Let your taste buds rejoice with ghee oops glee at the ongoing Andhra Food Festival at DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon, Golf Course Road Gurgaon. In a mood to experiment and give our system a break from all the Videshi food, our ‘culture vulture’ of a family headed for a dinner date out. To be honest, I was skeptical. Because Andhra is well known as the land of red chillies, and I sneeze at the mere mention of them! But I was in for a pleasant surprise. There is more to Andhra food than red chillies and spices. This cuisine uses different kinds of ingredients, like Gongura (edible leaves), raw mango etc. to add distinctive flavour to their food.
Fleeting Trip To Andhra Pradesh, Anyone??
And that is what sets the Andhra Food Trail at DoubleTree by Hilton apart. It is a culinary ode to the unknown face of Andhra cuisine; and traditional, local, everyday dishes is what it brings forth to its guests. The menu has been crafted by Chef Ravi Kumar from Vishakapatnam, and includes Andhra staples as well as specials. The fact that the chef hails from Andhra could be seen in the glint in his eyes as he explained about the dishes; his passion and expertise seeping through each of the preparations.
The dinner started with an amazingly tangy and spicy starters, especially the Miryala Rasam. Grab a plate at the buffet table at this restaurant and you’ll be treated to a whole line-up of rustic delicacies, replete with traditional flavors from the Andhra region. So we had ladles of hot Mamidikaya Pappu (dal cooked with raw mango) and vegetables like Beerakaya Senaga Pappu (Ridge gourd and Bengal gram curry) scooped onto our plate along with heaps of tomato rice. The Chicken and the Gongura mamsam (mutton curry with sour leaves from Andhra) rounded off the meal well.
The mutton was very succulent and juicy, subtly spiced yet leaving a burst of flavor in the mouth. The Gongura leaves, we learnt later, were the secret ingredient for making it so.
The chicken was perfectly cooked with a dash of of authentic spices brought out a very distinctive and inimitable flavor. Such a breather from its ubiquitous masala-laden counterpart we North Indians are used to eating.
The dal was comfortably flavoured, and felt light on the stomach.
The veggies (both bhindi dish and ridge gourd) were impeccably cooked and perfectly complemented the meal. A hard core non vegetarian like me also served myself to two helpings of both of these.
The tawa rotties made one ‘feel at home’, though relishing in a plush setting. Best of both worlds!
The flavorful condiments to the food in the form of an assortment of pickles and chutneys were a one too many, each healthier than the other (with ingredients like lauki, carrot, gudd etc.). These, along with the tantalising rasam were a perfect companion to the lip smacking dishes.
Finishing off the night with a sweet and delicious dessert which only in look resembled a ladoo but was actually the Chakkara Pongal a delicacy in Andhra Pradesh made solely with rice, ghee and cashew nuts.
What We Liked?
Each of the dishes had a distinctive taste, and the menu and spice notes very well (and intelligently) balanced in terms of offering something to vegetarians and non vegetarians, spice lovers and ‘not so teekha not so feekha’ lovers alike.
The festival is on till 31st of July, and the menu changes everyday. Head for it soon. It’s not everyday that you get to taste authentic, traditional food from another state. Food for thought, indeed!
The food festival focuses on authentic, undiluted flavors of Andhra.
Where: The DoubleTree by Hilton, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon
Call:+91 88008 95511
Timings: 7pm onward