The Dehlvi Food Festival at ITC Grand Central, Mumbai
My love for north India and it’s food and how much I crave trips to Delhi and Amritsar for the fabulous food they have to offer is known to all.
There is something about waking up to aloo puri for breakfast followed by parathas and kulcha and channe and chaat and what not during the day.
So much so, I have even planned trips to the north surrounding food, which made sense for me to immediately head the ITC Grand Central the moment I came to know of their ongoing Dehlvi food festival, a curation of dishes that take you back to the olden days, of dishes that transport you to the old Delhi city, of flavours that have so many stories associated to them.
So the moment I heard of a Dehlvi food festival happening at ITC Grand Central, there was no way in which I was gonna miss it!
Helmed by Chef Swanand Thipsay, the Dehlvi food festival focusses on and introduces you to food and recipes that have been passed down generations accompanied by stories associated to them.
Our meal started with the Gulaabi, a very welcome beverage in this very fluctuating Bombay weather.
An interaction with Chef Swanand followed and so did our appetisers.
The Paneer Tikka and the Teekhi Mattar ki Tikki arrived.
The Paneer Tikka was well spiced and melted in the mouth. The Teekhi Mattar ki Tikki, as the name suggests was spicy, the underlying flavour primarily being that of cloves. This dish also represented Marwari influence on the old Delhi cuisine.
We also ended up sampling some offerings from the buffet. The samosa chaat was to die for and so was the dhokla chaat and the khadvi’s made my gujju heart very, very, very happy!
When it came to the mains, we were truly up for a feast. Vegetarian food was never the first thing that came to mind when people spoke about Purani Dilli ka khaana, and to see a feast spread out was nothing but a massive surprise.
It started with the Doodhi Kofta which was cooked in a rich tomato gravy, the Paneer Lavang Latika which was stuffed with cloves and cooked in a gravy that primarily had a clove flavour, the Dal Makhani (how can you be at an ITC hotel and not have their quintessential dal, the Nimona Pulav which was a green peas pulav cooked in fresh green spices in addition to the subtle flavours of assorted khada masalas the traditional and very Delhi, Rajma Chawal and some butter naan to clean all of this out. The Pulav was accompanied with a Mirchi ka Salan that I fell in love with. It was sour, it was tangy and piquant at the same time, and went perfectly with the pulav, unlike a lot of Mirchi ka Salans that I have had before.
For the desserts we had the Kesar Phrini, the Zuak e Shahi which was basically Rabri with Gulab Jamun (but so, so, so good) and the Moong Dal Halwa, all of which happily ensured we ended our meal on a very happy note!