Jamavar, The Leela Mumbai

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Majestic, Impressive and Elegant are three words that sum up our experience at Jamavar. We were invited to try the ongoing festival “3 States” by Chef Surender Mohan that showcases delicious south Indian fare from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. We were also happy to see a couple of dishes from Kerala. Chef Mohan had designed set menus for both veg and non veg; priced at Rs. 3550 plus taxes per person. They also have an a la carte menu. The festival is on until the 15th of this September.

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The Leela Mumbai, has always had beautiful décor. We’ve been to Citrus and the Lobby Lounge a bunch of times so we were excited to try Jamavar, their Indian fine dining restaurant. As soon as we got to the restaurant, we were spellbound with its grandeur. Chandeliers, big glass bowls with flowers and candles. Everything about Jamavar screamed royalty. With hues of red, gold and ivory; the décor was enchanting. Anup Yadav, the manager of the restaurant escorted us to our table. The ambient lighting and the soothing music was apt for a fine dining experience. Our table looked beautiful with traditional Indian silk table runners, silver cutlery, and silver charger plates that were lined with white cloth. Everything looked regal. We could barely wait for our meal to begin.

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A big bowl of assorted papads with chutney and pickle were brought to our table, so that we could munch on them while going through the elaborate menu. They did a really good job with the menu. It showed the time and effort that went into organizing this festival.

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We were then served appetizers. Clockwise, Aloo Gadda Vepudu – Fried Potatoes with Masala and Andhra spices (Andhra), Meen Karuvepillai Melagu Varuval – Grilled King Fish marinated with Curry Leaves & Pepper (Tamil Nadu), Uppu Kari – Lamb cooked in dry Chettinad spices (Tamil Nadu), Kari Kaidina – Deep Fried Chicken marinated with Ginger Garlic paste.

The platter looked very appetizing with small portions of each dish served with sliced onion, carrots and mint leaves.The fried potatoes with Andhra spices were surprisingly fun to eat, it was a bit tangy and the baby potatoes were covered with the punchy masala. Delicious! The grilled fish was fresh but was not seasoned well and we would’ve loved a lil more curry leaves and pepper on it. The dry lamb cooked in Chettinad spices was lipsmackingly good. Robust flavours, and well cooked lamb with loads of curry leaves, we loved it. The flavours of the deep fried chicken was fairly new to Joash. Being a south Indian, I could only gloat about how south Indians fry their chicken. It was Joash’s favourite that evening. It was really well made.

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A palate cleanser, and a definite must have! Kothamali Rasam (Tamil Nadu) (Rs 475). It blew our minds. It was served piping hot and was strained, so that the guests enjoy it without the tempered whole spices or aromatics disrupting your experience of enjoying the Rasam. Every sip was divine. It was perfect.

Soon the mains were served. Anup recommended that a Sangiovese would really go well with the meal, so I tried a glass of the medium bodied wine and I had no complains. We also had tall glasses of coconut water that went perfectly well with our meal. For main course, we had Chapala Munakai Koora (Andhra) – tangy and spicy fish curry with drumsticks, Kari Vellai Kurma (Tamil Nadu) – mutton prepared in cashewnut gravy,  Madras Chicken Curry (Tamil Nadu) – a traditional spicy chicken curry with coconut gravy, Avial (Tamil Nadu) – mixed vegetables with coconut and cumin, Sambhar (Tamil Nadu) and Bisi Bele Huli Anna (Karnataka) – lentil and rice cooked with vegetables. The gravies were accompanied by Appams, Mini Dosas and Veechu Parotha (Tamil Nadu). We also tried Eral Thukku (Tamil Nadu) (Rs 1645) from the al la Carte menu – prawn cooked in onion and tomato gravy, which was from the a la carte menu.

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Our favourites were – the Madras Chicken Curry; thick coconut gravy with well cooked chicken went really well with the dosas. We loved the Mutton gravy that was made with cashewnuts, it was white in color and the meat was cooked beautifully; very mellow and flavourful. The Bisi Bele Huli Anna was cooked in ghee and was very fragrant and we enjoyed having it piping hot. The dosas and appams were fluffy but the Veechu Parotha, a flakier and softer version of Malabar Parotha; stole the show. It was really good.

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For dessert we were served, Anna Payasam (Karnataka) – raw rice cooked in milk and dry fruits and Pradhaman (Kerala) – rice flakes/lentil cooked in coconut milk and jaggery. Both desserts were OK, the first one was a plain kheer and the second one was a little too sweet to enjoy. Both were traditional south Indian dessert but they failed to impress our palates, we were expecting something more complex than plain jane kheer.The manager got us a paan platter! It had three paans, Kolkatta, Banarasi and the sweet Beeda paan from Andhra, they source the paan from a guy at Fort who is the only one in the city to prepare this version of south Indian sweet paan. It was a perfect ending to an superb meal.

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The service was impeccable; hats off to the staff and Anup, the restaurant manager at Jamavar, who did a brilliant job at making our evening a memorable one. We had a wonderful time and recommend this experience to every foodie out there. The 3 States Festival should not be missed. 🙂

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