As the musical accompaniment plays and the beautiful candle lit room glows within the heavenly Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra one is transported back to the days of the Taj Mahal and its opulence. Like a Mughal emperor, expect everything here to be of the finest quality, from the waitstaff’s dress to the classical Hindustani music that charms and beguiles.
This property, renowned as one of the world’s best, is a majestic combination of Indian, Muslim and modern influence set amidst stunning grounds of pools, fountains and lush landscaping that at night comes alive in a magical, dream-worthy tapestry. With the Taj looming large just outside the hotel gates you will feel as if this will be a night to remember.
The Esphahan is the city’s crowning culinary jewel and The Monster, after having dinner here once already decides to return. Perfectly balanced and gracious service, wonderful, bewitching food and a serene yet never stuffy setting will do that.
Each night starts with a complimentary sample of soup. Last night featured a complex tomato soup filed with earthy flavor. Tonight a citrus and yogurt soup dares to be both refreshing and surprisingly nuanced.
Kesari murgh tikka – boneless chicken in a saffron and yogurt marinade starts the feast off to great effect. How is humble chicken made to be so flavorful and juicy in India? With a fabulous chutney and a dash of lemon this is a simple yet delightful appetizer.
A spicy Kerala shrimp curry is the main course with butter naan. Its heat plays deftly off a touch of sweetness and cream. Eating like this every day would be a dream.
A trio of complimentary desserts finish off the triumphant gustatory evening in high fashion.
Alas, perfection has a hefty tariff and reality sets in. Must it?
Why go? A man can dream.
Monster rating: 4½/5 Monsters
Oberoi Amanvilas Hotel | Taj East Gate Road, Agra, India