A day in the life of ....My trip to Mysuru, a larger than life experience @ The Grand Mercure

The Hotel Grand Mercure, part of the Accor group of hotels opened their new destination in the historic city of Mysuru last month. I was invited to the Grand Launch on a Thursday and was unable to attend owing to my schedule. So, I decided to visit the property over one of the following weekends and experience it first-hand. I am so elated and thankful that I did. Not only is the property breathtakingly beautiful, but their amicability, flawless attention to detail and prompt hospitality has earned a permanent position in my heart.

We reached the venue after dealing with the Saturday afternoon peak traffic a little post 1500 hours. The General Manger of the hotel, Sachin Malhotra received us in person along with the ever smiling Khushbu who heads Marketing. I had the best time ever in the warm and cordial hospitality under their supervision. Sachin and Khushbu not only took great care of me, but also made sure that every minute detail was attended to. Five stars to their efficiency and to the entire staff of the hotel including Yogesh and Chef Asith for taking such good care of me.

Before I start with our elaborate specially curated Luncheon experience, let me tell you a little bit about its location. The Grand Nercure is located very close to the iconic Mysuru Palace and on the road where the historical procession during Dusherra takes place. One can actually watch the procession from the sit out and the terrace. The hotel has their suites in the first floor and Deluxe and Executive rooms spread across the rest. The Executive rooms have a sit out and cater to a more niche crowd whereas the Deluxe rooms cater to business travellers in the corporate segment. There is a separate play area for kids outside the main entrance. It comprises of over a 150 rooms spread across 6 floors and is equipped with a full-fledged Business Centre, a Banquet hall, a roof-top Swimming Pool and their Speciality Poolside Restaurant –By the Blue to be operational soon. The décor of the hotel is contemporary chic and bears true epitome of Mysore’s iconic cultural heritage. Their 24 hour Coffee Shop/ Restaurant at the lobby level titled La Uppu has a dedicated wall where the potteries, artefacts and the world-renowned Changapatna Toys are displayed. The latter can be spotted across the elevator and the corridor of the hotel with traditional art and paintings that embrace the entrance to the banquet hall. There is also a fully operational Deli which serves the best bread and confectionaries that Mysuru has to offer. The cosy and private bar which seats about 18 people is tucked away on one corner of the entrance to La Uppu to cater to a private gathering or a small party for celebratory occasion. There is also a fully functional Multi Gym at the terrace level of the hotel and plans to open a Spa are underway. La Uppu meaning salt in Kannada has a sit out area as well and serves the best of Indian and Continental delicacies. It hosts a morning Buffet Breakfast every day and Buffet Lunch and Dinner over weekends along with a 24-hour menu available post 2300 hours.

As we walked in through the doors of La Uppu, we were joined by the General Manager Sachin and the Marketing Manager Khushbu Nair. The chef has crafted a special 8 Course Menu for us and it was pure decadence. The staff was on their toes and extremely attentive and catered to each and every minute detail. Needless to mention, I was elated by their extraordinary service attitude and eye to perfection.

Our Progressive Luncheon started with a selection of 4 Welcome Drinks along with a Mushroom Tart as the Amuse Bouche. The Tart and Quiche Platter followed and special mention needs to be made of the Mango Chilli Tart which is an innovative dish available only at La Uppu. I loved it so much that the chef promised me he would bake some more for breakfast next morning. This was followed by the Nugge Kaayi Rasam which is a traditional Drumstick Soup infused with green chilly. The authenticity of the soup and the tanginess of the green chilli added a new dimension to its flavour.

The next in menu was by far the most creative, visually appealing and tastiest dish I have eaten so-far. The dish in question is the Mediterranean Veggie Tian with Scallops. It was a baked dish with layered Zucchini, Eggplant and Bell Pepper Trio with pan seared Scallops served along with Saffron Mayo and Balsamic reduction. This was a masterpiece of a dish and I asked for the recipe of this just to make sure I can try and re-create at my own kitchen soon.

The Appetisers started with a Mysuru Wada Platter consisting of 4 types of Wadas available in the city served along with Tomato Chutney. The Kasundi Murgh Tikka was succulent and melted in my mouth. Its mustard infused taste added a new zest to its flavour and reminded me of the traditional mustard cooking of Bengal. The Palak or khubaane ki Tikki was the last in the list of appetisers which were dumplings made of Spinach and dried Apricot. The Garlic Yogurt served with this dish was exquisite.

The Mains were elaborate in the form of a Coriander Infused Semolina Cake which took my breath away. The presentation was so exquisite and contemporary it reminded me of French Gourmet right out of a television cookery show. The Curried Parmesan Crusted Basa up next was unique in taste and the saltiness of the Parmesan added a new edge to the fish served with Cherry Tomatoes and Butter Sauce.

The Dessert Platter was a trio of the best delicacy from chef Asith himself- Coconut Payasam, A Blueberry infused Cheese Cake and Cut Mangoes. The New York Baked Cheesecake was divine and I asked for a separate plate of the same which the chef prepared in a jiffy. He joined us at the table and I was able to get some insight into his dishes and tips to add that edge every dish bore in their presentation and authenticity in taste and flavour.

Sachin took us for a Guided tour of the hotel after the late luncheon and I was able to witness the display of exquisite paintings and artefacts at every nook and corner of the hotel. The banquet at the other end of the lobby level is at par with any world class facility and caters to the corporate crowd. We then moved to the rooftop Swimming Pool where plans to open their poolside restaurant –By the Blue is on. The skyline of Mysuru can be very well witnessed from that level and I was able to capture a couple of shots of the setting sun behind a mobile tower nearby.

As we proceeded towards our room, I was overwhelmed to find the assortment of chocolates, cookies and a Tower of Macaroons, otherwise known as Piece Montees in France. The décor of my room was urban chic and I admired its hue of bright pastel shades infused in an ivory white background. It also had a sit-out facing the main entrance of the hotel and the weather was just perfect to enjoy a cuppa sitting out. As I retired for a quick nap, evening fell and the last rays of the setting sun gave way to the elusive sultriness of the early hours of the night.

Having had a super-late luncheon, I decided to have an equally late dinner almost at the stroke of midnight. I was joined by the hospitality staff from the restaurant- Yogesh along with Sachin. This was again a specially chosen menu prepared by Chef Asith consisting of North West Frontier delicacies.

The Bhatti Di Murgh was the opener followed by my personal favourite Salmon Tulsi Tikka. This was the most coveted item in the menu and was made to perfection. The taste was so authentic and the Salmon so fresh, it made me cave for more. The Dahi Tikkis were up next and were served with unique Pineapple chutney that I have never tasted earlier.

The Mains followed with Mixed Vegetables Masala and the old school favourite Dal Makhani with a basket of Indian Flat breads to go with. The Methi Mutton and Mangalore style Prawns curry was up next that perfectly went with White Rice. The Chicken Biryani followed with its essential Raita. But the Icing on the cake was the Moong Dal KI halwa cooked in pyre desi Ghee that made me crave for more. I ate 2 servings of the same before we retired to our sit out to enjoy a glass of wine and some beers that Sachin had already organized. It is these special gestures bad attention to guests that make a venue excel and prosper in the service domain, and Sachin left no stone unturned to make sure that all our needs were taken care of efficiently in a professional manner.

I woke up a bit late and joined Khushbu for a late breakfast. I had my Hash Browns with Toast and Eggs to Order along with some cold cuts from the spread. Chef had remembered to serve the Chilli Mango tarts that we so liked from last day’s lunch menu again before I finished my breakfast. This made my morning indulgence special before I hit the road on my way back to Bengaluru. Sachin had left a personally written Thank you note and a Memento in the form of Mysore Inlay Wood Art for my Table handed over to me by Khushbu. This really made me feel special. This was an exquisite experience and I felt on top of the world due to the efficient service and hospitality of the entire staff. A big Kudos to everyone including Sachin and Khushbu for making my Mysuru Experience such magical and exclusive!!

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