A few days ago, my family and I decided to celebrate my mom and dad’s anniversary at Courtyard Marriott in Raipur. Like many established hotels, they offer a ‘Sunday Brunch’ which is a great way to attract customers.
Today I will be reviewing the entire experience I had at Raipur’s Courtyard Marriott.
Ambience and Setting
The restaurant has a very pleasant, formal setting. I found that it was perfect for people aiming to treat themselves to a good, sophisticated meal. The furniture and layout made the room very aesthetically pleasing, and the just-right air conditioning, along with the large, spread-out tables made the meal even more enjoyable. One feature I liked was that there a separate section for groups who would like their privacy, yet, it was still close enough that the guests did not feel cut off from the rest of the restaurant, and that a walk to the buffet did not feel like an uphill trek. I think every restaurant should have this facility, because it gives the customer a choice and doesn’t restrict them to a certain seating arrangement. Lighting was neither blinding, nor too dark, and live music definitely added a nice touch. However, we noticed that this music was a little bit too loud, and the guitar was often louder than the singing, making us jump sometimes in the middle of eating, as we would hear the distinct *twang* of guitar strings. For me, the speakers needed a little bit of readjusting.
I can easily say that there was something for everyone here. Aside from the usual curries, appetisers, soups and salads, there were also counters for Pasta, Momos, and Fresh Grill. Aromatic seafood, rich Indian preparations, Chinese soups, traditional cold salads for the veggie lovers, really, not a soul was left unsatisfied.
Because it was a buffet, I will describe the food from each counter separately. The first item I sampled were the Chicken Taco Cups, which were not appetising at all. I was really looking forward to trying them, but the ‘cup’ was not a taco, and it was very chewy. Trying to bite it proved to be quite a workout for my mouth, and it was bland and tasteless. The chicken inside was just as lacking in flavour, and, worst of all, it was extremely tough and dry. However, the Macaroni Salad was wonderful, with perfectly cooked pasta and a fresh aftertaste.
I’ll be writing about my favourite part of the meal soon, but this was definitely my second favourite. I was able to pick between a rich, tomato-y red sauce, or a creamy and blissfully cheesy white sauce. I decided to go with the red sauce, after I selected which vegetables I wanted, and I do not regret my decision! It was flavourful, not too complex, and full of spice and sweetness, in just the right balance. I couldn’t stop putting it in my mouth! The vibrant colour of the sauce and its amazing taste even coaxed me to eat most of the vegetables – so it must have been good. Although, I must admit that my mom’s pasta (a mix of red and white sauce) was the real showstopper. I highly recommend that you try the mixed-sauces pasta if you go there. Additionally, you can also pick which type of pasta you would like – I went with the fusilli. It was perfectly cooked, al dente, just as it should be.
I was instantly drawn to this counter because I am addicted to good momos. They offered chicken and veg momos, which was a little disappointing, because I would have loved some seafood options. Anyway, I had the chicken ones, which were good, but could have been better. A little on the spicy side for me, and the chicken was a tad overcooked. However, I did have three, so they were not bad. The selection of chutneys that accompanied the momos, was very impressive.
I had mixed opinions about this one. You could choose which kebab you would like (paneer tikka, satay chicken, grilled prawns, and a few other options). However, I found it a bit odd that they would first grill the items, and then you would pick up the respective sauces for each one separately. The kebabs and their sauces were delicious, but I feel that they would have been able to pack a real punch of flavour if the items had been marinated in the sauce beforehand. The satay chicken was the best, by far. You can’t go wrong with a peanut sauce! Prawns were well-cooked and a favourite at our table, but the paneer was just meh. Not bad, but it didn’t make a lasting impression on me.
- Other Dishes
This includes all the dishes that were being served, except those at the specialised stands that I mentioned above. The Stuffed Chicken Breast in Mushroom Sauce was incredible, which is quite shocking coming from me, because I despise mushrooms. However, this one changed my entire outlook towards those little edible fungi. The chicken was superb, succulent and juicy, and both the stuffing and the sauce were creamy and amazing. The only problem with it was that the chef had been rather stingy with the amount of sauce, which was a shame, because I was almost licking my plate to get every bit of that mushroom goodness. Another home-run was the Fish in Black Pepper Sauce, which consisted of boneless pieces of fish cooked to perfection in a tangy gravy. We ate multiple bowls full of this one – my granddad ate almost nothing else! There must have been about fifteen dishes which I couldn’t try, because my stomach felt like it was going to burst! You know it’s a good meal when you can’t stop eating. There was only one dish which I had to leave on my plate: The Hakka Noodles. They were completely tasteless, without any seasoning at all, and I just could not eat them. However, I forgot all about them after taking a trip to the out-of-the-world dessert bar.
This is the part which I have been ITCHING to describe. After we were done visiting all the stations in the main buffet, we realised that a dessert bar was nowhere in sight! I was freaking out inside because, well, my sweet tooth isn’t going to satisfy itself. That’s when we learned that, to accommodate all the various counters in the main buffet area, they had to relocate the dessert bar to its own separate area. Let me tell you, Courtyard Marriott’s dessert spread was among the most elaborate I had EVER seen. I think the only dessert bar more impressive than this, is that of Conrad Pune (which is in a league of its own). I am a very hard-to-please critique when it comes to desserts, but I simply could not deny the stellar quality and variety of these sweet treats. Here are some photos I took, because it was just too beautiful not to capture.
Notice that I didn’t have a single bad thing to say about the desserts. How could I? They were just incredible.
If there’s one thing which is a complete turn off for any restaurant, it’s bad service. Luckily, we got none of that over here! The waiters were very courteous and seemed all too eager to assist us. I can’t really comment on the speed of service since it was a buffet 🙂 . The manager was also very nice about letting me review his restaurant.
There were a few hiccups, but they can be overlooked, because most of the time, the quality of the dishes was truly fantastic. You’re sure to have a good experience here. Hopefully, next time, there won’t be any hiccups at all 🙂 .
Thank you to everyone at Courtyard Marriott Raipur for the great meal, and for letting me review your restaurant.
ThePastryPoet, signing off.