Chennai, Dhaba, Eating out, Indian, North Indian

Balle Balle on a Chennai highway

A few meters of the highway is where the dhabas are, aren’t they? It is not very different here. With most of the roads of Chennai becoming a highway (or has always been one and we only recently noticed), a few meters of it is a nice dhaba. But then, it is right in the heart of the city and inside a small mall! Its been around for a while now, but I only got there last week.

Chennai used to have a fabulous dhaba a few years back, with large chicken tikkas and excellent dhal, but it slowly faded into a poor copy of its old self. I guess it never got replaced for a long time and we didn’t have a good dhaba style food. Until now.

Dhaba by Claridges, the same group that runs the Mamagoto outlets have set up shop inside Ishpahani centre. It is definitely an upmarket place, both with its quirky interiors and the pricing, but for a city starved of good dhaba style food outside of hotels, it is being welcomed with open arms. When we walked in at 7, we were alone, but by the time we walked out by 8:15, there was a line snaking outside waiting to get a table.

Our drinks were a mixed bag. The lassi was a little too watery for my liking, but the paan drink (paan iced tea, I think it was) with its unmistakable paan flavour in a chilled drink was super refreshing. We started off with a galouti kebab. Soft, juicy and flavourful, this was a well made galouti, though the paratha on which it was served could have been better. We got a small bread basket with naan, rumali roti and a kulcha which we paired with their excellent dhal. Phew. They got their dhal bang on and I was thankful for it. Though at Rs. 385 it is not exactly cheap, there is a non 5 star good dhal now available. A khadi chicken, which was falling of the bone and smothered with mustard completed the main course.

The Dhaba Meeta, a beautiful dessert, not exactly dhaba style, but a refined version layered with ice cream, shahi tulsa and gulab jamun! It was an excellent and heavy finish to the meal. All of this set us back by about Rs. 2300, so the pricing is definitely not dhaba pricing, but there is good food to be had here. 

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5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! 😉

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! 😉

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! 😉

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! 😉

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

5 Star, Chennai, Dessert, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, Indonesian, North Indian, Street Food

From the street to the 5 star hotel

Street food is meant to be eaten on the street. No amount of five star intervention has traditionally added anything more to street food. If anything, it has only diluted it. Some say that the sweat plays a role in the flavour. I hope I never find out if that is true, though. Some say that the heat and the air play roles in the flavours of the street. Some say that it is all of the above and more put together.

Every once in a while though, street food gets a good variation. Not better or worse, but a good variation. The ongoing street food festival at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt hotel, is one such. While it is a part of their usual excellent buffet, there is enough from the street food counters that you could give the regular buffet (except dessert of course) a miss.

One of the tough foods to give a fancy make over is the vada pav and the pav bhaji. The chefs here gave the former a beautiful makeover and the latter a not so good one. The vada pav here with a nice potato patty was served with a fried chilly inside. With super soft buns and a nice tangy potato inside, this was a good makeover to the usually humble vada pav. The pav bhaji, though served with the same nice pav simply didn’t match the vada pav.  At the end of the first counter, scores were tied and it was Street Food 1, 5 star 1. The chilly not being super spicy helped!

Then came the variation. A keema vada pav. No, not keema pav, but a keema vada pav. Or should we call it a Shami pav? Unlike the keema pav which comes with keema instead of a bhaji, this was a mutton cutlet stuffed inside the buns and served with the chilly on the side. I stuffed the chilly inside the bun and burnt my tongue. I guess no two chillies are the same, since the first one was not hot and this one was burning every cell of my digestive system. The kebab inside though was beautifully flavoured and I took another piece and took my chance with another chilly. They were made for each other, this time. See? You only need to find the right chilly in your life! 😉

Then we came to the Laksa counter. An Indonesian Laksa, the pet food counter of the exec chef Teku. There was no blachaang in the laksa, but he was able to bring out beautiful flavours in Laksa without it. Yes, the coconut milk seemed a little thicker, but this was a richer laksa. No blachaang, so street food wins. SF: 2, 5S: 1. There was the momo stall next to the Laksa. Variations of momos, but the one that stood out was the pan fried momo. No street food momo (at least in South India) I believe can match the flavour of this pan fried momo that has Asian flavours and succulent meat inside the juicy flour! 5star made up and the score is now 2:2

It came down to dessert. There was only one sweet counter. That day, it was the banana pancake. It looked like it was straight out of the streets of Bangkok, but I wasn’t going to make any judgements till I ate one. We watched as a chef behind the counter carefully stretched out the dough and heated it in the tawa. He sliced bananas and added all the condiments. Once folded, he dressed it with various sauces and placed a dollop of ice cream and handed it to us. I took one without the ice cream. Yes, it was nice, yes, it was flavourful, but no, it didn’t match the banana pancakes you get in Thailand! So, it was street food 3, 5 star 2.

Dessert from their regular buffet was as excellent as usual and it complemented the meal well. While there were only four counters for street food (and the cuisine changes every day, so maybe some day there will be a Doner or a Wurst stall), but if you have two helpings from each stall, it can fill you up. There is always the rest of the buffet if you need more to fill you!

The festival is on till the end of May and is priced along with the buffet at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt. 

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sa2sXW

Awadhi, Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, North Indian

2 Royal dishes you don’t need teeth for

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When there is an Awadhi food festival anywhere, you can judge the whole festival by their Galouti Kebab. If it is on the menu the day you go, that is! I’ve been unlucky sometimes, but time around luck was on my side. I am going to focus on two stunning dishes. Besides the great jelabi with curd that is apparently a breakfast staple in Lucknow.

The Galouti. The visiting chef, the winner of the first edition of Masterchef India has decided  to serve the food of his hometown instead of doing it the Italian way! And just for that, my respects for him are high. With deep knowledge of the cuisine along with some technical things like the differences between attar and ittar (the former is a just a perfume and the latter can be used both for food and to smell nice!), the chef dissects the differences between Awadhi and Mughalai with ease. The use of saffron, rather the non-use of saffron seems to be the biggest difference and without the food being as rich and heavy as the Mughal counterparts, Awadh is one of my favourite Indian cuisines.

The night would have simply belonged to the Galouti kebab. The chef dismisses the story about the king who couldn’t chew and all that and insisted that the Kakori kebab is his favourite, toppling the Galouti, but there was no Kakori kebab on the menu that day. So, Galouti is still king. Whether there was a king behind the story or not. Beautifully spiced, soft and melt-in-the-mouth served on a tiny paratha, there was nothing to not love about the Galouti.

But there was an underdog who didn’t let the Galouti run away with the prize. The lamb gravy called the Karele ka Korma. If I wasn’t so biased towards a Galouti, the winner that night would have been this korma. Making a melt-in-the-mouth kebab with meat that was minced, then minced again and then made in to paste suddenly didn’t seem like a big deal. The gravy with chunks of mutton, almost as easily melted away. With the super soft naan, the sheermal, giving stiff competition to the evening that could easily be titled, melt-in-your-mouth, the lamb was simply the winner. But due to my self confessed bias, I will declare the lamb as the joint winner with the galouti.

I didn’t taste much else, but the little bit of biriyani, supposedly the king of rice, was overshadowed by its humble side-kick, the raita. So much so, that I left the biriyani alone and drank the bhagara baingan raita. Literally. With beautifully spiced curd with nice nutty flavour notes, the biriyani had no chance of competing.

This is possibly what happens when a passionate chef wins a Masterchef title and still goes back to his roots! Reasonable perfection at a young age!

Awadhi Food Festival is on till the 16th of April at the Dining Room, Park Hyatt, Velachery.

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Awadhi, Chennai, Eating out, Food Festivals, Indian, North Indian

2 Royal dishes you don’t need teeth for

\

When there is an Awadhi food festival anywhere, you can judge the whole festival by their Galouti Kebab. If it is on the menu the day you go, that is! I’ve been unlucky sometimes, but time around luck was on my side. I am going to focus on two stunning dishes. Besides the great jelabi with curd that is apparently a breakfast staple in Lucknow.

The Galouti. The visiting chef, the winner of the first edition of Masterchef India has decided  to serve the food of his hometown instead of doing it the Italian way! And just for that, my respects for him are high. With deep knowledge of the cuisine along with some technical things like the differences between attar and ittar (the former is a just a perfume and the latter can be used both for food and to smell nice!), the chef dissects the differences between Awadhi and Mughalai with ease. The use of saffron, rather the non-use of saffron seems to be the biggest difference and without the food being as rich and heavy as the Mughal counterparts, Awadh is one of my favourite Indian cuisines.

The night would have simply belonged to the Galouti kebab. The chef dismisses the story about the king who couldn’t chew and all that and insisted that the Kakori kebab is his favourite, toppling the Galouti, but there was no Kakori kebab on the menu that day. So, Galouti is still king. Whether there was a king behind the story or not. Beautifully spiced, soft and melt-in-the-mouth served on a tiny paratha, there was nothing to not love about the Galouti.

But there was an underdog who didn’t let the Galouti run away with the prize. The lamb gravy called the Karele ka Korma. If I wasn’t so biased towards a Galouti, the winner that night would have been this korma. Making a melt-in-the-mouth kebab with meat that was minced, then minced again and then made in to paste suddenly didn’t seem like a big deal. The gravy with chunks of mutton, almost as easily melted away. With the super soft naan, the sheermal, giving stiff competition to the evening that could easily be titled, melt-in-your-mouth, the lamb was simply the winner. But due to my self confessed bias, I will declare the lamb as the joint winner with the galouti.

I didn’t taste much else, but the little bit of biriyani, supposedly the king of rice, was overshadowed by its humble side-kick, the raita. So much so, that I left the biriyani alone and drank the bhagara baingan raita. Literally. With beautifully spiced curd with nice nutty flavour notes, the biriyani had no chance of competing.

This is possibly what happens when a passionate chef wins a Masterchef title and still goes back to his roots! Reasonable perfection at a young age!

Awadhi Food Festival is on till the 16th of April at the Dining Room, Park Hyatt, Velachery.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2pg24G8

Uncategorized

Coast to Coast, Dining Room, Park Hyatt

If there is one restaurant in the city that lives by the ‘quality of quantity’ principle, it has to be The Dining Room at Park Hyatt. I’ve gone gaga over their breakfast many a times, but I was appalled that they too run a food festival via the buffet. When invited to try that out, I almost went there expecting the worst, but was super glad that they’ve stuck to their principles.

If you do take a chance and sit out by their Lotus Pond with mosquitoes for company, the live seafood action will catch your eye. A big boat with sand lobsters, mud crabs, king fish (that looked angry), prawns, lady fish and the likes, all waiting for you to pick and get cooked. Titled Coast to Coast, this is a celebration of coastal food of India, so there is variety right from Bengal all the way to Gujarat, via the coasts. Though what live counter you get depends on which day you go, they are happy to make something from another state if you ask. On Monday night, the focus was on Mangalore and Goa.

Susegado from the streets of Goa was our welcome drink, albeit (and thankfully for me), the sissy version! OK, that was mean, the teetotaller version. Cold and viscous with the lemony zest, it was both refreshing and slightly filling, though I wanted to keep going back to it right through the meal. I felt like having soup that day, something that I would normally skip in a buffet, especially a food promotion buffet, but I was glad I didn’t miss it. The Shorba, from Hyderabad was warm and toasty, but only when I finished did I ask why was it on the menu? Hyderabad is not on a coast, I said. We are celebrating the coastal states and Hyderabad is in a state that is on the coast, he said. With a soup as light and refreshing and packing the right amount of punch, I shouldn’t be worried where it came from and why it was on the menu.

Then from the live counters came the food that was, until recently on the boat. The prawns arrived with the fish and the crab came in next. With prawns and crabs on the table, I didn’t even attempt the fish, so sorry, I don’t have an account of the fish. The prawns were medium sized, with a red marinade that had gone well into the meat and thus ended up with a classical South Indian mild chilly flavour. The magic was how it was as comforting as home food, but something that would be quite difficult to replicate at home. The crab on the other hand was a completely comfort food flavour, with the usual dark masala mix that goes into most South Indian kitchens. You have to get your hands dirty for the crabs and you didn’t need anything to go with it.

Again, I did something that I normally wouldn’t do in a buffet, White rice. The mutter curry was uncanny in its appearance and it felt like it was asking me to taste it and I needed something for it, so I obliged and once again glad I did. Along with the South Indian stir fried chicken, the rice with the mutter gravy, which had the tangy tomato flavour along with the taste of peas seeping through was a great decision. It was only then that the sanas arrived with a Mangalorean gravy. Right at the end of the meal! I wish I had saved more space for it. I love sanas and all its variations. A fermented rice cake which is very similar to the Vattayappam of Kerala, for me, it is the fusion between idly and appam. When done well, it is soft and has a beautiful fermented flavour with a hint of sweetness for itself and pairs well with any red gravy. The sanas here was no different and it took away some of the space I had for dessert!

The festival is on till the 26th of Feb, 2017 and the menu changes everyday. If you want something from what you read here, simply ask for it. Priced at Rs. 1600++

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Uncategorized

Coast to Coast, Dining Room, Park Hyatt

If there is one restaurant in the city that lives by the ‘quality of quantity’ principle, it has to be The Dining Room at Park Hyatt. I’ve gone gaga over their breakfast many a times, but I was appalled that they too run a food festival via the buffet. When invited to try that out, I almost went there expecting the worst, but was super glad that they’ve stuck to their principles.

If you do take a chance and sit out by their Lotus Pond with mosquitoes for company, the live seafood action will catch your eye. A big boat with sand lobsters, mud crabs, king fish (that looked angry), prawns, lady fish and the likes, all waiting for you to pick and get cooked. Titled Coast to Coast, this is a celebration of coastal food of India, so there is variety right from Bengal all the way to Gujarat, via the coasts. Though what live counter you get depends on which day you go, they are happy to make something from another state if you ask. On Monday night, the focus was on Mangalore and Goa.

Susegado from the streets of Goa was our welcome drink, albeit (and thankfully for me), the sissy version! OK, that was mean, the teetotaller version. Cold and viscous with the lemony zest, it was both refreshing and slightly filling, though I wanted to keep going back to it right through the meal. I felt like having soup that day, something that I would normally skip in a buffet, especially a food promotion buffet, but I was glad I didn’t miss it. The Shorba, from Hyderabad was warm and toasty, but only when I finished did I ask why was it on the menu? Hyderabad is not on a coast, I said. We are celebrating the coastal states and Hyderabad is in a state that is on the coast, he said. With a soup as light and refreshing and packing the right amount of punch, I shouldn’t be worried where it came from and why it was on the menu.

Then from the live counters came the food that was, until recently on the boat. The prawns arrived with the fish and the crab came in next. With prawns and crabs on the table, I didn’t even attempt the fish, so sorry, I don’t have an account of the fish. The prawns were medium sized, with a red marinade that had gone well into the meat and thus ended up with a classical South Indian mild chilly flavour. The magic was how it was as comforting as home food, but something that would be quite difficult to replicate at home. The crab on the other hand was a completely comfort food flavour, with the usual dark masala mix that goes into most South Indian kitchens. You have to get your hands dirty for the crabs and you didn’t need anything to go with it.

Again, I did something that I normally wouldn’t do in a buffet, White rice. The mutter curry was uncanny in its appearance and it felt like it was asking me to taste it and I needed something for it, so I obliged and once again glad I did. Along with the South Indian stir fried chicken, the rice with the mutter gravy, which had the tangy tomato flavour along with the taste of peas seeping through was a great decision. It was only then that the sanas arrived with a Mangalorean gravy. Right at the end of the meal! I wish I had saved more space for it. I love sanas and all its variations. A fermented rice cake which is very similar to the Vattayappam of Kerala, for me, it is the fusion between idly and appam. When done well, it is soft and has a beautiful fermented flavour with a hint of sweetness for itself and pairs well with any red gravy. The sanas here was no different and it took away some of the space I had for dessert!

The festival is on till the 26th of Feb, 2017 and the menu changes everyday. If you want something from what you read here, simply ask for it. Priced at Rs. 1600++

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