Eating Out: The ongoing Kashmiri food fest at the Eros Hotel in New Delhi is a treat
Winters are in full swing and so are the invitations to attend Kashmiri food festivals in various restaurants and five star hotels in the city. Usually, January is the month when most five stars invite guest chefs from the Valley to offer diners delicacies like the gushtaba and rista. One hotel which I prefer going to is Eros Hotel at Nehru Place which, every year, invites Chef Mujeeb Ur Rehman for the Kashmir food promotion. This year too, Chef Rehman is present with his team of wazas till January 25.
The set-up is perfect for winters as the buffet is laid outside in the open, next to the live charcoal grills. Nothing better to have a kebab in an al fresco set-up. This time, the menu has lots of vegetarian options too apart from the traditional Kashmiri non-veg dishes. Like Kashmiri haag and tosh wagun. Being a lover of meats, I concentrate more on the non-vegetarian part though.
Even when my starters are on the grill, I give my tongue a taste of Kashmiri flavours by sipping a hot cup of kahwa, served in an earthen kullad. Aromatic and refreshing. Though for me, Kashmiri cuisine starts and ends at tabak maaz. Shallow fried ribs which can beat any starter of its category. Chef Rehman makes it to perfection. Its texture and flavours are bang on. Even the bones are chewable which forces me to order another portion along with my main course.
Even kukur kabargah is nice and succulent. Maaz shammi, made from the thigh portion of lamb, is flavourful too along with the right texture of a Kashmiri shammi though I miss the seekh which is much common and should have been a part of the menu.
Surkh tsaman tikka has a nice marination and is quite tender.
Then the Kashmiri haaq and fish made with radish is amazing. The Kashmiri haaq has got its own unique flavour. Eating fish with cubes of radish for the first time is a treat for me. Both compliment each other really well.
For the non-vegetarians, options such as gushtaba and rista are also on offer. Even the dhaniwal kukur is delicious and goes well with the lachcha parantha. Kashmiri curries are mainly eaten with white rice but Chef Rehman pairs it with breads and dum pulao.
After the main course, it is the dessert section which takes me by surprise. Almost six variants of traditional desserts. Khubani ki kheer, siwaiyan and badam ka halwa are names displayed at the buffet counter, enough to tempt me. I leave with a smiling face.
Kashmiri Food Fest
When: till Jan 25
Where: Singh Sahib, Eros Hotel, Nehru Place,
New Delhi – 110019
Price: Buffet priced at Rs 1695 plus for dinner