Last week I was the guest of ITC Hotels at 3 of their properties, as part of an exciting initiative called TheDuoEscapade. Along with a seriously accomplished food blogger, young Charis Bhagianathan, we ate and travelled and ate and shopped and ate and…you get the picture.
So, yes, eating was a big part of this trip, and never more so than at lunch in the gorgeous ITC Mughal in Agra, where we ate at Peshawari.
The cuisine of the North West Frontier is the obvious speciality here, and so as a long-standing non-meat eater I was a little – well, not exactly worried – let’s just say a little puzzled, as to how my dining experience would be.
No need to worry, since the ever efficient staff at Peshawari simply substituted fish for me.
And in any case I could have made lunch out of nothing but their signature dal.
But I am getting a little ahead of myself.
The decor of Peshawari both here and (as we would later discover) at the ITC Rajputana in Jaipur is reminiscent of the ITC group’s flagship Bukhara, and like Bukhara you are asked to eat with your hands. And, as I have done on the 2 earlier times I ate at Bukhara, I requested cutlery. 30 years in India, and I still cannot eat dal or paneer with my fingers. There is a nice rustic feel to the place, with much use of brass and copper, and a boulder-y feel to the walls. Long wooden dining tables, and a hefty wooden menu card :
But we took the lazy but oh-so-informed way out and let the charming Chef Amruth do all the choosing for us.
Chef Amruth was a delightful and helpful guide through the culinary lanes of Peshawari food, telling us about what was being cooked for us, and spoiling us with treats and surprises all the time.
Papad and snacks to start with :
And then, in an indication of the serious things to come, we were each given a bib to wear.
Charis looking happy in her bib (but then again, I never found her anything but smiling in a week of travelling together):
Probably to everyone’s frustration, Charis and I photographed everything, all through the course of our long, leisurely delicious lunch.
Seriously delicious lassi, by the way,
And meat with everything for Charis and Anchal, our long-suffering PR guru.
They both pronounced everything delicious.
Told you – we photographed anything and everything :
The fish was absolutely fab. Ate far too much of it…
To my shame I ate every last morsel of the dal, and most of the turra naan, too.
We then sort of went walkabout, to watch one of these fabulously OTT breads being made in the glassed-in kitchen. Bear in mind, please, that (a) it was taken through glass and (b) with my iPhone…
So, we watched the chefs making a selection of naans and rotis, and here is the moment when the turra naan emerges :
I am not a fan at all of Indian puddings, so I let Charis be the taster here :
Paan, which I didn’t have but which was excellent, I am told :
And then it was back to the turra naan, which sort of processed its way round the restaurant with everyone taking pictures and posing with this ginormous naan – we would meet it again that evening, when it had cleverly been turned into our dinner menu card !
Super friendly staff who put up with our photographing and wandering around with great good humour and great style.