Friday, June 23, 2017

Awadhi Food Festival (Royal) @ Baluchi - The Lalit, Mumbai

 Nawabi Experience
Awadh a region that has seen a lot of rich history and has a legacy that dates back really longtime. Awadh is a part of multiple areas which include Lucknow, faizabad till Kanpur every part of town and city has a really rich history and Adab / Lehja. A lot can be known about a place an its history through its food (As food makes the people and culture of an place to what it is and lot can happen over food).
Array of Spices on Display
Having said and done this Awadh region has had a royal influence owing to its strategic location at the crucial juncture of Indian subcontinent (Easily accessible along the mighty Ganges and position of power). Owing to this the region has seen lot of upheavals along the millennia with each empire influencing the lifestyle and culture here.. Food has also been influenced a lot.. Awadhi cuisine has a fab touch of royalty and finesse (Royal Mughal and then the nawabi influence)..You do find the traces of Persian cuisine and a lot of innovations happening due to Food tastes of the Nawabs. Having said about such a rich food history experiencing it on Friday evening meant it had to have the class and finesse to keep our tired taste buds on the move.
Baluchi
The Lalit Mumbai offered the Awadhi food festival (Priced at 2500/- for a veg experience and 2800/- for the non veg one + taxes) at Baluchi (a restaurant with Baluchistan & Iranian themed Indian restaurant).
#Letseatfbai Meal started with the entire experience of entering a maykhana of a Nawab fb(the sights, smell and the soft Indian music) called for a tired soul (moi) to be refreshed and entertained nawabi style. I could feel the Adab the Lehja right from the greetings of the service staff to the songs sung by the classical singers at the restaurant. Entirely transporting me to Lucknow nawab ki haveli (Aao haveli pe seems so apt here ;)).
Aptly Dressed Staff
Table Served Royally - Copper Plate & Glass
Next the smells of the rose kevda enthralled my senses making them alert (refreshed). The tables were having copper vessels (another traditional touch) with copper glass (wish my granny had seen this..she always preached and use of copper ware for staying healthy). Service staff knew I was quenched after coming from the maddening traffic just outside near airport and voila I was served this maddeningly pick me up and off ur refreshed drink (Can go on record and say I preferred this over Alcohol on such a day to just make my tired ass stay awake and even a little high) Rose shot as they say (Made with Rose extract + Sprite) what more can one want (except I had couple err maybe more..till I got a sugar rush).
Menu on Display
Rose drink did tell me that Royalty was to be served.. So before my fellow foodies joined me I decided to check the kitchen for myself (now those who know I haven't stepped in a professional kitchen since a year and in Indian section almost 10yrs considering my love was in Indian kitchens cooking) nostalgia set in when Vishal the Marketing manager and Chef Parimal allowed me in their kitchen to view how the authentic meal is made (I almost yelped with joy). 
Meat in its cooking glory
Hot Coals ready to cook food!
Tandoori Murg
Seekh Getting ready for me ;)
They do have live tandoor kitchen for the display for the restaurant patrons (Knowing me I had to talk to commi chefs at back to see how the good stuff is made).. After a few mins of talking to chefs and rekindling my memories of kitchen I did happen to enter the live tandoor section to see seekh kababs and marinated chicken being cooked to perfection). The heat in the section reminded me of the good old times and also that its not easy to work let alone cook a great meal at such temperatures (kudos to chefs and thanks to chef for allowing me reexperience it all Nawabi style).
Rose Shot
I was all set for a royal meal.. And I was Served Mezban (starters):
 A mention about the home made chutneys.. Raw papaya, Mirchi chutney, Garlic Chutney and green chilly coriander chutney are so yummy (They are fresh and totally appetizing)
Traditional Chutneys

Pristine Lighting
Gosht zaffrani seekh kabab: A seekh kebab with saffron minced meat a melting in the mouth kebab. (Ek se kam nahi chalega)
Gosht Zaffrani Seekh Kabab
Mawa aur Mawey ki seekh: a creative veggie seekh that's yummy sweetness with dry fruits. Perfect for veggie lovers.
Mawa ki Seekh - An Yummy innovation
Murg Parchay: a tender chicken breast flavoured with cardamom cream, cheese roasted to perfection.
Murgh Pachay
Masgool dastarkhan (Main course)
Bhuney pyaaz aur pyaaz ka murgh: Royal stuff truly with chicken well cooked, Marinated in spices and cooked in a rich onion tomato gravy. Succulent chicken a lovely experience on the palate.
Bhuney Pyaaz aur pyaaz ka Murg
Sahi Nihari: a truly traditional Nihari with lamb cooked to perfection. Royal Nihari with meat cooked to tender perfection and full of taste flavoured with kevda (although I felt it overpowering the dish).
Sahi Nihari
Begum Hajrat mahal subz korma
Fresh seasonal. Vegetables cooked in Royal velvety tomato gravy with mawa and cream makes it a total royal dish for veggie lovers
Begum Hajrat Mahal Subz Korma
Dal Baluchi
A signature dish of the restaurant black lentils cooked overnight with ginger garlic and topped with cream making it the best dal you would want to eat (I loved it)
House Speciality - Dal Baluchi
Rotiyon ki tokri
Assorted breads including Gilafi Kulcha (Herb covered Kulcha), Sheermal, Varqi Paratha (A meal in itself a Multilayered Paratha), Khameeri Roti (Sour Dough bread of India),  Roomali Roti and Ijaat Ki Roti (Multigrain bread sprinkled with seasoning). All of them went perfectly with the main courses served.


Khameeri Roti

Zauk e sahi
Desserts fit for a king!!

Gulkand firnee
Indian souflee or as I call it heavenly dessert flavoured with gulkand decorated with rose petals (something which royals wouldn't have missed)
Gulkand Firnee
Shahi Tukra
A royal dish and something I highly recommend.. I almost had a foodgasm(if it was a feeling) bread fried and dipped in milk and cream..made to sheer perfection that the bread almost was like a kingly sweet sponge which had soaked all the Goodness.
Shahi Tukra (Royal Orgasmic Dessert) perfectly made!
We were also served their Pan shot after our kingly meal (deconstructed pan made into a beverage with gulkand cherry et all) just perfect to end the meal. 
Pan Shot (Brilliant as always)
There is also a pan counter with 2 humongous pan served for those who love their nawabi pan ( I tried their sweet pan and man it refreshed my palate.. Not to mention keeping it in mouth was a trick considering its size).

Mouth Freshners
Pan Mixings
 
Nonetheless the meal and experience at Baluchi was worth it and at price of 2500 + taxes for veg experience and 2800+ taxes for non veg one it is truly worth it. 

The food festival is on till 30th of this month. If you haven't had Awadhi cuisine which is authentic and you want to try it all I highly recommend it for the experience food and a perfect experience located at centre of the city.

Location: The Lalit Mumbai.
Restaurant: Baluchi
Website: http://www.thelalit.com/the-lalit-mumbai/eat-and-drink/baluchi/
Map: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/The+LaLiT+Mumbai/@19.1053238,72.8736905,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x3be7c86a85f28959:0x2b1e48b3c1675b87!8m2!3d19.1053238!4d72.8758792
Time: 
  • Lunch 12:30:pm to 03:00:pm
  • Dinner 07:00:pm to 11:45:pm 
  • To book Kindly call: +91 22 66992222 - Extension - 3142 or walk-in or book online.
  • Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Bengali Food Festival @ Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai

    Bengali Food Festival
    The province of Bengal is where the food festival is inspired from and what best than to have a meal cooked traditionally at a Bengali food. The region has a rich history and is comprising of foodies who love their food (Sweet water fish, Desserts you name them) and unlike many parts in India they offer the non veg items to their deities too. A region from Assam in the east to Bihar, Jharkhand in the west and hilly bhutan to its north and orissa to south with bay of bengal covering the 80% south comprised of Bengal (Pre partion) the food was influenced by the natural setting of rivers, bay of bengal and neighboring states too. The current menu is from West Bengal (West of Modern day Bangaldesh) a state which has a mix of food which can be subtle (And fiery too!!). This is something I haven't had as entire meal was something I was looking forward too. 
    Vessel full of  Grains - A good Sign!

    Fresh Water Fish Counter - Bengali Love it
    When Bengali food comes to.mind instantly you are transported to the good fish loving..mustard oil loving ppl.. And the heavenly desserts (I have a very sweet tooth). When I was invited by courtyard for their short food festival I couldn't really say no to them partly as I was informed it was a Bengali chef making his home's food (One point) and he was to keep the entire experience as homely as possible (+1 in my books).
    Rolls Kolkata Style
    With these things in my mind I went off on a Working Saturday evening (yes majdur like me works till 7 pm on Saturday) to very easily accessible star property of the Marriott (read extremely close to Mumbai metro station). The food festival #Bengalifoodfestival was based in Momo cafe a buzzing cafe at the courtyard. The cafe has a buffet system (This festival can only be found in Dinner menu). The buffet carries the Bengali dishes with other menu items (for feasibility and customer demand). 
    There is live Chaat counter (Yes girls you heard it right live chaat right from amhar Kolkata ) and a roll counter, fried stuff (good stuff) counters. The servers do serve you all the items just in case you are tired at your table. But then knowing me I can't sit on just one place while in a food festival (I get full if I sit for a long time and sleepy too) I first gave a visual treat to my eyes right from the desserts (Guilty me) first with the fish counter (Rohu, prawns on display) to the chaat counter.
    Live Chaat Counter
    I did try the Puchkas first (Panipuri Kolkata style for those who don't know what it is). It was perfect with a filling of potato, lentils and spicy chutney. Ahh this was something I was looking at to start my palate going. Then I feasted my eyed upon the traditional pickles on display (Raw mango and Raw papaya one which I tasted later).







    Puchkas = Bengali Version of Pani Puri
    I later sat on the table with fellow foodies and the chef started sending us the good stuff. We were served assorted starters chicken cutlet, Fish fry, vegetable chop, dhonepatar bora (A Bengali version of Kothimbir wadi). The chicken cutlet was tender and tasty whereas fish fry was perfect chakna (Chef told us the fried stuff is something which is served from 4pm to 7pm on Kolkata streets where people eat it as Nashta). Vegetable chop was really something for the veggies. (They can have it with their drinks). These starters were perfect with the drinks.
    Assorted Starters - Veg to non veg from Left to right

                                                            Kolkata Style Rolls
    We were served Jhaal Muri (Bhel puri with mustard oil something which a very few may like as mustard isn't everyone's taste)
    Jhaal Muri
    We were served the Bengali Thali of the entire main course.

    Bengali Thali
    Aloo jhuri bhaja, beguni, pool bhaja all of these are fried stuff with first one being potato one second one being fried brinjal (i liked this one more) out of the two. Aloo jhuri bhaja was crisp fried crunchy (yummy chakna material) and pool bhaja is good choice for veggies.
    Veg Thali with all its glory
    The mains Gondhoraj lebu (A very traditional item found in Most Bengali Households it origins in Bangladesh but is stocked in Bengali households served it just like it..Never had such a lime family member), Sukto the vegetable gravy dish is a comfort food which is loved by the Bengali. All of them are the traditional items served in a Bengali household and were good. Aloo jhinga posto was a lovely dish of potato and ridge gourd (gravy was fabulous). 
    Non Veg Thali in its Bengali Glory!!
    Soese illish the quintessential Bengali dish steamed Hilsa (They Can kill for this fish) in spicy mustard gravy that I wouldn't miss. Chingri macher malai curry is something so good that the fish lovers would kill for a prawn based creamy curry is recommended. Tui macher jhol aka Rohu fried fish with gravy was something i loved it and Kosha mangso is a Mutton Dish which bengalis love to have (I now know why they love it).
    The yellow lentil cholar dal was something close to us Marathi ppl (varan). I guess Kolkata and Mumbai have a lot common in food due to being costal megacities. We were served all of this and even more in the Thali (Mega Bengali Thali as I called it) other items served were aloo dom (Dum aloo bengali style with mustard oil), dhokar dalna (Lentil Kofta in gravy is a yummy dish) and a refreshing Masti Pulao which complimented the mustard induced flavours of the menu items with its subtle dry fruit flavoured rice, koraisutir kachuri aka Luchi filled with Peas (Aka Peas stuffed Puri) is something i hadn't tried before well very well with the meal served. The three pickles / chutneys i talked about earlier were also served tomatoes chutney made up of tomato date and shelf life of a month was yummy tangy sweet one. This one plastic chutney raw papaya one is called plastic due to its appearance but its taste was something you wouldn't want to miss. Amber chutney the raw mango chutney (pieces of raw mango) with spices in it (Panch foran or the five spice powder (a mixture of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, kalonji, and black mustard seeds)as commonly used in Bengal..I gotta get my hands on the spice mix soon) was lovely addition to the thali. 
    Chutney - Bengali Style
    Overall the thali was lovely with all sweet spicy tangy tarty and pungent tastes coming in making it something food connoisseurs delight.



    How could I go for a Bengali food fest and not eat desserts. The array if desserts served couldn't be missed (after the heavy meal which made me motionless for a while till I gathered myself up for the desserts). Mishti doi (Dahi flavoured with jaggery dates and whey drained out if it) is lovely healthy dessert one needs after a heavy meal ( I wasn't missing it for sure). Mango Sandesh and Parval Sandesh (is something Joy u have to try to believe it..recommend it). Rasmalai was as lovely as it gets in Kolkata's kc Das.
    My Dessert Dish - Iam Sorted!
    The meal and experience in overall is something to try for those who haven't tried the bengali food experience and its open till 24th so headover quickly to try it.
    Chef who created the Magic!
    Experience: Bengali Food Festival
    Type of Meal: Dinner (Either Buffet or Sit Down..Your choice)
    Location: Courtyard by Marrriot Chakala, Mumbai ( https://www.google.co.in/maps?rlz=1C1CHBD_enIN729IN730&q=courtyard+marriott+chakala+mumbai&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjsqbP56MzUAhXEQY8KHd5FBCEQ_AUICigB)
    Period: Till 24 June 2017.
    Price: Priced at 1880/- per head + Taxes
    My Recommendation: If you want to try bengali food you can visit the place.