When the first rains of the season poured down and soaked Mumbai in it’s cover, we were assured that the journey and the day that lay ahead for us was going to be eventful. We were headed from Mumbai to Pune to immerse in the Royal Indian Experience that was specially curated by JW Marriott Pune at their newly revamped restaurant, Shakahari.
Keeping the essence of vegetarianism alive, Shakahari launched on 18th May 2017, flaunting a new look and character, with a royal twist. Formerly known for its Pan-Asian cuisine, it now showcases a entirely new theme of royalty, presenting a lavish menu based on authentic Indian cuisines inspired from regions of the country with the royal monarchy. The food is the brainchild of Maharaj Jai Kishen, who has served the likes of Birlas, Mittals, Lord Swaraj Paul, to name a few. He hails from Kolkata and with over four decades of culinary mastery, he now heads the kitchen of Shakahari, in Pune.
Set up to be a Royal Indian Experience, Shakahari brings fine dining to authentic Indian cuisine. You get an ornate setup, complete with exquisite cutlery, a peaceful environment and courteous service. Shakahari is all about making you feel special, savour the meal and relive the flair of the grand Indian meal. JW Marriott Pune’s eye for detail is striking.
This place is all about the experience, which can make dining a brilliant experience. That, is exactly what happened.
The beautiful silver plates were soon brimming with variety of food from the region of North India: dal-bati-churma, dahi wada, palak patta chaat, rajma lasooni salad and besan chilla, to name a few. And mind you, we had only just begun.
The daal-baati-churma was one of the most appealing dishes on the palate, rich in its core flavour, with richly textured baati and aptly fine churma, add as much ghee here as you want, and you will never regret this sinfully delectable centrepiece of the royal Indian treat.
The palak poori was the perfect companion to dum paneer kasoori. This combination was thoroughly reminiscent of North Indian fare, with the spices flavouring the dish really well. The paneer, meanwhile, could have been even better had it been slightly less sweet.
The gucchi pulao was well flavoured, and the tender strands add to the taste even more. What made all of this so epic is the fact that everything is cooked to perfection, and the course is spread out easily, leaving diners with ample time to savour the taste and wait for the festival of rich flavours to settle in.
Also, the subz makhmali kofta was our favourite, and anyone with a sweet tooth will absolutely love it. Cooked to perfect softness, the use of plum, almond and cashew make it rich, finger-licking tasty and filling. The use of cardamom here adds a slight zing and saves it from being too sweet.
These are just few of our favourite things from the plethora of dishes that were served to us.
Post lunch everyone eagerly looked forward to the desserts, but we were in for a surprise as we were informed that there’s a special room for desserts – the mishthaan bhandaar. The room was nothing short of a sweet shop where the variety of sweets and desserts served were unending. For instance, there was mango rabdi, malai kulfi, vanilla ice cream, kesar pista kulfi, moong dal halwa, gulab jamun, lychee gulla, kaju pista roll, motichoor ladoo, kadambari, badambhog and ghewar. One thing prevalent among desserts is the lightness and the well-balanced sweetness
Talking about the launch, Vineet Mishra, General Manager of JW Marriott Pune said,
“India is a land of immense geographical diversity, each comprising varied dialects, flavours, spices and regional cuisines that showcase culinary finesse. Food is at the genesis of everything we do at Marriott and we want to revive the culture of food in its most authentic Indian form and that is the philosophy at Shakahari- a royal dining experience, JW Marriott Pune. Keeping this focus, Maharaj Jai Kishen seamlessly blends tradition and flavour for each dish that is specially curated by him.”
As we came to a close, we could truly appreciate the efforts of Shakahari. From a personal dining room, the courteous staff and the sheer VIP-like treatment, JW Marriott Pune leaves no stones unturned in making this dining experience one to remember. In fact, we are still savouring the solid flavours.
Address: Shakahari, Level 1, JW Marriott, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune
Hours: Open for dinner (Mon-Sun) and lunch (Sat-Sun), reservation required
About JW Marriott Pune: Located centrally, the property encompasses 414 rooms including 44 suites designed for the business and leisure traveller, a bi-level Convention Centre, 12 flexible meeting rooms, F&B outlets and the Quan Spa – one of the largest spas in West India. Being a sought after hotel for conferences and business needs, the JW Marriott Pune strives towards continued innovation, luxury and excellence. For those who want to have a perfect wedding that mirrors their personality and dreams, JW Marriott Pune also offers state-of-the-art banquet spaces spanning over 40,000 square feet teamed together with exceptional culinary creations from the hotel’s catering team.
The images are copyrighted, do not reuse without permission