A warm hug to your stomach the South Indian way

The BBQ potato cheese shot stole the spotlight among the array of starters. This bite-sized saucy potato starter coated in barbecue sauce with cheese in the centre was irresistible.
A warm hug to your stomach the South Indian way
Akka Kadai

CHENNAI: Flavours of Chennai’, a food festival buffet spread, featuring several Chettinad and Kongunadu dishes, dosa varieties, vazhaipoo vadai, tawa fry, and delicacies famous in Chennai with two live counters, is curated by Food Exchange, Novotel Chennai. The menu which tries exploring the entire South Indian cuisine, keeps their signature dishes constant for patrons to try.

Their signature dishes are Madurai uppu kari, vazhaipoo vadai, Chettinad mutton gravy, Nethili meen kozhumbu, tawa fry, and biryani.

We tried the Madurai uppu kari, vazhaipoo vadai, and BBQ potato cheese shot for starters. Since Madurai uppu kari has few ingredients, getting the quantity right is necessary for the dish to be flavourful; that is where the dish failed. It lacked basic flavour of any spices and seemed bland while having traces of pepper. The vazhaipoo vadai is your typical paruppu vadai with a wonderful consistency and flavour. This dish is simple yet appetising.

The BBQ potato cheese shot stole the spotlight among the array of starters. This bite-sized saucy potato starter coated in barbecue sauce with cheese in the centre was irresistible. The spice was well-balanced by the cheese. The tawa fish fry which goes really well with the green chutney is spicy and has all the typical South Indian flavours. The dish has just the right amount of curry leaves without making any flavour seem jarring or loud.

The live dosa counter by Kavitha Akka, serves dosa varieties like plain dosa, masala dosa, ghee roast, podi dosa, and so on. The plain dosa is absolutely fantastic and is a musttry for dosa lovers. The texture is a blend of both crispy and soft, served with sambar and coconut chutney. The chutney is spicy with the right amount of garlic. The Chettinad mutton gravy is a peppery flavoured curry which will go well with either idiyappam or dosa.

The biryani for the day was Nilgiri kozhi biryani made in seeraga samba rice. The biryani was decent in taste. Vegetarians have the kaikari (vegetables) biryani option.

For patrons with a sweet-tooth, authentic South Indian sweets like irattu kadai halwa, paal panniyaram, koyil mittai, and other savouries are served along with regular continental desserts with ice creams. Their bread butter pudding is absolutely phenomenal. The custard flavoured sweet, topped with pistachios is a delight and also slightly mimics shahi tukda, however, with no obvious presence of oil or ghee. This sweet is a must-try and automatically creates space in your stomach to take another serving.

The festival which began on May 27 will go on till June 7. The price per person is Rs 1,450 exclusive of taxes.

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