Dakshin dinner: South Indian cuisine meets premium whiskey at ITC Kakatiya

The much-anticipated Dakshin Dinner event took place recently at ITC Kakatiya, offering a unique culinary experience that celebrates the vibrant flavours of South India, perfectly complemented by an exclusive selection of beverages
ITC Kakatiya
ITC KakatiyaPhoto | Express

HYDERABAD : A mix of diverse flavours, flexibility, and comfort defines South Indian food. While there is a wide variety of flavours to satisfy your taste buds, a meal is incomplete without the right set of beverages. Introducing the Fusion of South Indian Cuisine and Exquisite Premium Beverage Pairings at the Dakshin Dinner, ITC Kakatiya featured an array of authentic South Indian dishes, each thoughtfully paired with premium whiskey to enhance the dining experience.

Starting with five distinct chutneys from different states served on the plate, we began the culinary journey with mini dosai—Beetroot dosai and Banana dosai. The Banana dosai won the race with its rich flavour and subtle sweetness. We then tried the premium single malt whiskey, Godawan 2. Its golden pale yellow colour accompanied strong fruit and spice notes hitting the nose. The brand ambassador of Godawan guided us: first, take a small sip and gulp it, then take a long sip and gargle it so that the palate gets adjusted. You feel soft fruity and mouth-filling malt with a bit of spice. Then you can have it with ice or sparkling water as per your choice. We paired it with starters —Vazhai Shunti — made with spiced raw banana hash, a specialty of Thanjavur. It’s the chef ’s homemade dish, crispy outside and soft inside. We then had rasam, which also pairs well with whiskey. Before moving to the main course, we tried another type, Godawan 1-PX Sherry Cask Finish. This one appeared deep golden brown with fruit, matured wood, and sherry notes, with a slight toffee sweetness hitting the nose. The palate tasted of sweet malt fruity with wine and matured notes.

South Indian cuisine meets premium whiskey at ITC Kakatiya.
South Indian cuisine meets premium whiskey at ITC Kakatiya.Photo | Express

We preferred the Godawan 1 for its wine flavour bec a u s e of the PX sherry cask finish, while the other is a cherry wood cask finish. “I believe Godawan’s storytelling is unlike any other malt in India. Made in Rajasthan and named after the Great Indian Bustard — ‘Godawan’ truly depicts the heritage of India. It has also recently won a lot of global accolades and was crowned ‘Best Single Malt Whisky of the Year 2024’ at the London Spirits Competition,” said Prashant Rawalia, Brand ambassador South India diageo.

Born in Rajasthan, Godawan is named after the rare Great Indian Bustard, which once roamed all over India but now nears extinction. He says, “With only around 100 birds left, Godawan contributes to the conservation of this exquisite bird by supporting conservation projects with the government and NGOs. It’s a brand for a cause, and it is this mission and commitment that makes it absolutely unique. Secondly, India has never actually had a cherry cask whiskey before Godawan 2. Bold steps to create unique experiences, like aging in the arid Rajasthan with high angel shares, unique cask finishes, and driving sustainability, make it absolutely unique.”

For the main course, we had Puttagodugulu Jeedipappu Iguru, Beans Paripu Usli, Tomato Pappu, Borkache Indad, and Meen Pollichathu for meat lovers, served with Veechu Parotta and Kal Dosai. Everything felt homemade and distinctively tasty. In rice, we had Kodi Biryani, which was light and fulfilling. In the end, we had Elaneer Paysam, tender kernels of coconut in cardamom-flavoured coconut milk, and Badam Halwa, a dense confection made of almond paste, ghee, and sugar.

The fusion of traditional South Indian food offered a perfect balance of flavours and an enhanced dining experience. Additionally, there was an opportunity to learn about the art of whiskey pairing from industry experts and chefs, enhancing their appreciation of both the food and the spirits

Godawan whiskey, named after the endangered Great Indian Bustard, added a unique flavor dimension to the dining experience while supporting conservation efforts.
Godawan whiskey, named after the endangered Great Indian Bustard, added a unique flavor dimension to the dining experience while supporting conservation efforts.Photo | Express

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