By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai– It is a simple fusion food festival sans confusion at the Ayna restaurant in Hilton Chennai that is hosting the Indo-British Fusion Fest till Nov 20, said a chef.
“We haven’t tinkered with the core taste and philosophy of the food. But we have fused it with some British elements,” Chef de Cuisine Paul Joe told IANS.
He added the plating was in the British style — that is, all the items on a single plate and not served separately – as he served the appetiser: arbi tukde-colocasia fritters, coloured peppers, onions and a tangy spice mix.
While savouring the tasty arbi tukde, the khasta khumb — layers of spiced morels and mushroom in a crisp sheet — came to the table. Like its look, the dish also tasted nice. While mushroom lovers would go mad over this, others too can try this and they would not be disappointed.
It was soon followed by the ultra-soft orange-flavoured tandoori salmon with baby greens salad which went down in a jiffy. The orange is there in the colour and its flavour was very subtle. One can also go for the Malabari prawns. Each jumbo prawn would fill up your mouth.
The it was time for the seafood rassa — Cochin prawns, mussels with scallops — which was mild and flavourful. “The prawns and scallops were slow-cooked in seafood stock,” Paul Joe informed.
The vegetarian bhune makai ka shorba — roasted corn soup with turmeric popcorn — is also worth trying as it was different and tasty.
Now, for the entree or the main course.
Except for the soup section that has only two options, the ala carte menu card has a multitude of choices — vegetarian and non-vegetarian — whether under appetisers, entree, dessert and not to mention the lassi.
The number of dishes in the menu only proves the wide variety of regional and traditional items of Indian cuisine.
The lobster hawa mahal — Cochin lobster, tempered spinach and saffron rice, gratinated with egg — was really nice and different. The fragrance of the saffron rice went off well with the lobster in a balanced way. The dish also has a subtle coconut taste thanks to the addition of coconut milk.
Fighting for tummy space and the taste buds was the prawn khichdi. The jumbo prawns and shrimps with saffron-flavoured rice and mixed sprouts was really yummy.
“One can call this as the Indian risotto. The khichdi is made with red rice,” Paul Joe said.
For chicken lovers, there is murg sirka pyyaaz, kali mirch ka murg or the home style chicken curry nukkad ka kukkad.
There is also the atta raan (serves two) — saffron dough enclosed with lamb leg with chef’s secret spices that could be safely ordered.
If you are in a mood to go for Indian breads, then opt for mini olive naan-peri peri and olive crusted naan — which is really good.
The chef also has given the options of various rice dishes that vegetarians can choose from. But for non-vegans the option is restricted to only chicken tikka khasta pulao.
For the sweet tooth there are options like khaas malpoi (stuffed pan cakes with carrot pudding), the dome (chikki kulfi with Baleys rabdi) and apple kheer (golden apple stewed with reduced milk and nuts), among others.
What: Indo-British Fusion Fest
Where: Hilton Chennai at J.N.Salai, Guindy
When : 4th Nov to 20 Nov
Timings: Lunch 12 noon to 3 p.m.; Dinner 6.30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Price: Meal for two would cost around Rs.4,000.