Review: Tiger Trail

Our first night on our vacation, we had snacks for dinner on the train. Our first night in Mysore, we had snacks for dinner during the tour. On our second night in Mysore, we had snacks and hotel sandwiches for dinner while waiting for the festivities to begin at Bannimantap Grounds. On our last night in Mysore, we went for fancy dinner at Tiger Trail, specializing in North Indian food.

Tiger Trail is in the hotel right next door to the Southern Star where we stayed, but has an entirely different feel. This heritage hotel was built in the 1920s by the maharaja as a guest house for distinguished British guests. It was built to impress, and we definitely responded appropriately. We also had plenty of time to explore since we weren’t sure what time our reservation was so showed up at 7, knowing that we might not have a table until 7:30. In fact, the restaurant was still being set up at the time, and doesn’t open until 7:30. No problem – there’s a bar right next door where we could have a lovely glass of French burgundy while we waited.

In an ideal world, we would have been seated outside in the gorgeous grounds next to the outdoor kitchen. In the real world, with a sudden ill-timed downpour, we were happy to be inside near the window. We were also all alone in the dining room for at least half an hour. We’ve noticed before that dinner time is later here, but didn’t take that into account when planning.

The waiters were charming and helpful, and clearly wanted to order for us. This seems to be a frequent issue when dining in nicer restaurants, and we’re learning that we have to clearly express our desire to order for ourselves or we end up with enough food for a ravenous family of four. We attempted to order a bottle of montepulciano d’abruzzo which would have been practically our first non-Indian bottle of wine since the move, but they were out of it. Although they suggested Australian alternatives, we opted for ournew standby, Sula cab/shiraz. Our waiter couldn’t resist throwing in one extra starter, which Melissa thoroughly enjoyed: cucumber rounds topped with chopped tomato, grated carrot, peanuts, crispy vermicelli, and a delicious green chutney. Tom enjoyed it, too, but for the cucumber. That was followed by three tandoori grilled types of paneer: one with spicy tomato, one with cream, and one with mint, all served with some roasted peppers and onions. It was all lovely, and we agreed that the tomato one was our favorite. Then came the main course: saag paneer and chana pindi served with garlic naan and paratha (we let the waiter choose our breads). While everything was lovely, it was also clearly spiced for a delicate foreign palate. Not surprising, but we kind of wish we’d said that we enjoy some spice. For dessert, we ordered the payasam, a South Indian name for kheer, or rice pudding. This version was served chilled in a little clay pot and was a perfect end to the meal.

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Overall, we had lovely service and a delicious meal in a beautiful setting, but didn’t leave feeling so loyal that we wouldn’t choose a different place to try next time we’re in town.