Start with the Lassi and finish with the Masala Chai, suggested Hari Krishnan, the Sous Chef at Vivanta by Taj, Trivandrum; a premium luxury hotel in the capital city. That’s exactly what I did at the Dhaba fest currently going on there. And in between I had Chole Batture, Aloo Tikki & Pankhuri Fry for starters, Spicy Jinga Kachumar Chaat for salad; and Butter Chicken & Phulka, and a spoonful of Mutton Biriyani for the main course. A special treat from the Sous Chef was the Kadi Pakoda and Sarong ka Saag (which was not there on the buffet). For dessert, it was a bite of Anjeer Barfi, Kaju Roll, Kala Jamun Badam Cultet, and Rice Kheer.
The ten day Dhaba fest gets over on October 30 and the menu changes on a daily basis. So this Diwali, you know where you should head if you are carving for some tasty and rich authentic north Indian khana.
The fest gives the residents of Thiruvananthapuram a chance to relish and taste some of the best vegetarian and non-vegetarian traditional dhaba delicacies from Punjab and other parts of North India in its original style and flavour.
Jose Thomas, Executive Chef at Vivanta By Taj, Trivandrum said, “It’s Diwali time, a time for celebrations and also time to recollect the good old memories. We have a crowd in Trivandrum who are not getting a chance to try out original authentic north Indian stuff they have had, back home. That’s the reason why we thought of having this festival coinciding with the festival season. We have an entire range of delicacies from dhaba lined up for our customers. The response on the last four days has been very good and encouraging.”
The Fifth Element restaurant has been decked up and I could hear some hit Punjabi songs playing in the background. The bearers have north Indian attire. There are live counters for starters, daal, Indian bread – roti, phulka, prantha and sweets. There are three varieties of homemade pickles (achaar) and an assorted variety of soups and salads. With so much of selection in north Indian dishes, the menu changes every day.
According to Hari who grew up in Ghaziabad, the great dhaba fest is an attempt by him to relive his childhood memories of eating out in his neighbourhood and of the street food of UP, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, etc. In those days, eating out meant going to a Dhaba and relishing the savouries there. Butter Chicken, Sarong ka Saag, Rajma, Daal Makhni, Daal Fry, Kadi Pakoda and Sheek Kababs are some of his favourite ‘must trys’.
The buffet spread offered ample choice for vegetarian and non-vegetarian foodies. The choice began with plain or different flavoured lassi. Butter chicken, mutton biryani, anda curry, rajma, palak paneer, aloo baigan, soya badi mattar and bharwan bhindi were some of the dishes that made up the main course. For desserts, it was a choice between hot piping jilebi with rabri, malpua, anjeer Barfi, Kaju Roll, Kala Jamun Badam Cultet, and Rice Kheer depending on the day’s menu.
Amongst all these, I missed to taste the homemade achaar 🙁 Btw, for more pictures, please check out my Facebook profile.