Not just Noida but whole of NCR has never tasted anything like this! Food connoisseurs and eating buffs take note to make the first possible visit to Gardens Galleria Mall in Sector 38A Noida. Such occasions come seldom in life when the lords of senses come to tickle and ignite each of your sensory bud so as to leave you spellbound by the entire gamut of enticing charm that you are set to encounter at Spellbound – the new eatery joint that has taken the entire NCR by storm in a short while since its launch.
Spellbound at Gardens Galleria is undoubtedly the new address for food connoisseurs in the Capital. With the celebrity chef Izzat Husain there to delight your taste buds, together with the soothing yet happening ambience that reflects the rich taste of promoters Sagar Sharma and former model and Miss Delhi Ramnik Pantal, rest assured that all your senses will feel the excitement of being to Spellbound. Ramnik had since long been a model, TV anchor and host and has been a familiar entity in Delhi’s Page-3 circles for the last two decades.
Truly a sensual delight but neither at too much cost to pocket nor a great burden on your bowel system that many a well-known chefs in Delhi make you undergo because of their reckless use of spices and oil, which resultingly give the same taste to whatever different dishes they cook. But Izzat Husain’s food is different… delightfully different. So much so that you can distinguish the various ingredients that he puts into his food merely by putting the food on your tongue. Each herb and spice that he puts appear to whisper gently in unequivocal tone that it too is there. If Shahi Zafrani Sheermal is served, rest assured that taste of zafran (saffron) will linger on in your mouth distinctly for a while. Even when you are trying his paratha with unique blend of herbs, garlic, olive and ginger or are savouring his trademark ‘Izzat ki Roti’ that Mirza – the F&B manager – wants you to break with your own fingers because only then will you realize how soft the roti is despite the fact that it is not easy to keep the roti soft if multi-grains are used. Izzat Husain has designed variety of breads at Spellbound because he knows the food buffs in the Capital prefer to have bread over rice. This however does not mean the biryani is not far better than all that you get to eat in Delhi restaurants in the name of biryani.
Mirza, the F&B Manager who has the distinction of being part of the exquisite kitchen of the Palace of His Excellency King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and who boasts of serving distinguished guests ranging from Barack Obama, Narendra Modi and Tayyip Erdogan, gets spellbound by the exquisite taste that Izzat Husain’s ingenuity develops, day after day. It is due to this that he calls the food at Spellbound as royal… in fact everything in Spellbound reminds him of the royalty he was associated with while in the royal kitchen of the King of Saudi Arabia.
Yogesh Meena – the young chef who supports Izzat Husain – has the distinction of working in the Hilton at Istanbul and at the Taj at Udaipur. Here at Spellbound, he is shocked to see how Izzat Husain can make cooking look so simple and easy and yet comes out with spell-binding tastes… that too without use of water or curd. Says Meena: “I have never seen Mr. Husain taste any food. He knows if the salt is less or more merely by looking at the food.” He further says that Izzat Husain’s “process of cooking is quite different…earlier we used to toll hard but couldn’t bring the taste, Mr Husain appears to do simple things but come out with finger-licking dishes.”
But why did this trainer of trainers – the celebrity chef who till now had restricted himself to training the chefs of 5-star hotels and big food chains – got associated with a restaurant in Noida. Says Izzat Husain: “Till now my services were restricted to five-star hotels. First time, I have come out of 5-star hotels so that my food reaches out of 5-star environment. We are going to give an altogether new variety and taste to Delhi NCR – a food that is mouth-watering delicious but also digestive…. Food that is not just appealing for the senses but for appetite as well.”
Adds Sagar Sharma: “People who are coming here are loving the food as well as the ambience in which they sit to eat. They are showing it by not just respecting the chef, but even respecting the food. Entire National Capital Region was till now lacking in an ambience where the whole family could go and sit in a relaxing environment, listen to the soothing music playing in the background, in an equally soothing ambience, and eat food that they had perhaps never tasted before.”
Sharma further says he wanted to build a place where all five senses get spellbound. He has taken extra care on each and everything within the premises so as to give such a spell-binding ambience. He has ensured that good music plays in the background. And with Izzat Husain as the master chef, he has ensured that all five senses are taken care of.
To begin with, focus is on developing corporate clients and reaching out to those families who already possess refined taste-buds and who wish to feel pampered by the special service that is the hallmark of Spellbound, while savouring Izzat Husain’s delicacies. Sharma informs there are special packages for the corporates, which not only give value-for-money but an experience of a lifetime.
Murg Kalapari is so soft that it appears to melt in the mouth. Made without use of curd and with Izzat Husain’s secret marination techniques, it is worth a try. By the name Malai Tikka, it would appear you have eaten it so many times in life before. But if you believe in us you can bet with anyone even without trying it that Izzat Husain’s Malai Tikka would be different, something that you would not get to eat in the whole of NCR. Murg Neza boti kabab too has an unbeatable taste. And if you are fed up of eating almost the same tasting dal makhani in restaurant after restaurant, Dal Shahzadi is Izzat Husain’s new creation; one that appears as royal in taste as it could be.
Another exquisite Izzat Husain creation is Chuqandar Paneer, which is truly out of the world in taste. Ponder for a while: how many restaurants in Delhi would risk offering you something which is a mix of chuqander and paneer. Salute to Izzat Husain’s ingenuity that even a dish made of chuqander comes out so tasty that you would love to add it in your main menu. Likewise, how many chefs would offer Qabuli Gosht – an amalgamation of goat meat with qabuli chana! Truly splendid in taste is Badami Qorma as well.
Not just starters and the main course, a visit for dining purposes at Spellbound should also include savouring the tasteful and healthy variety of mocktails and also the desserts – all with the signature blend and taste provided by the chef of chefs, Izzat Husain. Just as Malai Tikka is far different from the dish by the same name that you get all over North India, the Badam ka Halwa too is different… and innovative… where each spoonful will make you realize the taste and feel of Badams (Almonds) till it goes down your neck and to your stomach.
As the photo-journalist Zaki accompanying this writer perfectly summed it up: “Each dish has a perfect, distinct taste… taste which lingers for a long while even when the food has gone down your throat. Taste of one dish does not mix with the taste of other… all appear distinct, unique … and all delicacies together create the perfect blend, that words would fail to describe but will give the feel that would remain for a long-time after you have had to your heart-full (rather stomach full) and yet with another unique quality of Izzat Husain – that his foods are a complete medicine and are never harsh on your stomach even if you eat to your full.
By Aziz Haider; Photos by Md. Zaki Haider