Fancy a Keerai Kuttu Curry, Patani Errachi Masala and some Kozhi Keema Vada? Yup, these are all delicacies from one of our favorite food paradise and the vibrant state of Tamil Nadu. One need not worry and have to travel all the way to Tamil Nadu, to eat this food as Sofitel Mumbai in BKC is celebrating a Tamil Nadu Food Festival and has got Chef Muni right from the region making it for you, and it’s on till the 22nd of March. The Bombay Foodies got a chance to sample a few dishes from regions such as Karaikudi, more commonly known as Chettinad, Thanjavur and Tindivanam, and liked it so much that we thought it deserved a post before the festival gets over such that more foodies searching for authentic food, can head there.
The Chef and his Food: Chef Munichandrudu who is executive chef at the IBIS hotels in Chennai has been flown down to Mumbai and he has come up with a menu that will definitely tickle everyone’s taste buds. We must let you’ll know that he is one of the most down-to-earth people (Chefs) we’ve met in a long time and he makes his food do all the talking. As soon as we were seated, Chef came out of the busy kitchen just to sit with us and have a little discussion regarding his food and the general food of the region. Chef E. Munichandrudu has over 20 years of Hospitality experience and enjoys crafting culinary delights at IBIS Chennai Sipcot. Originally from Chennai, Chef Muni as he is better known, began his gastronomic journey with some of the finest hotels in the country. His proficiency and passion in the South Indian cuisine and Indian coastal delights stems from the magnifique work done at Gokulam Park Park Sheraton Chennai and more.
He firmly believes in food being authentic and likes to give it a home-cooked feel, a trend that is fast catching up in hotels, as well(And thank God for that!). He has stuck to his ancestral recipes, mother’s recipes and makes sure the food is anything but bland, which has been one of Foodie’s main fears, when it comes to Indian food fine-dining. He says that “without mustard seeds, curry leaves, tamarind and asafotieda, Tamil food is nothing. “Madrasi” food as known in the olden days was cooked using ‘Matkas’ or clay pots and he still tries and uses it in his day to day cooking.
He also told us how food in each area of Tamil Nadu has a unique flavor of its own. The Chettinadu food is high on spice and masalas whereas the Kanchipuram area has traditional food with milder flavours. He mentioned that in Chennai, which is a cosmopolitan city, the style of cooking and food has become more modern, but he likes to stick to his roots 🙂 Also, he is a proud member of the ‘ I like my Sambhar tangy and without coconut’ Club. Which made the food we were about to eat sound more promising 🙂
After this little discussion about the cuisince he briefed us about the buffet, telling us how the food had been made in such a way that all the dishes complement each other. Hearing that we got very excited and asked him for one last favour, the Foodie had heard of a mutton kheema dosa, and asked chef Muni could prepare one for her; after that we made our way to the buffet. We were surprised to see the wide variety that was on display for this festival. The Tamil Nadu delicacies included salads as well!
We started off with a plate full of pickles, poppadums and salads, and the mutton dosa arrived right af. Prawn pickle and Mango pickle were simple superb, the Rajma Sundal ( Salad of Kidney beans, Curry leaves and Mustard seeds) and Yearra Salad (Baby Shrimp cooked with tempered curry leaves and coconut) were awesome!!! The dosa was thick, how the Chef prefers it and was accompanied by one of the nicest tasting carrot and coconut chutney. It went so well with the Mutton Kheema, we made a humble suggestion to the chef, to put that one on the menu, in the future!
Since chef Muni told us that each dish tasted different, breaking the popular myth, not all dishes from the south (In this case Tamin Nadu) have coconut in it. We followed the Chef’s recommendations and made sure to take all the items on the menu in separate bowls such that there would be no mixing of the curry’s. In our vegetarian plate we had Spinach cooked with lentils (Keerai Kuttu Curry), an excellent Okra sabji with tomato and onions, a simple yet strong pepper infused Rassam, Curd Rice, an Egg plant curry made with sesame seeds and coconut (Ennai Katrikai) and a tangy Kadhi, (tempered yogurt with drumsticks), which was the Foodie’s favourite. As chef Muni promised, everything on this beautiful plate of food tasted awesome! Like a bomb of different textures and flavours. And yes, they all tasted different and yum!
For all you meat lovers out there, don’t worry the meat spread included a fantastic Chicken kurma (Kongunadu Kozhi Kurma) a Pea and Mutton Keema (Patani Errachi masala) which we also stuffed in our dosa and a Tamil style Sea food Biryani ( Mukadal Meen Sadam) The simplicity of chef Muni, and actually all of Tamil Nadu was seen in this food that was prepared, we could feel the love with which the food was made.
Final Thoughts: Chef Muni really showcased what Tamil food is all about, and we ended the meal with a perfect cup of filter Kaapi. Yes there were an assortment of good desserts like the chocolate and nut brownie, the really strong Arrow mousse and a vanilla panacotta. This is a festival that everyone should visit as it ends on the 22nd of March, the meal is priced at 2780 all inclusive so #BombayFoodies Vannakam to Tamil Nadu at Sofitel, Mumbai. BKC!
Food: 4 Decor: 4 Value for Money: -NA- (The Bombay Foodies were invited to come and try this festival. Honest reviews and opinions have been given by the reviewers. We would like to thank Gitanjali and Parinaz from Criesse Communications and Mr Arpan from Sofitel, Pondicherry Cafe)