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Dramatic presentation doesn’t mean great food: Uniqueness matters

The uniqueness and authenticity of taste is more important than quirky presentation, believes food historian Pushpesh Pant.

health and fitness Updated: Jul 25, 2016 17:44 IST
Abhinav Verma
Abhinav Verma
Hindustan Times
Food festival,Romancing the rain,Monsoon cuisines
Tickle your palate this rainy season with coastal cuisines such as Goan, Malabar and Bengali

The scorching heat has given way to the monsoon showers. Did you know that as the seasons change, so does our palate?

“While summer saps your energy, monsoon rejuvenates it. Your appetite goes up. You yearn for forgotten delicacies. Piquant and pungent, fried and spicy, anything that tickles the palate is welcome,” says Pushpesh Pant, food critic and food historian.

The Padma Shri awardee has collaborated with Davinder Kumar, executive chef, Le Meridien, New Delhi and after serious brainstorming, curated an appetising menu for the ongoing monsoon food festival Romancing The Rains at Eau De Monsoon restaurant in the hotel.

Food in monsoon is not only visually appealing, but rehydrating and antibiotic in nature as well. Use of monsoon vegetables and fruits makes it fresh and healthy, says Pushpesh Pant, food critic and food historian. (Amal Ks/HTPhoto)

“The menu showcases coastal Indian cuisines, with emphasis on Goan, Malabari and Bengali. The idea is to promote fresh and healthy seasonal ingredients. Most restaurants don’t serve food as per the seasons, which can be unhealthy and lead to stomach infections,” says Pant.

Davinder Kumar, executive chef, Le Meridien. (Amal Ks/HTPhoto)

You can enjoy Kankrhar Jhal (a classic crab curry) from Bengal; Kayaaattira Chikary (mutton cooked with raw banana slices) from Malabar; Beringelas Fritas (sliced, crisply fried aubergines) and Chicken Xacuti (an Indo-Portuguese specialty) from Goa and more at this fest. “Traditional coastal cuisines of India team well with the monsoon season,” says Davinder Kumar, Executive Chef, Le Meridien, New Delhi

Read:Store your food right this monsoon

Chicken Xacuti, a Goan delicacy which is a prized recipe from the resplendent ‘Indo-Portuguese’ repertoire. (Amal Ks/HTPhoto)

Pant believes that with many Indian restaurants riding on molecular gastronomy, traditional Indian cuisine has taken a back seat. “Dramatic presentation doesn’t mean the quality of food is good. What matters is the authenticity and uniqueness of taste.”

Kankrhar Jhal, a classic crab curry from Bengal. (Amal Ks/HTPhoto)

“Consumers seem enamoured with Michelin restaurants. But what does the Michelin star award jury know about Indian food? It’s a traveller’s guide; we are too hung up on it. I would take something that Manish Mehrotra does at Indian Accent or Davinder Kumar’s traditional Indian food more seriously,” he says.

Mutta Chutney Kabab, another Malabari delicacy which is an Egg Kebab. (Amal Ks/HTPhoto)

First Published: Jul 25, 2016 17:44 IST