HYDERABAD: How often have you eaten paan covered kulfi or just kulfi filled with delicious gulqand? Well, if you are searching your memory, going back to that trip to Benaras or some other God-forsaken-town of Uttar Pradesh we ask you to stop. Why? The food of National Highway is there with unique recipes concocted with chef’s imagination. No need to scratch your head for another road trip. At Spice Junxion, Taj Deccan ‘Highway Food Festival’ is going on.
Enter the hotel and two large charpoys standing up with bright-coloured lanterns dangling from their legs will greet you.
And as you take your seat, blaring Bollywood numbers take you back to those once-upon-a-time road trips. Settle in your chair and to beat the sultry Deccan heat you are served aam panna. Its tangy sweet taste has a great cooling effect. As part of the starters is ambarsari machhi. One piece and its succulence takes over. You wonder what if you had fish or fresh cottage cheese. Chef Rishi Manucha explains, “It’s all about marination and right kind of spices in right proportion. Fish is all about that balance, else strong spices take over the actual taste of fish.” More than chatpati dahi arbi we liked bhuni shakarkand, sweet potato cooked with roasted spices. The taste hits in layers.
Another interesting thing that we noted was use of meetha attar in the mutton and chicken dish. The delicate addition of the edible scent, which is part of culinary custom of North India, to the meat preparations reminds one of the food of Delhi and Lucknow.
The dishes tasted well with khamiri roti and kulcha. Pulao, too, blended well with the preparations well. What we really relished was daal: a plain simple dish of maash kii daal and moong kii daal cooked the way it’s cooked at home. The taste was very subtly sweet as in the preparation was mixed with fried and crushed onion rings. The dessert platter took the cake with malai ghevar, rasmalai cheesecake and Paan Ka Meetha.
Too bad the fest is on till April 24 only. Price for two is approx Rs 2,000 + taxes.