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Southern spice

Indulge in Kodagu ogaray, Malabar paratha, Bisi bele huli anna and more from the Southern platter


APPETISING AROMA of ghee, podis and pickles, a rangoli made with eight types of grains, red chillies and turmeric, and occasional notes of classical instrumental music wafting over the din provide a festive tinge to the brightly lit ambience at Utsav. The occasion is the ongoing fiesta `Simbly South'. "We have organised several North Indian food festivals so far, as the restaurant specialises in North Indian and Chinese vegetarian cuisine. This is for the first time that we are doing a South Indian festival," says Dilip Kumar, F&B manager Utsav.

Indeed food buffs have realised that there is more to the south Indian platter than the conventional idli, dosa and filter coffee. So, for the festival the South Indian cuisine department of the restaurant has lined up 10 menus. The spread is designed based on requests from regular customers with select cuisine from popular kitchens of the south, a few from the picturesque destinations, such as Kodagu ogaray from Coorg and Malabar paratha, the former a mildly spicy yet zestful tomato rice and the latter a layered Indian bread that goes just fine with Kospu pattani iguru. One of good things about south Indian fare is the use of yoghurt and tamarind against cashew gravies and dollops of butter as seen in north Indian cuisine. So, one finds the Masala wada, Thair wada, Bangala dumpa bongu mirchi, Moru kozhambu and Daddojanam in the pan South spread here. As also, two live counters whipping out appams to be served with stew, and of dosas coming with a choice of fillings such as cheese or spinach. An assortment of fries — vadium and papad, plus exotic pachadis such as Raw mullakai pachadi and the Guntur red chillies preparation Karri karam can also be sampled. Those obsessing over calories can gravitiate towards the salads.

But the maxim at any food festival, go easy on the diet and burn those extra calories at the gym. Enter desserts, where an assortment of Bobbatlu -- rawa, coconut, date and chana dal, are served piping hot. Team these with Chakkara pongal and a scoop of tender coconut based ice cream.

A cauldron of frothy filter coffee, kullarhs with Badam paal and glasses of mor or butter milk, the latter two served as welcome drinks, sure complete the southern fare. And that's not all. There is the tambulam with the paan, bananas and two varieties of betel nuts to wrap up your visit here. The buffet is priced at Rs. 149, plus taxes.

The two-level restaurant is often choc-a-block, so it would be a good idea to make your reservations before you go there. The south Indian food festival is on for dinners 7 p.m.— 11 p.m., till August 1. For details contact Utsav, 221, Tivoli Road on Tel: 55263646, 277220638.

SYEDA FARIDA

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