When in India, eat Indian which I do with great alacrity.  Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of the sub continent, was the last place I thought I’d find a gracious and perfect hotel.  I did with The ITC Windsor which made me feel like a Maharani.  No problem getting in that role!! Obviously I’m not the first to source out this to-the-manor born Regency style hotel which opened one part in 1982 although it does have the feeling of the days of the Rajas.  The Dalai Lama is a return guest, Tony Blair former prime minister of the UK has spent time as have many Bollywood stars, the true celebs in India. It’s not infrequent that guests come for a month, a few have stayed a year. I would too.

The terrace rooms and there are only 12, lead to a gazebo and blossoming  garden, the interior, gratefully,  gone to chintz heaven and the wall bouquets have been replaced with more subtle neutral tones.  And it’s amazing to know that there’s an hotel that thinks about travelling single women.  There’s an entire wing just for women, housekeeping for women, room service for women.  What an inspirational idea.

But I had my eye on the food. My stomach was rumbling. I had just arrived from Delhi. So for lunch, the weather being too hot to find another eatery, I headed for Dakshin on the ground floor off the lobby.

The interior got me.  It was fairly formal yet not foreboding and with the stunning service dishes and wonderful crested linen napkins, I felt a pull to go in.  And am I glad I did. With the help of the waiter, I was able to have a bit of this and that from the menu which celebrates the rich diversity of South Indian cuisine.   Pride is written over the face of my waiter as he recites the awards,  Times Food Guide winner in 03/06/08.  He volunteered to ask the chef to prepare small portions so that I could have a taster’s lunch.   In fact, soon the chef was out requesting my critique.  Starting with Neer More (buttermilk flavoured with green chilies, ginger and coriander leave,) followed by Rasam, (a flavoured lentil soup.)  My main courses were Kai Stew, a selection of garden fresh veggies in a creamy coconut milk brought with appams and Rulai Kezhangu Podimas (tasty crumbled potatoes tempered with mustard seeds, channa dal and green chilies) and finally dessert of Possinikai Halway (made of khoya, pumpkin and bread crumbs).  Entirely successful and a salute to the Days of the Raj and the tastes of Southern India.

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