The Indian Food Festival at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre is a mix of some traditional and innovative dishes

When there is an invitation for an Indian Food Festival, the mind usually goes into a tizzy as to what the menu would include. Just thinking of what each region in India can offer itself could be mind boggling. However, the food festival hosted at the Square, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre broadly floats over North India. The menu covers a few traditional dishes, together with some street food style chaat and some dishes that will remind you of grandmother’s cooking.

Master Chef Rajkumar Mandal who specialises in Indian cuisine takes pride in making his own spices, right from grinding cinnamon to putting together the garam masala. At the festival, you can either start the meal with a healthy subzi badami shorba or succinctly move on to the appetisers which are quite enticing. The murgh chandani kebab which is chicken drumsticks stuffed with minced chicken goes very well with the green chutney. Spicy and tangy, the green chutney does not overpower the smoky flavour of the kebab. Rushing over to the main course is not advisable without trying the tarare jhinga (prawn) and tawa fish from the live counter. Among the vegetarian starters, palak hara kebab that is infused with spices is quite a delight. For the chaat lovers there are play-it-safe dahi vada and dahi kachori.

Moving on to the main course, there is of course the dum biryani which the Chef Rajkumar fondly refers to as the parda biryani where the layer of dough that shelters the biryani is referred to as the parda. The mild sweetness of the golden brown onions is in harmony with the spices of the biryani and the meat is so tender that it will disintegrate into shreds with a slight tug of the fork. Mughlai paratha which is hot from the tawa paratha brushed with eggs accompanies aloo Kashmiri and sunehri paneer kofta very well. The aloo Kashmiri cooked in yoghurt gravy and cashews is rich in its flavours. Away from the masala-laden gravies there is also dal makhani or the simple yellow dal, which has the quintessential taste of home cooked food. The surprise dish is however, a much Indianised, enveloped in spices lamb sizzler or the vegetable sizzler.

If you look at the dessert spread you will be reminded of a halwai shop. However, what grabs your attention is the live malpua counter where the fist sized malpua are fried and dunked into sugar syrup.

What: Indian Food Festival

Where: Square, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre

When: Till July 29, 7 p.m. onwards

Contact: 66824422