South Indian Festival, Blooms, Eros Hotel managed by Hilton, Nehru Place, New Delhi
If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know we visit Blooms quite a bit and generally have a great time. This time was no exception, with a few exceptions. We opted for a table indoors; given the ambient temperature outdoors, I didn’t miss not being able to light up in the least. Other diners though may have wondered about the garrulous bunch of camera-and-notebook toting people who stopped just short of making a nuisance of themselves. I was also the happy recipient of Dad’s the Word: The Perils and Pleasures of Fatherhood by Soumya Bhattacharya from the nice people at Westland. Others received the same book plus one other.
To avoid the constraints of sitting at a looong table and not being able to interact with others, we made a slight change to the usual dining protocol – the moment one’s chair was empty, it became fair game for anyone else to occupy. This ensured all of us changed chairs every now and then and were able to meet bloggers other than those we were initially seated next to. The serving staff must have cursed us; they were the poor souls who had to rush over with fresh cutlery every time one of our rear ends relocated. Speaking of serving staff, the men and women were beautifully dressed in traditional south Indian attire; looked Keralite to me though I could be mistaken… and that’s a shame, because I’m half Keralite.
Our meal began with More, the Tamilian version of buttermilk tempered with black mustard seeds and curry leaves. One of my perennial favorites, this is a very refreshing drink, one most of us asked for more of. Live stations, coincidentally located right next to our table served bunches of fried stuff including ladyfish, marelfish, crisp prawns encrusted with rawa, chettinad chicken, cauliflower, baby corn, raw banana and aubergine marinated in assorted spices.
The main courses were laid out in the main buffet area, a part of the meal I didn’t indulge in to any great extent, though what I did eat I felt needed a little more attention to the flavors within. Was I being finicky because the food in question was a part of my own culture? Perhaps. I can’t put my finger on the exact reason for what I thought wasn’t as inspiring as the stuff the kitchens at Blooms usually dish out. Then again, I had two helpings of the Kaadai Varuval (stewed, spicy quail) and the Vazhakkai Kuttu (raw bananas cooked with coconut and chana dal) with rice and did enjoy it, while feeling they could have been better.
Surprisingly, there was puttu with kadalai curry too, a dish I haven’t seen in many south Indian promotions, up north. I do wish they had included the version with bananas, sugar and ghee too, a childhood favorite. Talking of favorites, I’ve never liked puttu with kadalai curry and that evening was no exception. The folks at Blooms did however get us some banana, sugar and ghee so we could do our own. Brought back a ton of memories, including squishing the stuff through our fingers as kids much to the annoyance of my very north Indian and propah Army Dad. Predictably, there was the ubiquitous appam and stew, available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants as well as the not-so-ubiquitous idiappam, string hoppers. I used to love eating these at my grandmother’s house dunked into a bowl of sweetened milk.
Watch out for the next promotion at Blooms. They’re usually grand and quite worth the dough you’ll shell out to partake.