I recently was at AnnaMaya – a European styled Food Hall at Hotel Andaz. And believe me guys this place turned out to be a place I fell in love with. The place had a magical pull and I was fully hypnotised by the charms, artistic presentations, and the noble community service practices that they follow.
I have been to food courts in Singapore and even similar food halls across Europe; but none had such a charismatic setting. AnnaMaya is a standalone space at the lobby level of the hotel Andaz and the interiors are so casual that one immediately falls in love. The décor is fun and colourfully comfortable and inviting with fruit and foliage wall sculpture installations all over. The most striking one is the huge luscious pomegranate, right at the entrance and the Banana flower just inside.
I have always had a weak corner for anything sweet, and as we stood there for a briefing at the entrance, the inviting desserts display with a load of ice cream flavours and yummy pastries right at the entrance was making it difficult for me to pay attention to the briefings. And I did go in and tasted one small piece of a Choco éclair.
As we moved in we came across different section of beverages with display of fresh seasonal fruits, micro greens green house, bakery, live kitchen to the dining space, designed to a very informal effect. We were briefed about the mismatched colourfully patterned Khurja ceramic wares and the very feeling of doing a good deed to the society made me feel emotional. Because of this fact, on a single table, you will not find same crockery served to everyone
According to Chef Alex, Annamaya is different and special from the regular eating joints in the sense that it promises to serve only Indian, local, organic, and healthy. It is promoting Made in India, that too mostly sourced from underdeveloped, local communities, and avoid any middle man interferences hence benefiting the farmers directly. And one can buy these products too here from the counters.
It truly made me feel proud as an Indian at heart and I thanked and congratulated them for the wonderful work they were doing in name of helping local artists and promoting Indian local arts (unlike most of other places where this act of CSR is done just for a namesake).
The choco éclair and a sip of fresh orange juice at the juice counter has made me eager to go and try out other exotic dishes that we were going to be served. So there I was ready to savour the fresh and crunchy Green Salad with Goat cheese and sweet lime. The serving was for two – but I was too greedy and finished up the entire bowl myself.
Soon Alovera Sandwich; a grilled rye Bread topped with slice of alovera and micro greens, straight out of in-house greenhouse arrived on my table. I just sat there looking at the art piece in front of me in form of a dish. It was an unusual recipe and also a super healthy dish. Though I normally like raw alovera bitterness and take it regularly for my breakfast at home, this one was kind of bland. I would have preferred a pinch of salt on top of it, which I added myself and then relished.
I then tried the creamy Burrata cheese with honey, lime and roasted tomatoes served with basil naan. All along this I also savoured two flavourful drinks – a Mango-saffron-lemon grass Lassi (a bit sour in taste) and the Ginger Coffee Lemonade. The lemonade was magnificently done and I had 3 repeats of it during the 2 hours I was there.
Next served on my table was the best starter of the year (yes right in the 3rd week of the year). An absolutely yummy and artistic presentation, the Char Roasted Tender Carrots with honey and onion seeds left me speechless. I loved it for its taste, texture and lightness and simplicity. The Caramelised Butter nut Pumpkin followed but the carrots were a sure shot winner. For a veggie like me – Bharwan Tandoori Aloo with Figs and Paneer, Paneer Tikkas and the Broccoli pakoras followed and they were also nice. Of special mention is the Bharwan Aloo here – it truly was exotic.
All these for starters, and now they wanted us to taste their Main course. C’mon man, leave us! But I could’nt say No and tried some of our desi stuff; Kerala Rice with Tadka Dal, and Lotus Stem curry and also a serving of tasty Appams. Even though I was almost full, and saving space in my tummy for the desserts, I tasted all these super delicious dishes, and in fact finished up the entire serving of the Amitabh Bacchan of the main course – the Tadka dal –it absolutely was Divine with the simplest of flavors.
Now was the most important period of my meals. Yes dear time to savour the Desserts. Annamaya offers a wide selection of desserts, and I was served with a platter consisting of absolutely exotic looking tempting desserts. Without bothering to ask for the names, I relished my sweets, and was the last one to leave the table of about 25 plus guests. Even when I was walking out, the ice cream counter pulled me in again and I tried two new flavours – the Chilly Chocolate and a Mixed Berry.
I was here for a media launch event and the hospitality extended to us was just extraordinaire. Full marks to the entire team for coming up with an exotic tasting menu of such magnitude.
Also worth mentioning is this that according to Chef, the menu essentially is decided on every day basis depending upon the availability of seasonal products to enhance the authentic taste and flavor of the veggies and hence the USP of all the dishes is freshness, lightness, and natural with no overpowering of species and seasonings.
Overall AnnaMaya is a wonderful place to be in and I am sure it is soon going to be a natural headache to all other food joint in the Aerocity area. The Hotel Andaj is yet to be formally launched – but AnnaMaya has already added a few feathers in their cap. Guys, you gonna have to put up with me again soon.
Ambiance n décor: 4/5 Food n Drinks: 4.5/5 Service 5/5 Hospitality 5/5
Address: Annamaya, Andaz Hotel, Aerocity Delhi
Cost for two : INR 2000/- Plus taxes
All photography by Pradeep Chamaria for exatraveller.com
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. The views expressed are based entirely on our experiences on what we ordered on a particular day and time. The views are entirely unbiased, but you need to keep this in mind while considering this review.