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For an Indian taste

The ongoing `Festival of India' at The Jewel of Nizam restaurant, Hotel Golkonda, brings a taste of different cuisines from across the country to go with the Independence Day spirit.

SPIRIT OF FREEDOM: A variety of cuisines beckon you to the restaurant for a delectable dinner.

INDEPENDENCE DAY need not always mean flag hoisting, speeches by personalities followed by distribution of sweets. It can mean a host of other activities too. And this year, the F&B staff at Hotel Golkonda tried to make it a bit different by taking the celebrations through a food zone. So, a tribute to free India comes from the hospitality industry in the form of a food festival called the `Festival of India'.

"We were actually thinking of a `thali festival' but it sounded `very veggie', excluding non-vegetarians. We then decided to cover the whole country to go with the Independence spirit and hence comes our 17-day festival," says Parth Chhaya, Executive Chef, Hotel Golkonda. As you step in, waiters dressed in the attire that hints at the cuisine being served that day usher you in, to be seated comfortably. For once, the live music at `The Jewel of Nizam' restaurant is replaced by pipe music - songs in different languages to go with the menu and the ambience set the right mood for the cuisine you are going to taste.

Whether it is the South Indian fare including cuisines from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka or the Andhra and Bengali combination, the West (Goa, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra) or the North-West Frontier (Awadhi, Punjabi and Kashmiri), the festival tries to encompass the entire country as a whole with its authentic cuisine.

The `special gala spread' on August 15 "has to be seen to be believed, as we are trying to include special dishes from 22 States across the country. And, we are trying to incorporate rare items rather than the regular dishes that the cuisine is associated with," says Parth Chhaya.

But how come Andhra is being clubbed with Bengali, and not the South Indian zone? "Because of two reasons mainly. Andhra cuisine overpowers the rest in the South in terms of spice and variety. And apart from the Bengali cuisine, there is hardly anything else one can pick out from the East," he says.

So,what you have over the next few days is a mouth-watering glimpse into different cuisines from the four zones. On Thursday and Friday, you could dig into Andhra and Bengali delicacies like Allam Kodi, Miapakai Kodi, Chapala Iguru, Shukto, Macher Kalia, Chana Dalna and Phucka.

From August 9 to 12, get a taste of Jodhpuri, Kathiwari, Marathi and Goan food like Canja de galinha, Chicken Xacuti, Lal Maas, Dal Aamti, Sev Tameta, Gatta Curry, Puran Poli and oh-so-yummy Dhokla and Shrikand.

On August 13 and 14, and again on 16 and 17, you can have tasty bites from the North-West Frontier cuisine. Be there to realise that Punjabi cuisine is not all about Rajma, Chhole, Makkai and Sarson. Goshtaba, Yakhni and Dum Aloo from the land of the Pandits, and those delectable kebabs and biryanis from Lucknow will be proud part of the North-West Frontier India.

"The Hyderabadis used to be a happy lot with their Chicken 65 with its orangish-red tinge. Without that, they are worried. But, slowly they are opening up to different cuisines. Actually, with festivals like these, we want to get the hotel, and the restaurant too, from its `just-the-biryani' mould with which it is associated, by giving more variety to the non-biryani customer," says the executive chef.

The buffet, open for dinner from 7.30 p.m. onwards, will have three non-vegetarian and eight vegetarian items, besides eight salads and five desserts from the specific cuisine. Priced at Rs. 250 per head, the food comes with a complimentary bottle of Bacardi Breezer or a glass of Golkonda special fruit punch for the teetotaller. Perhaps, you may be able to catch those southern flavours that you missed - including Avial, Eratchi Olathiyatu or Thakkali Milagu Rasam. Enjoy your meal!


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