On a platter
Highland Park, a vegetarian restaurant in the city, offers Indian dishes at affordable prices.
TIGHTEN YOUR apron, straighten your hat and get ready for a culinary trip into Highland Park's restaurant. The restaurant specialises in vegetarian cuisine, mostly Indian fare.
The continental breakfast for Rs. 60 has toasted bread and butter/jam, cornflakes and milk, tea/coffee and fresh fruit juice. The other south Indian fare include dosa, idli and uthapam.
You may begin the meal with soup. On offer are cream of vegetable (Rs. 28), cream of cashewnut (Rs. 30), cream of mushroom (Rs. 30) and soup de' Caldena (Rs. 35).
The special thali meals consists of soup, chappati and sabzi, rice, sambar, rasam, pulissery, thoran, kootucurry, dal and ghee, pickle, papadam, curd, lemon rice, tomato or coconut rice. The thali meal costs Rs. 45. Vegetable fried rice (Rs. 40) may be had with a spicy vegetable dish. Or you may dig into American chopsuey for just Rs. 60. A combination of salads and raitas is on offer. The tomato cucumber raita is priced at Rs. 20 a plate.
The `Green garden' delicacies comprise dal makhani (Rs. 35), Kashmiri kofta (Rs. 50), matar paneer (RS. 40), vegetable jalfarezi (Rs. 50) and aloo gobi fry (Rs. 30). Vegetable cutlet (Rs. 25), cheese pakoda (Rs. 25), vegetable spring roll (Rs. 42) are part of the snacks served.
The Tandoori cuisine includes tandoori gobi (Rs. 50), paneer tikka (Rs. 45), hariyali roti (Rs. 18), onion kulcha (Rs. 20). Among the desserts in the menu are kesari, pudding and custard. Fresh fruit juice and ice creams are also on the menu card. New kinds of soups are also whipped up at weekends and during festivals.
The restaurant has two north Indian chefs, while a south Indian cook specialises in thali meals and other southern fare. The Manager, Highland Park, Ziauddin, says, "We serve most of our north Indian dishes at night. Few customers ask for Tandoori dishes at noon. We see to it that the fillings for sandwiches are improvised upon every now and then."
Says the chief chef at Highland Park, "Most of our customers prefer to eat channa masala or Punjabi chole sabzi with batoora. The gourmands also favour palak (spinach) curries."
Cooking special dishes involves a lot of effort and leaves him no time to interact with the guests, but the restaurant's captain ensures that the kitchen staff gets the feedback of the customers.
The chief chef is busy in the kitchen garnishing spicy vegetable Kolhapuri and a non-spicy paneer mumtaz. A dash of white pepper here and some grated cheese there and viola! A pleasing aroma wafts across the kitchen counter.
"Being a chef doesn't mean you're at the stove all day. There's a lot of creativity involved in planning meals. Cooking a dish the right way is as important as garnishing it. One can add cubes of pineapple, cherry and olives to garnish the dishes as well as sprinkle finely chopped coriander and fenugreek leaves," he adds as he sautés makhani masala.
This masala, he points out, is the basic ingredient of most north Indian vegetarian dishes.
So combine the dishes and main course with care, and pay attention to the way you cook. With a little creativity, you can experiment with recipes and cook a variety of lip-smacking dishes- all in your own kitchen. Bon appetite!
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