Festival Food Review Indian Restaurant Review Uncategorized

Kashmiri Food Festival at Trident, Bandra-Kurla Complex

August 29, 2013

You know what sucks the most for a food lover? Falling so ill that the very sight, mention or even thought of food makes one nauseous. Anyway, having almost recovered from the viral fever that had recently taken over my life, the first task at hand was this post. So, last week, I was invited to review the ongoing Kashmiri Food Festival at the Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai.

I’ve never been to the Trident at BKC before and was pleasantly surprised at its warmth and luxury. The Kashmiri Food Festival is being held at the hotel’s signature Indian restaurant, Maya. To take a cuisine that is not very well-known and make it the very topic of conversation during a festival – the concept is brilliant.

I felt this moreso when I met with Chef Rehman, Business Partner, Kitchenett-e-Awadh – one of the wazas behind the food at the festival. We know so little about our own Indian cuisines and more about Italian and Mediterranean cuisines! Did you ever hear about the Rampuri cuisine, or that the difference between a Hyderabadi and Kashmiri Sheermal is worlds apart or that Qubaani ka Meetha – a quintessential Hyderabadi speciality is found in a different form in Kashmir as Qubaani ka Halwa? Neither did I till I attended the festival.

Table set for four with lovely lotuses in cups and a miniature shikara in the centre

Maya is a warm space with lovely lattice screens, a pretty light and water display and for the fest was decorated with colourful miniature shikaras and lotuses on a plate. The place was quite packed despite it being a weekday evening. On being seated, we were served with a flavlourful and aromatic kahwa – a cinnamon and saffron infused drink that smells sweet and definitely a palate cleanser. The rest of the menu we selected on the basis of Chef Rehman’s recommendations, while he regaled us with some facts about the essence of Kashimiri cuisine.

As the kahwa is poured out

We had a bit of quite a few things on the menu for each course in small portions to taste.

For the starters, we had the Nadur Kabab, Kukur Kanti, and the Tabak Maaz. In the main course, we were served Nadur Yakhni, Dum Aloo, Roganjosh and Gushtaba. Finally, for a sweet finish, we had the Zaffrani Rice Firni with the Qubaani ka Halwa.

Nadur Kabab
Chef Rehman specialises in vegetarian Mughlai and North-Indian cuisines. And this came through splendidly in the Nadur Kabab. A kabab made of lotus root, which is quite a crispy, fibrous and quintessentially Kashmiri vegetable.  But, the care with which the kabab was made did nothing to reveal its core ingredient; I’d easily pass it off as being made of mutton – it was soft, crumbly, with no hint whatsoever of crunchiness.
Tabak Maaz
The Tabak Maaz took my breath away. Lamb racks succulent and just dropping off the bone. Chef Rehman explained that with Western influences, a lot of restaurants today pass off mutton as being lamb. However, lamb is the meat of sheep. It is commonly found in the Himalayas because of its sure footedness and of course thick wool.
Kukur Kanti
This was the Kukur Kanti, somewhat a dry version of the chicken kadhai. It tasted quite like something I’d find in South India, but was nonetheless delicious. My only issue was that the chicken was tough; tender pieces would have taken this dish to another level.

We then went on to the main course leaving Chef Rehman to regale us with his dishes.

Mutton Roganjosh

This was the best Roganjosh I’ve tasted. The meat falling off the bone, the mellow gravy subtly spiced and served with flaky, buttery, soft and slightly sweet sheermal.

Gushtaba with sheermal
The Gushtaba is a very popular, must-have Kashmiri dish. Lamb meatballs soaking in a yakhni gravy, mildly spiced and complexly flavoured. The yakhni is a traditional method of slow cooking lamb with a yoghurt gravy allowing the essence of the lamb to melt into the gravy giving it a distinct flavour. The same goes for the Nadur Yakhni. I loved the earthiness and fibrous texture of the lotus root; although it is something you have to develop a taste for.
Nadur Yakhni

The Dum Aloo was flavoursome too and complemented the rest of the meal beautifully. Together with the other dishes and the sheermal (thick, soft, saffron-flavoured bread) and baqurkhani (thick flat bread made using dry fruits and butter), the main course was an explosion of flavours.

Dum Aloo
All of these were complemented beautifully by the two chutneys. I must say they are to die for. One was a walnut and radish chutney (white with specs of brown), while the other one was made of beetroot – slightly sweet and sour – a vibrant red.

And, to finish off the meal, we had an absolutely beautiful zaffrani rice phirni, literally one that melts in the mouth, and a qubaani ka halwa made of fresh apricots all the way from Kashmir.

The take aways from this festival is everything. The lamb dishes, the yakhni dishes, the breads and even the desserts. But if you would ask me to go back for just one thing, it would be the Tabak Maas.

I leave you with a picture of the lovely colourful miniature shikaras at the entrance of Maya.

Today and tomorrow are the last two days of the Kashmiri Food Festival at The Trident BKC. Do visit it for the amazing food and let me know how you liked it.

Special thanks to Sacha D’souza; Spoorthy; Chef M. Rehman and Server Rakesh.

P.S. All images courtesy Ishaaq Petiwala Photography

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1 Comment

  • Ishaaq August 29, 2013 at 10:16

    i totally agree with u..from the decor to the food to d conversation with d chef, took me to Kashmir. the food was mouth-watering & it was an experience for me where i was understanding the food & eating it :p

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