This Festival is on till June 25. Dinner only @ Rs 2,200+ taxes per person. For details and reservations, dial 044 22200000

Have lost track of the number of times I have been to ITC Grand Chola, the one thing I do remember is that every visit is different… This time I was there to check out the “Namaskara Tulu Nadu festival” at Madras Pavilion… 

Tulu Nadu or Tulunad refers to the small community of  Tulu speaking folks who occupy the region in the Southern part of Karnataka and northern part of Kerala… Mangalore, Udupi and Kasaragod are its important cities. At Madras Pavilion, chef Sandeep tells us this is another feather from the Kitchens of India cap that features dishes made as they would be in the Tulu households, with influences from Coorg, Kerala and Mangalore dominating the flavours. . The one thing that stood out from what he shared was that the people believe in showcasing the main ingredient rather than drowning it in a world of spices, be it vegetarian or non vegetarian dishes. 

The evening began with the refreshing buttermilk- Alai, that was laced with curry leaves, asafoetida and ginger accompanied by the Bana Bairada Juice which was made with tender coconut water, flesh of the coconut blended with ripe bananas.  

As for the soup, we were served hot Bele Saaru, a sort of Daal shorba crossed with our rasam, packed with flavours it was delicious. The highlight of the evening was that we had the honour of eating on Banana leaves, as traditional as it can get.

While there were a few non veg starters, I got to try the mini adai of sorts- Sajji ke taarai da roti [coconut & semolina pancakes] that had a few familiar flavours but different from what I have had at home. Following this came the main courses- Two more kinds of dosa- one was the Neer dosa while other was a thick dosa of sorts, and we also had red rice. 

For the sides, we got Kadla belay kootu (Channa dal tempered with mustard, curry
leaves and whole chilli), rich tart spicy 
Pineapple Gujju (Pineapple cooked over a gentle flame with
select Karavali spices) and my favourite Spinach garlic daal that was just perfect, with subtle undertones of garlic. I also got to try some Veg Ghee pulao, all it had was sautéed onions on top and nothing but rich ghee flavour singing through every spoonful. There were quite a few non veg sides- fish, pork, prawns and chicken, and of course the Mamsam Biryani as well. From the reaction of my friends, these were a big hit with them~ 

To finish off the meal, we got two desserts, Bele payasam(Lentils and milk cooked together and flavoured with cardamom) and the divine Ragi manni (Ragi  and jaggery  fudge)- couldn’t have enough of the Ragi dessert, I would definitely recommend this for anyone with a sweet tooth.

While the flavours are familiar, there was something comforting about them all and I loved the dishes. 

For the non veg perspective, check out Chennaifoodie blog 

The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂 
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