An ongoing food festival at Zune in Hilton Janakpuri makes the most out of our traditional style of smoking food

Zune, the Indian speciality restaurant of Hilton Janakpuri, is one fine dining place which loves to experiment and try out new dishes. The credit for this should definitely go to Chef Mohammed Irfan. He is always on the look out to innovate. This time, he has experimented with cooking technique and has curated a promotion called Dum Dhuan Masala Food Festival. The festival lasts till April 14, so you will have to catch up fast.

“Nowadays, a lot of chefs do smoked chicken and fish in Continental and Mediterranean cuisine but smoking food is a very traditional Indian technique of cooking,” says Chef Irfan.

At Zune, I take my seat near the live ghazal session as the singer is belting out some of my favourite Ghulam Ali numbers. Nothing can be better than enjoying traditional Indian food listening to some good music. After a couple of minutes comes Chef Irfan holding unglazed clay pots which he specially got designed for the promotion. My food is smoked in front of me and the aroma along with the smoke coming out of the small holes of the lid does the job of creating a solid appetite in me. The nice thing about the menu is that everything, be it the starters or the main course, has been smoked though each has different flavours.

Out of the four non-vegetarian starters I am served, I taste the sounf dum ka murgh tikka first. What subtle flavours! Apart from the succulent chicken tikkas, the fennel dum gives it a refreshing feel too.

Sarson dum machhli tikka has a pungent aroma of sarson (mustard seeds) dominating the other flavours. The mutton chops smoked with cloves is delicious too.

The chef says the tough task is to smoke the veggies as sometimes smoking kills the natural flavours of the ingredients. But he does a fabulous job. Imagine a kewra dum subz mawe ki seekh. Thoughtfully used kewra aroma blended well with mawa.

Dalcheeni dum meat curry in the main course is tasty. But I like the moti elaichi dum kofte, very tender and flavourful. Subz kaju badam sabzi having the ‘dum’ of desi ghee is too yummy. Even the baigan ka bharta with lahsuni dhuan is delicious.

The biryani he serves me has a rogan dum and is a bit spicy. I followit with a nice refreshing phirni and khubani ka meetha before pasting on myself a very happy contented smile.

(The buffet at the food festival is priced at Rs.850 plus taxes per person)

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