July 22, 2014
1911 – A Royal Feast
By Akshita Singh
If you talk about restaurants, usually food occupies center-stage, but in the case of The Imperial’s 1911, its magnificence excited me more. There’s something truly regal and majestic about everything in The Imperial and its historically momentous restaurant 1911 epitomizes that regality and majesty. Isn’t it amazing if you get to revisit that epoch-making year when Delhi became the national capital, over some Dal Makhaniand Biryani? Yes, the good old 1911 ensures its name displaysjust how remarkable the year it first came into being is. While entering1911, you cross another restaurant, Nostalgia, with posters of various Hollywood stars of the twentieth century adorning its wall, though that name fits just fine with 1911 as well.
You are greeted by two suspended vases with carnations running across them, along with the stewards in their Redcoats; theirs is a nice effort at making us sense how things were at that very place, 103 years ago, and I must say, they’re almost successful at that.
It’s a very brightly lit place, owing to the massive 3-piece chandeliers, which are an interesting contrast to the much darker Nostalgia right beside it. At the table(a cane furniture, bought from Thailand, which the steward wanted us to imprint in our hearts and minds), the carnations return to extend to you a second welcome.
The stewards are all so enthusiastic about narrating all that they know about 1911, right from its historical significance to its multicolored oblong glasses, each and every bit of it. And their knowing just about everything about that place and more so, their delight and pride in sharing that information with us, was something highly appreciable and admirable.
Getting down to the food, even before I could taste anything, I was already disheartened with the fact that the bowls happened to be so small; gobblers like me need much, much more. The Paneer Tikka had just the right marinate with an interesting, mild pungent taste made even better when tipped with the onions and capsicums. I ordered for myself a fantastic dose of butter, courtesy the graciously buttery Dal Makhaniand the butter Naans. The Kumbh Hara Pyazfelt slightly undercooked with condiments on the excess.
The star of the evening was the Vegetarian Biryani, hands down. Every other minute, I’d raise the bowl closer to my face and savor the strong, recurring smell of kesar. It seemed to be their own version of Biryani with the best of Lucknowi, Hyderabi and all other kind of Biryanis taken in, and it was delightfully delectable.
Someof you might have already noticed that there isn’t really anything 1911-ish in the menu but it does it really matter if the food is excellent? If you’re all set to splurge for once, for the food and definitely for the royal appeal, 1911 awaits you.