Hey, he was paying, so who were we to say no :) and so Samarkhand it was. Saturday night, no reservations, the trio enter and are told to be seated in Hypnos (same management, and they also told us same food would be served here as well). It was nice. A mixture of rustic and crude, old school au natural. The air inside was cool, bordering on damp/dank, depending on where you're coming from.
The complimentary bread sticks with the dip is usually a big hit, and there was no exception to the rule here. and what's more, apart from whetting your appetite, they photograph pretty well too! We also decided to have something to drink, and since we were driving, you guessed it, no -OH group compounds would be entering our bodies that night. All I remember now is that I had a passion fruit based rink, P had a pineapple based drink, while VP settled for some raspberry based one. My drink turned out to be the winner for the night :)
For the food, we started off with shorbas - tomato, chicken, and mutton. All turned out to be really good.
For starters, we had the Peshawari paneer tikka (something I'd had 5 years ago when I first visited Samarkhand) - 3 large chunks of creamy, juicy paneer blocks that just crumble into divine oblivion inside your mouth. And I didn't ask whether they make their own paneer or source from elsewhere, but this thing was rich - like to the point where you eat one and you'll go "oof, that's filling!". Apart from that, we also ordered a plate of cheese balls or something like that from the Hypnos menu. These were OK, and P stated that he was quite full already and may not be able to eat too much. I think he's getting old - I mean this is the guy who once ate two main course dishes at Miller's 46 (so what if they were vegetarian, it was after a full round of soup and starters).
For the non veg option that VP so badly wanted, we ordered a dish (whose name now eludes my fragile memory) that comprised of chicken breasts stuffed with minced chicken. This looked awesome when it was served, with steam coming out of the sliced breast pieces, and it tasted just as good. P was a little flabbergasted at the prospect of food being stuffed into food, but we didn't bother humouring him with explanations.
P said he couldn't eat another morsel after the cheese overdose, and so VP and I ordered a mutton biryani. This biryani was not as flavourful as it was fragrant, but even I was a bit stuffed, and since VP doesn't eat the meat pieces in biryani (he usually tosses them into my plate), I had to contend with some extra protein and at the end of the meal, I wished we could carry extra storage space for our stomachs - some kind of a compressible unit that can be attached to our bodies like a USB...those of you rolling your eyes back, hell, I'm an engineer and I know my breed (engineers) can do it, but we just choose not to at the moment (unless someone's already done it and I don't know about it).
$$$: Slightly pricey...with non-alcoholic drinks, a full meal could cost you about Rs. 1000 per head.
Verdict: Go, go, go already if you haven't. They have valet parking, and go early on weekends...like at 7:30 itself if you don't have reservations...or just make a reservation, but still go early.