Tuesday, 16 July 2013

My Place @ Movenpick Hotels & Spa Bangalore - Grand Trunk Road Culinary Trail

A road stretching 2500 kilometers has been of great significance in the Indian history. What is this road called? Where does it run through?

The answer to this is Grand Trunk Road (GTR) running from Bangladesh, then Kolkata in West Bengal, in the northwest direction through a couple of Indian states, into Rawalpindi and Peshawar in Pakistan and ending at Kabul in Afghanistan.

Reminded of school, the history text book does take us through (1) how this road developed, evolved and expanded starting from the Maurya dynasty, to the British Empire with all the dynasties and empires in between. (2) How its significance grew with every passing empire; be it for trade, invasions, transportation etc. While all this was covered in good depth, what remains uncovered in these books is; at the minimum a reference of the rich culinary extravagance this route has to offer.  

No worries, I’m here to share my experience from what I savored when I travelled across this route. Not literally, a couple of bloggers including me were invited to My Place @ Movenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore to experience the ‘Grand Trunk Road Culinary Trail’.  This is a festival on at ‘My Place’ up to Sunday, 21st July.

As a part of this festival, the buffet spread at ‘My Place’ is expansive and covers signature and symbolic dishes starting with West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab in India and then runs into the north-west frontier to include delicacies from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yes, all of this in the form of salads, appetizers, mains and desserts amalgamating under one single roof at Movenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore.

To achieve this culinary feast, Executive Chef Thomas Joseph travelled a part of the GTR in search of local chefs who would also bring in authenticity to the preparations. The team comprised of both in-house and visiting chefs. When introduced to them, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the visiting team mainly comprised of women to which another secret was let out, “They are home chefs who only entered a big or commercial kitchen a couple of weeks ago for the first time; that too after a lot of convincing.”

What more? Let’s go through what we ate.

What we ate:
We started off with an assortment of kebabs. Non-vegetarians had Ghutwa Kebab – a flavorful mutton kebab finely minced to bring it to a paste like consistency and fried, Macchi ka Kebab – cubes of fish mildly spiced and cooked in a tandoor to perfect flakiness and the delicious and hot samosas. They were no ordinary samosas but something, the name of which is sufficient to get many mouths watering – ‘Mutton Keema Samosa’.

On the vegetarian front, it was ‘Anjeer Mawe ki tikki’, ‘Bengali Begoon Bhaja’ and Punjab’s very own ‘Bhutta kebab’. What intrigued me was the very different Anjeer mawe ki tikki. The name gives a clear hint, “This kebab will be sweet”. And sweet it was. This did not appeal to most palates but I liked the preparation and enjoyed it with a contrasting flavor of mint chutney. The Begoon Bhaja was crispy on the outside with the inside being mushy and moist. A very simple yet a fabulous dish made live on request.

GTR runs through most of North Indian states and not having chaat on buffet would be disastrous. This cannot happen at Movenpick. My guest and I, in true street style indulged in a round of gol gappas. Both of us being avid lovers of non-vegetarian food retained our focus on the main course and moved on.

It was a meaty affair, Haleem – Lucknow style was on the spread. I didn’t like this much. Personally, the Hyderabadi version of the haleem is the only format that appeals to my palate. However, the buffet also had a delicious Lucknowi style ghost biryani which was no – nonsense and an absolute meat lovers delight. The Delhi style Mutton do pyaza was ‘bang on’ on flavors and tenderness of the mutton.

There was also Macher Jol; a Bengali fish preparation which tasted very different due to the use of mustard oil in its making. It took me a couple of bites to really enjoy these flavors. Then there was also, 'Chooza Khas Makhani' (State: Punjab) and 'Murgh Kari' from Pakistan. Unlike the usual makhani dishes, the 'Chooza Khas Makhani' was not sweet but has a unique and wonderful flavoring coming from the use of anise and some more ingredients. This was a universal winner on our table. Murgh Kari was another fabulous preparation. Mildly spiced and packed with a lot of flavor.  All main course gravies were enjoyed with hot Indian breads that were served hot on our table.

With literally no appetite left to give vegetarian dishes a shot, I just looked through the arrangement to see what I had missed from the vegetarian section. A look and I wished I had tried at least a couple which included the classic Pindi Channa masala and the Karela dish.

I like desserts but it is not something for which I will usually give up or compromise on the meal. So for me it was a piece of delicious gulab jamoon, Sandesh, chilled phirni, Qubani ka mitha and blueberry something. The desserts I had were all good and did make a good end to a fabulous meal.  

For more food pictures from this dinner, visit the photo albums on my FaceBook page Review Of Restaurants

Overall, the food at this festival is fabulous. What takes this festival to another high is a wonderful and fascinating ‘Desi’ cocktails menu especially concocted for this Grand Trunk Road Festival.  Here’s a very interesting range of cocktails which we sampled - Piru Pyala, Imli Mojito, Kala Khatta Diaquiri and Sharabi Nariyal. Of these, Piru Pyala - a tequila based drink with guava juice, spices and black salt was a clear favorite closely followed by the Imli Mojito.

The GRT festival is on till the 21st of July. This special buffet is available only for dinners and is priced at Rs. 1200 plus taxes and charges (Alcohol extra). There is enough the spread to savor for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Valet Parking is available.

Quick Tips:
Grand Trunk Road Culinary Trail culminates on 21st July with a Sunday brunch. If you are unable to make it for a relaxed evening dinner; this Sunday Brunch will be an exciting affair to be a part off.

Address: Movenpick Hotels & Spa Bangalore, 115, Gokula Extension, HMT Road (Near BEL Circle), Bangalore - 560054
Phone Number: +91 80 4300 1000 

1 comment:

  1. Wow the delicacies seems to great! The price seems to be more cheaper than the other prominent star rated hotels in Bangalore