How often do you get an opportunity to live a life that is not yours? If the answer’s in negative, or too small in magnitude to satisfy you, the place to be is Le Meridien, Gurgaon Delhi NCR with ‘Uttarakhand Food Festival’ at its restaurant Latest Recipe. On till 30th April 2017, the festival is one not to be missed, says Harshili Malhotra.
Sous Chef Manoj Rawat, brings his hometown to the table. And gives you an experience that instantly transports you to the hills of Uttarakhand. The not-so miniscule efforts help him get the vibe alive with the appropriate support of ingredients that are consistently sourced from their origin of culinary practice. From Burans (Rhododendron) to Jakhya, Jhangora and Hemp seed, each ingredient is handpicked by the team that backs and supports Chef Manoj with constant vigor.
The idea is to break the monotony and get something different to the city that is constantly evolving in F&B. And to acknowledge the importance of cuisines that we leave behind in our ever evolving rut of commercialization.
Not just resulting from nostalgia, but the fact that the practiced diet not only was a part of the daily schedule of a Garhwali, but also supported him intrinsically to perform all that labor that’s required to sustain a day on the hills. The cuisine does not require the eyes of the obnoxious health fad, because it is made for the stomach of a laborious man belonging to/working on a rough terrain. Cooked with a noble intend to support, the food is very easy, in preparation and on the stomach of the person who’s consuming it: no multiple masalas, bare minimum used.
There’s an increased intake of chutneys, made from coriander, til (sesame), bhang and tomato. Food’s majorly vegetarian, and when meat is consumed- chicken’s mostly not being a part, it’s either fish or mutton. As is aforementioned, there’s a massive consumption of pulses, but again, different from the ones that might be consumed in Delhi or Tamil Nadu. There’s Gehat ki Dal (horse gram), Urad dal (which is often used to prepare pakodas), Ogal and Bhatt (Soyabean). The black lentil cooked after roasting and grinding it, is a little hard to digest; but probably the best on Chef Manoj’s menu- name of the delicacy, Chainso.
It’s been a rather successful attempt of the ingenious (yet humble) chef to recreate the spirit of Uttarakhand in Delhi NCR, by going against the regular, and setting up a mini trip to the state inside “Latest Recipe”. And it’s not just the appetizing food, but also its presentation and the hospitality of the ‘Garhwali’ brothers who come together to curate the festival right from its initiation. They ensure that we’re visually pleased along with our gratified palates. Also giving us a glimpse of the culture when we catch them talking in their native language while exchanging instructions, something that they’d long forgotten, or not practiced owing to the diligent efforts put in adapting to the new culture they’re now part of.
With absolute satisfaction and complete assurance, I can say that this was the MOST enjoyable Indian meal at a hotel for me personally, and if you visit before 30th April, you stand a chance to be invigorated by the enormity of it as well.
The Food Festival is a part of the dinner buffet at Rs 1999 plus taxes per person