Dawat-e-Iftar

starters
Come the month of Ramzan and Iftar parties become quite the zeitgeist everywhere. Especially here in Hyderabad, which has many Muslims and non-Muslims coming together for an Iftar dinner.
Kanak, the fine dining Indian cuisine restaurant at The Trident Hotel, decided to have a food promotion based on this ritual, and it goes on till Ramzan comes to an end, on the 24th of June. While it goes without saying that a traditional Ramzan favourite – the Haleem – is a fixed item on the menu, Executive Chef Manik Magotra and his team, have added other dishes, from various parts of the country, to make the Iftar spread more interesting for the guest.
Another important fact to note is that contrary to popular perception, not everything served at an Iftar dinner has to be non-vegetarian. At Kanak, at the dawt e Iftar, Chef has included enough vegetarian dishes so those who abstain from meat, can still have a filling meal.
lotus stem
The starters include Tandoori Bharwan Aloo, potatoes filled with nuts and cheese and cooked in a tandoor, Nadir mand, sliced lotus stem, marinated in a spicy paste and deep fried; Tala hua Gosht, a Hyderabad speciality – morsels of lamb, sautéed with onions, green chillies and mint; and of course Haleem, traditionally cooked with wheat and lamb and served with fried onions and wedges of lime. The menu includes a vegetarian variant of this dish which is what I had, and the wheat and ghee preparation was as good as its non-vegetarian counterpart.
Among the starters, I liked the Bharwan Aloo, the sweetness of the dry fruits and the bland potato make a surprisingly good combination; and though I abstained from the lamb starter, I was told by the others at the table, that it was quite delicious.main course
Mains included Gobhi Mussalam, cauliflower stuffed with nuts and cooked in a rich cashewnut and yoghurt gravy; Dhaniwal Korma, chicken cooked in a yoghurt based gravy flavoured with saffron and fresh coriander; Dahi Gosht, lamb cooked in whole spices and yoghurt; and Kacchi Gosht ki Biryani – lamb and basmati rice cooked with saffron and nuts in the dum style – in sealed pots.mains rice
All the main course dishes were served with different kinds of rotis – sheermal, Peshawari naan and Khamiri roti; along with Navratan Pulao. I tried the Khamiri roti with the chicken and the cauliflower curries – they were a match made in heaven. Filling yet light on the palate, the flavours blended beautifully with the thick roti.rotis
Desserts included a Seb ki Kheer, an apple and milk based pudding; Baloshahi – a deep fried flour dumpling dunked in sugar syrup; and the Lauki ka Halwa – bottle gourd cooked with milk and sugar. While others liked the apple pudding, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Lauki Halwa was outstanding. Having a dish I was forced to eat in childhood, this version, slow cooked to creamy perfection, was a perfect finish to a very well cooked meal.dessert

 

The Dawat-e-Iftar is on at Kanak, The Trident Hotel, Hitech City, Hyderabad till the 24th of June.

Timings: 7 pm onwards.

 

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Essentially Good

What should come as a relief to hard core vegetarians in the city is that there is now a fine dining restaurant that has a very extensive all vegetarian menu. Multiple cuisines – Italian, Oriental and Indian – with a range of starters, mains and desserts, along with some very unusual drinks, are a very good reason to visit Tatva, a new restaurant set up by the group that owns Rajdhani restaurant at Abids. Tatva is a Sanskrit word, and it means essence/ thatness or reality, and the restaurant has effectively captured the meaning through the food it serves.

crackling spinach

The USP of Tatva is the vast choice on offer, where even the fussiest eater can find something he or she will like. Yes, this includes non-vegetarians who scoff at the ghaas poos we herbivores eat. And for the bloggers’ lunch, Executive Chef Naveen Nagaraj, and his assistant Yogesh, plied us with so many dishes that doing full justice to Tatva’s menu will require multiple visits. My advice is – save it for the times you are entertaining vegetarian friends and family. Everyone will be happy.

jalapeno poppers

From the starters, the Oriental style Crackling Spinach and the Continental Jalapeno Poppers, made with three different cheeses, were my pick of the lot. The Kamalkakdi ke Galauti, the lotus stem version of Lucknow’s famous Galauti Kebabs made with minced meat is a very good substitute. I found it a little heavy on the spice though you couldn’t really tell it was vegetarian; the replacement with lotus stem was a great idea however.

louts stem kebab

An interesting aspect of the food here is the focus on the presentation; the Smoked Pesto Paneer Tikka was brought out in a flourish, covered with a glass jar, which when lifted, let out the hot steam captured from the tandoor.

paneer pesto

The mains have some really good dishes, and for those of you who love your vegetarian Italian, the Cannelloni Florentine and the Risotto are a must try. The cheese in the Risotto makes you want to savour every bite, slowly. For Indian food aficionados, the Olive Naan, dotted with sliced black olives, had with the uber tasty Dal Tadka or Dal Makhni are worthy options for a filling meal. What I like about Chef Naveen’s innovations are that they blend – whether it is the lotus stem in place of kheema; pesto in place of chutney as a marinade and olives on a naan – they work well with the other ingredients in the dish and are not contrived in the least.

olive naan

Now, for my favourite part of any meal – the desserts. Here too, the presentation was the star and each one was impeccably presented – Tres Leches, Banoffee Pie, Apricot Delight, Chocolate Mousse, Baked Cheesecake and Paan Tantra.  I tried all but the Banoffee Pie [I left this one out only because I am allergic to bananas]. My vote goes to the Baked Cheesecake and the Paan Tantra; the former had a rich, creamy texture and the latter, an ice cream infused with the freshness of paan or betel leaves garnished with gulkand [candied rose petals] was a fitting end to a very good meal. A great cooler for summer too.

paan tantracrackling spinach

I would count Tatva as one of those restaurants in the city that have got the right mix of traditional and innovation just right. The fact that they are all vegetarian, makes it a place that deserves multiple visits.

Tatva,

First Floor, SL Jubilee, Above Ratnadeep Supermarket

Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad

Tel: 040 33194254

11 am – 11 pm