Abad Plaza’s Regency presents the colourful cuisine of the Caribbean islands

Sweet sauces, fanciful dressing and a variety of cheeses abound as the colourful cuisine of the Caribbean is recreated at Abad Plaza hotel on M.G. Road. The festival, called ‘Caribbean Culinary Adventure’, brings a selection of mouth-watering delicacies from the sun-soaked islands to the Regency restaurant at the hotel.

Chef Santhosh K.P., who has years of experience serving aboard cruise liners that sail among the Caribbean islands, has been roped in by the hotel as the festival chef. He explains that the dishes on offer as part of the festival share some similarities with Kerala cuisine, particularly in the use of coconut. “The unique taste that these dishes have comes from the way the ingredients are used. Peppers and chillies play a significant role. Cinnamon, black pepper, jalapeno and the like are regular ingredients. Many different types of cheese are popular as well. The dishes feature cheddar, emmental, parmesan and feta cheese,” Santhosh says. The cheese is indeed a standout element in most dishes, adding a certain gooey softness to the overall flavour.

The buffet spread is abundant in its selection of exotic dishes. In appetizers, the Carnitas Ajo de Mojo — beef flutas cooked with assorted peppers and chillies, and tossed in garlic flavoured ajo de mojo sauce with grated cheddar cheese — is among the favourites. Soup lovers can treat themselves to Puchero, a Cuban beef soup with dumplings, or the self explanatory Spicy Chicken Tortilla soup.

Rich seasoning

Santhosh goes on to explain the different types of seasoning used in the dishes, “Cajun, creole and Jamaican jerk seasoning are quite popular in the islands, and allow for dishes to be created in different ways, adding to the diversity of the cuisine,” he says. The main course highlights are Jamaican Jerk Chicken, which Santhosh says is known for its “spicy and sharp” taste, a stuffed meat dumpling called Albondigas and the Pescado al Horno, which is essentially lime and dill marinated fish with baked prawn crust. Vegetarians need not miss out on jerk seasoning either, as Jerk Grilled Vegan is among the many vegetarian offerings.

Rice eaters have the option of trying Jambalaya, a biriyani-like preparation made with chicken sausage and garnished with fried eggplant and basil leaves. The Spanish favourite Paella is also on the menu in its seafood flavoured avatar. West Indian Pita bread and St. Lucian rolls are pepper and chilly stuffed treats for those craving bread .

Pastry chef Xavier Mathew has also gone to great lengths to bring in some Caribbean sweetness to the desserts. “We are quite excited about Cassava Pone, which has our local favourite, tapioca in the form of a pie, sweetened with grated pumpkin and coconut, with popular Caribbean ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg thrown in the mix,” says Xavier. Other goodies on the dessert menu are the Caribbean Black cake (a Christmas favourite, much like the plum cakes we use) and the Flam de Café Conleche, a coffee flavoured pudding,

The festival is on for dinner from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Regency Restaurant at Abad Plaza till September 1.

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