Taste of India food festival at Hotel GRT Regency

Taste of India food festival at Hotel GRT Regency

The ‘Taste of India’ food festival at Hotel GRT Regency turns a decade old.

01 Jan,

While many food festivals struggle to find exclusive acts or suffer from mediocre selections and repetitive menus, Hotel GRT’s flagship culinary fiesta – Taste of India – continues to make its annual appearance for the 11th consecutive year.

Exploding with new flavours, fresh spices and old recipes, the nine-day food festival is back with a bang. And like every year it is a pure celebration of all things fresh, colourful and wickedly delicious.

“Such is the reputation built over the years,” points out S.Ashok Kumar, the Associate Director-Sales, “that recently when I went for a meeting of hoteliers for an event in the city, people started enquiring about our Taste of India!” “I am happy the festival is finding its moments and mention,” he says.

There is little doubt that when chefs are passionate, the food scene makes its mark. And with Executive Chef R.N.Shrinath curating the event for the third successive year, the pan-India cuisine that emerges from his kitchen retains the soulfulness.

By laying-out gut-friendly and totally different menu each day and packing it with more than 60 dishes, Shrinath highlights how India’s diversity can be strung together through food and the celebratory attitude. “It is my job to elevate the mood and palate of my guests and take them on a complete culinary journey on the table,” he says, as Thadal, the welcome drink arrives. Crushed almond powder dissolved in chilled coconut water makes for a heady start this Independence Day and the night’s focus is on coastal areas.

Soon, Bengal’s Muri-ghonto (the head of fish cooked in dal and vegetables), the Goan Konhini Sarawat prawn curry, Parsi patrani machchi fry fill up the table along with Kashmiri gosht razela (succulent mutton pieces cooked in rosewater and tamarind) and Lucknowi gosht dum biryani fill up the table. Skipping the spread of eight types of salads and two soups, I relish the taste of different spices and exotic masalas. Certain items are spicy and quickly devoured while some with their twists and fusion fill a surprising void.

 

What also pleases me is the fact that vegetarian dishes outnumber the non-veg dishes!. You are spoilt for choice having to choose from at least 15 that includes Rajasthani amchur paneer masalaSindhi kadhiMushroom shagoti (made with poppy seeds and coconut paste), Punjabi chana masala chawal, cauliflower crisply fried with cornflakes. You need painstaking patience to eat such a variety.

“With comfort food from every State stuffed with melange of spices and distinct flavours, we try to ensure there is something for the entire family which has come out to enjoy the meal,” says N.Mohammed Sheriff, the general manager.

“We are a team of 21 and we do lot of research to plan our recipes because we want our guests to experience those dishes that are normally not cooked at home,” adds Shrinath. “We have many guests from in and around Madurai, who have been coming since the Taste of India festival in 2006. Among them are few who initially came as bachelors and with their parents and now come with their kids and spouses!” says Sheriff.

Attention has also been paid to the décor and the reception at the entrance where each day staff is attired in the costume of a different State. And then there is the live counter continuously whipping up plates of tangy chaat preparations and pani-puri, set dosa, aapam, idli, vada curry, Indian breads and kababs. Those with a sweet tooth will have to look away as the spread of 17 desserts are too delicious to resist. Just imagine, Bombay halwa, Malai sandwich, Gulabi kheer, Strawberry chum chum and lengcha, Choco mysore pak, Vellore makahn peda – absolutely sinful!

Shrinath’s team has hit a delicious balance of the old and new, the savory and the sweet throughout the menu. Go for the different tastes of diverse India. You will be glad you did. The festival is open for dinner from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. till August 21. . The variety at Rs.750 for adults and Rs.600 for a child is a steal. For reservations, dial 9994341135/ 9994341127