President and First Lady dine on Taj Mahal Hotel's finest offerings in the lavish Tata Suite...
The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel is considered the finest in Mumbai, and that's where President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stayed during their first full night in India. The eateries, of course, are also superfine: The hotel is home to Masala Kraft and Varq, two local notables overseen by executive chef Hemant Oberoi. President Obama and Mrs. Obama reportedly sampled delights from both during their 24-hour stay, which included a Saturday night dinner and a Sunday morning breakfast, and were delighted. As she departed the hotel on Sunday morning, Mrs. Obama reportedly complimented the chefs who were at attention in the lobby, along with other staff, who were lined up to bid the First Couple a formal farewell. (Above: Sunday's final Obama event in Mumbai was a Town Hall with university students, where the President and First Lady both spoke)
India's The Economic Times reported that "The exotic Indian meal was prepared by the Taj in coordination with Obama’s personal chefs, who had flown in from the White House kitchen." From New Delhi, an East Wing spokesman declined to comment on this detail, of course, and also wouldn't confirm the menus, citing the meals as "private."
>Links to all India posts and the President and First Lady's schedule are here
Low fat and spicy
But ET reported that Chef Oberoi created a special Saturday night dinner for the President and First Lady that melded the menus of the two restaurants. The dinner was served in the Presidential Suite, also known as the Tata Suite, which occupies most of one floor of the hotel, and includes a dining room that can seat twelve and a private butler on call 24/7. The dinner delights were cooked with "minimal oil" and the "right blend of spices," according to a kitchen staffer. The starter was sugarcane sorbet, and the main platter included Varq's specialty ganderi kebabs, aloo tikki, malai palak, scallops, lamb curry with a pickle of chilies, vegetable and chicken biryanis, and an assortment of naans and rotis (breads). For dessert, the President and First Lady were presented with apple kulfi.
‘‘Mrs Obama complimented the chefs for their excellent food as she passed the lobby this morning,’’ a hotel employee told ET. ‘‘They enjoyed everything that was being served. And they seemed fine with our spicy food.’’
The President and First Lady also reportedly pre-sampled the hotel's offerings. As they checked in to the Taj, they were welcomed with "the iconic ‘Bambaiyya-style batata vada’ and kathi kebabs."
Breakfast on Sunday morning was also in the Presidential Suite; the Obamas are the first dignitaries to stay there following the terror attack in 2008, and the final touches had been completed just a few days before their arrival. The President and Mrs. Obama visited the 26/11 Memorial at the hotel on Saturday, and signed the guest book, and the President spoke out against global terror.(Working off the calories: Mrs. Obma dances with local students while celebrating Diwali on Sunday, as the President looks on)
For breakfast, ‘‘we served an assortment of dosa wraps before their hectic itinerary began,’’ said an employee.
The Taj also created the Obama Liquor Cabinet, comprised of the world's rarest and priciest liquors, but there was no word on whether the President and First Lady indulged.
*Photos by Pete Souza/White House