Friday, January 30, 2015

Food Festival I Rivaayat: Traditional flavours of Awadh, Hyderabad, Amritsar and Delhi. At The Oberoi, New Delhi




A food festival curated well is a thing of beauty. Atleast, I believe that strongly.

A good chef. A well thought-out menu. And a meal that is unforgettable - that for me is a good food festival.

Which is why Rivaayat at the Oberoi checked all the boxes for me. The group, as a whole, is going back to the roots and bringing back traditional cooking.Curating a series of festivals under the umbrella of Rivaayat has allowed them to explore cuisines from various parts of India - awadh, hyderabad, old Delhi. This then will be carried forward to all the Oberoi brands where people can sample some of the fabulous things that they have tried to revive.

On the night that Himanshu, Sangeeta and I were invited, we got to sample food from Old Delhi and Amritsar. The smiliest chef ever- Chef Arun Mathur had carefully picked out our meal.

As we sat down for dinner, beautiful bread baskets were placed in front of us. One of the things in the bread basket was this hard roll which was just so fantastic. It had a beautiful crust on top and was airy and light inside. I couldn't stop eating it. It was just that good.

And ofcourse it had to come from the Patisserie. The Oberoi Patisserie is a legend and for good reason. Almost anything that comes out from that bakery of theirs is just scrumptious.



Back to Rivaayat - our meal started with a selection appetisers from the exclusive menu - Amrtisari Machchi and Talli Murgh followed by Chonk ki Tikki.

While all three were fantastic, the clear favourite was the Amritsari Machchi. The fish had been deep fried in a light batter and was moist while bursting with flavours. You could feel that hint of carom seeds and the tang at the back which just made it so special.



The Talli Murgh was a splendid version of fried chicken. Chef Arun also gave us the story as to how they went into the bylanes of Old Delhi and understood the traditional marination and how they cook the chicken. I had really enjoyed this too.

The Chonk ki Tikki had beautiful fresh peas and ginger in them. I love my peas and potatoes so this was a win-win for me.

For the mains we were served Nihari Gosht, Rahra meat and Dahi-wala chicken. I loved the Nihari. It was so delicately spiced. The shorba that came with it was so flavourful that I couldn't stop licking the plate. And the best part, it was surprisingly light and oil-free.



The Rahra meat came a close second. The meat was so tender, the spice rub so heavenly that I wish I could have taken some home for later. The Chef told us that real reason it was called Rahra was because "usko itna ragadna hota tha ki woh mulayam ho jaye," that you pulled the meat so much that it became completely tender.

The Dahi-wala chicken reminded me of something my father used to make all the time, Which was lovely. But given a choice between mutton and chicken, I'll always opt for the former.

Next up  we ate Saag Kofta and Maa Chole Ki Daal.  Himanshu looooved the daal, it reminded him of home, and I think for the rest of the meal he was supremely nostalgic. Served with an assortment of bread - Khameeri and sheermal - which were both fantastic,

Now, here's the thing, I'm neither a kofta fan nor a daal fan. But both the dishes were delicious. The saag kofta was made with minced chicken and delicately spiced, the saag which was a mix of mustard and spinach was just the best. That I could have eaten plain for sure. While the daal was so wholesome that you could taste the ghee in it. Totally divine.




We ended the meal with two desserts - Guletthi - a cross between rabri and phirni and Carrot Halwa. I preffered the Guletthi, although, might I add, that even though I have a terrible sweet tooth, it was really too sweet for me too. But I loved the undertones of rose and beautiful flavours pistachio that came through,

And then some mint tea was brought out. It was the perfect finish to a great meal. A meal that I wish I could eat this week too



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