A fine dining extragavanza like Okra fine dine at Marriott -is never in top priority bucket list for normal foodie like me since either costing or distance would even remove the very thought of making it happen. So always in my alluring pending list, finally the chance dawned in the name of "Flavors of Malaysia" contest run by top bloggers in Hyderabad Food scene. One among the prominent and senior most respected Mr. Sabyasachi dada aka Foodaholix also ran this content and with ittle luck I tried at all bloggers' contest include dada's. Much to my surprise the next day I had got the biggest suprise of my foodie life that I got the dinner vouhcer for dinner for 2 at Okra and relish their Malaysian food festival runnign till May 29th. Of course, without a doubt, I took my foodie Broski Zubair with me on a tuesday dinner with lots of hope and excitement. Did it enthrall with a exciting experience? Well I should say Hands down.... ........ it went down south .. Big thumbs down.....
Ambience & Decor:
I dont think I have to specifcally talk about Okr's or rather Marriott's decor and stress on ambiance. Its majestic , spacious, lavish and of course magnificant. Okra is a speciality indian dining space in Hotel Marriott and this place with its lighting did impress me and gave a perfect fine dining place but then I was thinking what's special in Okra? looked fo answer till the end and I found out the correct answer in wrong place - I found it just across the hall at Bidri. You do the math.
Salads / Breads / Starters:
Their breads looked amazing but when tasted most of them were hard and dry. Most of them were not matching fine dining's expectations I had - 2.5/5
Salads to me set a neat tone and knowing they were malaysian interprations I was so tempted that I tried all of them.
Kerabu Udang (Prawns salad) - pick of d day. Nice chillness to prawns and well tossed seasonings - 4.5/5
Kerabu kambing (Lamb salad) - Lamb was nicely cooked but could have nbeen more softer. apt seasonings - 4/5
Kerabu kepah (Mussel salad) - bland mussels that as such didnt add any flavors. Could have tossed something that fresh n strong- 2.5/5
Acar jelatah (Cucumber & pineapple salad) - Nice, fresh, tangy and cold with apt seasongs. Very good - 4/5
Kerabu mangga (Mango salad) - chill, fresh and tangy raw mango slices. Apt for palate cleansing before meal - 4/5
Kerabu kacang kuda (chickpeas salad) - our desi channa boiled and cooked with some peppers . Average - 3.5/5
Malaysian Menu :
Now you might if salads did set the right tone, what else could have gone wrong. Well the Main hero was the culprit. It was termed as "Flavours of Malaysia" Malaysian Food festival and when on enquiry we got the shocker of the buffet that there is a corner that has 6 dishes and thats the only Malaysian we can get in the whole lavish buffet spread. Then why call it food festival?? Really ??? Well we can sy that 6 dishes could have screamed flavors and made you satisfied. Well .. No way.....
Kabis Goreng (Cabbage) - decent. nice cook on the cabbage but it tasted like regular indian cabbage fry and nothing malaysian about it - 2.5/5
Sayur Goreng (Bok choy curry) - Nothing about it. badly cooked bok choy and was too sour for me - 2/5
Ayam masak kicap pedas (Chicken cooked in soy sauce) - The only dish that saved our otherwise malaysian disaster. Chicken was cooked good and the sauce was deep and made a good dish out of it - 3.5/5
Sotang Sambat (squid stuffed with minced dish) - Take amzing cooked squid and stuff it with hard cooked bland fish that chewy as rubber and add a tone of turmeric powder - you get this disaster - 0.5/5
Asam pedas makanan laut (Seafood curry) - Nice concept of having a fusion of ea food curry but too much mussles in it and cook on it was over powerred by again too much turmeric.. I hope they taste it before serving - 2/5
Ikan bakar (Roasted fish with percik sauce) - Another disaster that looked so appealing abufish was too dry and the whle dish was too cold . onions on it were cooked good though but that's not the intent isn't it??? - 2.5/5
Unable to find any more authentic malaysin dishes to satiate our expectations, we had to restor to indian section to just fill our hunger pangs and we had tandoori murgh, adraki tawa machchi, pizzas and butter naans. Well they were more decent than then the malaysian dishes but if you are a hyderabadi you wont even rate them good, but we had to eat as we got no other choice.
This section was also visually appealing with live counter for ice creams as well and I was like, chalo lets take a sweet revenge to forgo the disasterous malaysian cuisine experiences. But then I was double betrayed as most of the desserts though all desi also were OKish in affair and nothing WOWed me.
We had Gulab Jamun, Rasgulla, Ajmeer Kalakhand, Chocolate Burfi, Corn Pudding, Nirvana Gaetaux, Sticky date pudding, chery crumble, moong dal halwa, Jamun Tikki and flavoured ice creams.
Except corn pudding (which scored for its innovation and flavor) , tuttyfruity ice cream and ajmeer kalakhand , everything was ordinary and nothing WOW. So that says effectively my final touh also turned deep down south and it had to be making my total experience already set in my mind and even slightly gave me head ache.
Service & Hospitality:
Fine dining places are where for me the service matters as in such places, not only food matters, but service should compliment and make it an wholesome experience. It was decently going on until the bomber came up when we finished our meals and with so much disapointment asked for finger bowls so politely and we get the answet of the millenium - "Sir, we do have finger bowls, but there is washroom across the hall sir if you want". Boss - u got my money. Bang on!!! Bye Bye Okra.
Okra Marriott is my 3rd whole some experience which has proved fine dining places can deliver such worse experiences not just in terms of food being bad but also the service and the atitude. Okra to me thank god was not a paid dining experience and if so , I would have banged hard to wake me up from a disaster for a long time. OKRA is a prefect example in my food journey to declare "ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD" Adios Okra.........