AUTHENTICITY IS a double-edged sword, overdose kills creativity and absence causes chaos. The balancing act between the two extremes, the golden mean is hard to locate. As with the other arts, in food too the equation is the same. For me, personally, it is a flexible word depending on the cost, the type of food (for foreign styles are harder than that which come naturally to us) and the setting. . Of course, my familiarity with the kind of food matters too. Given the variety of food in our country, I always am willing to eat humble pie and admit ignorance. At the Kerala Curry Festival at Savera Hotel, the territory was home ground. In the white ambience of Malgudi, the South Indian restaurant, the verdant colours of Kerala came on only in patches. The waiters in white shirts and dhotis with `randaam mundu' (literal translation is second dhoti) tied around the waist, were a nice touch. The soup Tomato saaru was good. The Mutton ishtew struck the right chord, but the Appam to go with it was Tamilian. The taste of urad dal was distinctive. The Kadala curry and Puttu were nice.
The other staples, string hoppers, parottas and dosas and the semi-polished par boiled rice were all there. The pathiri or rice flour chappathis of Moppilahs could have been thinner.
The non-veg curries, Meen pappas and Kozhi melagu did not fit in. The first one was actually Aleppey fish curry under the wrong name. As far as the original goes it was not bad. With the second one too the name was a problem. Melagu is very much a Tamil term.
The Tamil influence became even more obvious with the Ulli theeyal or button onion curry. This was a fusion, no doubt and not a bad one at that. Cauliflower thoran or poriyal could have been better. The dessert table had the required variety of a standard buffet. The ethnic sweets were Pal and Payaru payasams. The latter stole the thunder from the milk payasam. Unniyappam served as a welcome sweet was quite nice.
The festival, which costs Rs.250 per person, is on till April 15.
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