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Seldom do you come across pop-up which you can’t afford to give a miss. The Culinary Tales Pop-Up by Karavalli, The Gateway Hotel at Firdaus, Taj Krishna is one such. My earliest memory of Karavalli was one where I had walked into the Gateway Hotel while wandering around Bangalore for a quick lunch. The expanse of greenery in between a city felt so fresh and the setting, apt for a thali. It was one of the most memorable lunches I’ve had walking out a happy man. Serving patrons since 1989, Karavalli has set a bar high when it comes to coastal food.

Firdaus

I couldn’t afford to not be there when the food of Karavalli was on offer in the city. For four days, it’ll only be the Kodagu food, Coastal Mangalorean, Goan and other dishes of the Konkan belt which will be served in Firdaus. The first dish on the table ended up being my favorite among everything else that lunch. The Koli Barthad is a Coorg preparation of chicken pan-fried in spices. The Coorg vinegar gives it a bit of acidity in a beautiful amalgamation with the pepper.

Koli Barthad

Dishes cooked in Banana Leaves is one that I find in most regional cuisines and the Meen Eleittad was no different done in a fiery marinade of Malabar masala. The Tiger Prawns Roast is the right example on the showcase of Kerala spices while still maintaining the delicateness of the prawns. There was burst of fresh green chilies, coconut and spices in the roast masala. All I needed was either an Appam or Parotta to neatly polish it off my plate.

Tiger Prawns Roast

But there was one dish which was interesting and it turned out to be vegetarian. Enter the Oggaraneda Aritha Pundhi, a rice dumpling lightly flavored in coconut and cumin. These small delicate balls of rice were like the perfect snack which you could sit down for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The light spicing ensured that it wasn’t overpowering and took seconds to pop-in.

Oggaraneda Aritha Punde

Oggaraneda Aritha Punde

My Main Course consisted of a plate of Sungatache Kodi or as we commonly know it as Goan Prawns Curry. I thoroughly enjoyed how each of them prawns were delicately cooked making it shine through despite being in spices. The other main courses included Allapuzha Meen Curry from Kerala, Karavalli Mutton Curry and Avial.

Idiappam

Chitranna

Ending the lunch with desserts from the Goan belt were the Bebinca and Dodol. The Ada Pradhaman too wasn’t overly sweet.

Ada Pradhaman

Bebinca, Dodol and Ada Pradhaman

Karavalli has been the epitome of South and West Coastal cusine, showcasing the intricacies of dishes from the Konkan Belt. With the 4 day pop-up at Firdaus, this is one meal you should definitely not miss.

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It’s been 70 years since the historic day of 15th August 1947 and some of the Taj properties across India have come up with a promotion so beautiful. The recreation of the pre-independence dinner at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai in 1947. The idea all materialized when someone at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, stumbled across a menu from the night and this converted to the food we sit to partake, a recreation of India’s past.

The menu for the purely non-vegetarian and the menu was purely eclectic French and Continental. French Cuisine was going through a revolutionary phase and chefs had been employed from Goa and other European occupied states to give it that deft touch.

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Although the original recipes aren’t available, Chef Nitin Mathur and his team at the Taj Krishna have done a fabulous job at recreating the original menu. We started off with the Consomme al indienne. The Consomme was crystal clear, with the enhanced flavors of the chicken shining through. The julienned veggies on the bed, showcasing the colors of India parted out as the consommé flowed right through. I thoroughly loved it. The appetizer of the night is one which didn’t feature in the original menu and had been added in. Delicacies a’l Hindustan literally translating as ‘Delicacies of Hindustan’ were three cottage cheese in three different variants of marinade.

Delicacies a’l Hindustan

The mains comprised of Paupiette de Saumon joinville (Salmon roulade, soft creamy mash, wilted spinach, turned vegetables and Joinville sauce), Poularde Souffle Independence (Chicken soufflé with steamed vegetables and lemon parsley sauce), Crepes aux epinards (Stuffed spinach crepes with Makani gravy) and Campignons vol au vents (truffle and wild mushroom with paprika cheese sauce). It was the Vol-au-vent which was my pick for the night. A classic Belgian dish, the vol-au-vent is a stack of puff pastry with filling of either mushrooms or chicken. The mushrooms give earthiness and with the crunch of the fluffiest puff pastry, this is an absolute beauty.

Paupiette de Saumon joinville

Poularde Souffle Independence

The set dinner ended with Vacherin de peches liberation (Peach infused Apricot Sorbet) served in Meringue cups. Having the sorbet alone was a bit too sweet for my palate, but it wasn’t until I broke down the whole dessert on my plate, that the deftness of it all shone through.

The recreation of the 1947 Menu at Encounters, Taj Krishna is a niche menu that comes along once in a while. It’s India’s history on a plate and with a pricing of Rs. 1947/-, this is one worth indulging in.

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Bengali cuisine is one that is very close to our heart. I’ve spent many a weekends having a perfectly cooked Bengali lunch and turning over in my bed for an afternoon siesta.It’s filling,it’s tasty and moreover it’s absolutely satisfying.

Taj Krishna is hosting a Bengali Food Festival with Chef Santu from Kolkata. We couldn’t wait to get to try out the dishes on offer. Between the two of us we had each a vegetarian and non-vegetarian thali. With the summer heat, the Aam Porar Shorbort and Beetnoon Gandaraj Lebu Jol provided the much needed refresh. I especially liked the Gandaraj lebu drink which wasn’t overtly sweet too.

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Among the appetizers the best of Bengali street food was served. And that includes your Aloo Chop, Postor Bora, Mochhar Chop from the vegetarian side and the non-vegetarian thali featured Bengali Style Masala Fish Fry, Murgir Chop. All of these were served with fresh kasundi (mustard). The Murgir Chop was truly delicious with the kasundi.

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It was time to shift to the main course. Served in quite an elegant thali, all of the dishes had been neatly arranged. The afternoon we were the vegetarian thali featured Palangshaager chorchori which is fresh spinach cooked with pumpkin and tempered with the panch phoron spices. There was also the Dhokar Dalna and Gote Rosun ar Bhaja Masala diye Aloor Dum. The Aloor Dum went amazing with a side of ajwaini luchis.

Shifting focus to the non-vegetarian side of the tali were the Chingri Malai Curry (Prawns cooked in coconut cream), a Beckti Paturi which is fish smeared with mustard paste and steamed in a banana leaf. The highlight for me among all of the non vegetarian gravies was the Nakel Kancha-Lonka diye Murgir Mangsho. Even though made with green chilies, it wasn’t overtly spicy and the flavors were just wonderful. Having a bit of the Ghee Bhaat (Rice with Ghee), Bhaja Moong Dal and Murgir Mangsho is all I could have settled for.

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Bengali food is incomplete with having the sweets. So ending off the meal on a sweet note were the Mishti Doi, Nolen Gur Rosogula and Sandesh.

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The Bengali Food Festival is on at Taj Krishna in Fridaus. There is a thali option and also patrons order dishes on a-la-carte.

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A food festival of tradition, nostalgia and most importantly a food for the soul is how I’d describe the ongoing Kashmiri Food Festival at Taj Krishna. Firdaus at Taj Krishna has always carried an air of royalty every single time we’ve walked through it’s doors. Mellifluous ghazals and soothing notes are of classical music create an unmatched experience at the Firdaus. But most it is the minute details to food which make Firdaus one of a kind experience.

Firdaus

Seating At Firdaus

The Kashmiri Food Festival wasn’t about just having the food. It meant savoring the flavors of the Himalayan region, a rich legacy from the descendants of the Wazas, a cuisine so rich that has just got it’s much-needed attention in recent years. A lot of misconception has been associated with Kashmiri cuisine being sweet which isn’t the case. It’s spicy and it’s super rich. And if you’re a meat-person like us, the plate stops right in front.

Khosh Aamdeyd

The Table Is Set

Crafting a unique menu of the Wazwan cuisine, Chef Waza Tariq of Taj Vivanta – Dal View has done wonders. We started the night with Nadru Malai Tikki and Chicken Kanti. The Nadru Malai Tikki are delicate pan-grilled tikkis with lotus stem, dal and malai which make a great pairing with the arcot ka chutney. The use of onions graciously in the Kashmiri cuisine is well known and the Chicken Kanti brought forward exactly that.

Chef Waza Tariq

Nadru Malai Tikki

Chicken Kanti

Now to the favorite appetizer of the night, the Tabak Maaz. I’ve sweet memories of looking out at the gorgeous Himalayas off a balcony while sipping Qahwa and Tabak Maaz. An extremely rustic dish which gives so much importance to the meat while all the masalas just take a backseat for once. You get a light sourness of yogurt and is one of the dishes which is steeped in Kashmiri tradition.

Tabak Maaz

Appetizers

The main course is a happy affair for a non-vegetarian. The Wazwan cuisine gives great importance to the Mutton while the chicken makes up more a side-dish for many. This is not considering the famous Dum Aloo, Rajma Gogje, Haak and Tamatar Chaman of the region. Perhaps the most famous of the Wazwan dishes, the Mutton Rogan Josh had a thick gravy with a brilliant red color from the Kashmiri red chilies and maval flowers. The Rista is Lamb meatballs in a fiery red gravy. The best part about the Rista was the tender aroma of saffron when had with white rice or garlic naan.

Rista

Kashmir Spread

Kashmiri Pulao

The Gustaba is a lamb meatballs in a white gravy. The curry is made with tempering the meatballs in yogurt and dry mint to give it a tangy taste. Haak was a dish I was having for the first time though. Leafy vegetables seldom fit in my meal and this was a time I made place on my plate for some. And I was so glad that I did. A clear and full of flavor gravy made from boiled spinach and Kashmiri chili with steamed white rice was a delightful surprise.

GushtabaKashmiri Thali

Haak With Steamed Rice

We ended the dinner with the Badami Phirni and Kesari Halwa. Through all the dishes the distinct aroma of zaffran played an important note. Wazwan cuisine is one which definitely has to be experienced b everyone. It’s a part of India we seldom get to experience down south and Firdaus with Chef Waza Tariq made it a beautiful evening to remember.

Kesari Halwa

Badami Phirni

The Kashmiri Food Festival is on at Firdaus in Taj Krishna from 20th-27th of February.

Firdaus - Taj Krishna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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As I sat in the outdoor Alfresco dining of Taj Krishna, with a mellifluous song serenading in the background and a glass of scotch on ice in hand, I couldn’t help but ponder over winters. Well you see, we in Hyderabad don’t get the chill winds of Delhi or the absolute cool nights of Bangalore but yet associate winters with meat and a warm drink. I mean take the Hyderabadi cuisine itself for example, the Pathar ka Gosht, tikkas are absolute perfect accompaniments to a good whiskey. And that’s where the Friday BBQ nights in Taj Krishna come in.

Taj Krishna Alfresco

The Grill and Barbeque nights are the perfect way to unwind with the start off the weekend. For a property which stand right in the middle of the city, the Alfresco does offer a quiet corner away from the sounds and noises, overlooking the majestic Taj Krishna. And if you’re a meat lover, then know that ‘you shalt not walketh away disappointed’.

Breads

The entire cooking station is divided into 3 primary sections. Starting off with the International Grills, I couldn’t have asked for a better spread with Barbecued Sticky Pork Ribs, Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Cajun Chicken Tenders being some of the few. The Seafood Grills is well-set too. Prawns, squid, octopus, mackerel and so much more to take your pick.

Grills Live Counters

Seafood Grills Platter

But if you’re a pork person then the sausages and bacon are going to be hard to resist. Frankfurters, Bratwurst and Nuremberg sausages were all good, but nothing can replace bacon. And with bacon, I mean the perfectly cooked, crunchy, a hint of smokiness kind. For the vegetarians the International Grills had herb cured mushrooms, caramelized garlic charred baby carrots among others.

Sausages And International Grills

For The Love Of Bacon

Moving on to the next section was the Indian Grills. Considering that all your choices are made right on order, what I got on my plate each time were piping hot, fresh-made kebabs. The Lahsooni Murg Tikka had been marinated beautifully with garlic. The Gosht Shikampuri and Ajwaini Tawa Machli were cooked to perfection.

Chef At Work (Indian Grills)

Indian Grills

The Tepenyaki section turned out to be quite interesting. I love the fact that Taj Krishna, instead of adding the usual stir fry and Indo-Chinese to the Oriental menu actually gave a thought to going a bit Korean. The choices in the Tepenyaki included chicken, tenderloin, lamb and fish in your choice of sauce.

Tepenyaki Grills

The hot buffet is small considering the large array of dishes in Grills and BBQ. But upon conversing with the chef, I could understand his chain of thought for this. The Hot buffet mostly comprises of vegetarian and is a rotating menu. The choices are kept vegetarian mostly to balance out the little tilt of the scale in favor of the non-veggies in grills. But I actually found it refreshing, taking it on a palate change between so many rounds of meat.

Salads Counter

The Friday night Alfresco dining is paired with unlimited Chivas Regal (12 Yrs), Absolut and Merlot. Ending the night with a hot crepe, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the weekend.

Drinks Counter

Desserts

Alfresco - Taj Krishna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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