When Spectra,the signature restaurant at The Leela Kempinski in Gurgaon,opened two weeks ago with an all-day dining menu,you were prepared for the usual suspects skilled expat chefs and skillets of world cuisine and a fancy backdrop of bright lights and bay windows. But be prepared to be dazzled at first sight a beautiful and dramatic pathway paved with glass and reflecting stalactite-like lamps that seem to hang precariously from the roof. From there you can make your way to several mini kitchens that dot its 16,000 square feet.
Walls of wine racks spread out from the entrance,while inside,the counters,flaunting an informal ambience with pots and pans and baskets of aubergines and carrots,serve Indian,Mediterranean,Pan-Asian and Japanese cuisine,and desserts. There is also a bar.
The restaurant,with a cover of 225,has enough seating options you can snuggle in a cosy private cubicle or take a seat at the food counter for a community meal. Between appetisers,you can also monitor your pick of poultry that spins in the fire-spitting rotisserie.
In between managing a troupe of about 60 cooks spread over several counters,executive chef Thomas Figovc said,Initially,our chefs and the staff were a bit self-conscious about constantly being in the public eye,but they have adapted remarkably. Todays food is no longer about secret recipes that need to be prepared behind locked doors. Its all about uncomplicated and fresh food. Quite so. The weighty menu at Spectra offers a basic and uncomplicated meal; no complex fusions or unheard-of recipes that will have you call the chef in despair. There is a delicious Duck in Thai Red Curry (Rs 850),trays of assorted sushi rolls (starting at Rs 350),a variety of grills (such as Chicken Rotisserie for Rs 750 and Roast Duck for Rs 950),pizzas (from a desi Murg ka Sula at Rs 850 to a Classic Seafood at Rs 950) and a quintessential Indian selection (if the mutton preparation Kundan ki Kaliya comes for Rs 950,a tandoor lobster will set you back by Rs 1,800).
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The lunch buffet,at Rs 1,400 plus taxes,transforms Spectra into a high-street food mart. The day,however,begins with a breakfast buffet served between 7 am and 10.30 am. Priced at Rs 700 plus taxes,it rolls out morning goodies from each of its counters. You can sip on a Miso soup or dunk your greasy paranthas in fresh curd,or go for a fix of cold cuts and Danish pastries.
Meal for two,excluding drinks: Rs 4,000
Location: The Leela Kempinski,