If authentic South Indian food is what you are looking at, then there could not be a better place than Hotel Hyatt Regency in Gurgaon. Because the ongoing South Indian Food Festival at Kitchen District (the food and bar section of Hyatt Regency) will offer you every authentic taste that you are craving for. A pioneering work by Chef de Cuisine Ajith Kumar and assisted by Executive Sous Chef Senthil Kumar, the attempt is to bring alive the food that used to be cooked in South Indian kitchens during 50’s and 60’s but is now lost in oblivion.
The brain behind the festival is however Chef Ajith, who has designed every dish keeping the South Indian flavour and style of cooking in mind. While Chef Ajith was not present at the time we visited the Hotel, we had the chance to meet up with Chef Senthil for a casual chit-chat, who told us that the recipes are straight out of ‘granny’s’ kitchen and they are prepared very much in the way they are cooked at home. “The South Indian food which people supposedly have here is not authentic. Back in South, it’s much more than just Dosa, Idli or Uttapam. The traditional way of cooking and using authentic ingredients in food is long gone now, probably due to paucity of time now. But we at Hyatt are trying o revive it again and bring that taste to the people of Delhi. We make sure that we use all genuine cooking style and ingredients. For instance the shallots we use in Avial come from Madras because here you do not get the real one,” says Chef Senthil.
(Executive Sous Chef Senthil Kumar)
You can relish all the 3 meals here – breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, you can choose from appam, ghee Upma, onion Vaada, spinach vaada, Kanjeevaram Idli, Madurai Idli, Dosa or Pongal. There are both vegetarian and non vegetarian options in the menu. In the vegetarian thali, you will get to experience everything from Avial (cooked with masalas, coconut, turmeric and shallots), Sambar, Kaalan, coconut chutney, steamed rice, papad, mixed vegetable prepared in South Indian style, different pickles, to name a few. One of the pickles which is worth mentioning here and you should really taste is the one in which green chillies are soaked in buttermilk, sun dried and then deep fried. Kal Dosa (kal means stone in Tamil) is another speciality at Kitchen District. “Today we prepare dosa on an iron tawa but previously it used to be done on a clay tawa, and that is how it got its name,” explains Chef Senthil.
We visited during lunch and ordered for a vegetarian Thali each. The food is so very awesome that the taste would linger on for days. You would also be given buttermilk in a kullar at the start and its indeed a good way to begin your meal.
In the non-vegetarian Thali, you can order for Kerala fish curry, Andhra lamb curry (Gongura), pepper chicken (Kozhi Milagu), Mutta Parotta (a culinary delicacy of Sri Lanka) served either with Kozhi curry, Kai Kari korma and Chicken Chettinad. People on diet need not think twice on the use of spices and oil in the food as it uses very minimal amount of these both.
“We initially planned to serve the food on a plaintain leaf (Banana leaf). But since people are not used to having food from a leaf, we place the leaf on a plate and serve the food upon it,” he says. However, the real taste of South Indian food can be best experienced when you have food with hand.
For dessert, a famous sweet dish from Kerala, Paruppu Payasam is served which is made of jaggery, raisin, coconut and lentils. Absence of sugar is the best thing in it and is healthier for people who keep worrying about their sugar level shooting up.
A sumptuous vegetarian meal could be enjoyed at INR 799 while a non-vegetarian Thali would cost INR 999.
If that’s not all, you can also go and refresh yourself at The Lounge with a cup of Kappi at just INR 99 and get an extended feel of the South Indian food festival.
When – 1st to 15th October 2015
Where – Meals @ Kitchen District, Hotel Hyatt Regency (Gurgaon), Kappi @ The Lounge
-Samrita Baruah / Anjali Sethi Joshi