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Kathiawar Food Festival - Jamavar, Leela

Monday, August 17, 2009Me! In words

I sure miss the perks of being with the features section of Vijay Times. Sadly I had only a short time with its rebirth as Bangalore Mirror. But then it was my daughter Anoushka who cut short my time with the tabloid and I don't regret it in any way. Sure I miss the perks though... I am human. That's why I am so glad I still have good friends at the paper who share their perks with me and my family.

This independence day, we went for a Kathiawar Food festival at the Leela Kempinski. Should we have decided to pay for this ourselves, we would have been short of Rs 3000 per head, and this was reason enough for the meal to be more enticing. Kathiawar cuisine is basically Gujarati food that has influences of Parsee and Bohri cuisine. This is a cuisine where you will find boiled peanuts in the dal, jeera in the seasoning of every dish and a characteristic sweetness to all the dishes, thanks to a very Gujarati influence. The Chef was Farman Ali, the very same mastermind behind the Delhi Food Festival we had attended earlier. This time too he amazed us with his knowledge on Indian food.

From the wine list we ordered the non-alcoholic Sangria, a Park Avenue which is combination of gin, vermouth and pine apple juice. Though I thought this drink would be potent, it tasted like a real nice mocktail and again there was none of the punch that usually kicks in at the end of the drink. I had the Metropolis Martini which was sparkling wine, strawberry and vodka. This was heavenly since there were tiny slivers of fresh strawberry floating in the drink and it was potent. There was also a plate of traditional Gujarat savory to nibble on. Another round of nibbles was brought on, and I can only guess at what they were. A sweet puff, stuffed roasted aloo, aloo tikkis, a yoghurt and besan wrap.

Metropolis Martini to the left, Non-alcoholic sangria at the back and Park Avenue to the right

Ghaantiyan - A gujarathi savoury

Sweet puff, stuffed roasted aloo, aloo tikkis, a yoghurt and besan wrap

As the last time round, we were served a sampler of the chef's choice. It made the meal all the more special considering that we were getting to taste a whole lot more than most people at the restaurant that day. On our plates was lamb cutlet, Bohri chicken and patra ni Machhi. This fish dish is a Parsee specialty, often served at their weddings. Fresh fish is smeared with a spicy mint/coriander chutney and then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. You are served the fish with the banana leaf which you unwrap just before you eat it.

Lamb cutlet to the left, patra ni macchi and Bohri chicken

For the main course, we were given a roti basket and three side dishes of lamb shanks, chicken lagaan and a traditional Gujarati mixed vegetable. There was also dal with boiled peanuts in it.

Three katoris of dal at the back, lamb shanks to its right, the white dish of chicken lagaan and the mixed vegetable

For dessert, we had basundi and gulab jamun. Now in terms of taste, we being from the clique that enjoys spicy food, dishes such as the lamb cutlet, the lamb shanks and the mixed vegetable did not really go down well. The dal with boiled peanuts was a first and is really an acquired taste. Sudhakar who is a sucker for anything new proclaimed that he would love to do this again, but I personally would not.

Basundi and gulab jamun

On the other hand the Patra ni macchi, the chicken lagaan and the bohri chicken were fabulous. Rather than being a review of Jamavar, this post is more of showcase.

The mouth freshners

Address: The Leela Palace, Old Airport Road
Phone: 30571344, 30571342
Cuisine: Indian
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Its the Leela Palace, what do you think :)

Here is review of the Delhi food festival at Jamavar

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