BENGALURU : Sultans and Maharajas may be long gone, but the taste of their royal delicacies still lingers strong. We were transported to a bygone era, and relived a wholesome royal culinary experience (through their sumptuous and flavourful delicacies), at the ongoing Lost Recipes festival, hosted at Asia Alive, a part of DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore on Sarjapur Road.
As soon as we stepped in, we were given ornate pagdis to wear and escorted under grand-looking chatras, which enhanced the feeling of our royal escapade. “The idea is to create a unique dining experience for our guests by recreating some of the rare delicacies of royal families encompassing Awadhi, Marathawadi, Travancore and Hyderabadi cuisines”, is how Executive Chef Tanmoy Majumder summed it up.
As we sat down, we were given a saffron-infused welcome drink to let our taste buds know what we are in for. The spread of veg and non-veg starters was a pleasant treat to our eyes. From Fish Kolivada, Kurta Chicken Tikka, Gosht Sheekh Kabab to Kithmir Vada and Munchi Dalchi Vada, each and every item was cooked to perfection. The right amount of spice and the tangy flavour brought out the authentic Indian taste which dates back to centuries old.
The food festival takes place from Monday to Thursday, and they have kept various cuisines on these four days. On the day we went, their cuisine on highlight was Marathawadi cuisine. But the chefs had exclusively arranged for Travancore cuisine for us, which was served first.Anticipating the traditional Keralan ingredients like coconut, tamarind, curry leaves and black pepper in the dishes, we started off with some rice and Hirvya Chinchecna Thecha Kimdi, which is a soft dal vada, with the correct proportion of coriander, resulting in the curry to look green in colour.
The Koottukarri is a dish cooked with potatoes and grams, and it felt as homely as it could ever be. The chefs informed us that Travancore cuisine in the royal families were kept purely vegetarian, but just for the sake of adding a little modernity to it, they kept duck and crab items on the menu. We got the heavenly smell of ghee and cashew from the taravu roast, where the duck, with its rich, juicy flavour, melted in our mouths. For a first timer, I, personally, found the meat to be scrumptious. Methi cha machhi, the seafood dish is a must-try. We absolutely enjoyed eating the soft fish with a South-Indian touch. Next, we tried Njandu masala, which is crab cooked in various spices, and we enjoyed its succulent meat to the core.
Almost full to the brim, the waiters brought over food items from the Marathawadi cuisine. Expecting a lot of Mughal-era dishes and of course, huge quantities of delectable biryani, we started off with Naan Kaliya, one of the most loved dishes of any non-vegetarian foodie. The chef said the chicken curry has been prepared exclusively to be eaten with the naan. The fluffy bread had a yellowish colour, which was actually saffron. And since it was a little on the sweeter side, the Kalia on the other hand was spicier, that’s why it’s a combo ‘made in heaven’.
We dug into Nawabi paneer and Sulthani dal, which sounds like any normal dish that we have every day, but actually tasted true to their names. The different flavours touched our palate and we were left craving for more. Lastly, we ate small portions of strongly-flavoured, peanut-added Lathur Special Biryani to end our main course on a Marathawada note.We had very little room for dessert, so the chefs sent us Shrikhand, which was a delight to the sweet tooth. It was absolutely delicious to end our dinner on a sweet note.Lost Recipes festival is on till February 8. Cost for two: `2,000 approx