Restaurant review

Orient Express Restaurant Reviews at Taj Palace Hotel

I walked past the table with a massive bouquet and spotted the white flowers with hues of lilac instead of the usual yellows I see in the photos. A few steps, a brief walk from there and a few masked smiles, I see it. Written in black on an ornate plaque, Orient Express.

The history buff in us would know the legendary Orient Express train and the two countries whose names have most often been associated with the rail route – Paris and Istanbul, also the original arrival points of what is considered to be the one of the longest journeys across borders.

Although over the years the train changed course several times and eventually ceased to serve Istanbul in 1977, its legacy has continued, but no longer on international tracks. Rather Orient Express – or its namesake to be correct – has found a new home at the Taj Palace hotel in the capital. I walked in to see a few familiar faces, new and cozy interiors absolutely resembling the interior of a luxury train, all under warm yellow lights. Attention to detail in terms of decor wins additional points here.

Creating the near-perfect sepia-toned aura for a warm and cozy winter meal, the Orient Express ends 38 legendary years in 2021. It’s nearly four decades of heritage, impeccable service and culinary prowess. And tonight, we were there to experience it firsthand.

For the appetizer, we started with the signature camembert soufflé, paprika sauce that, to say the least, was liquid gold. Appealing to both cheese lovers and non-cheese lovers alike, its simple presentation but rich taste stole the show. And a side of sparkling wine was just enough to get us started for the night.

Green asparagus soup

Then there was the green asparagus soup with a small portion of truffle cappuccino, two perfect accompaniments on a cold winter night like this. At the Orient Express, time gets a bit slower as each dish is served at its own pace, giving guests their own sweet time to devour everything.

The emblematic shrimps in Papillon champagne

For the dish, we chose the cappelletti with walnuts and gorgonzola, tomato cream sauce, rich not only in texture and flavor but also in presentation. The cappelletti – small pockets of pasta – were meticulously layered in a creamy tomato sauce with a flavor reminiscent of nuts and veined Italian blue cheese. It took a while for us to recover from the postprandial drowsiness after this. As for non-vegetarians, our recommendation is their shrimp with butterfly champagne, butter and garlic sauce. And for those who prefer to do without the creamy sauce, the Artichoke Gallette, Tomato Coulis is the ideal choice.

Hot chocolate pudding

Finally, we opted for the hot chocolate pudding and we ended up in chocolate heaven. The hot center filled with gooey chocolate only needed a sweet touch for anyone to get lost in a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s safe to say that we are done overnight in the real world.

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