50Best Accolades
  • Highest New Entry Award 2023, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles

Southern Indian cuisine with a molecular gastronomy twist


On the Pass

Nikhil Nagpal

What makes it special: In an opulent, chandelier-strewn room in the luxurious ITC Grand Chola hotel, Avartana showcases the food of the Southern Indian peninsula in innovative dishes rooted in traditional flavours and ingredients and using global techniques. Its globally-appealing concept and well-executed menus see it debut on the list at No.30, taking home the trophy for the Highest New Entry, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles. 

On the menu: A selection of tasting menus of varying lengths, each available in vegetarian, take the diner through a series of small bites, such as beetroot and curd cheese, cuttlefish with black garlic, coconut and cauliflower, and chargrilled pork belly with steamed tapioca. Modernist techniques feature heavily, with playful touches including a mini hammer used to crack open a fennel pannacotta egg dessert served in a bird’s nest.

All about the South: A symbol of Southern India, the banana leaf is a recurring theme throughout the décor, appearing as a motif in the carpet and with banana flowers in the partitions. The South is also reflected in the light colour scheme, with light wood and silver-hued upholstery.

Chef CV: Nikhil Nagpal has led the kitchen team at Avartana since group executive chef Ajit Bangera moved to a Sri Lankan outpost of Avartana. With the restaurant since its launch, Nagpal also oversaw the recent opening of a new Avartana in Kolkata.

What’s in the name: It’s pronounced ‘avartan’, meaning ‘rhythm’, ‘mysticism’ and ‘magic’, in Sanskrit.