Ongoing Food Festival: Mythical Masalas @Eighty Eight, Hyatt Pune
Believe it or not, India and Indians have some things for sure, a lot of history, respect for elders and, much love for food. Indians, specially , believe in “अतिथिदेवो भव”, which literally translates to, “Guest is akin to God”, and who wouldn’t respect their guests.
We were regaled with a colourful account of our dinner spread at “EIGHTY EIGHT” which is tucked neatly with live counters, an open wood fired oven & buffet stations in one part of Hyatt Pune. There’s also a semi-private dining area for those looking for extra privacy, or the outdoor area if you’re comfortable with the breeze. I’ve known Hyatt Pune since long for their intriguing food festivals time and again. Who doesn’t love “माँ के हाथ का खाना”. This time it’s the “Mythical Masalas Festival”. What makes it unique is the fact that not only are we trying on long lost recipes/recipes passed down through generations, but the effort here is quite commendable. Chef Suvendu Roy (Head Chef) & Chef Shafique Ahmed (sous chef) were quoted as saying, “We wanted authentic dishes for our patrons, and so we have on board the powerhouses of our kitchens-Mothers. Mothers of some of our chefs who could spare their time and impart valuable expertise about the food that they’ve grown up with.”
That’s it, two recipes a day, started on 10th March and valid till 20th March’18, showcased each day apart from their regular buffet counter. You’ll be able to see dishes from as far as Kanyakumari, a few from the eastern mountain region of Arunachal Pradesh, to some from the city of joy-Kolkata.
A total of 7 dishes that we sampled from the Mythical Masalas menu, my favourites were the “Boti ni Akuri”, “Goalondo chicken curry” & “Kalyana Mor Kuzhambhu”.
Everyone has their own version/twist when it comes to preparation of various dishes.
This particular Akuri was a modestly spiced scrambled egg dish prepared with Mutton botis, as done in many Parsi households, the bite sized botis definitely caught my attention, and they would for sure, if prepared a bit more succulent.
Goalando Chicken Curry and another Indian gravy dish, “Roi Tel Macher Jhol” were slushy with masala & a bit of extra oil (I think it’s supposed to be that way). Certainly, that didn’t inhibit the freshness of the Chicken & Fish, and I was able to salvage some rich flavours. I don’t exactly remember the name of the fish used, but it had a bit more of what we call “Kaante” in them, and made it a meticulous task to not eat them along with the meat.
If you’re a vegetarian and okay with coconut, “Kalyana Mor Kuzhambhu” would be my suggestion. This is yet another snack-delicacy from the south Indian states, where Bonda’s with different fillings are fried and devoured. Here, this particular dish utilises savoury fried bonda’s in a creamy, yoghurt based gravy, and the subtle flavour of coconut is hint enough of it being from around the regions of Kerela & Tamil Nadu.
I was not really in the mood for steamed/fried veggies, yet one of the dishes, “Gobhi Dhantel ki Subzi”, grabbed my attention. Normally we’d be accustomed to having cauliflower in our curries, this subzi is made out of the stalk of the cauliflower plant. A dry and slightly sour-spiced curry with a taste reminiscent of “Turshi” (pickled vegetables prepared in the Middle East), and there’s “Phindi Miriyam” (for those who dig Urad Dal) , and “Thaalagam Kothu”(cooked with Hing & curry leaves/jaggery etc. ). However these two seemed quite plane Jane to my buds.
Apart from these, the regular buffet fared great when I tried their soups, Mutton biryani etc., and there’s plenty of choice for Salads and desserts, both tasty and above average. Be it the Fruit Custard, or the Coconut Kala Jamun. It’s their Tres Leches which becomes more engrossing with each bite you take.
In short, “Eighty Eight”, at Hyatt Pune has managed to keep a balance between their ongoing fest and their regular buffet options (it is a good strategy to showcase 1-2 recipes each day and not everything everyday) and for the sake of this festival, is moderately priced at ₹1450++. Meat lovers & veggie lovers have a few choices to make. For a person like me, who prefers a star property for a heavy meal over an Uber expensive restaurant outside, it’s worth a deal.
Fest: Mythical Masalas
Venue: Eighty Eight, Hyatt Pune, Kalyani Nagar
Date: 10-20 March’18
Time- 7 PM- 10 PM
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