Friday, 11 September 2015

Each and every time one thinks of Royal Cuisines in India, it is more than often associated with the Mughal cuisine. Coming down to regional cuisine, the erstwhile Hyderabadi royal cuisine plays a dominant role. However other regional royal cuisines seems to have been lost with time in spite of the region being home to several famous kingdoms.

Thanks to one of the leading luxury brand of hotels, we may now have a glimpse into these long forgotten royal cuisines. The ITC group of hotels are conducting a pan India food promotion titled “Kitchens of India – Royal Repast” that showcases regional royal cuisines. Keeping in line with the theme, ITC Grand Chola in association with the Nawab of Arcot bring us to glimpses of the Nawabi cuisine from this region. In order to provide a truly royal experience, the family chefs from the Arcot Nawab’s house tirelessly worked along with the expert chefs from ITC Grand Chola’s Madras Pavilion restaurant to bring their cuisine in an ITC style. 
(Badami Shorba)
(Paya Shorba)
(Nawabi Shikampur)
(Mahi Talko)
The evening started with two Nawabi styled Shorba – ‘The Paya Shorba’ and ‘The Badami Shorba’. Both Shorba had royalty embodied on them as they were both rich and flavourful. This was followed up with four different varieties of Kebabs – two non veg and two veg. The non-veg kebabs of the evening were the ‘Mahi Talko’ and ‘Nawabi Shikampur’ while the veg options were ‘Subz Gulkhand’ and ‘Palak Anjeera’. The ‘Nawabi Shikampur’ is very similar to the Shammi kebab except that it’s made using chicken instead of mutton. Although it was flavourful, I would have loved it even better had it been a little juicier. I skipped the other kebab as it was a grilled fish and I’m not too keen on fish kebabs. On the veg, I only tried the ‘Subz Gulkhand’ as it seemed intriguing to find how the flavour of gulkhand would be used. It was nothing to be wowed about but was a bit different in comparison to the different varieties I’ve tasted over the years.
(Arcot Biryani)
(Non Vegetarian Curries)
(Paneer Amir Shah)
Coming to the mains, the highlight of the evening was the ‘Arcot Biryani’ and the regular accompaniments such as ‘Raita’ and ‘Bagarhe Baingan’. On the curries, it was a trio of lamb, poultry and seafood with ‘Goolare Gosht’, ‘Murgh Shahi Korma’ and ‘Laal Baingan Jhinga’ and for the veg it was the ‘Paneer Amir Shah’. Coming to the curries first, I liked the Murgh Korma better than the rest as it was packed with spices that emanated a rich taste along with the rotis. The Jhinga and Gosht were equally good but the Murgh was better. However the Paneer was a disappointment as the core ingredient itself was very chewy and hard. I assume it could be because of being on the counter for quite some time. Now coming to the highlight of the day, the ‘Arcot Biryani’ was truly outstanding and the chefs have probably got this spot on from the Nawab’s chef. With a tinge of saffron and well cooked meat the biryani had all characteristics of a true royal meal.
(Double ka Meetha)
(Badam Halwa)
(Meethi Dahi)
How can a royal meal be complete without some great desserts? The desserts on offer for the evening were ‘Double ka Meetha’, ‘Badam Halwa’ and ‘Meethi Dahi’. To start with, the ‘Double ka Meetha’ was just one word - YUM. The bread were soaked delectably in milky sugar syrup while still retaining some crunchiness. I loved it so much so that I helped myself with two servings of the same. While the dahi was not unique, the halwa was great in its own way. Not being very heavy on the palate, the halwa had a nice texture and a very comforting feel. Overall the Arcot cuisine on that evening had a few misses but the plusses made up for more than that. Simply the Arcot Biryani and the Double ka Meetha can keep one going on and on.

The food promotion is part of the regular buffet menu at the Madras Pavilion and is on till the 14th of September. The buffet is priced at ₹ 1950 plus taxes on all day for dinner.

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