Hotel Park Plaza, Zirakpur has Chef Raman Preet Singh Ahluwalia on board as the Executive Chef. I met Chef Raman last months back during my visit to Chandigarh and was greatly influenced with his chain of thoughts. Chef Raman’s sense of creation adds fascination into his dishes. He says that Food is an expression of what a chef is and his/her thought process.
He carries over two decades of experience working with luxury hotels. His cuisine is the fruit of a study that goes beyond taste. He approaches ingredients with respect, researching them in depth, in order to understand their true essence and bring out the best in them. His dishes captured all of our senses; beginning with the most evocative of the five, our sense of sight.
Normally any chef would serve his guests the traditional local food, but this is not the scene here. Chef Raman, studies the details about the guest’s origin and his last destination, and then decides what to serve him. He says that if a guest is a European and is travelling for last few days in Punjab, then he must be longing for a typical home made food. And bang on, at Park Plaza that’s what he gets and he also falls in love with the place and the Chef.
I was lucky enough to have relished three full meals served by Chef Raman at Essence and Zaranj, the two restaurants at Park Plaza. The menu was simplistic and covered the best of Indian, continental and oriental cuisines. Fresh elements and ingredients as well as exotic drinks and desserts offered me a large variety of options. Delicately prepared, flavours from hot and spicy, touches of tangy and sour to sweet were perfect. Each meal had been superbly presented. His masterly crafted menu for me had showed that a lot of thought has gone into it. The menu seemed very condensed, but the food was amazing in taste and quality. Those really were sumptuous and enjoyable meals.
I have talked about my experiences separately in two other blogs on Essence and the review on the great food at Zaranj follows soon.