The Fall of Machaan

Machaan was once Delhi’s most sought after hotel coffee shop and if you grew up in the late 90’s early 2000’s it was impossible for you to not stumble in drunk for a late night meal or the legendary bulls eye… Sadly those days are long gone… what one finds today is a just a shell of what used to be… ageing interiors and furniture to boot the place clearly looks like it has seen better days… If I am being honest it felt like walking in to an ITDC hotel and not a Taj property… The one thing that differentiated the whole experience pre food was the staff which as always was courteous and diligent…. If it was an ITDC place they would have probably done you a favor by offering you a place in their small pea brained heads… I don’t where a lot of the ITDC staff learn guest management because my experiences with them have been the equivalent of having my fingernails removved slowly and pain fully… I could be in the worse backpacking hostel in the world at experience customer service better than some of the country’s state run hotels…
Back to Machaan, I was returning there after perhaps 3-4 years for what was once a tradition back in the day a buffet lunch… The first thing that you will notice after having visited so many of the newer coffee shops was the size of the spread which quite honestly can be described as minuscule when compared to the rather large lavish spreads you encounter at Spectra at the Leela or K3 at the Marriott for what is essentially the same price bracket… but the size of the spread can be a non-factor if you the food lives up to the billing and this was another place where Machaan in my book fell flat… the quality of food from the days I used to love going there has just fallen of the cliff straight in the depths of the Mariana’s Trench…
On the day the salad spread was pretty okay and the chicken liver pate and a meatloaf from the cold cuts section surprisingly good… the prawn salad billed as something continental which I can’t remember now were terrible on the other hand… They tasted similar to a cold version of prawn achaari, the smoked salmon didn’t taste too good either… how can you mess up a simple smoked salmon??? The roast duck with figs was a combination I found kinda puzzling… now I know that duck goes well in sweet sticky oriental sauce but what was the need to add figs to it and make it every sweeter !!!
On to the main course: The Raan was really good well cooked and flavor full nothing less than expected but not mind-blowing… The lamb in oriental sauce was the token oriental dish on the menu… surprising to see knowing how much the average Delhi walla loves their oriental… What was downright terrible were the savory crepes that were really chewy and lacked flavor… Grilled fish rank average and the rest of the continental fare was not even good enough for me to bother writing about…


On to the Indian Section: the Dal was really good… not often do you get to see mixed dal in a spread and what made it better was it was prepped perfectly keeping in mind the spice balance… the texture and over taste… true Gurudwara style dal… on the Hyde side of things the chicken was absolutely bland lacking flavor and the meat really chewy… a bland Indian chicken dish is okay with me but chewy meat is a strict NO NO in my book especially at a place of this repute… the saving grace on the Desi front was the Amritsari fish and chicken boti from the live counter… well the chicken boti really wasn’t the real chicken boti but it did the job….

machaan 3
Deserts: didn’t ever bother having them…

All in all I was really disappointed and have will probably not be returning here again… Thank you the good ppl at the TAJ for running what was once one of my favorite coffee shops in the city…

Over all rating a very weak 2.5/10

Machan - The Taj Mahal Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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