Thursday 22 June 2017

Every restaurant keeps coming up with some sort of festivals on a monthly basis and often end up not doing justice to the festivals as a result of poor research. However, a handful of them ensure all efforts are taken to recreate the classics. I’ve known of Chef’s who had brought down experts from the relevant cuisines, brought specialised cooking tools, ingredients and so on.

One such restaurant that takes their food festivals seriously is Madras Pavilion’ at ITC Grand Chola’. Being the finest of luxury hotels in Chennai, any festival from their restaurants have a huge expectation. Having taken a break from attending festivals for a long time because of the lack of originality, I made my mind to check out the Tulu Nadu festival this time around.

The land of Tulu is not something new to me as I’ve a couple of friends from this region of South India. Tulu is in fact an ancient language that has been around for a few centuries with majority of the Tulu speaking population concentrated around the Western coast of Karnataka including regions such as Mangalore, Udipi and also extending into Northern Kerala encompassing the district of Kasaragod. The food here is supposed to be typically home style with a strong emphasis on simplicity and flavour.
(Bana Baraida)
The meal begun with a Bana Baraida’, which was basically a drink made by blending tender coconut and well ripped bananas. To complement this, we were also provided with a traditional Alai’ which is a blend of buttermilk with ginger, chilli and mint. I personally preferred the Alai more as I knew I could keep having it side by side along the courses of meals that were coming since it felt very comforting on the palette. 
(Natia Kori)
(Sajja ke Tairai Roti)
Next up was the Saaru aka Soup. Saaru in Tulu as well in Tamil typically refers to the juice that is extracted from lentils and tamarind. The saaru here was a Bele Saaru’ which was made up with lentils and spiced with Cumin and Pepper. The best of the evening was the Natia Kori’, succulent morsels of chicken cooked in ghee and chilli paste. I just couldn’t get over with this, as I kept asking for more and more as it made a perfect accompaniment to both the Sajja ke Taarai Roti’ as well as the Mamsam Biryani’. To add further to our mains, we had a fantastic pineapple based gravy known as the Pineapple Gojju’, some famous Kori Gassi’ that already had the roti soaked in it. The sukka made using shrimps was another highlight of the evening. Both the Pineapple Gojju and Yetti Sukka were paired perfectly with the Neer Dosa’. A special word of mention for the Mamsam Biryani as it was unique yet amazingly flavour. The lamb was so tender that it fell from the bone with the least effort required. 
(The Full Course)
To bring the delightful experience of Tulu Nadu, we were served with a Bele Payasam’ which was almost similar to our Paruppu Payasam and a Ragi Manni’ which was more like a fudge made using Ragi & Jaggery.
Like I’ve mentioned in the beginning, ITC Chefs take special care when they create a festival and an extensive research is made before the festival launches. This is evident from the fact that I felt completely light at the end of the meal albeit being fasting the entire day which ensured that I needed to provide my system with a sufficient amount of food. 

The Tulu Nadu festival is on till the 25th of June, 2017 and is available as part of the Buffet at Madras Pavilion located at ITC Grand Chola, Guindy, Chennai.

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