Behind the scenes!
Age-old dishes sourced from recipe books of royal kitchens and traditional homes from across India recreated to perfection in a fine dining kitchen...
Age-old dishes sourced from recipe books of royal kitchens and traditional homes from across India recreated to perfection in a fine dining kitchen that is equipped with the best of spices and flavours of Indian cuisine, and the tandoors, charcoal grills, pans and handis, under the watchful eyes of expert chefs – is a long and short of K&K, the specialty restaurant – with four outlets across the ITC hotels in the country.
When the Brand Custodian Mohammad Shareef was in Hyderabad to oversee the change of menu at the restaurant, he shared the long and strategic planning that goes behind the process periodically done to refresh old dishes and introduce newer recipes.
“It is not some random addition of new dishes. A lot of thought and brainstorming goes behind the menu change,” shares the Chef, who travels between K&K outlets to ensure quality and adherence to taste and flavour, across the outlets.
There is a centrally organised workshop where chefs of all branches and the Executive chefs participate, a lot of trials and sampling happens. There is sales analysis and statistics too involved. “We analyse and decide which is the fast-moving dish, which is called a ‘Horse’ in our terminology that we usually retain on the menu. We also check to see the dish that has not been doing well at all our outlets and we remove it.”
There are other factors too involved, for example, Galouti is introduced since K&K menu cannot have a Kakori kebab as it is already there at Dumpukht, yet another speciality restaurant brand of ITC. There is Nadru Ki Chaamp on the new menu, a vegetarian starter using lotus stem that is presented to look like a mutton chop.
Evidently, it is not just the recipe but also presentation that is given a newer twist to increase the taste and visual appeal. “We also have a competition where chefs come up with their own recipes,” shares the Chef. Labgeer – the beetroot patties came up on the menu at one such contest.
When first presented at the workshop, beetroot kebab got the maximum votes, but by the time it came on the menu it underwent a few changes, some cheese was added, cashew nut and chillies were used as filling to add colour and variety.
“It is not a fly by night menu. It took us six months to come up with this menu that will be launched in all the outlets one after the other. The staff is trained before serving it to the guests,” shares Paul Noronha, Executive Chef ITC Kakatiya.
Around 16 new dishes are added to the menu – including - Murgh Kali Mirch, Makai ki Shikampuri, Tawa Ghost and on the desserts the Khubani Chenna – deliciously stewed apricot stuffed with chenna and baked in custard.
One common factor that makes K&K menu so popular is that every dish emanates flavours and laced with spices that are indigenously Indian and can never fail to entice food lovers.