Hotel Anutham ‘Rumors’, ‘Roof Jar’ – where artworks, ambience enhance taste

Sunny Dua
It was September 20, 1932 when eleven ironworkers having their lunch sitting on a steel girder hanging above the ground on the sixty-ninth floor of the near-completed RCA Building (now known as 30 Rockefeller Plaza) at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York city were clicked and this black and white picture was published in the Sunday supplement of the New York Herald Tribune on October 2, 1932, with the caption “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” wherein eleven pair of feet were seen dangling 850 feet above the city’s streets with several skyscrapers in the background.
This iconic picture of 20th century became quite popular and after 86 long years in 2018 when Sanjeev Prabhakar, Chairman cum Managing Director (MD) of Hotel Anutham replicated a portion of this iconic picture in the form of fiber sculptors in the intricately designed Bar ‘RUMORS’ that blends with ‘ROOF JAR’ – a first of its kind restaurant in Jammu, he took the city to a next level of fine dining. Designed by ace sculptor of Jammu, Bishambar Mehta, the black colored fibre statues have been installed in the Bar replicating those NY workers. On entering the high-end bar decked with choicest of Whiskeys, Wines, Vodka, Brandy, Vermouth, Cognac, Beer, Port wine, Rum, Gin and Cider one can see the five-pairs of legs handing from a beam replicating NY picture. The sculptor is a masterpiece and the place indeed a selfie-point for art lovers!

Seasoned With Love-I

Located on the fifth floor of this hotel, the ROOF-JAR is an open-air restaurant with beautiful ambience, 360 degrees view of Jammu’s green patches, nice and comfortable couches to hang around with families and friends, amicably set armchairs to seat couples and nicely done bar counter where time is never a constraint for food and art lovers. Green plants hanging from the ceiling, some placed on the edges of floor, finely decked glass jars that give name to the restaurant, sculptures and a wide staircase at the entrance besides glass walls all club together to create an environment that best suit the guests to unwind themselves and spend quality time here.
‘RUMORS’ is the Bar where state of the art sound system has been installed to enthrall the audiences and the wooden dance floor coupled with huge plasma screens and comfortable seating for multiple number of groups and guests sets in the mood to listen to music or put on the dancing shoes. Upon walking into the restaurant area, you can’t help but admire place in Jammu that has been designed methodically using steel container doors brought in from Kochi Dockyard Junk, huge container locks, European style lamp posts, paintings by students, murals on the ceilings, huge counter at the Bar decked with choicest of whiskeys and fine cutlery besides prompt and a warm service which best explains the ambience of the place. This all makes the place ideal for dining or for spending noon time and taste the best food in the City of Temples.
To add a little humor to the place and justify it being RUMORS, burnt sheets with many handwritten rumors on them could be seen hanging from the ceiling. Rumors like Oprah Winfrey is Gay, Iron man will die in Avengers or Mickey from the life commercial was killed by the junk food makes one laugh his/her heart out. The artistically designed round wooden staircase is the link between RUMORS and ROOF JAR and prior to that the soaring double-height translucent ceiling immediately lifts the eye up towards the heavens. This staircase leads one to the roof top restaurant and while ascending the stairs statues of steel workers that’s the replica of NY picture can be seen from behind as well. It’s a rare sight to see the workers from back with mugs in their hands!
Sanjeev Prabhakar, in an exclusive conversation with Daily Excelsior food-writer couldn’t resist crediting his two daughters Vasudha Prabhakar Sharma and Jahanvi Prabhakar for being a support in disseminating their ideas right from the day-one when construction of this hotel started and to the point when the place started buzzing with guests. Inputs by the duo sisters made this property especially the restaurant and Bar come up at par with any other place in metro cities of the country. Anutham which is a Sanskrit name and means Number One best describes the property whose restaurant and Bar stays packed on weekends. People who love to eat and try new food are always the best people, believes Sanjeev.
The beauty of any Restaurant or Bar is incomplete without good food and this is where Sanjeev didn’t compromise and even went beyond conventional menu to introduce to tastebuds of Jammu people many new dishes and desserts in four sections of Indian, Continental, Tandoori and Chinese food. The real food lovers just can’t resist asking for Broccoli and Asparagus Soup which is touched with parmesan cheese to add to the taste, Green Cold Soup or Roasted Kabocha Soup as starter. Those who don’t hesitate to try new dishes can ask for Humus Avacado Mash on Toast or Trio Mushroom Bruchetta or even Harissa Chicken Sizzler.
Both Roof Jar and Rumours offer Valentine Salad, Laphing a Tibetan cuisine in protein, Grilled Charmoula Chicken, Lava Chicken and Teppanyaki Grilled Fish and Charcoal Fish Finger in sea food. Mapu Toffu with Sichwan Pepper, Soya Champ, Thai Basil Chicken, Tandoori Non-veg Platter, Mughlai Mutton Seekh, Lucknowi Murg Korma and Saag Ghost are some of the mouth-watering dishes that are most sought after. I would highly recommend to those having sweet tooth Blueberry Buttermilk Pannacotta, Hot Chocolate Brownie or Gulabo Sitabo – freshly made in-house, flavored yogurt by executive Chef Angad Singh as desserts.
Having chosen a few select dishes for each course, Angad tirelessly provides an ample opportunity to experience a sojourn of flavors to suit any palate. He brings experience from creating food worldwide, having worked for names such as ITC Maurya and with many celebrity chefs. The menu and ingredients which are seasonal and as locally sourced as possible range from Rs 280 to Rs 650. Gentle lighting and music adds to the ambience. Table presentation and service is awesome and separate smoking zone relieves non-smokers of all the trouble.
To satisfy Jammu people’s taste buds, dishes like Seekh Kabab, Khatta Meat, Pizzas, Dimsum, Butter Chicken and Khatta Mass, Rogan Josh, Grilled fish and Charcoal fish, Veg Mezze Platter a Lebanese dish, Saijwan Chilli Tofu, Mountain Chilli Champ, Lawa Chicken have all been added to the menu and the best part is that this restaurant remained quite popular with working class youth who during lockdown used to work from home and throng the place to either work with on laptops or spend some quality time during that period.
Narrating his journey Sanjeev Prabhakar revealed that he is a first businessman in his entire family clan who started with a humble beginning way back in 1986 by running the dining section of Jammu Club and later on that of Government Medical College, Jammu. Thereafter he started outdoor catering and having worked at Hotel Hari Niwas Palace he took contract of hostel of Shri Mata Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University and Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri where he used to arrange for three-time meal for over 3000 students respectively.
Inaugurated by Vidya Prabhakar the entire property was designed by Pratay Chakrabarti of Nexa Designs and Haimant Nautiyal was hired as consultant for Bar and Restaurant. The roof top restaurant is so well designed that it enables the diners to experience all four seasons in a well-maintained temperature. The word count is calling, so, have faith, put yourselves and your taste buds in the hands of the RUMORS and ROOF JAR and you will find yourself leaving with a smile – a big smile and a need to go back again and probably again.
(The author is a Senior Journalist)