The first thing you notice when you walk into Diplomat Hotel is the stack of suitcases nestled quietly in the corner. The big blackboard grabs your attention. You just have to read everything written on. The paintings on the wall need a dekko too. And they are quirky as hell.
The evening my friend and I went to Amreli, there were exactly two tables occupied. Which meant that we had free run of the place. As it happened, the table closest to us were South Indians who were ordering appams after appams. That's when we knew exactly what we wanted to it.
So when the menu finally came to us, we scanned through all the South Indian dishes on the menu and picked the ones we wanted to eat asap. Despite that we decided to give a few others a try as well since the menu was a mix of North Indian, continental and well pan asian. Quite the multi-cuisine restaurant this.
Our meal started with the Tamarind Pomelo Salad which was very nice but not exceptional. It lacked a certain depth - the balance of flavours sweet, salty, sour - was off. There was also not much in terms of texture, and the large pieces of walnut didn't really do justice to it.
Louisiana Chicken sandwich - smoked chicken with Barbeque seasoning - was a delicious sandwich. The ciabatta it was served on was super fresh yet chewy and I really enjoyed the bite from the arugula. The fries that came with it were nicely spiced albeit slightly limp. Yet they were delicious.
The chef sent us a plate of assorted starters that included the malai fish tikka, jalapeno cheese naan, Melting malai tikka, crunchy seekh kabab and the crispy filo wrap raan. Truth be told, it was the last one - the crispy filo wrap raan that was exceptional. I loved the pulled mutton that worked so well with the delicate pastry. Served with chipotle mayonnaise, this was heaven. I'd order this anytime again. The rest of the kebabs were all good, but then again it's hard to find a bad kebab in Delhi.
For our South Indian course we ordered the Chettinad Chicken and the Kerala Vegetable stew along with regular appam and an egg appam. To be honest, it was a bit meh. The appams were overcooked from the bottom, the stew way too rich because they had used all coconut cream and no coconut milk and the chettinad chicken, well, it was a good chicken curry but certainly not from Chettinad.
Finally, as true blue south indians we ordered the curd rice. And what a winner it was. Soft rice with cold yogurt with a beautiful tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves sprinkled with little pomegranate rubies, it was truly a beautiful sight. Served with appalam and some pickle, it was love at first bite.
For dessert we sampled the cheesecake - which was highly missable and the creme brulee which was to-die-for. The brulee had a beautiful finish and the caramel cracked so well with the spoon.
Despite its hits and misses, Amreli is worth exploring as mid-week dining option.