Food fests to tickle every palate
This marketing strategy, this new trend is soon catching on. The special-theme food festivals have become a hit even with the most discerning connoisseur of good food. Some of the most exquisite of dishes have now made their way to the restaurants of the city, courtesy these festivals, says VIJAY GEORGE
WHEN MOM serves some of them, with that extra taste of affection thrown in as a bonus, we usually tend to frown, dismissing the dishes as not being ``special.'' Now, virtually every hotel in the city gears up to present that "different" taste, at least twice in every quarter. And how varied the menu is what counts these days. Call it marketing strategy, a new trend or even an experiment. Almost everyone seems to love it.
Thus in a span of just a few months, while the spicy dishes usually associated with traditional Christian homes found its way into the restaurant of Grand Hotel, which was convincingly titled `Ammachi's Delights,' Taj Residency had `Ponnuswamy's Military Mess,' Le Meridian joined the party along with Casino, The Trident and Taj Malabar, each one spreading out their own "extra special-theme fests," which have turned, if some of those who quote trade statistics to support their claim can be believed, "quite a sensation."
The ambience is always set in tune with the variety of the fests. "We had arranged ghazal recitals during the Lucknowi food fest and during the Ponnuswamy's cuisine, a karakattom dancer performed every day," states Rabitha of Taj Residency.
Jamshed Latheef of Casino remembers that with lights, colours and a menu to match, the Diwali festival was really special. The hotel is particularly known for its variety of seafood served there, he adds. The response from those who visit the hotels, especially during such fests are really encouraging, say all those who work behind such events. The mantra is, the trendiest attracts more attention.
The `Muniyandi Vilas' fest arranged by the Pandhal restaurant had some curious dishes. Try these. Muniyandi Chidambaram Shappad, Guddalore Iral Fry, Veera Pandian Mutton Koottu. Says Sanjay, a businessman, "Its really exciting to have such varying tastes. We do enquire about the details of some of the dishes and experiment with these rather alien flavours."
"The response from the customers for the food fests are so good that they still continue with a specified variety cuisine every day even now," says Penny George of Le Meridien.
Chef Ajay Markan offers `Flavours of the World' multi-cuisine buffets, a different one every day. Check the list. Pastas, continental dishes and Indian delicacies add to the buffet on Tuesdays, roasts, sizzlers and the choice to pick from the wide variety of meat, poultry, vegetables and kebabs to slake your thirst for good food on Wednesdays, Mediterranean buffet replete with Moroccan, Arabic, Italian and French cuisine, Seafood lasagne and Seafood cocktail follows. Well, the Indian buffet get into the scheme of things too with dishes like Paya Shorba, Murg Nihari and Kache Gosh ki Biriyani.
Taj Malabar hosted the Karavali fest, which had some exquisite dishes, mainly from the coastal areas of Karnataka and Goa. The Chinese and the Italian food fests that they organised were also really successful. The Punjabi food fests which the hotel hosts once in a while is also a total sell out, thanks to the huge North Indian population in the city.
Almost all the hotels have live music bands to attract the crowd. But the obvious question is whether this trend is going to stay on for long with everyone announcing some `specialty cuisine' or the other, in quick succession? "The flooding of such food fests could really affect the interest of the crowd. The main problem will be the difficulty to choose the genuine ones from the lot," says one of them. But most others brush aside that fear, just like Saurav Ganguly and his boys state when asked about their prospects at the World Cup despite the drubbing in New Zealand.
"People are intelligent enough to go for the ones they really want to, after watching the announcements." Indeed they are. And those intelligent ones are having a gala time too.
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