[Image courtesy- Hyatt Regency]

Walking down the narrow streets of Amritsar, you see shops where men are busy piping out hot jalebis, or serving thick lassi to customers. Can vouch that the lassi is difficult to finish, one giant glass it is, if you do manage to polish it off, you wont need a meal for a few hours.. And then there are the restaurants where you walk in to the aroma of rajma or Pind chole simmering away. Well, these flavours have been brought to the Punjabi festival at Spice Haat in Hyatt Regency, Chennai. Chef Sweety Singh has come down armed with ingredients and spices to cook up a storm, he is here till 31st March..  

About the Chef
Since 1999, Chef Sweety Singh has been piloting Punjabi Food Festivals from last 20 years. With his expertise in cooking for the past 23 years, he has brought unique blends to Punjabi cuisine. His culinary delights has been served to much of the renowned Sports and Bollywood celebrities such as, Shahrukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan, Anupam Kher, Anil Kapoor, Dharmendra, Yuvraj Singh, Daler Mehndi to name a few. [info shared by the Hotel]

I also discovered that Chef had been in Chennai decades ago at Park Sheraton [ now Crowne Plaza], and came back after a short hiatus to Residency Towers…. 

The food
The first thing you see as you step into Spice Haat is a menacing looking Royal Enfield bike, and all through the hotel there are traces of Punjab in the decor, on the table and across the food counters as well. First up are the live counters as you walk into the restaurant, and then come the mains and the desserts at the far end of the restaurant.  Amidst all these, the regular dishes from their buffet can also be found [ across other cuisines].

Once we settled into a table, we were given two options for drinks- a Namkeen jeera lassi & the sweet kesar lassi in served in traditional khullad tumblers.. Along came the starters at the table- there was the melt in your mouth kinda paneer tikka, amritsari aloo and a few non veg starters as well. Even though the food served at hotels is very different from what you have at the place of origin, these were close enough. Kicked off a chat with the Chef, who said he uses freshly ground spice, and the dishes all have zero to no cream, heavy bases and were all made making sure to keep flavours intact.. The Daal makhani he said had asafoetida, no cream at all, but it had the authentic taste you would find in a Daal makhani. The chef went on to talk about how Punjabi food is associated with heavy rich food, but there are different ways of making it while being true to its cultures. 

Some of the mains I tried were the Aloo wadi, Pind chole, Daal makhani [ with a spoon of Ghee and jaggery- which apparently helps with digestion.] In the dessert section that day we had Jangiri and Kheer, the kheer was delicious, low on sugar and the gentle flavour of kesar came through.. Everyday the menu changes, give or take a few dishes & there are enough veg options as well.. So, go ahead indulge… 

Meal for one costs INR 1,499 including taxes.

Hyatt Regency 
#365, Anna Salai, 
Teynampet, Chennai – 600018
Phone: 044 6100 1234

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 🙂
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