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Tacos, nachos and more


MEXICAN FOOD is popular throughout the world. But the kind of fare you are probably familiar with - tacos with guacamole, tortillas, enchiladas and nachos — is only a small part of this country's culinary repetoire. Drop in at Geoffrey's in Radha Park Inn and you will realise what you have been missing.

The pub, situated in Arumbakkam (ph: 24757788), is organising a 10-day Mexican food festival titled `Fiesta Mexicana' till May 11. Rajesh Ranjan, food and beverage manager, says, "It is the first time we are conducting a buffet here."

On entering the pub, one is greeted by a senorita and several senores donning Mexican hats and ponchos and served the complimentary margarita with strawberry. The place is decked with traditional Mexican props such as Sombereros, Cactai and colourful handicrafts. The music played in the background also helped in creating the right ambience. Disappointingly though, it was later switched over to Western tunes.

The appetisers such as tacos, nachos, fajitas, burritos, tostadas and enchiladas were prepared in a live station and one could choose from an array of meat or vegetables as filling. The corn and pimento soup was light and had the right amount of flavouring. The chicken in green mole (chicken with four kinds of chillies and chocolate), a Mexican speciality, was delightful.

The half grilled fish veracruzana had the right spices in it. Though the prawns in prawns maya was tough, the maya (mango sauce with white wine) which one used as a dip, made it forgivable. The preparation of minced lamb with beans reminded us of our kheemas.

And for the veggies, there was mushroom xohitz and zucchini mexicana. The menu changes daily though the appetisers and corn rice are a constant throughout the fiesta.

Among the desserts, drunken bananas (made out of butter, banana, brown sugar, cinnamon powder, sultanas, peanuts and a dash of rum) and flan (made out of cream caramel with chocolate sauce, coffee liquor and walnut) deserve special mention. The burnt milk cake was also equally tempting.

For those who want to relax with a drink or two can choose from the list of margaritas and tequilas (fermented juice of crushed pineapple like base of the Agave cactus). Master chefs Sergio Synder and Roberto Treves were seen cheering the tequila takers by singing a Mexican ditty, which when translated means "Hooray, Hooray, you are a macho"!

Flown down specially for the occasion, the chefs have promised to give Chennaities authentic Mexican food throughout the festival. "There will be no toning up or down of the spices to please Indian taste buds," says Synder. However, according to him, both Indian and Mexican cuisines are similar in flavour, as "Indians and Mexicans like the fiery taste in their meal. They also cook the ingredients along with sauce, unlike the Americans who prefer to do it separately." The buffet is priced at Rs 300 per head and is on after 8 p.m.

SANGEETH KURIAN

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