Weekends are meant for elaborate spreads and many course meals that make time out with loved ones all the more special. What could be a better way to spend all day wining and dining than a food festival? This weekend, head out to a Cantonese special and a Thai-themed festival in Mumbai and pick from two fests – an Andhra and South Indian fest celebrating the food of all four states – if you’re in Bengaluru. If you’re a Maggi fan, then Delhi is definitely the place to be.
Cantonese Culinary Route
Influenced by the culinary traditions of traders who crossed the Pearl River Delta to arrive in the Guangdong province of China, Cantonese cooking is characterised by its simple dishes and subtle flavours, which enhance the taste of greens such as choy sum, kale and water spinach. Unlike Sichuan, known for its explosion of spices, Cantonese food is lightly cooked in minimal oil. This week, Sofitel BKC in Mumbai traces the Cantonese culinary route with award-winning chef Allen Zhao, who is being flown down from Pullman Shanghai Skyway. Says Biswajit Chakraborty, general manager, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, “This is the first time that a Cantonese food festival is being held at the hotel. Indians usually have an affinity towards Sichuan cuisine, however they are now open to experimenting more delicate flavours like those of Cantonese.” The festival is also for the growing international community in Mumbai. On the menu are signature Cantonese dishes such as Fried Cantonese Choy Sum, Kale with Garlic, Shrimps with Longjing Tea, Pan-Fried Codfish in Soya Sauce, Scalded Cantonese Water Spinach, Truffle Prawn, Stewed White Cabbage with Mushroom and Fish Maw Soup.
Where: Pondichéry Café, Sofitel Mumbai BKC
When: February 26 – March 6
Lunch: 12.30pm onwards
Dinner: 7pm onwards
Pricing: Lunch — Rs3,000 (all inclusive), Dinner — Rs3,200 (all inclusive)
Thai Food Festival
Pan Asian restaurant Shiro organizes its first-ever Thai food festival that spotlights six key flavours including kaffir lime, bird’s eye chilli, Thai basil, lemongrass, coconut and tamarind. Says Rahul Hajarnavis, associate culinary director at Shiro, “We chose Thai cuisine as it represents comfort food to us, it’s wholesome, well balanced and super flavourful. People associate these flavours very well as most of them are well travelled.” Tamarind Tofu in Crispy Cups, Red Snapper with Spicy Sambal, Lemongrass Chicken Satay, Thai Basil Eggplant, Lobster with Thai Chilli Sauce and Thai Coconut Soup, a classic Thai soup flavoured with galangal and kaffir lime simmered to perfection are some of dishes on the menu. Thai-inspired cocktails such as the Roaring Dragon, a heady combination of white rum, mango and chilli flakes, and Shiro’s Beast of the East, a sweet and sour drink with a dash of bitters, tequila, cointreau and tamarind-infused syrup making this one beast of a drink complete the Thai gastronomic journey.
Where: Shiro, Bombay Dyeing Mill Compound, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Worli, Mumbai
When: Until March 31
Timings: Every day from 12 noon to 12 midnight
Pricing: A la carte, off the menu
Bon Kaaramga, Spicy Andhra Food Festival
The hallmark of Andhra food is the use of spices like green chillies, red chillies and pepper. And if spicy food is what appeals to your tastebuds, head straight to the Andhra food festival “Bon Kaaramga”, currently on at Bon South in Koramangala, the casual dining restaurant that showcases the best of South Indian food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Says executive Chef Manu Nair, “We have incorporated traditional dishes and some unique ones as well like the Hyderabadi Paan soya kheema roll, which is steamed beetle nut leaves stuffed with a spicy soya kheema masala.” Other items include starters like Telengana Kodi, (boneless chicken marinated in Telengana spices and grilled), Veinchina Mamsam (soft cubes of mutton tossed in Rayalseema spices), Chamaku Potalu (Colocasia leaves stuffed with spicy gram flower masala and deep fried), main course items like Hyderabadi Kacchi Murgh Biryani, Pita Igguru (Fresh mud crabs cooked in dry igguru masala), Mirpakaya Pattani curry (Green peas and yellow chillies cooked in cashew gravy), Tomato pappu (Andhra special Tomato Dal), and desserts like Elaneer Payasam (kheer made with a tender coconut extract and malai) and Double ka Meetha (a traditional bread pudding from Hyderabad).
Where: Bonsouth, #131,1st Cross, Koramangla 5th Block, Jyoti Nivas College Road, Bengaluru
When: February 22-March 6
Timings: 12 noon to 3.30pm and 7–11pm
Pricing: Monday-Thursday, Lunch – Rs610 (veg), Rs660 (non-veg), Dinner – Rs720 (veg), Rs799 (non-veg); Friday, Lunch Rs650 (veg), Dinner – Rs700 (non-veg); Saturday-Sunday, Lunch – Rs675 (veg), Rs825 (non-veg), Dinner – Rs750 (veg), Dinner – Rs850 (non-veg); all prices are inclusive of taxes.
The Big Fat South Indian Feast
There is no better way to enjoy traditional South Indian food than eating it off a banana leaf. And this is exactly what the Big Fat South Indian feast at Southindies aims to do. The menu features the best of South Indian temple food – from the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh – served on a banana leaf. Southindies is a speciality fine-dining restaurant that focuses on the vegetarian cuisine of the states of South India, and this is the first time the restaurant is organising a festival along these lines.
“The main reason for organising the Big Fat South Indian feast was due to many requests from our guests for something along these lines,” says Chef Manu Nair, Executive Chef, Southindies. “Since it is a traditional ethnic food festival, we focus on traditional ingredients and spices which are sourced from all the four states.” Start off your meal with Neer More (a light, spicy buttermilk), Pineapple Pacchadi (raita) and a selection of fine Kerala preserves. Enjoy starters like Pazham Puri (speciality Kerala nendran banana fried in a crisp rice batter), Sabbige Soppy Wada (crisp patties made from lentils and spices), sample the variety of main course items like Sodi (a Thirunelveli speciality – a light stew made with mixed vegetables, Kerala red beans and coconut milk), Avial (garden-fresh vegetables cooked in a coarse coconut masala), speciality breads of South India like Appam and Vishalakshi Roti, Cabbage, Carrot, Green pea Thoran (finely chopped carrot, cabbage and green peas tossed in tempering and freshly grated coconut), Chitranna of the Day (traditional lemon, puliyoghare and coriander rice from Karnataka), a traditional Keralite Sambar, Rasam, Karvepillae Poondu Kozhambu (curry leaf gravy), Curd Rice and desserts like Ragi Chocolate Halwa, Hyderabadi Phirni and Borellu (crispy rice dumpling stuffed with jaggery and sweetened coconut).
Where: Southindies, #276, 100 ft road, 6th main Junction, Above Giria’s, Indirangar, Bengaluru
When: February 26-March 6
Timings: 12 Noon-3.30pm and 7–11pm
Prices: Monday-Friday, Lunch – Rs443, Dinner – Rs477; Saturday-Sunday, Lunch and Dinner – Rs499; all prices are inclusive of taxes.
GoBuzzinga’s Maggi Festival
Just how many ways can you eat Maggi? That’s what you will get to know if you head to GoBuzzinga’s Maggi Festival, in Nehru Park this Sunday. On offer at the festival, touted as India’s first Maggi fest, are over 100 Maggi dishes, made by restaurants, street vendors and home chefs from across the city. What kind of Maggi chow? How about Maggi Momos, or Maggi Lasagna, or a gloriously greasy Maggi Cheese Fries? Participants at the festival include Wow! Momos, Imly, Cafe Desire and Bus Stop Cafe, among others. We are especially curious about Maggi Tikka, by home-chefs Richa Chaudhary and Poha Maggi by Ms Makkar.
Where: PSOI Club, Nehru Park, New Delhi
When: February 28
Timings: 12 noon-9pm
For more details: Gobuzzinga.com