January 6, 2006
The hotel bedroom, with its large king-sized bed, easy chairs, coffee table and TV was not the best decoratively. It was not grubby but it needed “brightening up” and a bit of TLC. However, the bathroom was not brilliant and the shower did not generate enough hot water for a shower. In actual terms it did not produce ANY hot water!
The staff were all very attentive and ensured that we had a meal menu in the bedroom and were keen to check if we wanted to order any beer. We fancied a bottle or two and were asked to pay “up front”. It transpired that the hotel was not licensed and the beer was collected for us from the local liquor store, chilled and then served in our bedroom. We were not permitted to take it to the restaurant, as it would “be unlawful”. We pre-selected our meal and agreed that we would be ready to eat by 8pm. The waiter was delighted as he stated it was “best not to waste time in the restaurant waiting for the meal”.
The meal was superb and only cost 320 rupees for both of us. We had Gobi Marsala (cauliflower florets with cottage cheese simmered in a rich and subtly spiced brown gravy); Paneer (a type of cheese) Butter Marsala, which consisted of succulent cubes of paneer cooked in a very spicy sauce topped with a dash of cream (mmm..); Bhindi Marsala – Okra (ladies fingers) – a vegetable I’d never experienced before, in a blend of Indian spices cooked in a thick onion and tomato sauce. The Bhindi (although I’m not sure I’d rave about the Okra) had a slightly sour taste but it “kinda” complimented the other two dishes. We had a superbly fruity Kamshmiri Pulao, and a battura and an Aloo Paratha served as a more than adequate way of mopping up the sauces. Our plates were spotless at the end of a very satisfying meal and a couple of ice creams restored the coolness of the palate.
Unfortunately as good as the evening meal had been the following day’s breakfast was verging on the gross. Everything we ate had a strange indescribable taste and later that day we had our first and only bout of “Dehli belly”. Perhaps we were unfortunate but if you stay here – enjoy your dinner but pass the breakfast – better to be safe than sorry!
From journal A day or two in the hills