At the ongoing snacks festival at The Gateway, you can tease your taste buds with flavours of Indian street food. The restaurant is at a vantage point from where you could watch the sky open, smell the wet earth, hear the rain drops falling and enjoy the hot steaming cuppa chai.

Being the pucca ‘dilliwali', my craving for mouth-watering chaat items is perennial and I never fail to tuck them into my mouth, wherever and whenever I get an opportunity. Undeniably, chaats have the power of drawing people.

I have rarely eaten a chaat that I didn't love. So, when the Executive Chef at Hotel Gateway, Krishnakumar, casually invited me to the “view in the rain”, I thought he was asking me to enjoy the view of the monsoon drenched city from the hotel's elevation atop the Pasumalai hillock. But to my delight, it turned out to be a chaat and snacks festival. And the title, he explained, meant the hotel's “The View” restaurant getting soaked “in the rain.” Unfortunately, the city is yet to experience the season's heavy showers. But who cares? This is the monsoon month and its magical culinary journey lies in tickling the taste buds with a perfect combination of sweet and sour, saucy and tangy, spicy and crunchy food.

Yummy range

So, I grabbed the chance to live it up this monsoon with mocktails and pakodas, bhajjis and dahi bhallas, paapri chaat and aloo tikkis. There is no one item that comes to the mind when you talk chaat but I can immediately smell the yummy range of these afternoon delights.

No doubt, location of ‘The View' restaurant at the hotel is simply mesmerizing overlooking the city's skyline. It is definitely a vantage point watching the sky open, smell the wet earth, hear the rain drops falling and enjoy the hot steaming cuppa chai.

You don't have to be a North Indian to relish garam chai and a plateful of pakodas or pakodis on a rainy afternoon or evening. I caught even the in-house guests from world over enjoying the vegetable bhajji basket. The assortment of hot crispy veggie pakodas straight out of the kadai indeed crunched under my teeth.

I couldn't wait to try out the other interesting dishes whipped up by the chef and his team. Soon my table filled up and I chose to snap off my mental calorie metre. I did not mind if the piping hot aloo tikkis burnt my tongue or the tangy and spicy paapdi chaat made my eyes water. For, I immediately dug into soft melting dahi-bhalla and the Rajasthani special shaahi cheela as an anti-dote.

The fun while savouring chaat, as I reaffirmed with every bite, is that you don't need hunger pangs to guide your craving for those delectable Gujarati dhoklas or even the very local milagai bhajji.

Even the mocktails were really the way they were meant to be for the occasion. Fizzy and bubbly drinks combining apple or orange juice with cola or pineapple and cranberry juice with soda had the right cool off feeling. Many more amalgamation of juices are also available.

If you ask me, the chatpata trek was worth it. If you are a true blue snacky kind, then ‘the view in the rain' is temptingly inviting particularly if you want to group up with your friends over something light or want to get done with that long pending treat.

In between the two major meals, an authentic chaat spread makes for an ideal hang-out and The Gateway is just catering to that craving. Many may think chaat at a star hotel is an indulgence but when even the most adventurous want to stay off street food, this kind of festival packages the right choice, minus the unasked for flavours of the roadside.

Get perked up trying out these bite-size snacks anytime between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. till August 29. All drinks cost Rs.150 each and every item Rs.225, inclusive of taxes. For reservation, call 6633000/6633055.


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Streetwise in the cityNovember 28, 2009