The weather has officially changed. Its that time of the year when the suns rays are still gentle and the breeze is light and cool,which in air-conditioning parlance,is a comfortable 24 degrees. Open-air dining options in the city,however,are few and it comes as a welcome change that Hotel Hometel housed in the citys busy Industrial Area,has decided to make the most of its open terrace with a two-week long kebabs and biryani food festival. The festival in itself is not a novelty in the city as the same hotel has hosted one on similar lines in the past. But then live grills complement the weather,and therefore,it seems like a wise decision.
Housed opposite the main restaurant area,the terrace is fairly narrow but not tight on space,with the seating styled like a Parisian café. We find a table and the wafting aromas from the open grill on one end are a nice welcome.
Recently,theres been a change of guard in the kitchen with Chef Dipyan Chanda taking over the reins as executive chef. Known to be innovative with Indian dishes,the festival also showcases his expertise.
Speaking of new arrivals,a welcome drink,kesar thandai is served instantly. Its a set menu format that,we are told,will change every three to four days. While the name suggests an Awadhi-Lucknowi line-up,the menu steers towards the North West Frontier region. First up is Aloo Dilbahar comprising grilled potatoes with a distinct masala-flavouring. The Soya Til Tikka is a good addition to the vegetarian line-up. For us,the Grilled Mahi Fish tempered with Piri Piri Sauce was a good choice and absolutely delicious. All the tandoori action happens in the open and it gives the dining a barbecue ambiance. The main course brings in the likes of Bhune Masale ka Kukkad,which is a whole chicken marinated with pan-roasted spices,cooked over charcoals,as well as variations of dum biryani. When the chef mentions that the dal has been slow-cooked on the sigri (charcoal),we are immediately tempted to try it with roomali roti. No disappointments here either. While we ran out of space and inclination to try the desserts,you can choose from the likes of Kesari Phirni and Kulfi Falooda
The festival is on till April 14
Meal for two: Rs 1,600
Location: Hometel,Plot No 147-148,Industrial Area,Phase-1,Chandigarh