish with a ‘chilli’ icon next to its name on the menu was the Lamb rendang. It was spicy, it had garam masala, kaffir lime and lemongrass, and it was served with sweet rice and Indonesian crackers. Yet, the flavour was just right—and not the explosion I expected—and slow-revealing. With every bite, I felt more satisfied. And by the time my portion was done, I was only craving for more.

My tryst with An Indonesian Food Affair culminated with—as all good things should—dessert. The palu nutung looked like an artwork. The redness of the rose syrup and the white coconut milk, the yellow of the banana ringed with the green rice-flour dough, made it as colourful as a Van Gogh. Did it taste as good too? It did: though a whacky ensemble, but the good kind.

In the end, it proves to be an Indonesian culinary experience in its truest sense, and an achievement for the Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, which has slowly become one of the better culinary choices in the area filled with competitive hotel brands. I wonder which cuisine they will pull off next? I’ll be there.

Address: Honk (lower ground floor), Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

Cost: Rs. 1,850 for a three-course meal, and Rs. 2,450 for a four-course meal (taxes extra) 7pm—12pm (till December 9, 2018)

For table reservations, call: +91 9871666600

Website: http://www.pullmandelhiaerocity.com

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