Bit into some chocolate eggs, lamb and some greens
Words and pix: Ambica Gulati
Food and celebrations go hand in hand. When the occasion is Easter, there is the anticipation of eggs, sweets and gifts too. After all, it’s all about resurrection and welcoming Jesus Christ into our lives. There’s a lot behind Easter and celebrating this lot is The Imperial hotel in Delhi. Amongst one of the oldest hotels in the Capital, The Imperial stands for old world charm and hospitality. It’s architecture reminiscent of the days of the British and its interiors beautifully blend the Indian with the English ways and styles.
Sitting in the verandah-like setting of the famous 1911 restaurant, bamboo chiks keeping the flies away, light cane furniture and the fragrance of flowers, it was like a family eating the meal, celebrating the resurrection. The air was fresh, conversations light and the menu interesting. Executive Chef Vishal Atreya informed that the Easter Sunday brunch buffet comprises 70 dishes. And it’s only Easter-specific so there are lots of egg and lamb preparations—the egg represents the new formation and the lamb stands for the sacrifices.
Over time, lots of recipes have evolved and for The Imperial, Easter Sunday brunch is an annual affair. But the menu is different. From this new menu, we got a taste of select dishes. It started with Prawn Escabeche, Smoked Duck with Citrus Fruit and Scotch eggs. I personally liked the duck, even though I am a prawn fan. It tasted good with the citrus fruits. It was nice blend of herbs and fruits, not too hard and not too light, the meat soft and melting.
For the veggies, there was Chilled Pineapple Gazpacho with Smoked Paprika and Stuffed Artichoke covered with Spinach, Tomato Tapenade Quenelle. The artichokes are not available in India but preserved in oil. So they were fresh and I think the veggies should like getting a taste of something which is not Indian. And all this went with an absolutely fresh pineapple juice.
The main course comprised Braised Lamb Chops with soft Polenta. This saffron-flavoured Polenta and the Confit of Chicken with Bacon with Charred Peppers turned out to be my favourites. This was a healthy mix of herbs, veggies and meats.
The veg dishes were Roasted Vegetable Lasagna and Rosemary and Garlic marinated roast potatoes. Now, potatoes are something I avoid because of the calorie count but I would say binge on Easter.
Among the three desserts–Hot Cross Buns, Macaroons and Chocolate and Hazelnut Verrine—my vote goes for the Hot Cross Buns. This was light on sugar and full of spices and nuts, including cinnamon my favourite spice. But the chocolate lovers would like to dig into the Chocolate Verrine which exploded with dark chocolate and hazelnut.
Waiting for our reactions on the food, Chef Vishal revealed that his wife always tells him in a hushed tone to keep eating quietly when they dine out. Chef Vishal is also fond of chocolates and this chocolate has been crafted into attractive bunnies, eye-catching eggs and yellow and brown lambs at La Baguette, the pastry shop. Edible colours and saffron have been used extensively. A red bunny and some Easter eggs in my gift basket, I ran to catch another appointment for champagne. April 1 was not a pranks day, but an Easter day for me.
Easter Sunday brunch is on April 5, 2015 from 12-3.30 pm. Meal for two costs Rs 7,000 plus taxes. Reservations can be made at 91 11 41116602/03
The word Easter is a variation of the Old English word Ēastrun, Ēastru, Ēostre. It is also called Pasch from the Latin word Pascha and Greek Πάσχα Paskha. In Aramaic it is פסחא, and in Hebrew פֶּסַח Pesaḥ. Simply put, it’s Resurrection Sunday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, three days after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by 40 days of Lent which means fasting, praying and penance.
The dates of Easter depend on the moon cycles of Spring. The week before Easter is Holy Week. It begins with Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, commemorating the Last Supper and the foot washing. Then there’s Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus.
In western Christianity, Eastertide, the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending on the fiftieth day, Pentecost Sunday. In Orthodoxy, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends on the fortieth day, the Feast of the Ascension.