"Kemcho? [How are you]
Thepla joye che/khavu che? [Do you want a Thepla-a kind of roti]"
These are the only words/phrases I know related to Gujaratis.. Infact there are quite a few jokes that do the rounds about the Theplas- they are known to be staples, which when travelling Gujaratis are known to carry in large numbers.. And so, when exploring the cuisine, it was quite a surprise to see there was more to this region than just the few dishes I knew of.
There I was walking towards Jamavar at The Leela Palace down the spiral staircase all set to experience the Gujarati Rasoi, an elaborate traditional Gujarati festival with Chef Punarmali visiting from The Leela Mumbai.
Dhokla, Khandvi, Thepla are some dishes that come to mind when you hear "Gujarati cuisine"... And so it was quite a surprise reading the menu at the Gujarati Rashi festival. It featured quite an array of Veg & Non Veg dishes. Yes, you read it right. There were quite a few Non veg dishes as well, much to the surprise of my friends who joined in the dinner [they assumed it was going to be an all veg meal].. What I like about Gujarati food is that it is quite subtle, made with simple ingredients [local produce] and quite distinct. The one sticky point about this cuisine is that all dishes have a sweet element in them [jaggery/sugar/Kokum]..
The Restaurant [Photo credit: The Leela Palace]- we sat in the table at the far end with the beautiful piece of art on the wall.
Aam Panna - which we had more than one glass of..
The delightful starters- Patra [colocassia leaf based starter], Dhokla, Khandvi and Kachori
Khatti Meethi Daal and Gujarati Kadhi
Three kinds of rotis - Bajre ki Roti, Bhakri, Thepla
Poori - made with wheat flour and another flour+ ingredients
Three main veg gravy - one with Lady fingers, Gawar phalli [Cluster beans with carom seeds & spices] and Undhiyu (Gujarati Mixed Vegetable).. There was also a potato & dumplings based gravy which was lovely[perfect accompaniment for the poori].
The yummilicious desserts - Badam ka Halwa [Almond cooked over a few hours and was rich, ghee packed] and Phirni [Creamy rice pudding flavoured with saffron and cardamom]
The evening was quite an experience, the ambiance, the hospitality and ofcourse the food. It is one of those restaurants that makes you feel like the Royal.
Open for dinner only- 7 PM to 11 PM
Dates: Till 13th February, 2017.
The menu is priced at Rs 3500 plus taxes
The Leela PalaceAdyar Seaface,
M.R.C Nagar, Chennai - 600028
Location: Lower Lobby
Reservations: +91 44 33661234
Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)