On the 28th floor of the luxury hotel with jaw-dropping 360- degree views of the Capital including Jama Masjid, Red Fort, India Gate, Birla Mandir, Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, Bahai Temple, Connaught Place… OKO, The Lalit New Delhi has scores of loyal diners… try going there without reservations and I'm sure you'll wait awhile. The Pan Asian restaurant boasts of an eclectic selection of dishes spanning Japanese, Korean, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese, meeting just about everyone's preference. Of late, I had been hearing great reviews about the hotel chain stringently following 'zero-wastage' and 'we serve what we grow' nutritional philosophy that emphasises spiritual and physical health, so I was really looking forward to a meal. What's more, it's the only restaurant that employs transgender and ladies-only service workforce in sync with the brand's all-inclusive policy.
When my friend and I arrived, we were taken to our table — with a view spanning Connaught Place and way way beyond — and Chef Tamang came over to greet us with a digital menu. After much deliberation, luncheon began with 'Buta Tamanegi'. The teppanayaki pork skewer was melt- in- the- mouth sumptuous and set the bar high. Of course, the team delivered. Up next was 'Prawns In Black Pepper Sauce' and I cannot use the word fresh and flavourful enough!! This was followed with a basket of 'Pork Five Spice Oriental Herbs Dumplings' — the spicy meaty dumplings, with red pepper and cilantro, was spot on. The highlight of our meal, though, was SushiRi — a part of a menu 'Flights Of Japan' with carefully choreographed pairing of wine and sake with sushi! We chose scallop, salmon and yellow tail and I can only describe it as "transported to culinary heaven" sushi, each chased with its shot of wine or sake which heightened flavour — the result of all pairings tried and tested for about six months!!
A few moments later, our entrée — I call it the "coup de grace" — arrived. The team has 'Miso Marinated Black Cod' down to a science; chef explained that the cod is cured in traditional Japanese style, first in a bed of salt and then under a muslin cloth dripping with miso, for a few days. If you like seafood, this off-the-hook fresh, flaked fish marinated in miso, is to die for. Words fail me to describe its flavour and texture. The second entrée — Prawn Phad Thai — was visually appealing. The Siamese style flat noodles covered prawns peppered with crushed red chilli, tamarind, peanuts and lime, and I was in awe as the server delicately unwrapped the noodles and served us with a smile. We were satiated and satisfied, as we took in the magnificent views. Until dessert was served. 'Tum Tim Krob' is one of the specialties so I was looking forward to it. This Thai delicacy i.e. tender coconut cream with crunchy water chestnuts, topped with crushed ice, and served in a coconut, heralded a sweet satisfying end to a sumptuous meal.
Reflecting on the experience, it's easy to see why discerning foodies have a love affair with OKO on first bite. It's attention to detailing whether it's the flavourful dishes, the efficient service, the sleek interiors or the magnificent views. PS This review would be incomplete if I failed to mention that OKO is more than just a restaurant — it embodies the hoteliers' nutritional philosophies that emphasises zero wastage and both spiritual and physical health. PPS This may sound odd but do visit the washroom — for more jaw-dropping panoramic views of the cityscape!!
— JASMEEN DUGAL
28TH Floor, The Lait, New Delhi