Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Kerala Cuisine, South Indian

Where pickle is dessert!

Food festivals are exciting if the creators are giving you insights during the meal. When a fellow blogger, who unlike me does significantly more cooking and cooking workshops, is at the helm and I know I can get some inside secrets, I was more than looking forward. But the inside secret came not from Sara Koshy, but from her cousin, who said that in their family, they eat pickle for dessert. More on that later. The Syrian Christian food festival at Hyatt Regency is ticking all the right boxes.

When it comes to Kerala cuisine, I need to taste three things. Aapam with stew, Idiyappam with gravy and parota with beef fry. Puttu and other things are secondary to these. What sets apart the cuisine of Kerala from the cuisine of the Christians in kerala? A simple tempering that I promised not to reveal. There is a very subtle difference in flavour that I was able to appreciate, thanks to Sara.

The appams (hoppers) were buttery smooth. Crisp outside with soft centres, these just soak up the stew with ease. And melt in your mouth with even more ease. And the idiyappam (string hopper) has some bite, so it goes great with the fish mapas, a nice thick coconut based gravy. And finally we transition to the dish with the most bite to it, the Parota served with beef fry, a loved staple in Kerala.

Now to the title. Pickle for dessert? I’ve always felt that Rice Payasam was a tad sweet, but dismissed it as the flavour of the region. Sara’s cousin, let me into a family secret. Cut the sweetness of the payasam with lemon pickle. And she told me this almost three minutes into my meal, so I was waiting for dessert. I (hopefully) gave you the same feeling of waiting. So, it didn’t cut the sweetness of the rice payasam. But, and that is a big but, it balanced it beautifully, by staying distinct. So my tongue could taste two distinct flavours, the sweet payasam and the sourness of pickle and that balanced it. Now that I’ve tasted it, I don’t know how I lived so long without having it this way. It was a surreal tasting.

The festival is on for another week and it comes with cooking classes with Sara herself. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2x5K1pZ

Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Kerala Cuisine, South Indian

Where pickle is dessert!

Food festivals are exciting if the creators are giving you insights during the meal. When a fellow blogger, who unlike me does significantly more cooking and cooking workshops, is at the helm and I know I can get some inside secrets, I was more than looking forward. But the inside secret came not from Sara Koshy, but from her cousin, who said that in their family, they eat pickle for dessert. More on that later. The Syrian Christian food festival at Hyatt Regency is ticking all the right boxes.

When it comes to Kerala cuisine, I need to taste three things. Aapam with stew, Idiyappam with gravy and parota with beef fry. Puttu and other things are secondary to these. What sets apart the cuisine of Kerala from the cuisine of the Christians in kerala? A simple tempering that I promised not to reveal. There is a very subtle difference in flavour that I was able to appreciate, thanks to Sara.

The appams (hoppers) were buttery smooth. Crisp outside with soft centres, these just soak up the stew with ease. And melt in your mouth with even more ease. And the idiyappam (string hopper) has some bite, so it goes great with the fish mapas, a nice thick coconut based gravy. And finally we transition to the dish with the most bite to it, the Parota served with beef fry, a loved staple in Kerala.

Now to the title. Pickle for dessert? I’ve always felt that Rice Payasam was a tad sweet, but dismissed it as the flavour of the region. Sara’s cousin, let me into a family secret. Cut the sweetness of the payasam with lemon pickle. And she told me this almost three minutes into my meal, so I was waiting for dessert. I (hopefully) gave you the same feeling of waiting. So, it didn’t cut the sweetness of the rice payasam. But, and that is a big but, it balanced it beautifully, by staying distinct. So my tongue could taste two distinct flavours, the sweet payasam and the sourness of pickle and that balanced it. Now that I’ve tasted it, I don’t know how I lived so long without having it this way. It was a surreal tasting.

The festival is on for another week and it comes with cooking classes with Sara herself. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2x5K1pZ

Chef, Chef's Special, Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Fusion, Indian, Pop Up Dinners, South Indian

Big Bandha takes a walk in The Park

A few months ago there was a tiny stall at a food exhibition that emitted some damn good smell. Intrigued, we walked in and sadly very few items were left. Clearly, the aromas reached more nostrils than I thought. Baked Parota. Lasagna styled Parota. Paya Ramen. Mexican Bhel. Clearly the guy who is doing this was nuts, I thought. We got the baked parota and as we dug in, we couldn’t wipe the smile off our faces. Soaked in a ‘salna‘, a form of thin gravy found in South Indian households, the parota was fabulous. Plus it had a smoky cheesy notes that probably came from the oven in which he baked something else before our dish.

Three days back, I met the guy behind this. He is nuts. What else can explain a finance company’s CEO with no chef training going around creating confusing flavours that is supposed to be the exclusive property of molecular gastronomy? As Manoj and The Park hosted me for dinner, course after course, came dishes with varying influences connected by two things. A story and no compromise on flavours. Everyday Exotics at The Park, curated by Manoj is an exotic take on every day dishes, but each one has been loved by somebody before going on the menu.

Like the Bombay Toast stuffed with chicken and pickles. Uh? Yes, uh! A sweet bread dish with pickles and chicken? Inspired by his son’s breakfast. That is the story. A Panko fried idly with spicy molaga podi (spicy chilly powder mix). Idly and Panko? Like really? I missed the Mexican Bhel at the exhibition, but thankfully it was on the menu here. All things Mexican tossed in Indian Bhel puri style.

Jack Slider. While I would call any vegetarian burger as Vada Pav, Manoj’s burger made me eat my words. A beautiful vegetarian slider. A Thai inspired burger, it had jackfruit in it and the lemongrass in the bun. In the BUN! So the flavour of lemongrass was unmistakable and overpowering, like it should be, but the jackfruit held its own as the patty. This is a vegetarian burger! Something that doesn’t have to be called the Vada Pav.

A vegetarian paya. Simply, that cannot exist. Cooked the ramen style, this had top ramen noodles in a paya. While they have the mutton paya, the veg paya was able to bring the soothing elements that the mutton paya brings. I almost wished I had fever, to relish it. Since a paya goes great with idiyappam (String hoppers), the stringy noodles were able to do justice.

The baked parota. Yay! As I was digging in, I could not but notice the smoky cheesy smell. I looked up. Did he bring the same oven? Or did he cook another dish that the parota took up the flavour? Apparently not. Apparently, it was intentional. To have a smoky flavour? A parota lasagna is creative enough, but to add a smoky BBQ flavour to an already Indo-Italian fusion? Are we aiming for World war here? So, Manoj keeps visiting Nagoor Dargah and in the streets of Nagoor, apparently they dole out parotas using stones that have been smoking for over two or three decades. And that infuses a smoky flavour into the parota that he wanted to recreate. Now, I want to go to Nagoor and eat that parota. More importantly, I could sleep. The baked parota at the food exhibition wasn’t a borrowed flavour.

I was too full for dessert, so I just picked a spoonful of the beautiful saffron ice cream and the chocolate, but was too overwhelmed to judge it. Maybe I will go back and have that. And the jack slider. And maybe the parota as well. Let’s see.

On till the 31st of July, Every Exotics is available both as a four course degustation and a-la-carte. At 899 for a four course degustation, it is ridiculously priced. A 5 star four course for under 1k? Awesomeness.

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Chef, Chef's Special, Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Italian

Drama Chef, starring Mauro Ferrari

The stage was set. The curtains were raised. The hero was there with his tools. A rolling pin, a knife, an expression. No, it wasn’t the villain, it was the hero. The audience largely expats. I guess that is expected when the first day first show is with an Italian hero. A big burly hero. A people’s hero. You could ask for pasta. Any colour. Any stuffing. Any shape. Any size. Unlimited at about twelve hundred rupees. And you can watch him make it. The FDFS special though was a beautiful set dinner. Long before the pastas arrived, we were treated to some extra special dishes.

Drama Chef at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency is all about Mauro Ferrari. The no nonsense Italian chef who dishes out courses and courses of excellent food is now showing off the theatrics side of him. A crowd favourite, him rolling out pasta sheets, so smooth you could slide on them. And he tells you how to do it, to the minute details of milligrams.  For every 1 kg flour, you need to add…..well, go find out.

Priced at Rs. 2500 all inclusive, the opening night dinner had four appetisers, four pastas, a stunning dessert and the teetotaller version of Espresso Martini. What looked like mini profiteroles actually had mushrooms and truffle oil in them. What looked like Arancini was actually deep fried Bocconcini. What looked like Salmon was actually salmon. 🙂

Every pasta we had, had bite. It makes eating pasta outside so very difficult and, as Mauro explained, the bite comes from the slightly tweaked pasta recipe that you make with 1 kg flour and ……sorry, go find out. While the colours changed, the filling changed, the one thing that remained constant was the bite that every pasta had. Is this what is called the perfect al-dente?

The dessert served to us that night is probably the only thing that is not available a-la-carte and was an opening night special. A white chocolate puree stuffed in a merengue on a base of raspberry coulee and a frozen mango puree. Take the frozen mango stick and lick, while using the other hand to bite into the merengue. The dessert was stunning. We finished off with a shaken espresso martini sans alcohol. Chilled.

While the food was brilliant throughout, I love the fact that restaurants in Chennai are moving towards the opening night concept for food festivals. With drama, action, live cooking and special dishes. When theatres and operas can have opening nights, why not food? Mauro lived up to the expectation of being the drama queen and doled out dishes where every course was beautifully curated. If I had to nitpick, the broccoli pasta was a little underwhelming, but I am nitpicking.

On till the 31st of July, the Drama Chef is a great way to experience the best pastas in town, rolled, filled and cooked just right. Just right. Prices a-la-carte start at about Rs. 800, but the unlimited pastas at Rs. 1200 are a steal. A small bite of many pastas, all picked and chosen by you.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2eJi6r1

Chef, Chef's Special, Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Italian

Drama Chef, starring Mauro Ferrari

The stage was set. The curtains were raised. The hero was there with his tools. A rolling pin, a knife, an expression. No, it wasn’t the villain, it was the hero. The audience largely expats. I guess that is expected when the first day first show is with an Italian hero. A big burly hero. A people’s hero. You could ask for pasta. Any colour. Any stuffing. Any shape. Any size. Unlimited at about twelve hundred rupees. And you can watch him make it. The FDFS special though was a beautiful set dinner. Long before the pastas arrived, we were treated to some extra special dishes.

Drama Chef at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency is all about Mauro Ferrari. The no nonsense Italian chef who dishes out courses and courses of excellent food is now showing off the theatrics side of him. A crowd favourite, him rolling out pasta sheets, so smooth you could slide on them. And he tells you how to do it, to the minute details of milligrams.  For every 1 kg flour, you need to add…..well, go find out.

Priced at Rs. 2500 all inclusive, the opening night dinner had four appetisers, four pastas, a stunning dessert and the teetotaller version of Espresso Martini. What looked like mini profiteroles actually had mushrooms and truffle oil in them. What looked like Arancini was actually deep fried Bocconcini. What looked like Salmon was actually salmon. 🙂

Every pasta we had, had bite. It makes eating pasta outside so very difficult and, as Mauro explained, the bite comes from the slightly tweaked pasta recipe that you make with 1 kg flour and ……sorry, go find out. While the colours changed, the filling changed, the one thing that remained constant was the bite that every pasta had. Is this what is called the perfect al-dente?

The dessert served to us that night is probably the only thing that is not available a-la-carte and was an opening night special. A white chocolate puree stuffed in a merengue on a base of raspberry coulee and a frozen mango puree. Take the frozen mango stick and lick, while using the other hand to bite into the merengue. The dessert was stunning. We finished off with a shaken espresso martini sans alcohol. Chilled.

While the food was brilliant throughout, I love the fact that restaurants in Chennai are moving towards the opening night concept for food festivals. With drama, action, live cooking and special dishes. When theatres and operas can have opening nights, why not food? Mauro lived up to the expectation of being the drama queen and doled out dishes where every course was beautifully curated. If I had to nitpick, the broccoli pasta was a little underwhelming, but I am nitpicking.

On till the 31st of July, the Drama Chef is a great way to experience the best pastas in town, rolled, filled and cooked just right. Just right. Prices a-la-carte start at about Rs. 800, but the unlimited pastas at Rs. 1200 are a steal. A small bite of many pastas, all picked and chosen by you.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2eJi6r1

Chef, Chef's Special, Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Italian

Drama Chef, starring Mauro Ferrari

The stage was set. The curtains were raised. The hero was there with his tools. A rolling pin, a knife, an expression. No, it wasn’t the villain, it was the hero. The audience largely expats. I guess that is expected when the first day first show is with an Italian hero. A big burly hero. A people’s hero. You could ask for pasta. Any colour. Any stuffing. Any shape. Any size. Unlimited at about twelve hundred rupees. And you can watch him make it. The FDFS special though was a beautiful set dinner. Long before the pastas arrived, we were treated to some extra special dishes.

Drama Chef at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency is all about Mauro Ferrari. The no nonsense Italian chef who dishes out courses and courses of excellent food is now showing off the theatrics side of him. A crowd favourite, him rolling out pasta sheets, so smooth you could slide on them. And he tells you how to do it, to the minute details of milligrams.  For every 1 kg flour, you need to add…..well, go find out.

Priced at Rs. 2500 all inclusive, the opening night dinner had four appetisers, four pastas, a stunning dessert and the teetotaller version of Espresso Martini. What looked like mini profiteroles actually had mushrooms and truffle oil in them. What looked like Arancini was actually deep fried Bocconcini. What looked like Salmon was actually salmon. 🙂

Every pasta we had, had bite. It makes eating pasta outside so very difficult and, as Mauro explained, the bite comes from the slightly tweaked pasta recipe that you make with 1 kg flour and ……sorry, go find out. While the colours changed, the filling changed, the one thing that remained constant was the bite that every pasta had. Is this what is called the perfect al-dente?

The dessert served to us that night is probably the only thing that is not available a-la-carte and was an opening night special. A white chocolate puree stuffed in a merengue on a base of raspberry coulee and a frozen mango puree. Take the frozen mango stick and lick, while using the other hand to bite into the merengue. The dessert was stunning. We finished off with a shaken espresso martini sans alcohol. Chilled.

While the food was brilliant throughout, I love the fact that restaurants in Chennai are moving towards the opening night concept for food festivals. With drama, action, live cooking and special dishes. When theatres and operas can have opening nights, why not food? Mauro lived up to the expectation of being the drama queen and doled out dishes where every course was beautifully curated. If I had to nitpick, the broccoli pasta was a little underwhelming, but I am nitpicking.

On till the 31st of July, the Drama Chef is a great way to experience the best pastas in town, rolled, filled and cooked just right. Just right. Prices a-la-carte start at about Rs. 800, but the unlimited pastas at Rs. 1200 are a steal. A small bite of many pastas, all picked and chosen by you.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2eJi6r1

Chef, Chef's Special, Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Italian

Drama Chef, starring Mauro Ferrari

The stage was set. The curtains were raised. The hero was there with his tools. A rolling pin, a knife, an expression. No, it wasn’t the villain, it was the hero. The audience largely expats. I guess that is expected when the first day first show is with an Italian hero. A big burly hero. A people’s hero. You could ask for pasta. Any colour. Any stuffing. Any shape. Any size. Unlimited at about twelve hundred rupees. And you can watch him make it. The FDFS special though was a beautiful set dinner. Long before the pastas arrived, we were treated to some extra special dishes.

Drama Chef at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency is all about Mauro Ferrari. The no nonsense Italian chef who dishes out courses and courses of excellent food is now showing off the theatrics side of him. A crowd favourite, him rolling out pasta sheets, so smooth you could slide on them. And he tells you how to do it, to the minute details of milligrams.  For every 1 kg flour, you need to add…..well, go find out.

Priced at Rs. 2500 all inclusive, the opening night dinner had four appetisers, four pastas, a stunning dessert and the teetotaller version of Espresso Martini. What looked like mini profiteroles actually had mushrooms and truffle oil in them. What looked like Arancini was actually deep fried Bocconcini. What looked like Salmon was actually salmon. 🙂

Every pasta we had, had bite. It makes eating pasta outside so very difficult and, as Mauro explained, the bite comes from the slightly tweaked pasta recipe that you make with 1 kg flour and ……sorry, go find out. While the colours changed, the filling changed, the one thing that remained constant was the bite that every pasta had. Is this what is called the perfect al-dente?

The dessert served to us that night is probably the only thing that is not available a-la-carte and was an opening night special. A white chocolate puree stuffed in a merengue on a base of raspberry coulee and a frozen mango puree. Take the frozen mango stick and lick, while using the other hand to bite into the merengue. The dessert was stunning. We finished off with a shaken espresso martini sans alcohol. Chilled.

While the food was brilliant throughout, I love the fact that restaurants in Chennai are moving towards the opening night concept for food festivals. With drama, action, live cooking and special dishes. When theatres and operas can have opening nights, why not food? Mauro lived up to the expectation of being the drama queen and doled out dishes where every course was beautifully curated. If I had to nitpick, the broccoli pasta was a little underwhelming, but I am nitpicking.

On till the 31st of July, the Drama Chef is a great way to experience the best pastas in town, rolled, filled and cooked just right. Just right. Prices a-la-carte start at about Rs. 800, but the unlimited pastas at Rs. 1200 are a steal. A small bite of many pastas, all picked and chosen by you.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2eJi6r1

Chef, Chef's Special, Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Italian

Drama Chef, starring Mauro Ferrari

The stage was set. The curtains were raised. The hero was there with his tools. A rolling pin, a knife, an expression. No, it wasn’t the villain, it was the hero. The audience largely expats. I guess that is expected when the first day first show is with an Italian hero. A big burly hero. A people’s hero. You could ask for pasta. Any colour. Any stuffing. Any shape. Any size. Unlimited at about twelve hundred rupees. And you can watch him make it. The FDFS special though was a beautiful set dinner. Long before the pastas arrived, we were treated to some extra special dishes.

Drama Chef at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency is all about Mauro Ferrari. The no nonsense Italian chef who dishes out courses and courses of excellent food is now showing off the theatrics side of him. A crowd favourite, him rolling out pasta sheets, so smooth you could slide on them. And he tells you how to do it, to the minute details of milligrams.  For every 1 kg flour, you need to add…..well, go find out.

Priced at Rs. 2500 all inclusive, the opening night dinner had four appetisers, four pastas, a stunning dessert and the teetotaller version of Espresso Martini. What looked like mini profiteroles actually had mushrooms and truffle oil in them. What looked like Arancini was actually deep fried Bocconcini. What looked like Salmon was actually salmon. 🙂

Every pasta we had, had bite. It makes eating pasta outside so very difficult and, as Mauro explained, the bite comes from the slightly tweaked pasta recipe that you make with 1 kg flour and ……sorry, go find out. While the colours changed, the filling changed, the one thing that remained constant was the bite that every pasta had. Is this what is called the perfect al-dente?

The dessert served to us that night is probably the only thing that is not available a-la-carte and was an opening night special. A white chocolate puree stuffed in a merengue on a base of raspberry coulee and a frozen mango puree. Take the frozen mango stick and lick, while using the other hand to bite into the merengue. The dessert was stunning. We finished off with a shaken espresso martini sans alcohol. Chilled.

While the food was brilliant throughout, I love the fact that restaurants in Chennai are moving towards the opening night concept for food festivals. With drama, action, live cooking and special dishes. When theatres and operas can have opening nights, why not food? Mauro lived up to the expectation of being the drama queen and doled out dishes where every course was beautifully curated. If I had to nitpick, the broccoli pasta was a little underwhelming, but I am nitpicking.

On till the 31st of July, the Drama Chef is a great way to experience the best pastas in town, rolled, filled and cooked just right. Just right. Prices a-la-carte start at about Rs. 800, but the unlimited pastas at Rs. 1200 are a steal. A small bite of many pastas, all picked and chosen by you.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2eJi6r1

Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Slider, South Indian

Nawab’s Kitchen on a Time Machine

What would happen if this happened? If indeed there was a time machine that took away the chefs from the Nawab’s kitchen and transported them to a time far away in the future, that is. Or if our minds cannot comprehend something that sounds as blasphemous as that, how about taking the cuisine of the Nawabs and adding a healthy dose of molecular gastronomy to it? I would expect disaster. Plain and simple disaster. A cuisine that is rich and grandiose being fused with a technique and concept that is minimalistic is bound for failure. Or at least you can’t do justice to both.
The chefs at J’Hind though, have nearly pulled it off!

An attukal paya, a simple soup made of lamb bones with strong Indian spices was re-imagined with a coconut heavy broth and the spices in a tea bag. Though mild, the memories of attukal paya was unmistakable. A truly wonderful soup with all the elements of a restaurant that tries to add a modern touch to cooking; a little theatre, a little innovation, but staying true to the flavours. On our second visit we got a good prawn soup with the same coconut heavy base, but it didn’t live up to our first visit’s mutton soup.

Yes, I jumped straight to the soup, but you get some pre-appetisers, an amuse-bouche of sorts with a platter of spheres that is now cliche! On the opening night, the galouti had dried out terribly, but thankfully in our second visit, the kebab was juicy. I don’t know why it was served on a plate of fried noodles though. It didn’t do anything to the dish, except maybe making it look slightly prettier.

And then a round of starters, each one vying to grab our attention and space in our tummies. The smoked lamb, no, no liquid nitrogen, but a smoke gun with wood. The smoke just carassed the already beautifully cooked, juicy lamb meat with a tinge or smokiness. Not overwhelming, but simply the right amount to retain its original flavours and add some meaning to the theatrics. That lamb was hard to beat. The liquid nitrogen based theatrics with a frozen bread pappdi chat, with a hint of shahi tukda was interesting. A hard and nearly terrible paneer tikka and a fantastic samosa completed the starters.

The first of the main courses was a tiny surprise. A bunny chow. Now, I don’t know when a bunny chow got into the kitchens of the nawabs! A molecular version with a tiny bread bowl filled with mutter gravy. Being bite sized, it disappeared in no time at all.

Then came the hits and the misses. Three dishes were spot on. The lamb gravy with a lamb so juicy, it could be reclassified as a beverage! A fish tikka with a fried fish lined up instead of being dunked in the gravy was rather unique. A single large prawn perched on an egg was lip smacking. There was a bread basket with a fabulous dried tomato roti, a saffron roti and paratha. And the hero of the day, the Arcot Biriyani was…….well…..disaster! I guess the rest of the meal set the expectations and expectation don’t go well with biriyani and the biriyani simply did not live up to the rest of the meal and was ordinary at best. In fact, calling it ordinary is doing great service to a terrible biriyani!

The dessert was minimalistic to look at, but quite rich in its composition. A blob of rich badam halwa was satisfying to the tummy (though the heart may have had trouble with the, well, healthy dose of ghee), the crisp shahi tukda with a molecular gastronomy styled sheer sphere on a fried bread, with the exact same emotions for the heart and a paan shot to coat the stomach. A dose of theatrics came again in the form of a quick liquid nitrogen chilled jackfruit ice cream.

Priced at Rs. 1650 plus taxes for the non veg (I think the veg is priced about Rs. 200 lower), this is a nearly 10 course degustation menu based on the cuisine of the Nawabs of Arcot. I was there for the opening night and went back with a friend a couple of days later, so this is based on two visits. The festival is on till the 31st of July at J’Hind, the modern Indian restaurant at Grand, by GRT.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2tzs5UL

Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Slider, South Indian

Nawab’s Kitchen on a Time Machine

What would happen if this happened? If indeed there was a time machine that took away the chefs from the Nawab’s kitchen and transported them to a time far away in the future, that is. Or if our minds cannot comprehend something that sounds as blasphemous as that, how about taking the cuisine of the Nawabs and adding a healthy dose of molecular gastronomy to it? I would expect disaster. Plain and simple disaster. A cuisine that is rich and grandiose being fused with a technique and concept that is minimalistic is bound for failure. Or at least you can’t do justice to both.
The chefs at J’Hind though, have nearly pulled it off!

An attukal paya, a simple soup made of lamb bones with strong Indian spices was re-imagined with a coconut heavy broth and the spices in a tea bag. Though mild, the memories of attukal paya was unmistakable. A truly wonderful soup with all the elements of a restaurant that tries to add a modern touch to cooking; a little theatre, a little innovation, but staying true to the flavours. On our second visit we got a good prawn soup with the same coconut heavy base, but it didn’t live up to our first visit’s mutton soup.

Yes, I jumped straight to the soup, but you get some pre-appetisers, an amuse-bouche of sorts with a platter of spheres that is now cliche! On the opening night, the galouti had dried out terribly, but thankfully in our second visit, the kebab was juicy. I don’t know why it was served on a plate of fried noodles though. It didn’t do anything to the dish, except maybe making it look slightly prettier.

And then a round of starters, each one vying to grab our attention and space in our tummies. The smoked lamb, no, no liquid nitrogen, but a smoke gun with wood. The smoke just carassed the already beautifully cooked, juicy lamb meat with a tinge or smokiness. Not overwhelming, but simply the right amount to retain its original flavours and add some meaning to the theatrics. That lamb was hard to beat. The liquid nitrogen based theatrics with a frozen bread pappdi chat, with a hint of shahi tukda was interesting. A hard and nearly terrible paneer tikka and a fantastic samosa completed the starters.

The first of the main courses was a tiny surprise. A bunny chow. Now, I don’t know when a bunny chow got into the kitchens of the nawabs! A molecular version with a tiny bread bowl filled with mutter gravy. Being bite sized, it disappeared in no time at all.

Then came the hits and the misses. Three dishes were spot on. The lamb gravy with a lamb so juicy, it could be reclassified as a beverage! A fish tikka with a fried fish lined up instead of being dunked in the gravy was rather unique. A single large prawn perched on an egg was lip smacking. There was a bread basket with a fabulous dried tomato roti, a saffron roti and paratha. And the hero of the day, the Arcot Biriyani was…….well…..disaster! I guess the rest of the meal set the expectations and expectation don’t go well with biriyani and the biriyani simply did not live up to the rest of the meal and was ordinary at best. In fact, calling it ordinary is doing great service to a terrible biriyani!

The dessert was minimalistic to look at, but quite rich in its composition. A blob of rich badam halwa was satisfying to the tummy (though the heart may have had trouble with the, well, healthy dose of ghee), the crisp shahi tukda with a molecular gastronomy styled sheer sphere on a fried bread, with the exact same emotions for the heart and a paan shot to coat the stomach. A dose of theatrics came again in the form of a quick liquid nitrogen chilled jackfruit ice cream.

Priced at Rs. 1650 plus taxes for the non veg (I think the veg is priced about Rs. 200 lower), this is a nearly 10 course degustation menu based on the cuisine of the Nawabs of Arcot. I was there for the opening night and went back with a friend a couple of days later, so this is based on two visits. The festival is on till the 31st of July at J’Hind, the modern Indian restaurant at Grand, by GRT.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2tzs5UL