A Treat for your Taste Buds from Down South
at Park Plaza's K-19
As I browsed through the menus of multiple restaurants of Kolkata one fine Saturday, all I could think was it was the 'same old, same old' food.
Just as I was about to give up on going out for the same old offerings Debapriya from Candid communications informed me about a delightful festival being hosted at Park Plaza's K-19.
My first reaction to the South Indian Food Festival was a mixture of apprehension and inquisitiveness at the same time. You see as a food enthusiast in today's world it is probably a culinary sin to not know that the cuisine beyond the Vindhyas has much more to offer than the usual 'Idli. Dosa, Rasam' Besides there are 4 states with distinctive dishes and I wondered what Park Plaza was offering its guests.
A little chit chat with the general manager, Mr. Avneesh K Mathur, started off the afternoon on a very positive note. His idea of bringing cuisines from different states of our country to Kolkata sounded delightful.
As I took a sip of the Vasantha Neer a delightful concoction of tender coconut water, mint and honey I could not but appreciate the soothing effect it had what with the temperature already on the rise in Kolkata.
We were soon served the Karuvembu Annasi, a pineapple based salad with a hint of curry leaves , spices and pomegranate which not only works wonderfully well as an appetizer but is the perfect salad to dig in on a hot summer's day.
Over the next hour or so we were served one course after the other and quite honestly it is immensely difficult to suggest one dish over the other.
For me, the Kohzi Varuval, a fiery hot chicken preparation stood out due to its spicy taste and succulent juicy texture. You see not many restaurants get the perfect texture of chicken breasts. Overcooked even slightly juicy succulent chicken breast can become dry and chewy . Well not here sir, here every piece was juicy and succulent. I wouldn't suggest it for people who do not enjoy hot fiery food.
Mr. Mathur had rightly said that a glass of Vodka is the perfect accompaniment with lunch. Well the Kohzi Varuval with a vodka based cocktail would work oh so perfectly for me on any given day of the year.
What I personally loved was how distinctive each dish tasted and a little chit chat with Chef Arokia Das and Janarthanam made me realize the dishes were selected in a way which covered each state from down South.
So while the outstanding tender coconut pudding, Elanner payasam was from Kerala ,the Kohzi Varuval is part of the Chettinad cuisine.
What I loved was how the festival offered Kolkatans a true blue taste of South India. While the diner would be be able to appreciate many many dishes a bit of 'podi' in this case gunpowder mixed with sesame oil and eaten with rice is something that is indeed exclusive and delicious.
The Erachi Thengai Vatthakal , a dry mutton preparation from Kerala with some plain white rice is hard to resist especially if you love mutton.
The lunch had been on offer on A- La-Carte basis from 12:30 p.m. till 3:30 p.m. and dinner from 7:30 p.m. till 10:45 p.m. The dinner buffet is what I would personally suggest was being offered at a reasonable price of Rs1299 plus taxes for adults and Rs799 plus taxes for children.
My only complaint is that this fantastic offering was in our city for a very short time . Well the good news is Park Plaza is planning to host many more food festivals from different states of our country.
P.S. The rasam on offer was the best that I have had in this city and it would be a great shame to give it a miss in the name of cliche and as I was writing my experience of having had a delightful lunch at Park Plaza my mouth watered at the thought of the Kohzi Varuval.
Keep checking with Park Plaza for such delightful offerings.