'The Vikas Khanna', yes I mean not just Michelin Starred Chef Vikas Khanna, but the One and Only 'The Vikas Khanna', who is elevated to an enviable status of 'King of Hearts' asked a hall full of Bloggers ( majority were Fair sexes ), 'What is the Specialty of Chettinad ?' and then he went on praising the Grand Hospitality of Chettinad. The Chettiar community from Chettinad village of Tamil Nadu ( India ) is so generous that even if they catch a thief red handed, they will first feed him and only then hand him over to police. Chettinad homes resemble palaces, their food is Royal and their Hospitality is legendary.
Hey guys, if you have already started planning to rob a Chettinad palace, hold on. Luckily, the Renaissance Mumbai has #ChettinadFoodFestival, going on at their picturesque Lake View Cafe between 10th and 19th April, 2016. Coincidentally, we the bloggers were invited by Renaissance Hotel, for the #ChettinadFoodFestival the very next day. We experienced the whole truth of The Vikas Khanna and his authentic praising of the Chettinad cuisine, first hand ? mouth ? ok, whatever.
We were greeted at the Lake View Cafe entrance in a very Indian tradition of Kumkum Tilak followed by Sweety Elaner Charru . Few of the gentlemen were so enchanted with Elaner Charru that they refused to join us at the alfresco dining area of Lake View Cafe, where a surprise contest awaited us. Don't just trust me blindly, have a look at these Rusty red,curvy jars full of the nectar,tender Coconut milk sweetened with jaggery and flavored with cardamom. Guys n Girls, please go easy on Elaner Charru cause there are many lip smacking delicacies to be savored at #ChettinadFoodFestival
OK, now , so coming back to the surprise contest, which required the participants to drape the yeshti / dhoti in a Chettinad style. The catch was to wear it perfectly within a jiffy. Our mastibhari Master Chef Geetha Sridhar won this contest hands down, I mean hands akimbo. By the time, we had moved on to appetizing, freshly pressed Watermelon, Pineapple and Mango juices and soups. The exotic salads on the ice-bed were visually enticing at #ChettinadFoodFestival of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel
Our fantastic food journey continued with mouth-watering starters. such as Vazakai Varual ( raw banana fries ), Murukku, Alu wadi, Dhokla, variety of chaats (Pani Puri , Sev Puri. Bhelpuri etc.)
Both the Vegetarians and Non-vegetarians have numerous options for main-course like Mutton Chettinad ( lamb cooked with coconut and black pepper, Vankai Kozhi Kattu ( chicken ) , Meen Pulli curry ( fish in coconut milk ) , Era pulli curry ( Prawns tamarind curry ), Enna Katrikai Masala ( baby brinjals fried and curried in onion / coconut gravy ), Pulkatti Chettinad ( Cottage cheese cooked with southern spices ) , Vendakai Puriyal ( ladies finger-Bhindi , tempered with coconut chutney ), Chettinad Kozhi biryani , Pulli sandan , Tomato pepper rasam and Chef Leneesh special Kochi Malliga Dosa, Utappa , Kutthu Paratha, the famous Chettinad thalis ( Veg / Non-veg ) etc.
These sumptuous main course followed by divine desserts, except Payasam ( Chettinad special ), which I did not miss as there were various other Indian Mithaees ( sweets ), Barfis , flavorsome Ice creams, pastries, mousse etc. to tantalize out taste-buds.
[ Picture credits : Tashi Ongya ]Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel brings to its patrons, the traditional and exquisite taste of South India at the Chettinad Food Festival between 10th and 19th April, 2016 at Lake View Cafe.