Last Friday, we had been checking out pre-schools for our toddler who turns two and a half-year old this March end. Some of the appointments were disappointing, few shocking and a handful were worth trashing but that’s for another time to write. The result of those three hours left us with an exhausted body and disturbing mind. It was almost 2:40pm. So the next thing we decided was to book a cab and head towards the Pipal Tree hotel. On the way I called their in-house restaurant Tamara to make a reservation. While the timings on Zomato clearly said 3:30pm, the staff on the phone kept repeating that the buffet will be over soon and if we would be fine with A-la-Carta. I kept wondering why until I reached the restaurant.
Right at the entrance the guard denied us an entry on the pretext of a company’s ongoing conference that day. Only after we mentioned a prior reservation, we were allowed to get in. The moment we entered, the lady who escorted us to our table was quite curtly informed us that we had the option of A-la-Carta only. After I argued about the buffet timing being till 3:30 did they let us avail the option reluctantly. They had a condition though – we had to finish our meal by 3:30. It was 3:10 pm.
Right from the entrance of the hotel to the seating area on the first floor to the doorsteps leading to the restaurant, the place is beautifully decorated. On entering the restaurant, the glass walls offer a picturesque view of the city and roads. The seating arrangement comprises of well spaced out cozy chairs and sofas. We lunched in the natural light but the decorative items on the walls and ceiling added to the enchanting atmosphere. The cutlery used befits a fine dining eatery. This place definitely has one of the best ambiance in the city.
We had opted for lunch buffet and the spread was magnanimous. The salad section had variety of options in the form of veg and non-veg salads along with chats and dahi vada. Phuchka (Golgappa) was served on our table. Right from orange and carrot soup or chicken hot and sour soup at the first counter, the starters consisted of pan-fried hakka chili fish, chicken(badami murgh) and prawn in garlic butter sauce in the non-veg section while the veg section had options of paneer tikka and vegetables in cilantro sauce. The main course had mutton dum biriyani, steamed rice, noodles along with chicken curry, pork in barbeque sauce, grilled fish in cilantro sauce, dal masaladar, mixed veg, kukure bhindi, vegetable casse role and kadhai paneer. Roti/Naan was available on demand. The dessert section was equally scrumptious. From misti doi to baked sweets to shahi tukra, mixed fruit tarts, strawberry mousse, assorted pastry, cut fruits and custom-made ice-cream, almost every option was available. Jaljeera was provided as the complementary drink with the food. What was unique about the menu was not just the amazing range and variety in items, but the taste and quality standard that was maintained in every single item. They have set a very high benchmark for a buffet spread in the city. Dahi vada, Mutton biriyani, Pan-fried fish, Baked sweets and Vanilla with choco-chips and assorted nuts ice-cream turned out to be my personal favorites.
While I understand and emphatize with the demands of the hospitality industry, I really can’t ignore the fact that we were made to feel really unwelcome at that point. Having stayed in different cities, this was the first time that we were asked to finish a meal within stipulated deadline. Hadn’t we been so famished that day, I’m sure I would have walked out at that moment. Almost near the end of our meal, we were attended by a staff (apologies for not asking your name) who actually took that extra initiative to ask me if I wanted Roti/Naan and waited for us to finish the meal before handing over the bill. He kept asking us to eat at a relaxed pace though I must say that we had already ensured to fill our plates with the requisite items by 3:30pm. While he really tried hard to make things better for us, I must say that the damage was already done.
The buffet from Tues to Sat is priced at 699 plus taxes per plate. Considering the range, quality, taste and hygiene standards, I would say that the pricing is quite affordable and highly justified.
My rating across various parameters would be –
Ambiance – 4.5
Food – 5
Service – 3
Pricing – 4.5
Overall – 4.25
It’s quite unfortunate that a restaurant with such amazing ambience, mouth-watering food and awesome pricing needs a huge makeover in their approach towards customers. I’m really not sure if I would want to visit this place ever again but if I do it will only be for the yummylicious food and that particular staff who made us leave with a feeling of being welcome again.
Link to the review on TripAdvisor is available here.