Sangeeth KurianSANGEETH KURIAN
GEAR YOUR taste buds for the `hottest' festival of the year. A ten-day `mouth-watering' `Chilli Festival' is on at the "601 Restaurant" in The Park, till July 27. The food is a treat for the adventurous.
From appetisers and soups through main course and desserts, the dishes are fiery. And by the end of it as you break out in perspiration and reach for your handkerchief, executive chef R.C. Willi Willson, pats your back and says, "boy that's the whole idea. A spicy dish should trigger the sensitive glands in your skin and tongue slowly that you will perspire by the end of the meal." Though Willson qualifies most of his dishes in the category of `medium to warm' there are a few, which can give the unwary a sharp bite.
Among appetizers, `James World Hottest Wings' (crisp fried chicken smothered in hot sauce and blue cheese dressing), as the name suggests is the hottest. It sets the ball rolling by triggering your glands, which in turn is heightened to the point of perspiration by the soup Chilli Shorba (chilli with chicken, vegetables, tomato and coriander) and the main dish The Chilli Chow Down Champion (chilli with tenderloin, tomato, beans and booze, with nachos and wedges.)
As if that's not enough, there are more chillies in the dessert section too. Fried Mexican Chilli Ice Cream, Cranberry Chilli Pastries (folded and rolled, cream cheese, cranberries and chilli.), Green Chilli Halwa, Toasted Chilli Custard and the Devilish Chocolate Mousse topped with innocuous looking Chilli Brownies that can give the unguarded ones a run for their tongue. "The festival is an occasion for the chefs to prove how innovative they can get with one of the basic ingredients of Indian cuisine. It also adds to the uniqueness of the event," says Willson.
The menu is eclectic in that it contains cuisines using chillies from various parts of the globe such as Fiery Frittata (potatoes, chillies, cheese and olive) from Spain, Hot Jezabel (salad of seta cheese with apricot, mustard and chilli sauce) from Morocco, the Jamaican Slaves Revenge Chilli (kidney bean and chick pea chilli), the Sicilian Seaside Prawn Chilli, etc, rather than restricting it to some of the major chilli consuming countries like Mexico, Thailand and China.
"I want my dishes to suit a majority of palates," reasons the chef.
The festival is a la carte and is open from 7 p.m. For reservations call 5214 4000, extension 601.
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