Omya at The Oberoi Delhi is one of Delhi's most successful Indian restaurants that exudes class as well as ethnic tradition. The modern Indian restaurant pays tribute to the extraordinary culinary evolution and micro-cuisines that have spawned across the Indian subcontinent over centuries. The experience started with a warm welcome with a doorman opening the door as you approach, followed by greetings from a team of smiling faces when you step into the restaurant. The decor is a swish setting of a fine-dine with formal seating, pretty lilac flowers as a centrepiece, and stunning cutlery. It seems the restaurant is filled with loyal patrons - families eating soups, corporates clinking whisky glasses, couples in cosy corners - everyone knows that this is the good stuff.
This time, in the spirit of keeping the origins of ancient recipes and techniques alive, Omya is hosting 'Rivaayat' - a 10-day long food festival that started from 4th and will continue till 13th March. 'Rivaayat' literally translates to 'narrative', 'story', 'tradition', or 'history' in English. The festival is an ode to the rich culinary history of the Mewar, Marwar and Malwa regions - a treasure trove of ancient recipes and techniques.
The menu is designed by Kunwar Hemendra Singh of Bhainsrorgarh, Mewar. He is an expert culinarian whose repertoire comprises unique and native dishes of Mewar, Marwar and Malwa provinces. The menu reflects a sense of tradition, heritage and a celebration of life.
I started off with 'paneer ke sule', 'machi ke sule', 'chicken ke sule' and 'mutton shaami'. What I loved the most about the starters was that they were prepared using local spices and minimalist cooking techniques. They were rich and packed with incredible royal flavours. My vote goes to 'machi ke sule' - freshwater sole marinated in Maharashtrian and Rajasthani masalas.
In the main course, Kunwar Hemendra recommended quite a few interesting dishes that instantly captivated my attention like 'chakki ki subzi' - which is nothing but steamed cakes of wheat flour gluten cooked in red (read: spicy) curry. And then, 'safed-kesariya mugh', 'shikari aloo', 'safed kathal', 'bharwa bhindi', popular 'gatte ki subzi', 'bhutte ke kees', and 'dal bidwal' were served, and I won't shy away from saying that all of these lured me instantly with their vibrant colours, and I admit, they met with my expectation in terms of taste too. I paired these exotic curries with 'Batiya' (a Rajasthani thick layered bread cooked on tawa), 'Thothadi' (baked Rajasthani bread that has beautiful design impressions and is prepared with milk and ghee), Bafla (boiled and baked spicy dough balls) and 'Bejad ki roti' (a traditional roti made with gram flour, barley and wheat).
I could possibly have passed on the dessert section, given that I was so full, but who could not be tempted into ordering shrikhand and sewaiya ki kheer. Both the desserts were light and easy to manage after a big meal
I truly marvelled at the lavishness of the cuisine's variety and taste: exotic yet very comforting.
One last tip: arrive hungry for this food festival.
What: 'Rivaayat' - a 10-day long food festival. From 4th March till 13th March.
Where: Omya, The Oberoi New Delhi, Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg
About Shubham BhatnagarYou can often find Shubham at a small authentic Chinese or Italian restaurant sampling exotic foods and sipping a glass of wine, but he will wolf down a plate of piping hot samosas with equal gusto. However, his love for homemade food trumps all.