Cuisines from Global Coastlines

 

boat

Amara, the all diner at The Trident Hotel, is currently hosting a festival titled Coast to Coast – celebrating the cuisines of global coastlines.
Here are my reasons why you must visit:

chicken

If you like seafood, this festival has plenty to offer – from oysters at a seafood bar to the Hawaiian Salmon Tartare and the shrimp cocktail for starters. The Bengali Doi Mach — fish cooked in yoghurt to Kerala Fried Fish, plus grilled seafood at the live grill counter leave you spoilt for choice.

shrimp-cocktail

For sheer range of tastes – from the flavourful Gulf Coast Seafood Stew to the Phuket Chicken Massaman Curry, Islander’s Goat Curry, Sicilian Port’s Caponate, Goan Lamb Xacuti  and Mangalorean Kombdi ka Rassa — there are enough options for everyone. Vegetarian dishes like the Pad Thai and Oriental Vegetable Stir Fry plus the Lebanese Mezze Bar and other staples like Baghare Baingan, Paneer Methi Malai, Dhaba Dal etc. — while not coastal, are part of the buffet’s spread on offer. There is also a choice of biryanis – vegetable, chicken and mutton.

seafood-stew

The presentation of the Shrimp Cocktail and the Caribbean Jerk Spiced Chicken with Pickled Onions and Cornichon make you want to forget your diet for the evening. There was even a Thanksgiving turkey, grilled to perfection with the accompanying sauce and boiled vegetables.

turkey

The Crème Brulee – my pick of desserts of the evening. Whatever you gorge on, leave some space to finish with this one. Truly delicious.

The festival is on for dinner till the end of this month at Amara.

For reservations call: 040 6623 2323
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Kashmiri Cuisine Fest

Taj Banjara, which has an alfresco restaurant – Kebab-e-Bahar, is currently hosting a Kashmiri food festival. At the outset, let me say that this festival is for those who love their meats, do not care much for chilli and are curious about this cuisine. Having said that, Kashmiri food has a unique blend of spices and flavours, and I am assuming, because of the cold climate, the use of chillies is largely minimal.
But, the cuisine does have a rich legacy, and the Wazas, descendants of the master chefs of Kashmiri aristocracy, have crafted a menu for a special Wazwan cuisine fest. Chef Waza Tariq, who has flown down all the way from Srinagar, where he works with the Vivanta by Taj, put together a compilation of dishes for us to sample.

chef-waza

We started with the Nadru Malai Tikki, minced lotus stem mixed with Kashmiri spices and cooked on a hot plate. The tikki was quite bland, enhanced only with the green chutney accompanying it. This was followed by the Tabak Maaz, a lamb starter cooked on a hot plate and shallow fried with spices. I gave it a miss, but I am guessing meat lovers would like it.
The main course included Mutton Rista and Gustaba, both of which are essentially minced meat dumplings or koftas, cooked in gravy. One was cooked with yoghurt and the other with spices, so the white and red colour denoted which was which. Again, I gave it a miss though I did try the Kukkar Badam Korma, chicken cooked in an almond based gravy, but it was as bland as chicken soup and did not appeal to my taste buds.

chicken-korma

The vegetarian dishes however, were way better and much tastier. The Kashmiri Dum Aloo and the Kashmiri Rajma, kidney beans cooked in a tomato base, were a good option to have with the butter roti and the Saffron Rice. The rice had the rich aroma of saffron and could be had on its own too.
Dessert included Badam aur Suji ka Halwa and Phirni, but I am not a fan of either, so I would say, you can give them a miss.
I wondered why the internationally popular Mutton Rogan Josh, a rich, thick lamb curry, dominating the cuisine, was missing from the presentation. It is on the menu but it wasn’t part of the bloggers’ lunch menu. Frankly, when you have such a show stopper on your list, why bother with the little known items? Especially in a city like Hyderabad, where chillies rule the roost, and spice is the order of the day for every dish. I would have much preferred to sample that and some yoghurt based curries that Kashmiri food is known for. Purists might disagree, and while the Rista and Gustaba are equally well known, I am not sure they will be popular here.

kashmiri-food

This festival is on till the 30th of November and is for those who like to sample authentic food cooked in a traditional way by someone who knows the cuisine well. Or for those, who like to ask for a side of extra chilli, no matter what they eat.

Tuscany’s newest additions

Tuscany, the Italian fine-dining restaurant at The Trident Hotel, recently launched its new menu. What constitutes a new menu, you might ask? Well, besides adding new dishes on to an already extensive menu, it is a chance for the chefs in the kitchen to explore their creativity, use the fresh winter vegetables available, and by doing so, give patrons something new.
Executive Chef Manik Magotra informs us that based on feedback from patrons, and the change of seasons, inspired them to come up with the dishes that have been added to the menu. Besides using a variety of mushrooms, the good news is that there are now several vegetarian dishes on the menu, which means the herbivores among us, don’t have to stick to a few tried and tested options.
The meal, accompanied as always, with a full bodied red wine, started with the Aubergine stack, batter fried aubergine layered with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, and saffron cream. The unanimous feedback at the bloggers’ table was that the dish was too bland for the Indian palate.

batter-fried-brinjal-1

But then, the non-veg starter, the Gamberi fritti, a prawn fritter came along. Served with garlic cream and potato chips, this delight of a starter had a myriad flavours tickling my taste buds.

prawn-starter

Choices of soup included a Consommé with chicken mousse tortellini and vegetable julienne; or, the Wild Mushroom Cappuccino – a mushroom soup with a hint of espresso foam and thyme dust. At the Mushroom promotion held earlier, this soup was a winner, and obviously, regular diners at the restaurant too thought so; for Chef Manik to include it into the new menu. Those who chose to have the Consommé vouched for its taste appeal.
The main course too included a mushroom dish – the Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tortellini, with porcini cream, toasted hazelnuts and truffle oil. Delicately flavoured so as not to overpower the taste of the mushrooms, this is for those who love fungi.

mushroom-main

This was followed by the Bacon wrapped Chicken, filled with spinach and ricotta, and served with mashed potatoes, tomatoes and green beans. A little dry on the palate, this dish needed a bit of sauce to give it a boost.

chicken-bacon

The last option, the Beetroot Risotto, served with orange segments, arugula and goat cheese, was the prettiest version of beetroot I have seen. A lovely pink, the risotto was as filling as it was tasty.

beetroot-risotto

Dessert. At Tuscany, you absolutely must leave space for some. Chef Praful is obviously given a free hand to creatively go where few have gone before. Each time, his desserts have us all gushing over their deliciousness; and, the way they are presented. This time was no different. The Lemon Tart, a pretty little concoction served with burnt meringue and raspberry macaroons; and a delicious Homemade Gelati, made with macerated fruits, where the fruits had been churned along with the milk, were apt showstoppers to what was a fine meal.

lemon-tart

No wonder Tuscany is an award winning restaurant that is quite popular with the hotel’s in-house guests and city folk. If its new menu is any indication, Tuscany is going to win some more hearts with its ouvre of delicious Italian fare.

dessert

Tuscany is open only for dinner.

 Tel: 040 66232323