The Pavilion at the ITC Maurya has been “the default” coffee shop for Delhiites and visitors alike for almost thirty years. Its location advantage of being exactly between the airport and heart of the city of New Delhi established it as the right place for that “last meeting” or best place for the “first meeting” of countless business visitors.
The Pavilion has always been an expensive but never pricey restaurant. An idea which has worked for them is, to offer as lavish a spread as possible for a buffet and charge what works best for that offering. A buffet dinner for two including taxes cost approximately Rs. 6,000/- (without drinks/ alcohol) at the time of writing this review. On Saturday nights and Sunday brunch, the offering and the price both get revised upwards and include house wines and other alcoholic/ non-alcoholic drinks. Each day has its own featured cuisine/ theme course in addition to standard layout. Specials include Chinese, Seafood, South Indian and so on. It helps in knowing what the theme of the day is before walking in, and yes, table booking is highly recommended, waiting can easily stretch beyond an hour or so. On Wednesday, the day we reviewed it, the speciality was seafood.
Here goes my quick review:
Date: January 9, 2013
Time: 7:15 pm to 9:30 pm (Restaurant timings 00:00 hours to 24:00 hours)
City: New Delhi
Address: Lobby level, the ITC Maurya, Sardar Patel Marg, New Delhi.
Restaurant: The Pavilion – The cheerful 24 hour restaurant.
Location: Bang on SP Marg, before the Dhaula Kuan intersection.
Format: Coffee Shop, leisure dining.
The Buffet is structured as a nine course set-up Fresh fruits, salads, cheese (and wine, for which you have to pay separately), appetizers, soups, entrees, main course, desserts, tea/ coffee. Those who get the format right, plan at least two hours for getting the bang for their buck. If you are in a hurry, you can pick and choose the courses you wish to have and settle for one of the entrées to make it faster. Be rest assured, at no point would the restaurant staff make you feel that you are extending your welcome.
Fresh fruits: Apples, pears, grapes, pineapple, melons and kiwi are almost always on the offering. If you are looking out for exotic carving you may be disappointed, focus is on freshness and straight cut. 8/10.
Salads: Apart from freshly cut greens, a spread of around ten veg and ten non veg prepared salads are on offer. Beans, and nut based salads are kept separately, but there are no markings stating “contain nuts,” so if you or your guests have any allergies, it will be worth your while to cross check what all can be had. A lavish spread of cold-cuts includes some of the best salmon cuts and mortadella found in New Delhi. Prepared salads include sprouted lentils and cottage cheese varieties. Non-veg salads include seafood, chicken, pork and lamb offerings. 10/10.
Cheese: I won’t say they spoil you with choice, but definitely they have great platters on offer. Those who love pepper jack and stuff like that are going to miss it. It is more plains and conventional spread.They are not labelled but one can spot Brie, Blue, Camembert, Cheddar, Swiss, Colby, Gouda, Mozzarella and Parmesan. Goat cheese may or may not be on the spread. 8/10.
Appetizers: Shrimps, Olives, Kachumber, Papri Chaat, Grilled King fish were all good appetizers. When salads and appetizers are displayed as two different courses, the dividing line actually vanishes. 8/10
Soups: I will consider this as the weakest link in the buffet spread. They always have one veg and one non-veg selection, for a buffet spread which is so elaborate they should have two kinds of soups in each category. Seafood Bisque was good and they can’t go wrong with Vegetable Clear soup. 6/10
Entrees: Remember, this is a 24 hours restaurant and keeping a couple of Biryani kind of entrées is a must. Their Lamb Biryani is always good, however on a seafood special day a seafood entree would have been a good addition. With over 40 main course dishes one can create as many entrées as desired quickly, which I did. 8/10.
Main Course: Riot of food, if one can say so. There were at least three main course dishes each with chicken, fish and lamb/ mutton. Two lentils, noodles, a complete North Indian veg kitchen with Saag, Palak Paneer, Shimla Mirch, Dal Makhani, Gobi Masala and Raita. There were all standard main course dishes like potatoes in garlic sauce and mushrooms in cream and so on. It is just not possible to taste all of them. I stayed with Chicken and Fish dishes and picked up one in each cuisine, Chinese, South Indian, Punjabi and Continental. Chinese was made out of Basa, South Indian was with Mahi Mahi, Punjabi was with Surmai and Continental was with Red Snapper. Highlight of the buffet was a full grilled Red Snapper with its rosy skin waiting to be cut off, what an interesting display! 10/10.
Desserts: Desserts are the finale and The Pavilion doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to it. To make their job easier they have vertically divided desserts in tow categories, traditional Indian and contemporary. Traditional Indian have an assortment of Bengali sweets, Gulab Jamun, Rasmalai and Kheer. I loved the Coconut powder coated Kala Jamun. Contemporary section has ice-creams, souffles, custards and a nice assortment of brulees. The best part is the sugar free selection of desserts. 10/10.
Tea/ Coffee: Masala Chai to top it off is the best, but one can go in for a single shot or double shot espresso too, if the idea is to work after all this. Selection is good, 8/10.
Water: House water is fine, buying a bottle would get you Catch spring water. They have some fancy colored glass bottles from Khurja, which look very nice on the table.
Interior: Fine semi-casual.
Tables: Could have been larger, becomes too tight.
Climate control: Excellent.
Acoustics: Tends to be noisy.
Staff Attitude: Caring but very busy, drawing their attention can be a challenge.But once someone has noticed, it is perfect after that.
Rates: About Rs 3,000.00 – per person (without drinks).
Why Go: Hungry, choice, eat, eat and eat.
Why Think Twice: Rs 3,000/- per person for what would always be described as a coffee shop buffet.