Chef Jodha’s Royal Repast

The ethnic chic ambience of the Bistro Desert Rose in WelcomHotel Jodhpur, was the perfect setting for our late afternoon lunch date with chef Akshraj Jodha.
The lighting at our table was deemed not ideal for food photography though.  So we worked out a solution where Iphone photographer Jack Hollingsworth’s meal was first served at a two seater setting by the window and brought back to our larger table after he – and I – were done photographing it! Having photographer dining companions eliminated any likelihood of my diving into my meal and forgetting to capture it on camera like I usually do!
ITC Hotel Jodhpur India
Chef Jodha’s contemporary interpretation of classical Rajasthani cuisine merited all the hoopla.  The substantial six course menu began with Makka Raab: a corn and yogurt soup served with coconut pearls, that was a refined take on the humble Kadhi.
 Chef Jodha's Feast - Course 1
I don’t generally eat red meat but the melt in the mouth smoked lamb cubes in the Maand Bootan, served in kitschy mini cookers, left me craving more. The accompanying Subz Kalmi (Vegetable kebabs) with varq (edible silver) and garlic pearls was equally flavourful.
 ITC Hotel Jodhpur
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Chatpati Machhi – a delicately grilled cheese stuffed sea bass served with balsamic pearls and grape emulsion – was an absolute standout, and was unequivocally voted the star of the show.
Chef Jodha's Feast - Course 3
The full thali that followed did local culinary traditions proud. Although I would have personally preferred fewer, stylised components.
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Clockwise from left: Baati (Traditional flour pastry filled with dhal), Gatta Tart (Chickpea flour tarts) filled with Ker Sangri, Dhania Murgh (Chicken morsels cooked with corriander seeds), Pithod Saubzi (Cooked gramflour and yoghurt cut into diamond shapes), Laal Maans (Lamb cooked in yoghurt and chili gravy), Dal Panchmel (Mélange 0f five lentils seasoned with asafoetida) Missi Roti (Chickepea flour bread) Bajra Roti (Millet bread)

Clockwise from left: Baati (Traditional flour pastry filled with dhal), Gatta Tart (Chickpea flour tarts) filled with Ker Sangri (Dried desert beans), Dhania Murgh (Chicken morsels cooked with corriander seeds), Pithod Saubzi (Cooked gramflour and yoghurt cut into diamond shapes), Laal Maans (Lamb cooked in yoghurt and chili gravy), Dal Panchmel (Mélange 0f five lentils seasoned with asafoetida) Missi Roti (Chickepea flour bread) Bajra Roti (Millet bread)

 Chef Jodha's Feast - Course 5
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Hand churned rose ice-cream made for a wonderfully refreshing desert. I ended up ordering it in-room the following two days in a row! The multicoloured accompaniments seemed to me like ‘pearl’ overkill, but Jack discarded his ice-cream and created art with them!
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Chef Jodha's Royal Feast - Course 6
The ‘royal’ feast ended with (edible) silver coated chocolate medallions dipped and slowly stirred into a piping hot – and luridly green – mint liqueur concoction…..a dramatic and surprisingly delicious finale!
Many thanks to WelcomHotel Jodhpur and chef Akshraj Jodha for this memorable dining experience.