So you have a restaurant at an established luxury hotel property in the heart of the city. The restaurant is well-known for its exquisite Pan-Indian affair and exemplary service, all in a harmonious setting.
Take that one restaurant and bring in the best Chefs from four other branches of the same restaurant within the hotel group for a food festival and what you have is a recipe for success.
Baluchi at The Lalit Ashok, Bangalore is hosting a 10-day food festival, showcasing and celebrating North-West Frontier cuisine along with individual restaurant specialities by the visiting chefs. The festival is called Road to Baluchistan.
•Chef Amit, Chandigarh
•Chef Zainul Abedin, Jaipur
•Chef Mumtaz, Mumbai
•Chef Satyabir, New Delhi
•Chef Bharat Kapoor, Bangalore
Saturday evening saw foodies and bloggers convene at the restaurant for a preview of the festival.
With a brief and humble self-introduction by all the visiting Chefs, Chef Bharat and Chef Suvaranjan from The Lalit Ashok, Bangalore enlightened us on what the evening holds forward.
We started off with the Subz Gular kebab (Country figs with vegetables garnished with micro greens by Chef Mumtaz, Mumbai). Subtle flavors and mildly spiced; delightful!
Next up was a platter bringing specialities by two chefs on the same plate. The Tandoori Lobster and Baikash Rubina ( prawns ) by Chef Bharat Kapoor from Bangalore were cooked beautifully. Special mention must be made of the way the Lobster had been cooked perfectly without overcooking the spices. The platter included signature preparations by Chef Amit from Chandigarh: Chapli kebab, a hand-pounded lamb mince kebab and Murgghargha kebab with Lahori spice mix. Both were sumptuous!
In conjunction with the platter were served signature breads or Hindustani Rotis by Chef Satyabir from New Delhi. The breads brings along with them the concept of the Naanery- Indian breads paired with wines and accompanying individual dips.We are told that Chef Satyabir has recipes of around 150 Hindustani Rotis and their individual accompanying dips, under his repertoire. We sampled four Rotis that included the Bakarkhani, the Besan Ki Roti, the Fenny Paratha and the Gilafi Kulcha. Four chutneys to go along with the breads: a Horseradish chutney, a Tamatar chutney, a Carrot chutney and a raw Papaya chutney. Each Roti was starkly different from the other and each had an unique flavor to them. My favorite here was the Bakarkhani for its mildly sweet, creamy and aromatic flavour/texture profile.
Following this course were the mains. Accompanied by rotis and naans, we were served an array of items under Chef Zainul Abedin from Jaipur. Laal Maas, a signature Rajasthani preparation of Mutton cooked with whole red chilies and spices, and Murg Alamgir which is boneless chicken cooked in an aromatic tomato and onion based gravy.
Other items in this course included a Bhindi with singhara( okra and water chestnuts cooked with onion, tomatoes and spices) Paneer Parcha aur Mutter (cottage cheese envelopes filled with a spiced green pea mix and cooked in an aromatic sauce). All this was accompanied with a number of in-house achars(pickles) like the Aam Ka Achar(mango pickle) the kathal Ka achar(jackfruit pickle) and the green apple pickle.
We were all given samplers of the Guchchi and Safed Mushroom Ki Galouti. This, I must say, is a winner! The mushroom has been minced finely and cooked to perfection by Chef Mumtaz from Mumbai. Strongly recommended.
A refreshingly delicious zeera pineapple granita came in the form of a course breaker.
What followed now was a Paan Biryani, cooked À la Dum. The betel leaves offered a sweet and aromatic flavour to the Biryani. This is a signature of Chef Zainul Abedin from Jaipur and was served with Burrani Raita. This was the pièce de résistance of my meal at the restaurant!
The desserts were a rosy affair!. What we sampled were a Gulab Jamun with Gulkand filling by Chef Satyabir from New Delhi; a Kheer prepared with fresh rose petals by Chef Zainul Abedin from Jaipur and a Malai Koolfi drizzled with Rooh Afza by Chef Bharat from Bangalore. The Gulab Jamun and the Koolfi went very well together. The Roof Afza complementing the Koolfi and the Gulkand offering texture and earthy sweetness to the Gulab Jamun. The Kheer, in my opinion, was a tad sweet and that overpowered the rose petal flavor. The feedback was given to the respective Chefs and the changes will be incorporated.
I have been to quite a few Indian speciality restaurants and worked in a couple of them myself. My experience at Baluchi was arguably, the most gratifying one, yet. Not just because of the spectacular food cooked by the hotel’s retinue of fine chefs or the immaculate service, but more because of the cordial hospitality and the de facto environment created for the evening.
A warm note of thanks to Mr. Bhaskaran (Hotel Manager, The Lalit Bangalore), Chef Suvaranjan Banerjee (Executive Chef, The Lalit Bangalore) and Ms. Sandhya S( PR and Communications Manager, The Lalit Bangalore).
The festival is on till the 20th of this month. I strongly recommend my fellow foodies to give this a try. Reservations are recommended and can be made on +919686448063.
Non-Veg Degustation Menu: ₹2,750+++
Vegetarian Degustation Menu: ₹2,250+++