South Side Fest, Saffron @ Park Plaza, Bangalore
Another food festival in town – woot! In the six months or so since I’ve started seriously reviewing food events held at different hotels in Bangalore, I have become a fast fan. I am continually impressed by the effort that establishments put into short term (generally running a couple weeks) fests, and also by the food quality and spread. The latest, Park Plaza Hotel’s South Side Fest at Saffron, their specialty Indian restaurant, was no exception. They have created a special (and quite comprehensive!) menu featuring dishes from all four Southern states. There are also vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis, for those who don’t want to choose from such a vast array.
The dishes are named per the local language and culture they represent, so there was a range from Karnataka (including a sub set of Mangalorean delicacies), Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra items to be had. Our appetizer course included my favorite Mangalorean dish, Chicken Sukka (it can also be made with mutton) that is a dry preparation with spices and grated coconut. Sea food lovers – rejoice and get over there! The Nellore Chapla Pulusu, fillet of sole simmered in fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds spiked coconut, and tomato gravy was quite lovely, and the Chameen Moilee or tiger prawns cooked with coconut, green chilli, ginger, coconut and spices was really spectacular. Huge, succulent shrimp and buttery delicate flavoring made me an instant fan! There were more fish and prawn Malayali and Mangalore style plus an Andhra style chicken biryani. Also some not very commonly found Indian breads (well, I think mainly because we tend to associate that term with Tandoor and naans) like Akki Roti, Malabar Paratha, Appam, and Neer Dosa (this Kannadiga specialty is something I was introduced to after I moved to Bangalore and which I just love), to go along with them.
There were enough choices to keep all vegetarians and non vegetarians satisfied, and provided a one stop spot to savor the different tastes found in South Indian cuisine. The fest is on until the end of this week, and I highly recommend you check it out. We ended our meal with Mysore Pak (a ghee filled, rich confection) and Elneer Payasam (tender coconut water, milk, and tender coconut pieces along with some jaggery). I have eaten many different kinds of payasam a.k.a kheer in my life, but this was a new and very yummy rendition for me! As always, the Park Plaza’s signature cocktails (and mocktails) enhance any meal, and since I went with the non alcoholic range this time, I know they’re great too!
Ed: Cover photo not from this establishment.