There is no denying that the love of food is real, but how far can you actually go for food — the other end of town, the other end of the city, the other end of the country? Well, what if we tell you that is not love enough — if you really love your food, here are some fun places (at the back of beyond) that would really test your love for food and how much you are willing to travel for that perfect ‘foodie’ experience.
DUNE DINNER AT THE THAR
30kms from the nearest habitation, in the middle of the mighty Thar dessert, surrounded by nothing but golden sand and lanterns, the Dinner at the Dunes is fit for royalty. You arrive from the hotel in a luxury SUV, board a camel to climb the dunes, and are welcomed by bagpipes and drums. Kalbeliya dancers and folk singers entertain you; the silence of the desert comforts you. In this magical setting you are presented with modern cocktails and authentic nomadic game food. Prepared live on grills, served on pristine linen and accompanied by five-star service, the meal under the shining stars and flickering torches could be the most memorable of your life.
Dinner on the dunes can be experienced exclusively at Suryagarh, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan (suryagarh.com)
LUNCH ABOARD THE FRONTIER MAIL
Railway meals are always special. Whether they are brought from home in steel tiffin boxes or bought on stations in leaf bowls, the charm of eating in a train remains unparalleled. But what if you can eat on a train that is not moving but is real nonetheless? In a small town of Haryana, you can actually sit inside the real Frontier Express that ran from Bombay to Peshawar in the early 1900s and enjoy a hearty meal. Bogies retain actual seats and brass carriers, sleepers are taken from actual tracks, and the staff is dressed in railway uniform. Outside, leather bound chairs transport you to fancy British Raj retiring rooms. Vintage pictures from old railway stations add to the old world charm and live music transports you to an era of romanticism.
The Frontier Mail experience can be exclusively found at Noor Mahal, Karnal, Haryana (noormahal.in) The Orient Express at the Taj Palace, Delhi meanwhile replicates the ambience of the original carrier in Delhi (tajhotels.com)
DINNER IN A GLASS PALACE AND A GOLD ROOM
A palace sans any electric lights, illuminated by hundreds of candles, made with over three and a half lakh mirrors — in Jaipur’s Mohan Mahal, a meal is always special. A convoy of stewards greets you as soon as you step in. A fleet of servers brings in over 30dishes; chefs accompany in their signature preparations, and butlers carry the finest wines. Food is served in silver thaals even as you dine amidst gurgling fountains, strains of flute, and the heady scent of neroli. You can choose to venture deeper into the State and indulge in a seven course meal at the museum room, a gold painted jewel in Laxmi Niwas Palace, the former home of the maharaja of Bikaner. The cocktails here are served at the hunting room lined with heads of bears, lions, tigers, and bisons. The meals come in courses that are a mix of fine French and authentic Bikaneri cuisine — a replica of the king’s reception in 1929 — and the coffee and cheese course is to die for.
Mohan Mahal, the glass palace, offers the unique culinary experience in Jaipur, Rajasthan (marriot.com) while Lakshmi Niwas Palace prides itself with the finest of culinary offerings in Bikaner, Rajasthan (laxminiwaspalace.com)
BREAKFAST AMONG SAL TREES AND CHARGING ELEPHANTS
A private breakfast under the trees, a meal by the lake, a candle-lit dinner with a bonfire to keep you warm, a bespoke buffet set in your balcony. Who’d think these experiences are possible in the heart of the jungle where even a car cannot reach? Well, it is possible. A breakfast set amidst chirping birds, close to grazing deer, under centuries’ old Sal trees is an example of an exquisite culinary experience that Lebua Corbett specializes in. Homemade cakes and croissants, freshly made juices, and lassis, and a local Kumaoni spread of stuffed dal paratha, chilla made with local flour, local greens, scrambled eggs, dry potatoes and garlic pickle makes the breakfast an experience like none other. Lunches set in your balcony with exquisite European fare, tea by the pool and dinner by the lake with a bonfire to keep you warm — and let’s not forget the calls of wild animals that are as exciting as they are unique.
This special jungle culinary experience can be availed at Lebua, Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand (lebua.com)