It`s pretty difficult to find the true taste of Bengal in the sweltering roads of Chennai. So I was looking forward to the Bengali spread
that was being offered on day four of the Flavours of India festival at the Paprika, Courtyard by Marriott.
The moment I took my seat, I was offered a refreshing lembu sarbat. The drink - a perfect blend of lime juice, ginger and pomegranate
juice - was the best thing to wash away the dust of the day.
This was immediately followed by Kolkata`s favourite street food, the egg roll. The roti was soft and crisp and the vegetable-egg filling
light, fresh and delicately spiced. Crunchy samosas and petite aloo chops followed.
The main course was where the most attention had been paid. I began my meal with the delectable kasha mangsho - a beautifully spiced lamb
curry which the chef informed me had been made without a single drop of water. The meat had been cooked in its own juices, aided by some
savoury lamb stock. The intensity of the flavours made me vow to try and replicate this style the next time I made a lamb dish.
There were also some delicious rohi tok jhal, fish swimming in a spicy yet flavourful gravy, and murgi jhol, a lovely chicken curry, which
I mopped up with generous portions of ghee bhat and plain rice.
The sarso mangso bhat or lamb pulao flavoured with mustard oil, I reserved for a serving by itself - the best to appreciate the seamless
blending of such diverse flavours.
For the vegetarians, the spread was equally elaborate. I was spoilt for choice between aloo posto, potatoes cooked in poppy seed paste;
palak saag chorchori, a tasty spinach dish; ghanto tarkari, a typical Oriya vegetable dish; narkel baata panas dalna, an interesting dish
with jackfruit, and paneer dolma.
The piece de resistance was narkel cholar dal - an interesting twist to the traditional dal. It used no garlic or tomatoes. Instead, the
channa dal was flavoured with ginger and coconut.
At the end of the meal, I indulged my sweet tooth with some juicy rasagolas, Bengali sandwiches and ladoos. What better way to end a
hectic week than with such awesome food.
The buffet is priced at INR 995 excluding tax. It is on till the 15th of August when a combination of these cuisines will be served for
brunch from 12 noon onwards.