By Puja Gupta
New Delhi– The Chambers, India’s very first exclusive business club, opened its doors on May 1, 1975 at The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai. With a legacy of over 40 years, it remains an exalted club for global achievers who have scaled great heights.
With access to the most rarefied spaces, enhanced privileges and ultra-niche experiences, membership to The Chambers is by invitation and meant only for accomplished acclaimed achievers.
Established in October 1982 at Number One Mansingh Road, The Chambers at Taj Mahal, New Delhi stands in the heart of India’s capital. It was redesigned and renovated to home a new restaurant ‘Rayasina’, seven meeting rooms, The Lounge, a whiskey bar and a cigar lounge. The menu has improvised to feature several world classics with a modern twist and specially-crafted set menus for power breakfasts or a light, relaxed meal.
IANSlife speaks to Arun Sundararaj, Executive Chef at Taj Mahal, New Delhi, to know more about the new menu.
Q: Tell us about the new menu at Chambers.
A: The menu of the chambers focus on the pillars of health, comfort and luxury. The offerings are from a snack and lounge menu, international bowl food (complete meals in a bowl), western grills, an Asian repertoire and an Indian selection from the north of India. The dessert selection is innovative, high on visual appeal and a delight to the palate.
My team and I put together the menu keeping in mind the profile, preferences, discerning palate and evolving requirements of our esteemed members of The Chambers and their guests. We have also observed the evolving guest profile of our members; there is a significant rise in the number of members of the next generation. After all, age does not necessarily define success and we have seen such inspiring examples of achievers in our country and across the globe!
Q: What kind of research went into it?
A: Our research began with guest feedback, local and global trends in health cuisine and global trends in the international arena of members only clubs. Luxury is an evolving subject — it is a trend, it is sensorial, it is relative and it can be very personal. We aim to know our guests and their preferences to a heightened level thereby delivering a seamless experience and developing a special bond with them — even across generations. We travelled to various locations (in 2019/ early 2020), domestic and international and had various rounds of food tasting at a wide spectrum of restaurants to get a feel of what is unique and how it could be an inspiration for us to delight our guests.
The next important step was to identify the availability of the ingredients with an uncompromising focus on its quality. I have always believed that sourcing of the ingredients, their quality and consistency is the key to success — ingredients must be of the best quality. Another key aspect that we have introduced is that the menu is more seasonal and so would change more often to get what’s fresh and what’s local.
Q: Is the menu and theme at Chambers any different from others in and outside India?
A: The menu is themed across all The Chambers in a similar fashion but it is left to the Chef and on-ground experts to curate it to the local preferences, local ingredients. Highly personalised, attentive and warm service remain the hallmark of this exalted business club in the Capital.
Food elements: International gourmet selection, Local elements with a twist, Super foods, Comfort bowl food, A la carte high power breakfast, Quick bites at the lounge, Cheese and meat boards for whisky flights, Paired snack platter for wine by the bottle, Curated Table d’hote meals in the meeting rooms, Dark chocolate and almond platters for the cigar room.
Beverage philosophy: Exclusive Johnnie Walker blue label bar, with over 32 brands from Diageo portfolio, Thoughtfully priced wine list, Includes other popular brands from the Pernod Ricard, Beam Suntory, LVMH etc. portfolios, Treasure Chest — High end beverage list.
The Cocktail menu consists of 4 classic, 4 Innovative and 4 global favourite cocktails — immense research was conducted to curate these. We have a very unique cocktail named The Chambers 21 which features Blue Label, truffle dust and is served in a luxurious special edition glass infused with truffle oil. The ice too is customised in shape and with the logo.
Q: What is the response you are getting?
A: The response has been great. The guests are loving the variety, the freshness and the offerings. We can see some major change in dining patterns which is very good. We continue offer comfort food and guest’s favourite dishes that they have enjoyed at The Chambers over the years. The new menu, innovative flavours, visual appeal and service styles are all being appreciated.
The uniqueness and luxurious aspects of our crockery, cutlery, glassware and customised linen are also being complimented. In its new avatar, the kitchen is also a venue for interactive and engaging conversations and dining experiences for our members and their guests.
In the new space, privacy and expanse are also being appreciated by our guests, especially in these times. Our already stringent safety and hygiene protocols have been further augmented accordingly.
Q: What next, anything exciting coming up?
A: This newly re-imaged avatar of The Chambers is exciting in every way! The cigar lounge and the Blue Label bar are unique as is the new 60-seater restaurant with stunning views of Delhi’s skyline, the heritage and power block and boasts of a splendidly high ceiling with beautiful chandeliers. The design elements on the walls, the overall interiors and colours showcase an impressive modern remodelling of the Capital’s preferred destination for meetings and dining.
State of the art air technology — Installation of a Swedish technology Air purification System to control PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 as per WHO guidelines to mitigate the spread of harmful microbes and also to maintain the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) as per the prescribed norms given by ISHRAE and ASHRAE. Built on 2 stage mechanical media membrane filtration consisting of Stage 1 Pre filter dual layered blended polyester to take care of PM10 and Stage 2 Fine filter Wet Laid Glass Fibre with hot melt glue to take care of PM2.5 and PM1 particles. In addition the H13 HEPA filter is installed which is a medical-grade air filter capable of removing a minimum of 99.95 per cent particles at MPPS (0.21 microns) to maintain PM2.5 levels below 25mg m3 and to arrest the air borne carriers via return air grill.
It has introduced the Rendezvous Series — Rendezvous — a collection of intimate, immersive and indulgent events, tastefully curated for our discerning members at IHCLs landmark hotels across the country. Designed to engage and entertain, these evenings focus on creating bespoke experiences that are unique and niche.
Various engaging culinary concepts have also been planned –The Grand Sunday Brunch, Flambe Nights and more. Dine in at The Kitchen at The Chambers — guests can walkthrough and/ or even chose to dine in The Chambers Kitchen! (IANS)