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A menu to drool over

A.S.A.S.



You can have anything from aloo tikki chaat to Irish coffee at the Monsoon. - Photo: Murali Kumar K.

CHICKEN DRUMETTES with honey and orange, spicy kokum and coconut milk soup, banana blossom kebab, southern fried buttermilk chicken, and Thai curries are some of the new exotic dishes on offer in the new lunch menu at the Monsoon Restaurant, The Park.

The new menu, instead of sticking to an entirely Continental, Indian or Oriental fare, has the best of all. You have anything from aloo tikki chaat to Irish coffee to choose from.

To start off, one can take one's pick from a range of starters available. For veggies, there is the Casablanca salad platter, which contains spicy mashed carrots, walnut, pomegranate, and a sesame almond dip. And for chicken lovers, chicken drumettes with honey and orange is a good pick. For something truly exotic try the Monsoon crab cakes or Bengali fish rolls.

The soups in this menu are something to truly relish. You have your usual tomato and basil, but also some truly out-of-the-world stuff such as Vietnamese crab and asparagus and Turkish meatball and chickpea. But the one to really enjoy is the spicy kokum and coconut milk soup. This soup from the Konkan region has a taste that is probably not found anywhere else. An acquired taste, it is mildly spicy but the unique taste of kokum syrup and coconut milk forms a heady mix. Light pink in colour, this soup very good for the body because kokum is a natural coolant.

There are a number of kebabs to choose from. There is vindaloo masala chicken tikka (now U.K.'s national dish) or the tawa cooked spinach and cashewnut kebab.

But the one that can be classified as unique is the banana blossom kebab, which is a must try along with the mildly spicy, stuffed broccoli. The range of options available for the main course leaves you really spoilt for choice. There is the vast Indian selection which offers dishes from all parts of the country. There is the Chettinad style cauliflower kurma, coconut chutney and mini uthappam, mutton pepper fry, Kerala parotta with cucumber, appams with lamb or chicken stew, murgh tikka makhani, butter naan and chickpea salad, paneer and prune biryani. There is also dosa with sambhar and chutney (Rs. 175).

But the ones to be tried are the Thai curries with steamed rice. There are many options available to customise the curries to anyone's taste. There is fish, prawn, chicken, lamb and mixed vegetables available as red, yellow or green curry in hot basil and chilli sauce or sweet and sour sauce or spicy peanut sauce.

Also try (leaving room for dessert) the mixed mushroom crepe with grilled vegetables and Gorgonzola sauce.

On the dessert menu are the simply yummy sticky maple pudding and the passion fruit mousse with apricot sauce. Or you could just go Indian and try the mithai platter which gives you Mysore pak, pista jamun and rasmalai. Dessert can also be topped off with a number of beverages that are available.

The new menu has something for everyone, American tourist or Indian veggie. The menu has been designed keeping in mind hotel guests as well as regular lunchers.

The food is light on the stomach and doesn't leave you yawning at the end. It's tad expensive though: a meal for two would cost you Rs. 1,500. Call Monsoon on 25594666 for reservations.

* * *

Ambience: Very open and modern

Service: Good, usual five-star

Wallet factor: Expensive

Speciality: Spicy kokum and coconut milk soup, banana blossom kebab, southern fried buttermilk chicken and Thai curries

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