Hello my loves! When it comes to South Indian food I love my dosas and idlis as much as the next person. But for me appam with stew translates into soul food…as in I would sell my soul for a good bowl of stew and well made appam…literally! 😀 There are so few places in Kolkata that offer you proper mainstream food from the region. Well if you have been on the look out to sample some authentic cuisine especially hailing from the Chettiar region aka Chettinad food then look no further…The Westin Kolkata is hosting its first food festival called “Malgudi Diaries” featuring Chettinad cuisine. The festival is on till the 29th of April and is available for dinner service. Priced at Rs. 1399/- plus taxes you can look forward to some both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian favorites from the region. Chef Dinesh Kumar has curated a special menu which features some of the best dishes that the region has to offer. There is something new on offer each day. I was invited to sample some dishes featured in the festival and I was looking forward to it. Though I had the impression that Chettinad cuisine would be extremely spicy so was a little apprehensive about it as that kinda food does not agree with me at present…so was I right or proven wrong? Well we would have to read further to find out now wont we 🙂
Our meal started with a welcome drink called Panakam (I think that is what it was called. My apologies if I have mixed up the name) which was a slightly sour drink with a lot of cardamom in it. It was strange on some level to link the spice with the sourness/saltiness of the drink but at the same time it refreshes your mouth while imparting cooling…very interesting. Attempt it only if you seriously love the spice. For the starters I had the Onion Idli and something called Vazhaipoo Vadai which were vadas made with banana flowers. The Idli was my favorite as it had a slightly fried texture to it topped with lots of onions, coconut and coriander leaves. They have a couple of live stations available where you can get your choice of dosas or appams or even biryani.
For the main course I had the Coconut Rice (Thengai Sadam), Raw Mango Curry (Poondu Manga Kuzhambu), Vegetable Chettinad, Potato Sabzi (Urulai Podimas) and Baby Corn Pepper Fry. The combination of the rice and the mango curry is one of the most satisfying thing I have had since my travels…and this coming from a person who doesn’t like coconut at all. The rice feels so light and satisfying paired with the tangy curry that it is a match made in heaven…definite crowd favorite. Both the potatoes and baby corn were quite good. And now for the main question…was the food spicy? No it was not! There was a kinda sharpness to the food but it was not spicy. I was told that the cuisine was known for the range of freshly ground spices that was used in its making which contributes to the sharpness rather than using chilies.
The meal was concluded with the desserts which was Payasam and Laddoos. I didn’t try either since they are not my thing. There are a lot different types of chutneys and poppadoms available to accompany your meal. All in all it was a definitely a soul satisfying meal…covering a wide range of flavor from simple yet satisfying food to ones packed with flavor tickling your taste buds. Like I mentioned earlier there is something new on offer each day and you can look forward to dishes like the Paruppu Malli Rasam, Pineapple Rasam, Mushroom Pepper Fry, Mini Fried Idli, Masala Bonda, Chinna Vengaya Rawa Pakoda, Kalan Pattani Chettinadu or Puthupatti Bonda Morru Kozhambu. So head on over to The Westin Kolkata and get your taste of some fine Chettinad food. I will see you around…take care!
PS – The author was invited by the PR of the restaurant to sample the menu. Views expressed are genuine and the author’s own.