India Jones at the Oberoi Hotel serves beautiful but boring Southeast Asian food.
It’s unfortunate that restaurants in India have not yet started to put their menus online, because after looking at it in the restaurant, I think we knew we were resigned to our fate of an uninspired meal…at high prices. We were stuck- the very attentive waitstaff had served us water, asked for our drink orders, and generally hovered close to our table in case of emergency. So we searched for interesting vegetarian food and ordered:
1. A mango salad dressed in chiles and lime, with violently spiky greens. We probably shouldn’t have ordered this, because it wasn’t mango season, but it was the most appetizing salad option. But, since it’s not in season, the mango was not as sweet and juicy as it should have been to provide a good contrast to the lime and spicy chiles. I usually prefer firmer, slightly sour mangoes, but not in this combination. The salad was too much sour, too little anything else.
Next, we ordered:
2. Tamarind potatoes with coriander seeds. These were crispy, and everyone loves fried potatoes. But the sauce lacked the sour hints we were anticipating from the tamarind; while the mango salad was sour where it should have been sweet, these potatoes were too sweet, and camouflaged the flavors of the coriander seeds, which was a pity.
3. Our order of turnip cakes were yummy- slick, creamy, and studded with scallions, and browned to form a lacy, crispy skin. I really like the texture of turnip cakes- the flavor is super subtle- and since my mom wasn’t too into the strange softness of the cakes, I got to eat hers, too!
4. Those noodles- I forget exactly what we ordered but I think it was something like “Indonesian noodles” or “Malaysian noodles” because I wanted to try something new. Booo-ring. They tasted like bland lo-mien….which is usually not the most exciting dish to begin with anyway. And the dumplings were unremarkable…
We decided to get dessert with the desparate hopes of eating something delicious. Sometimes, dessert has a way of..not redeeming, but alleviating the pain of a disappointing meal. If it’s good dessert. But our waiters, who had been oh-so-attentive earlier had all but vanished from our tableside. So, while waiting to be noticed, we watched this man do some fancy food-flipping…I think he was really bored, too.
Eventually we managed to order dessert. This was described as “Milk chocolate mousse with tempura bananas, black pepper, caramelized filo leaf, and vanilla bean ice cream.”
The reason I ordered it was because of the “tempura bananas.” I love tempura and I love bananas! But this tempura was COLD not CRISPY! I was crushed. The mousse was similarly blah, but I did like the tiny lake of burnt sugar.
So go to India Jones if you want to watch the cook turn his tricks, or the well-groomed folks clinking glasses. The ambiance gets all the points here.