What comes to your mind when I
say “Delhi 6”? C’mon, lets be honest, you thought of Abhishek Bachchan and
Sonam Kapoor or Masakkali right?  So, now
when I add the word “food” to “Delhi 6”, what comes to your mind? Hmm, I like
that puzzled look. It tells me you are not very familiar with Delhi and its
areas. Well, if you were someone who has been to Delhi, or is a foodie you
would know that it refers to the food zone in Delhi- Chandni Chowk, the
paranthe wali gulley and the region around that is famous for the chaat and
other local treats. 

ITC Grand Chola has brought in their very own/renowned Chef Gunjan Goela to host the Delhi 6 festival here. It is available for Dinner only (between 7 pm to 11:30 pm) at Madras Pavilion (Dinner Buffet at INR 1700   plus applicable taxes) while at Cafe Mercara Express (Full Square Meal at INR 1050 plus applicable taxes)

I had the privilege of visiting Grand Chola and sampling some of the dishes the day before it went Live. I also got the opportunity to meet the Chef and spend some time chatting with her. What a memorable evening that was.  It was insightful, interesting and she patiently answered all my crazy questions and so much more. The menu was divided into three main sections- street food, home-style mains and sweets.

The evening began with the light Pineapple panna [a twist on the regular aam panna] subsequent to which we also had a cocktail made with Vodka and Passion fruit juice, which was quite a drink. And then came the chic looking plate of Gol Gappe [ pani puri or Paani ke Bataashe as she calls it], the puri were seated on a nice little plate while the pani was served in a little cup. It was beautiful and quite different from the pani puri we get around here in Chennai. I could have done an entire meal with just that pani puri.  Before we were done with it, the next dish was slowly making its way to our table. It was a small cup with a colourful sauce on it and a Dahi ki Ghujia hidden under it. Oh boy oh boy, was that delightful or what. Loved the flavours, the raisin, the cashew inside the Ghujia that blended perfectly well with the curd and sauces served alongside.  And then there was the humble Aloo tikki, simple subtle and melt in your mouth divine.. 

During my chat with the chef, I learnt about her association with Grand Chola, how she was instrumental in rolling out the recipes/dishes at Royal Vega and she lived in Chennai for a year or more before moving on. We chit chatted about so many things besides food, it almost felt like we were friends meeting for dinner after years.

While we chatted away, a glass of yellow coloured Thandai arrived at our table. It was so rich and filled with flavours, saffron and badam stood out.  Ah, we felt like we had died and gone to heaven. The Chef was in charge, she kept instructing the staff to bring out the dishes in a particular order and kept tasting them to make sure they were bang on. When I asked her about how long she had been making these recipes, she said it began in the morning; she had made all the 40 dishes herself.  

Back to food, next came different kind of poori- Bedani [ a kind of whole wheat puri] that was served with  Aloo methi ki sabz and a  Tarbooz aur angoor ki subzi [watermelon and grape curry]- ] which had interesting flavours and was not overpoweringfly sweet and then there was the Bhuni Arbi [dry Colocasia curry cooked with spices. We were also served a Seetafal ki sabzi [pumpkin gravy] which i loved, the unique thing about this is that the pumpkin is cooked with the skin on. Chef told us that almost all veggies are cooked with their skin on and the entire menu was onion and garlic free. 

The next in line was the  Gucchi Pulao- Yes, Gucchi, the only Gucci I know is the fashion brand so when I heard it was a plant like Mushroom I was fascinated. It was served in a claypot and was light, fluffly and simply yumm. The Gucchi [morrel] were black flattish things that had a distinct flavour which you could taste in the pulao as well. I loved it.

We were stuffed and ready to just roll over and sleep, but the Chef had something else waiting to be tried. A dessert platter- a Gulaab Jamun, Ghiya ka halwa [bottle guard halwa], Makhaane ki Kheer [Lotus seed cooked with cream and chopped up pistachio on top] and fresh fruits in cream. I loved the Makhaane ki kheer for it was like nothing I have eaten before.   

The three hours were such bliss, we were grinning away as we walked out of the restaurant towards the lobby.  This was a meal we were sure to remember for a long time to come. The friend who came along was eating those dishes and tasting the flavours for the 1st time, so he was quiet through the evening.

[Pic courtesy: Karan]

The festival is on till the 18th
of May. So, if you have been craving for some Delhi ka khanna, you know where
to head to~

Festival Details:
Dinner only 
Time: between 7 pm to 11:30 pm 
Madras Pavilion – Dinner Buffet at INR 1700   plus applicable taxes
Cafe Mercara Express – Full Square Meal at INR 1050 plus applicable taxes
ITC Grand Chola 
#63, Mount Road, Guindy, 
Ph- 044 2220 0000
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂
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