A sojourn with South Indian cuisine
Last evening, my wife and I undertook Dravid Yatra. No, this has nothing to do with The Wall of Indian cricket for years, Rahul Dravid or his eventful journey as a cricketing hero, but a journey of culinary adventure at Radisson Noida. The Sector 55, Noida-based upscale lodging is, at present, hosting a 10-day long food festival, Dravid Yatra (July 19-29) at The Creative Kitchen where you can relish the best of delectable delights from the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
“We are serving an assortment of delicacies from regions like Chettinad, Telangana, Hyderabadi, Coastal Malabari, Andhra, Dharwad, Coorgi and Tamil. The celebration highlights live intuitive counters where guests can savour mouthwatering dishes like pesarratus, appams and Malabari parottas cooked live,” says Master Chef Alankar who has arrived here after a successful and similar 10-day food festival at Radisson Indore. And he will proceed to the Nagpur property hereafter.
After getting comfortable in cosy comfortable chairs, my wife ordered a Blue Lagoon mocktail for herself while I opted for my ever-favourite beer. Alongside we were served a few quick rounds of starters comprising crunchy Chicken 65 with a distinct flavour of curry leaves and half idlis that had been tossed in chutneys made of garlic and tomato. “These fresh chutneys have been prepared from in-house ingredients. Nothing has been sourced from outside the hotel,” shares Chef Alankar.
Once done with these sumptuous dishes, we moved on to the main course. The menu during this 10-day Food Festival, informs Executive Chef Sujeet, will be changed every day to ensure perfect balance of all south Indian cuisines. “We have included dishes which guests are not aware of so instead of the conventional upma, dal vada, dosa and uthappam, you can choose from avials, oondala pulusus, meen podimas, nadan kohxi curry with appam and parottas to attu kal soup, appam with stew, Malabari parottas, kozhi kulambu and more else opt for a thali. Veg or non-veg is your choice,” he informs. We ordered a thali each — vegetarian for my wife and the non-veg spread for myself.
While the vegetarian thali comprised Andhra rasam, vendakai pulsu, valakai porial, keri pappu, veg stew, biryani, parappu curry (dal) with idlis and Malabari parotta, the non-veg thali had Koli rasam, Trivandram meena curry, koli curry, venkai pulsu, valakai porial, keri pappu, chicken stew, Nellore chicken biryani with idlis and Malabari parotta. I must admit here that even though both of us are frugal eaters, we ended up finishing every dish served to us in that fairly large thali. After all, each of them was just delectable and seemed to have been cooked with loads of love.
Chef Sujeet also informed that Dravid Yatra is a one-off food festival the hotel is hosting. “Otherwise, we are not in favour of holding food festivals for a week or 10-days as it can get monotonous, both for the visiting as well as in-house guests,” he says. Therefore, the hotel now organises festival that run for six to eight weeks but they begin Fridays and end Sundays with Saturdays being special musical nights. Like it was when we happened to be there with Arun Nischal enthralling one and all with his melodious voice. “Then we have Sunday Brunch which has been divided into four parts – Summer Sunday Brunch, Winter Sunday Brunch, Monsoon Sunday Brunch and Thematic Sunday Brunch. The idea is to serve guests something different every time they walk in here,” adds Chef Sujeet.
All done, we started our Home Yatra.