The evening began with a visit from the Coorg Spice Market trolley which brought me a drink that was sinfully yummy- Rum based drink that had strong cinnamon flavours in it. Later on during the meal I tried the same sans the rum and it was just as good.
There are very few cuisines that have me all excited and one of them is Coorg.. no kidding! ever since my trip to Coorg, I have been in love with their simple yet strong flavours- fresh peppers, cardamom and cinnamon to name a few.
And so as I walked into Madras Pavilion at ITC Grand Chola last evening, I was looking forward to mouth watering dishes. But I got more than what I dreamt about. Each of the dishes stood out, some had me reaching for second helpings as well.
No sooner had we gotten around to saying Hi/Hello to their Chefs- Ajit Bangera, Nikhil Merchant & Santhosh Shetty, the dishes started coming to the table.
Chef Santosh Shetty with Chef Nikhil Merchant.
As with all buffets, the starters and grills were served on the table. I got to try nearly 4 vegetarian starters- The Balle Cutlet [Banana flower], Koomu Masala Fry [ Mushrooms], Yam cutlet and the potato bhajji of sorts [ forgot the name and it was from the grill section]. Loved the Mushroom dish the most of them all, it had a punch of pepper which was just a play of flavours in the mouth. These were served with a side of three dips- Tomato red chilli chutney, coriander green chilli and cucumber dip. The platter they were served in what caught my eye, it looked like a paint palette 🙂
Talking to the Chef had me wondering what more lay in store for us. He spoke about how Chef Shetty had travelled to Coorg, done some research, apart from which they had taken time out to research on vegetarian options to make sure both parties were taken care of . I must say I bow my head to such Chefs, who give us vegetarians as much importance, if not more!
For the mains, we got Kottai Kadubu [almost like a tumbler idli except this is cooked in a kind of leaf] and Kal Dosa [ with fenugreek favour standing out]. Loved em both, the kadubu was fun unravelling. The sides for these were Koomu Masala Kari [Mushroom based gravy that was creamy rich and peppery], the Bamboo Kari [ made with bamboo shoots, that were so tender, they melt in your mouth] and finally came the piping hot Mangai Kootu [a kootu similar to what we make at home with raw mango down to the channa dal]. Oh wait, we weren’t done yet. I also got to try their Tarkari Pulao [ veg pulao]. The non veg troops got a Yerachi Pulao and one side dish that stood out for them was the Pandi Curry [pork gravy].
Phew, now that is what you call a “meal worth dying for”. Just when we were gonna ask for some coffee, a dessert platter came laden with two shot glasses and some fresh fruit on the side and a small jug with a dark liquid, which I discovered was Black Jaggery syrup]. The shot glasses held the Khus Khus Payasa [payasam made with khus khus] and other was Jackfruit halwa [had the beautiful flavour of fresh ghee]. We had a section of fruits- fresh cut mango, papaya, grapes, melon and pomegranate.
And for the grand finale, a cup of fresh hot filter coffee served with the black jaggery syrup was just what we needed to wash it all down. Heck, I indulged and had a second cup of coffee as well. When something is good, it needs to be enjoyed, right?
Well, this festival is on till Sunday, 29th May for dinner only at Madras Pavilion at ITC Grand Chola,Chennai.. Make sure to block a table and head over if you are among those who enjoys this cuisine or are curious about it.
Priced at Rs. 2200 plus tax, the net price will be around Rs. 2600[approx]…
Address: No., 63, Anna Salai, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600032
Phone:044 2220 0000
Disclaimer: 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 🙂