Novotel has recently started off a Jodhpuri food festival, prepared by Chef Rehman and his team. The dinner buffet at The Square: All Day Dining would feature a considerable range of food from Jodhpur, with live music from the region for the diners to enjoy. I was invited to the preview, and was pleasantly surprised by the food as well as the decor. I spoke to the Chef and he talked to me about the vast array of Rajasthani food which is what he wanted to showcase. He had flown in the authentic accompaniments like papads and pickles for this event.
The dinner buffet will feature four sets of menu, and we sampled only one. The specialty of this particular menu is that some of the recipes come from the kitchens of His Highness, Maharaja Gaj Singhji II of Jodhpur, who was known for his love for food and hunting. The meal we were served featured some famous Rajasthani dishes, including the Dal Baati Churma, Mirchi Wada, Pyaaz Ke Kachori, Ker Sangri, and Laal Maas.
There were kababs of paneer, chicken and mutton, and I particularly liked the soft pieces of spicy grilled mutton. However, as a good Pyaaz ke Kachori is my weakness, I quickly shifted my ever-flickering attention, and the kachori, piping hot and flaky, didn’t disappoint. Paired with the sweet chutney, it was a delightful combination. I have a special place for Mirchi Wada, and the large chilli was filled with a simple potato filling which is extremely satisfying.
In our mains, there were an assortment of items – from the soft paneer to the gatte ki sabzi, the food was redolent with cumin, coriander, asafoetida and ghee. But the Ker Sangri was my particular favourite – It was cooked in a way which reminded me of a school friend’s house, and I loved it. The Laal Maas was also quite tasty, although I didn’t find it to be too hot, which is one of things I look for in a good version of the dish.
But seriously, I think no Rajasthani meal is complete without the traditional daal baati churma, and here we were served the batis drenched in ghee, with a side of plain daal. Although the baati were slightly more chewy than I would have preferred, the churma was rather nice, and served as a palate cleanser before I attacked dessert.
As for dessert, among the many known dishes, the Kesariya Ghevar stood out. The Rajasthani food festival is part of the buffet at Novotel, and is only available for dinner, and it is priced at INR 1950/- plus taxes.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at Novotel at the invitation of the management.