The Good Life

Delectable Dining

A look at the most luxurious private dining experience money can buy

So you have that much-awaited promotion letter in your hand and don’t know how to celebrate? Or you wish to take your partner out for that long-pending romantic dinner date? You look forward to treat yourself to an extravagant fine dining experience, where you can pick what to eat from a specially curated menu. Turns out there are several places on India’s culinary map, where you can experience a private dinner so opulent that it becomes a meal to remember.

One such spot is the floating Tea Pavilion at ITC Sonar in Kolkata. Fashioned out of wood and glass, the private chambers emerge from the depths of a water garden decorated with lilies of all hues and house a shoal of freshwater Carp beneath. Once you step inside, you have at your service a butler ready to pop the champagne. “The Tea Pavilions are little islands of serenity that offer a unique setting,” says general manager, Atul Bhalla.

One can choose from a wide range of cuisines prepared at some of the business resort’s renowned restaurants. Depending on what you are craving, you can indulge in east Asian flavours at Pan Asian; enjoy a regal meal from the kitchen of Dum Pukht; enjoy food off the grill at West View or dig into international cuisine at Eden Pavilion. All this and much more, curated as per your preference, will set you back by Rs.50,000-plus taxes.

Luxury re-defined

Apart from the cuisines and privacy, what makes the experience truly memorable is the well-designed setting. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur is set against the pristine lake Pichola. Set up under an intricately carved dome that faces the majestic City Palace, you can enjoy the meal while live traditional folk music plays in the background. The lakeside set-up, which comes at a base price of Rs.20,000 can accommodate up to four diners. For additional guests it’s Rs.7,000 extra plus taxes.

Here, you have the luxury to arrange a bespoke menu that features a three-to-five-course meal, with the choice of indulging in local flavours like Patiala lobster, Galouti or western-influenced ones like a refreshing croustade or a warm spinach and ricotta ravioli. “The set-up is usually simple yet classy, with lot of fresh seasonal flowers, candles and lamps. It is an unforgettable dining experience,” says Ankush Mahajan, general manager of the property.

While the ambience and the setting add to the theatrics, it is the magic that unfolds on the table that is the main highlight of any dining experience. And Delhi’s Indian Accent knows just how to pack in the right flavours. It is the only Indian restaurant to have grabbed a spot on the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Chef Manish Mehrotra says of the culinary hotspot, “We showcase inventive Indian cuisine by complementing the flavours and traditions of India with global ingredients and techniques.”

The restaurant hosts a Chef’s Table, a private dining room that can accommodate a maximum of nine guests. The wood-paneled room dons a minimalist look but it changes character once the show begins. The room has a window that opens into the kitchen where chef Mehrotra is seen preparing the feast of the day while interacting with the diners. How much does it cost to see the chef at work? Mehrotra says it can range anywhere between Rs.50,000 for eight guests to Rs.75,000 for just a couple.

Exquisite experience

The Chef’s Studio at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India is another place that leaves no stone unturned to make it memorable experience. Housed on the first floor of the heritage wing of the iconic hotel in Mumbai, there’s a sleek red carpet, flanked on both ends by flowers and candles, which lead one to the dining room. For a base price of Rs.150,000, one can reserve a seat at this table that can accommodate a maximum of eight guests. “We sit down with the host 48 hours before the meal to understand their requirements and we plan a menu accordingly. No two Chef’s Studio dinners will be the same,” boasts senior sous chef, Dipika Singh.

The Chef’s Studio is a picture of extravagance and luxury with its exquisite cutlery. The guests are greeted by Versace decorative plates right at the beginning that are then replaced by Riedel crystal wine glasses, Limoges porcelain dinner sets by Haviland and Bernardaud and handcrafted 24-karat gold encrusted English classic Minton plates. The experience entails an elaborate 12-course meal that could comprise multiple cuisines, a perfect match for the cutlery, given the exotic ingredients used. From classic Indian to contemporary European dishes, the meals feature vegetables and meats such as mushrooms from Tokyo, Korean black garlic, Chilean sea bass and lamb from New Zealand, European caviar, etc. The studio that started in 2006 as ex-head chef Hemant Oberoi’s idea to present the guests a special experience, receives four requests a month. It has hosted US president Barack Obama and his wife, Hollywood star couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan and family, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and family among several other celebrities.

That’s a mighty list to join. Looking at the luxurious spread on offer, do you still need a reason to celebrate or have you made a reservation already?