Through his 40-year tenure at the Taj Hotel at Mumbai, Chef Hemant Oberoi has always managed to introduce the city of dreams to new cuisines. In his era, during the 70s and 80s, there was no Food Journalism, and many of his achievements are unsung. He invented the ‘Vodka Golgappa’ at least thirty years ago, which has become a trend in many bars and eateries nowadays. He was also the first to treat naans and kulchas as a base for pizza-like toppings, a pattern that took off a few years later when everybody started doing it. With his valour during the Terrorist attack on Taj Hotel in 2008 (26/11), when he helped dozens of hotel guests to safety during terror attacks, Chef Hemant replicated the services beyond the line of duty. A critically acclaimed Hollywood movie – Hotel Mumbai has shown his courage accurately, which was released worldwide in 2018 and in India at 2019 and Award-winning Indian actor Anupam Kher portrayed his role. Chef Hemant hung his apron in 2015 and bid adieu to his 40 years old companion – Taj Hotels. Even if he retired from the professional culinary journey, his passion for Food had never faded. Mr Oberoi started his own chain of restaurants across the globe, including California and Singapore, and his recent Venture in Abu Dhabi – Martabaan by Hemant Oberoi has redefined the fine dining to another level.
‘Martabaan’ means a pickling jar that Indians would ferment things in and even in today’s era, many Indian homes have preserved the culture of storing and fermenting the Food in Martabaan. The Restaurant is digging up the forgotten Indian recipes and giving it a contemporary twist. Chef Oberoi has crafted each item in Menu for the unique dining experience in his Restaurant. Located in the prestigious Emirates Palace, Martabaan by Hemant Oberoi is swanky, opulent, and traditional at its heart.
The expert team of chefs headed by executive Chef Gaurav (who has worked with Chef Hemant Oberoi and handpicked to lead the Kitchen activities) has Midas touch to each recipe designed by Chef Hemant. Chef Gaurav replicates each flavour of authentic Indian dish, redefined by Chef Hemant, and reflects his expertise at par.
As Chef Hemant has always been creative and artistic with cuisines, the names of dishes in Menu shows his creativity and taste authenticate it. How a simple Papdi chaat can be so inventive in the form of ‘Kursi Chaat’, is to be witnessed in Martabaan; two slices of Mango jelly as a mat of the acrylic chair replica is very impressive.Garnishing the Soup from its bottom so that the cream and broccoli can properly be infused in ‘Broccoli and Pista Shorba’ is a more appropriate way to serve the Soup than it is presented in any other Restaurants across UAE.
Tandoor has more than 500 years of history in the Indian subcontinent. Mughals and Turks introduced the Kababs to India, and since then, Indians have transformed the Barbeque to Tandoor and how ! The copper outer shell of Tandoor in Martabaan is visible through glasses of Kitchen and produces many Tandoori preparations, right from Tikkas to Chops. The right balance of spices and creaminess in ‘Murgh Malai Tikka’ is equally aromatic and delicious; each bite of this Tikka is a masterstroke of perfection and awesomeness. ‘Bhatti Prawns’ served on the base of Sweet chilli & Pineapple marmalade is a bliss to the taste buds; cut the prawn with knife and fork, mix it with jelly, and grab a bite of satisfaction.
Martabaan’s lamb preparations are special because Chef Gaurav has a particular interest in butchery and understand the supreme quality of meat. ‘Lambchops’ with proper marination of Indian spices, and smoked in Tandoor are a delight to non-vegetarians. The adequate infusion for spices and smoke of Tandoor with the flesh of lamb create the right flavour profile, and this preparation is must-try when in Martabaan.
‘Chole’ is a staple of North India. Let it be Chole Bhatoore, Chole Puri, Chole Chawal, or Chole Kulche, North India love Chole. The Amritsari crowd has a distinct taste for Food. Even their simple flatbread (paratha, roti, kulcha, or naan) has a unique taste due to topping of ‘Desi Ghee’ (local clarified butter); curries have better flavour due to the quality of water and abundance of butter and ghee; chaat has rusticness due to unaltered recipes, and sweets have drool-worthy appeal due to the Amritsar’s passion for Food. Martabaan ke Chole with Amritsari Kulcha will definitely take you to the streets of Amritsar (though Chole has a little alteration from original recipe). Amritsari Kulcha is best of UAE in Martabaan; the softness of stuffing with the light crunch of pomegranate seeds and crisp of roasted dough is blissful. Deep the Amritsari Aloo Kulcha in Martbaan ke Chole and forget all the similar combinations you have ever tried before. Gratification guaranteed!
The other main course items are worth a try like Lasooni Palak and Dal Hyderabadi. Dal will remind you of Dhabas of India.
Chef Hemant Oberoi had famously served US former president George Bush a biryani in a glass jar. The same culinary export is available in Martabaan too. The idea of Glass Jar was to let George Bush see the layers of lamb/chicken and rice and flavours that go into it; when you serve it a copper utensil or a porcelain one, the ingredients get buried. Mr Oberoi requested a glassware company to create 2,000 jars that could withstand the heat of 400°C, and you may experience the Lucknowi Biryani given a ‘Dum’ in Glass Jar at Martabaan. Of course, the Biryani is delicious, and even if you don’t want to eat it, Chef Oberoi’s efforts for creativity will make you give it a shot; have it with creamy & tangy Raita and keep gushing about it.
You will find the various sweet treats across India, but Rajasthan holds a vital place in the culinary impression of India on the World when it comes to Desserts. Rajasthan has given India a trail of Desserts that many Indian eateries follow across the globe. Ghevar is delicious and one-of-a-kind dessert from Rajasthan that is prepared by the Rajasthani chef in Martabaan. The sugary syrup laced with a crunchy honeycombed cake with a topping of clotted cream (Malai) is ‘treat’ to both eyes and tongue. Don’t miss it!
The Kulfi with garnishing of 24-carat gold vark si served in Martabaan. India had always been referred to as ‘Sone ki Chidiyan’ (Golden sparrow), and even today, Indians have an utter fascination for Gold. An idea of adding a thin film of pure Gold on one of the most loved desserts – Kulfi is impressive. The creaminess of Milk, a hint of cardamom, and visual appeal of Gold vark is delicious and scrumptious in ‘Kulfi with Gold Vark’.
The wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage is complimentary to your dining experience, do try Martabaan’s Bar Menu.
Chef Hemant has always shown utter professionalism, ethics, and passion for Indian cuisines and that reflects in Martabaan. You may experience it flawlessly in his Restaurant by seating on Tri-colored table-chair arrangements (that represents a flag of India), gazing at beautiful paintings fixed on the walls, or looking at the glittering ‘Qasr Al Watan’ and letting the fresh breeze of winter touch you while dining at outside seating arrangement of Restaurant. Visit Martabaan to experience the redefined Indian dining with remarkable stature of Chef Hemant Oberoi and outstanding Hospitality.
Average Cost: AED 400 for two people (approx.)
Location: Emirates Palace, Corniche Road, Al Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi
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