Being a foodie, seldom do I come across a rare cuisine that Im unheard off and when I heard about The Cuisine of the Navaithas promotion at Deccan Pavilion, ITC Kakatiya, I was excited to try it because of the rich history associated with it. Was happy to have been invited for a Chefs table to experience the culinary delights of this rich historical background of the Navaithas where Chef KM Srinevasu from ITC Windsor showcased his specialties which were a delicate blend of Mughalai & Nawabi flavors.
The Navaithas who were an Urdu speaking community from Gingee, a town in Villupuram district were brought to fill the barracks of the British army in the war against Tippu Sultan who decided to stay back and reside which is now the Shivajinagar in Bengaluru. Gingee as a town itself was a melting pot, as the British, French, and Marathas along with local rulers ruled at various points in its history, each leaving behind their own indelible impressions.
Started off my gourmet experience with the some delectable Veg & Non-Veg starters of which Bhuna Batair – drenched in colorful spices was the first of the lot followed by Prawn Narangi. With a slight zest of orange, the prawn narangi was medium spiced and when served with mint chutney was quite delicious. Grilled Chicken that followed next was charred grill to smoky-juicy perfection. One of the distinct characteristics of the Navaithas cuisine is its predominant use of grills and tandoors with abundance of garlic which was quite evident in the starters.
The veg section featured a distinct Kele ka Sheekh – a succulent melt in the mouth delicacy of raw banana, Tawa Paneer that was done with simple basic ingredients and Aloo Methi Tikki – a perfect blend of mushy potatoes with sharp smell of fenugreek.
The Paya Kamiri that followed next was easily the star of the evening. Cooked for almost 20 hours, the fall of the meat plus the delicious broth was super delicious. Being a Hyderabadi, the best way to enjoy the paya was with sheermal and just when I brought this point to the Chef he insisted on me having it with steamed idiyappams that was like a meal in itself.
The mains had Meat Chop Masala, Khatta Prawn, Mahi Dum, Meen Saro in the Non-veg and Soya Paneer, Soya Lauki, Denta Soppu, Kaddu ka dalcha in the veg sections along with the assorted breads. Being a half Kannadiga – Denta soppu was like a soul food which is a staple that I grew up eating at my Grandparents place. While, the combination of Kaddu Ka Dalcha and steaming hot Bagara Chawal was a perfect treat to satisfy a Hyderabadi’s palate. Meen Saaru with its thick tamrind pulp was well done and went well with the steamed rice, although I’d prefer to ragi balls any day while Meat Chop Masala although sounds just normal – it was simply outstanding!!
Was happy to notice Yakhni Pulao on the menu. A delicious rice pilaf cooked in mutton stock and spices, with its fall of the bone meat and slight hint of fennel to enhance the flavor, this was exactly my kind of pulao that I would love in a Mughalai affair.
Aflatoon, Jamun Rabri and Beetroot halwa were the desserts on offer. A combination of Semolina,Khova, Dry fruits and Ghee – Aflatoon was clear stand out and lived up to its fame ! The Beetroot halwa & Jamun Rabri were decent enough.
Under the “Forgotten Treasures” concept by ITC – The Cuisine of Navaithas is definitely one of those rare legendary cuisines I have come across in recent times which for sure will leave a lasting impression with every food enthusiast and iam glad to have experienced it.
The promotion is part of the Dinner spread at Deccan Pavilion and is priced approximately Rs 1600 ++
Thumbs up for this one !