What can probably be termed as the first big food promotion of the season, Marriot Hyderabad launched its NH2 festival. Executive Chef Angshuman with his team from the hotel went on the highway trail from New Delhi to Kolkata.
From what we could gather from watching a brilliantly made video of the trip, the chef surely had loads of fun, ate some amazing food off the street, from a dhaba, and even displayed his cooking skills at some of the popular local joints.
On coming back, he created an extravagant array of legendary food taken from his experiences. Stalls inspired by popular food joints serving signature street food were recreated around the pool area, off the coffee shop Okra as an extension to the dinner buffet. It was an assault of good food, amazing flavours and an unusual experience of getting the best of the NH2 (Now NH19) at one place. A word of caution – here’s a steal of a deal, yet one would need a great appetite to even be able to take a bite of each of the dish on the menu and you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything.
Not the Chur Chur Naan Thalis from the Karims, Kulche Chole, parathas of different kinds from the Parathe Wali Galli, kebabs from Rajinder styled dhaba, the chaat-wala making some amazing kachori moth that Delhiwalas vouch for or the naan khatai and chai; that made up for the Delhi food.
Head to Agra stall to taste the famous Bedai poori with aloo or the Pumpkin Sabzi…and then to Bihar stall serving its Ahuna Mutton straight out of the cooking pot, Sattu paratha and Litti Chokha. From there off you go to Kolkata and there is the whole range of street delights – the Kathi roll, Beguni, Dimer Devil, Alu Chaap and the complete array from China Town.
There are also the dessert counters from all over, especially Mathura, the puchhka-wala and a bar counter serving Daaru from the quarter bottle to other inspired cocktails. Over a thousand kilometres of food tucked away in and around the pool area is a feat that Marriott team managed extremely well. NH2 dinners that will go on until December 1 are not to be missed for the lively ambience, great set up in the outdoors and the food trail in itself that’s unmatchable.
Evenings over wine and kebabs
Taj Krishna’s long in waiting refurbishing of its iconic fine dining restaurant Firdaus is finally done with. The restaurant opened its doors with a new look and a revamped menu. It is one of the favoured restaurants if you are looking to treat your friend with ‘Hyderabadi Khaana’ at a fine dining space or introduce a client to some amazing biryani and the Nalli Gosht or Pathar ka Gosht or the world-famous Hyderabadi Haleem – spicy and flavourful food of the land. The place also serves northwestern frontier cuisine.
Hence, it’s also a go-to place for good Indian Mughlai food. The USP has stayed intact. The understated opulence of the space stays too, but in a new form - designed crystal chandeliers from Iris Cristal Bohemia, a wall painting by famed Rajasthani artist Naval Kishore, featuring a peacock in a garden motif, large windows bringing in additional brightness, new seating and upholstery, and notably, opening of the alfresco. The open-air seating is ideal for evening settings with some kebabs over good wine.
To cater to this are the sharing plates that you can order to snack on small portions of Haleem, Gandheri Kebab, Chole Kulche; the menu also mentions of a few recommended wine pairings. While the favourites have been retained, new dishes like the Martaban ka Meat (Pickling-Pot Lamb Curry) and Apple Kheer have been added. The presentation has been tweaked to make it picture-perfect. Besides the trappings, Firdaus’s outdoor area is surely going to be much in demand with the menu playing its part in the tango this winter.
While still on the winter frenzy one is compelled to look back at cake mixing event over food and art held at Westin Mindspace lawns. The event curated by food writer Jyotiee Balani was inarguably one of the liveliest of events executed in the most elegant of manners; the credit for which, goes to Executive Chef Mahesh Padala and his culinary team, and General Manager Rohit Dar. The uninvited guest was the sudden winter heat, which however did not deter the merrymakers.
There were food stations serving cold pizzas, salads, grills, pasta, risotto, laksa, desserts…lined up tastefully with the most extravagant of spreads. Picture this: the Burrata station with its organic tomatoes – red cherry, yellow cherry, heirloom tomatoes, purple cherry, Roma plum, vine variants; cheese including fresh Burratta, Ovalini mozzarella, Cherry bocconcini, Celgene mozzarella Buffalo; and aged balsamic vinegar, Maldon sea salt flakes, Pesto basil, arugula, olive powder, Balsamic caviars, Red beetroot cress, Mustard cress, Wasabi cress, Spicy arugula, Wild arugula, Baby purple basil, green basil, flaky multigrain bread, Panini, activated charcoal crostini, strawberry compote, Onion relish, Truffle oil, Marinated tagiascche olives, stuffed olives – fresh, colourful veggies, cheese and condiments arranged so beautifully that it was a refreshing sight to the eyes and flavourful treat to the senses.
The food stations, music stage manned by Jack and Lalbiakdiki belting out some sprightly numbers enticing the guests to sway and swing, Zac Abbot and Sebastian Krishan from Johnny Walker at the bar counter singing and dancing their way to creating some amazing cocktails – Rare Breed being one of the best and not to miss, and a lot of banter and fun; here was one winter afternoon that was almost perfect. And then there was the famous artist Thota Laxminarayana painting in his signature style on a white Mercedes Benz C Class. One left the place towards the late afternoon, but not before toasting to the wonderful winters of Hyderabad.