Flavours of Asia @Double Tree Hilton, Gurgaon

Asia Alive is the main dining restaurant at DoubleTree Hilton, Gurgaon. Earlier, the hotel also had a Moroccan restaurant called Casablanca, which has now been turned into a banquet. Asia Alive has an enticing à la carte menu, however we always opt for buffet. Their buffet displays the various Asian cuisines beautifully and has quite an intriguing spread of food.

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The ambience is modest and classic. Minimalistic with very little adornments and the entire focus kept on food. The in-house plants bring it a lively vibe and the immaculate plate arrangements bring a sense of sophistication. I love the dinnerware introduced recently; gorgeous blue and red patterns really pop up across the otherwise dull wooden table. The service is always brisk and efficient. The waiters are well informed, courteous and readily serve piping hot food to the table and saving you a trip to the buffet spread.

Soup : The buffet includes a live soup section to select your choice of ingredients and condiments (from an extensive assortment) and create a personalised soup for your taste buds. The chef then adds the aromatic and flavourful soup stock {chicken or vegetarian} before serving to your table. The soups are always infused with different flavours like coriander or lemongrass. Based on my previous experiences, the chicken broth unfailingly  tastes better than the vegetarian.

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Cheese Display : No buffet is complete without a cheese platter, even though some have really limited options {as less as two here}. Brie and Emmental available on my last visit {even though Im not a cheese connoisseur} I could tell were of average quality. Brie accompanied by chicken ham and olives on the cracker was quite a pleaser though.

Lebensmittel Insight – Brie is a soft cheese made with cows milk and named after the French region it originated in – Brie. Its rich and creamy like Camembert and the white outside of the wheel can be eaten as well. Emmental on the other hand is a yellow, medium-hard Swiss cheese with tones of acidity. A good quality Emmental has walnut-sized holes and is considered extremely hard to produce because of the same. It melts well so, is used in sauces and sandwiches.

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Appetisers : From the Indian selection we were offered paneer tikka, palak corn kebabs, grilled chicken tikka and Amritsari fish. The paneer tikka even though beautifully caramelised on the outside was insipid and lacked to inspire. Spinach and corn kebabs, were mesmerising with a beautiful balance of chilli, bitter and sweet. They left quiet an impression on our palate. Chicken kebabs were a complete miss with flavour and the morsels were ‘just’ cooked. The fish however, was cooked to perfection; Charred and crispy outside, soft and flaky inside. It had a nice rub of spices, but there was a slight “fish smell” which I really don’t like, but my friends did not mind and kept gorging on.

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We choose the pineapple and chicken salad along with orange shots as our signature dishes from the salad spread. The vegetarian salads were vapid and not mention worthy. The pineapple and chicken salad was light and refreshing, coated in a creamy dressing which was contrasted with sourness from the pineapple. Orange shots were simply made with freshly squeezed orange juice and spices which settled at the bottom and really hit your throat at the end. {We decided to take it to the next level by adding an olive in the glass. Well, lets just say we needed more cheese after that!}

Normally they also have a variety of dim-sums in the buffet but their steamer was not functional and thus, we missed out on the little dumplings of happiness.

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Main Course : We went the pan-asian route with Chicken Red Thai Curry and Basa in Lemon and Ginger, served with steamed rice {we wanted sticky rice but they weren’t part of the buffet}. The Red Thai Curry was just delightful. A beautiful balance of flavours with galangal, lemongrass, chilli and the aroma of lime leaves. The chicken shreds melted in the mouth and was absolutely flawless. At one point we literally took out our soup spoons and started drinking the curry right out of the bowl. The quality of rice can be improved. The fish had soft notes of lemon and ginger which left a soothing aftertaste. The basa was again cooked perfectly, but for me the smell was a little off-putting.

We also tried cheese pasta from the live section which was sadly undercooked and lacked sass. There is a fine difference between al dente and undercooked but they surely missed the mark.

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Desserts : The dessert display was one the most beautiful I have seen in town. The arrangement of desserts was exquisite. However, the taste did not stand up to the presentation. Being sugar lovers, we tried almost everything and I couldn’t pick one  dessert that bowled me over. The cakes were dry, the mousse cakes had no flavour, the cheesecake was gelatinous. Each petite dessert had its own flaw. However, the fact that they allowed us to make our own ice cream rolls made up for all of it. It was experience we thoroughly enjoyed.

Overall, certain aspects in this restaurant really stand out and shine bright enough to overcome the otherwise inadequate food spread.

Asia Alive - DoubleTree by Hilton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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