Food review: The Leela Palace Udaipur offers unique moments for both eyes and palate

Leela Palace… The grand dame of Udaipur. Located on the banks of Lake Pichola offering outstanding views of the tranquil lake, the historic City Palace and the majestic Aravalli mountains, she anticipates you. Murmur her name; ‘Leela …..Palace ’... magnificent, warm, wise. The property has witnessed much and has hosted many, befittingly described as ‘the most beautiful place in the world.’

Today it is a depiction of sophisticated luxury, preferred among those wanting to be seduced, those seeking ultimate easing collective with a stylish ambience. The Leela Palace Udaipur boasts 72 rooms, and 8 lavish suites–one of which is home to the focus of my visit: Sheesh Mahal restaurant.

Lake Pichola

Ambience

We passed through the stunningly ornamented lobby, through golden halls, a butler accompanying us along the way. Sheesh Mahal is situated amidst the hotel exuding old-world charm converted into a glamorous Indian speciality restaurant adjacent to the lake.

We comfortably settled in a cosy corner, where tables are positioned about a dominant water body. The evening glow of glittering candles in multi-coloured hues adds a resplendent touch to the regality. Sheesh Mahal scores tops for its décor that spells ‘far away pavilions of Indian Maharajas’. The soft light emanating from the palace on to the lake adds a touch of elegance with its stunning mirror image.

Sheesh Mahal

What’s on offer

Sheesh Mahal mirrors the true essence of the kitchens of India and elevates fine dining to another level. Chef Sujit Mukherjee, who helms the kitchen at the hotel, has taken care to keep the cuisine at its pristine best. The food blew me away, it was phenomenal. Any cuisine requires two elements namely a skilled chef, and fresh ingredients, Leela Palace has them both.

On offer here are two menus—one that focuses on traditional Rajasthani dishes and the second that offers North Indian frontier cuisine. Just when you think Indian cuisine is getting too predictable, Sheesh Mahal’s splendour takes you on an uplifting journey that is unpredictable and memorable.

Bhatti ka Murgh Kebab

The authentic menu offers a range of dishes running the gamut from Dal Baati Choorma to Kulfi Falooda. Bhindi Masala sees diced ladyfinger and slices of onion cooked with cumin, coriander, ginger and cilantro. Care has been put into the knife work, the veg not cooked down to unrecognisable mushy hunks, the mild heat on this dish hitting nearer to the back of the palate, edging down the throat. Moving on to our meatier fare, the Laal Maas, an iconic Rajasthani dish, is yet another hit.

Dal Bati Churma

I am slightly amazed at how slightly the chillies permeate the dish, there’s certainly a kick but my heat meter scarcely registers. The lamb is moist, tender and quickly scooped up by my table. Of particular note about the chiefly Northern Indian cuisine at Sheesh Mahal is how fresh and clean the ingredients all seem. Even when cool, none of the food turns into gooey clumps, nor do puddles of grease float atop the entrees.

Raan

You might even find yourself with room for dessert like Kulfi falooda, a creamy dense ice cream pop that soothes and satisfies all at once. A restaurant requires an additional element—good service and Leela Palace has that in spades. Presentation is cheerful and very upscale with prices to match and out here unique moments are to be lived for both the eye and the palate’s delight!

Where: Sheesh Mahal @THE Leela Palace Udaipur Lake Pichola, PO Box No. 125, Udaipur - 313001, Rajasthan. Tel: +91 (294) 6701234