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