Seasoned teams of well-travelled chefs from the Soaltee Crown Plaza bring their mystique lores of spices and techniques collected overtime to your tables. Be a part of this gala showcase of legendary dishes with beautiful stories.
Tracing my roots to Northern India – the comestible mecca of Kebabs and Curries, my expectations are critically higher when it comes to them. The peculiar techniques with secret spice blends and bequeathed recipes give kebabs and curries there own world of culinary mystique. The brand new promotional menu brought by Garden Terrace, Soaltee, is a gala buffet showcase bringing diverse delicacies from various regions of the Indian subcontinent.
Putting up a grandstand of popular delicacies from regions like Rajasthan, Lucknow, Goa, Hyderabad, Punjab, Peshawar, and Bengal is already a behemoth task overtaken by the culinary masters from Soaltee to showcase their prowess. As the Kebabs were being laid out in the sun deck area, the smoky aroma and spice whiffs filling the breezy evening created an appetizing aura. A few lines with the chef and I was led to an interesting scoop. Hotel’s Executive Chef Yubaraj Pokhrelwas reminiscing over his training with Imitaz Qureshi a few years back in India. For anyone who has a peculiar interest in the legendary royal cuisine of Awadh (Lucknow), the name Imtiaz Qureshi is on an epicure’s lexicon. The legendary chef, who has been cooking for as long as India has been an independent country, can be solely credited for reinventing the Awadhi cuisine. He is also known as the father of Dum Pukht cooking. To have that part of legacy carried all the way to our doorstep by our chefs is a moment of culinary triumph in itself.
With this piece of lore now elating my mind, I was ready to coddle into the offering for the day, which in some parts were already on par with what my presumed benchmarks were. The menu of already profuse kebabs and curries was set on the backdrop of an elaborate gala dinner at the Garden Terrace restaurant. To elevate the resplendence of the special menu, garden terrace was chosen as opposed to Kakori – the hotel’s flagship Indian restaurant.
Interactive stations, fine staff attending to your needs and a finely laid out setting over a sprawling area is the ideal buffet at Garden Terrace. The buffet allows you to indulge in your interests at your own pace. It is an exhilarating space for avant-garde fine-dining experience setting your spirits high with its chic and modern yet classy décor, unique ambiance, heart-warming music, and enormous food selections. Luxury and substance runs throughout the restaurant’s theme, lending an ideal platform to the historically rich and culturally diverse dishes that were up on the pomp this evening.
On cue with the chef’s affirmative to begin the buffet, the overwhelming exploration starts. The variety of cooking techniques that were at play here was exciting at parts and unnerving when you think of it as you have to judge it. Murgh Wajid Ali that I started off with relieved me of the confound. It is quintessentially a rich Awadhi dish. Thin chicken slices rolled with Khoa (reduced whole milk) with fried onions and chili served on a gravy of cashew, saffron, onion yoghurt and milk gravy. Though the composition of the dish sounds too rich and heavy to be palatable, the instinctive cooking and value proportions that went into making the dish do the trick. The dish is creamy, nutty, and naturally sweet with delicate pieces of thin chicken melting in your mouth while being rounded off with a hint of chilli and few whole spices lending an edge.
Another prominent technique that was at show here was the dum pukht. Firdaus-E-Barein did potray this beautifully. Succulent Lamb meat balls are stuffed with melon seeds and raisins, and served over gravy of onion and tomato. The dum cooking used here resonates in the burst of intense flavors that takes over your palates instantly. Each of the ingredients used intensifies in flavor.
Along with this interesting combination of non-vegetarian fare, there is a whole range of vegetarian delicacies to balance it off. Mangodi-Gatte ki subji, a Rajasthani dish which each home has its own legacy recipe. This dish was cracked well by the chefs. While this sour-spicy dish was balanced by Guncha-O-Bahar which is a dum pukth recipe. The dum cooking elevated the aromas of almond and spices, which the cauliflower infuses well with.
While you nosh up battling your taste buds over your eating capacity, the hot kebabs are constantly flown into your table. The staple of popular kebabs like galouti kebab and paneer tikka were done justice to, chef’s recommended Khuroose-e-Potli deserves a special mention. A recipe passed onto him by Imtiaz Qureshi, is a dish that blows you away with its innovativeness and thoughtfulness that has gone into forming its flavor profile. Khuroose-e-Potli are small pockets made out of the chicken skin and stuffed with chicken tikka. The skin is thin, crispy and delicately arranged. The crunch breaking into the inside of the pockets again delve you into another level of complimenting softness and spices of chicken tikka.
For a menu to promote Kebabs and Curries, an evening of discovery is not enough. However, you can be assured that whatever meets your eyes and tickles your fancy is bound to satisfy you. It is never about how many things you can eat and can choose from, but appreciating those few things that you indulge in and discovering a new flavor with every next bite you take.