Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pangat - The Maharashtrian Food Festival at House of Asia

This month I complete one year in the Maximum City. I came here with the prime motivation of exploring the food scene and seeing how it compared to cities like Bangalore and Delhi. 12 months down and I still hadn't tried an authentic Maharashtrian meal. Thankfully, Hotel Mirador's House of Asia decided to host a Maharashtrian Feast Fest titled Pangat. Invited as part of the FBAI team to share a glimpse of this state's food culture and thereby share my thoughts on the same, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

Located on the lobby level of the hotel, House of Asia a cozy little space with live music and table-seating. Traditionally, meals like these are served as you sit on cushions on the floor. This set-up is called Pangat, after which the festival has been named.

The meal started with beverages. We tried the Aam Panna and the Solkadi. The Aam Panna was a disappointment with not even a fraction of the punch that it should have. The coconut milk and kokum based Solkadi was a step up. Traditionally, the Sol Kadhi is served after the meal as it serves to soothe the spices and cool down the digestive system.

Crab Soup
The Crab Soup (Khekdyche Saar) was full of masalas and not very palatable. Surprisingly, the tomato soup scored over this one with its tangy zest. 

Steamed Coriander Cake
The appetizers were a mixed bunch. Though I liked the Jeerameerichi Kombdi (chicken with roast jeera and black pepper) it could very well have been any grilled chicken in a European eaterie. Nothing authentic about this one. The Kothmir chi Vadi (steamed coriander cakes) were delicious and fresh. 

These came accompanied by a range of delicious chutneys, my favourite being the black sesame chutney and the khatta raw mango chutney. 

Banana Flower Fritters
Dalimb Batate (tangy potato patty with pomegranate seeds) were nice but nothing to write home about and the Kelfulache Vade (banana flower fritters) had a bitter aftertaste. A fan of squid, I was a tad disappointed with the Makli masala (squids masala) which was coated too thick and fried till rubbery. 

Grilled Bombil
The savior of the appetizers was an excellent Tawache Bombil (grilled Bombay Duck). 

If you do visit, the mains are what you should head straight for. The Maharashtrian thaali not only made a pretty picture but it also included dishes representing the various parts of the state. From the Konkan region to Kohlapur, each dish complemented the other and yet held it's own. A huge portion to satisfy even the most voracious eaters, this thaali comes highly recommended. Desserts included soft Puran Polis and Olya Naral chi Karanji. 

The festival is currently running and is on till the 16th of April 2015. 

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