West Coast Food Fest: A synthesis of culinary flavours
The thought of a West Coast Food Festival made me conjure up a picture of seafood dishes. But, to my surprise, Copper Point at GRT Grand had lined up a thali which comprised mainly of vegetarian fare from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala.
The ambience, music and the attire of the staff were set to complement the theme of the festival. We were welcomed with sweet kokum and, saffron and cardamom-infused panha, both of which drinks retained the authenticity of their respective states.
For starters, you could choose from the huge variety - mutter usal pav, babycorn manchurian, ukadiche modak, erachi ularthiyathu, kombdiche dangar and malvani fish fry - all of which were being made at the live counters.
While the manchurian was tender and retained the juiciness of fresh corn, the fish fry was all crisp and browned to perfection. These were served with cumin-flavoured murunga ilai soup and the Marathi
chicken broth - a clear soup, mildly flavoured with pepper.
The thali, with an elaborate spread of dishes, arrived. We were amazed to see the number of dishes that one could attribute to the region.
The vegetarian fare included the chakka kuru kothal - a dry vegetable of jackfruit and its seeds cooked in an onion-tomato base; the Gujarathi kadhi pakodhi with its unmistakable cumin flavour and the
kaikari malli peralan which had just a hint of the flavour of coriander seeds and tasted a great deal like the stew.
The moment we tasted the mergol de quibos - a Goan preparation of okra in sweet and spicy gravy - was defining and changed our opinion of mushy okra praparations.
The non-vegetarian dishes included the ambotik - a Goan hot and sour curry; the kori soppu kari - an authentic Mangalorean delicacy in which bite-sized chicken was cooked in coriander base; and the mutton kolhapuri from Maharashtra - a very spicy preparation of mutton in an onion-tomato base.
The hand-pound masala lent a wonderful flavour to all the dishes which went down well with the methi thepla and the Malabar parotta.
The nei choru from Kerala was sweet from the raisins tempered in ghee and served as a perfect foil to the mutton kolhapuri. The other rice
preparation was the ghatta tamatar ki chawal which had an undeniably strong cinnamon flavour that would not be quelled even by the raita.
Dessert was served at the table and comprised a jaggery-sweet paruppu payasam; crisp, sour kesar jalebi; ghevar - a lentil crust soaked in sugar
syrup and topped with rabri; creamy shrikhand and the unmistakable layered sweet from Goa - the bebinca.
The festival is on till December 18 and is priced at Rs. 750 per thali. If you've got your mind on the exquisite flavours of the western belt, don't miss this one.