Over the last few months, we have been introduced to a lot of flavours of Indian cuisine. It has changed our mindset about limiting our expectations of Indian food and has widened our perspective about the culture and the traditional methods of cooking in India.
There are a several undiscovered and unknown cuisines in India. Even within states, there are regions,
all of whom have their own style of cooking. In an endeavour to promote these treasure troves, under the aegis of ‘Kitchens of India’, ITC Maratha presents ‘Unique Tastes’ of Maharashtra from the 18th to 27th September, 2015 during lunch and dinner buffet at the Peshwa Pavilion, ITC Maratha.
Peshwa Pavilion during the day, looks absolutely stunning. The palm trees, the plush white décor, the high ceiling and natural light makes everything bright and beautiful. The manager escorted us to the table and took us through the menu.
Peshwa Pavilion showcases food influenced by cuisines of Vidharba, Konkan and Kolhapur. The interior of Maharashtra- the Vidarbha area has its own distinctive cuisine known as the Varadi cuisine. This fare has good balance of spices with generous use of powdered coconut and chickpea flour. Chicken and Mutton are popular in this region. Famous for Malvani cuisine in the Konkan region of Maharashtra and Goa; seafood dominates the fare. Commonly used ingredients are kokam (amsul), tamarind and raw mango (kairi). Coconut is used liberally in almost all the dishes in various forms. The spicy cuisine comes from the land of Sahayadris. Kolhapur is known for its pungent and spicy food. The city is famous for “Kolhapuri Lavangi Mirchi”. This cuisine is mainly non-vegetarian.
We were served Sabudana Vadas and Chicken Kothimbir Vadas as starters. The Sabudana Vadas were crisp and were well made. The Chicken Kothimbir Vadas were a surprise, these were chunks of chicken marinated in coriander paste and fried to seal in the juices. It was really tasty.
The first thing we noticed at the buffet were pots of Maharashtrian sukka masalas. The Mutton Kolhapuri and Malvani Mashachya Kalvan was something that we really wanted to try. The Manager got us a Thali comprising of all the Maharashtrian dishes available on the buffet served with Bhakris and Kombdi Vadas so that we could taste everything at one go. It looked really good, and we really loved the simple yet rustic flavour of each dish.
The Mutton Kolhapuri was quite spicy and went really well with Kombdi Vadas. It was Joash’s first time trying Bhakris but he stuck to the Kolambi Masale Bhaat and enjoyed it with pickle and papad. The simplicity of the Dhudi Chanechi bhaaji brought back memories of my roadtrip towards Alibaug where we ate at a small dhaba serving Maharashtrian food.
The spread on the buffet was multi cuisine but the Maharashtrian food added an earthy charm that really brought forth a change to what guests would expect at a buffet. This food was light, not very oily. Healthy but tasty at the same time. We’ve heard so many people talk about how monotonous food at a buffet feels like and how they really look forward to a change in the menu.
Knowing ITC’s initiative to introduce local cuisines in their five star kitchens, we feel they have hit the spot in making things interesting and delicious.
For dessert we had Dhudhi Halwa and Boondi Sev along with Verrines and fresh fruits. There were chocolate cups, chocolate mousse and various Indian sweet meats. The Gulab Jamun in Rabdi called Zauk-e-Shahi was rich and decadent. Give it a try.
We had a wonderful time at the buffet and loved the service as well. We’d recommend this meal to anyone who loves Indian cuisine. Try this Maharashtra Food Festival or if you have missed it, you can be surely try the next food festival on the Kitchens of India series. You won’t be disappointed.