When you say ITC, a spectacular vision of hospitality, lifestyle, grandeur and gourmet surround your vision.
ITC is a name that to reckon with heritage, festivity and good times indeed. Whether it was their beautifully located Sonar Bangla in Kolkata spoiling me with its Dum Pukht delicacies, or the Augustic ITC Grand Chola in Chennai where I have spent numerous afternoons feasting on the gourmand delights or the two ITC in Mumbai, playing my wonderful host in this city of dreams, I have some splendid food memories to cherish.
A Special Invitation that You Cannot Refuse
I love food but limited my food reviews these days due to sheer time and work pressures. Though I have not stopped adventuring out with food, trying new places. In fact, am eating out almost every day but the monotony of food reviews had failed to entice me from my lazy nest and comfortable couch. I am happy to pray, eat and tweet. Wonder what got me outside my cocoon? Well, it was an invite by one of the most celebrated and one of my most favourite brand [over the years and not just during my food blogging journey], that read- Food by Ganges!
#FoodByGanges with ITC
ITC Grand Central is hosting, a one of its kind #FoodByGanges Food Festival that has an intensively researched and specially curated menu, straight from the land of Uttar Pradesh. If you are a food traveller, you will know the distinctive variety, appetising nature of the well-grounded food that originated from the coasts of holy River Ganges.
When you say Ganges, the spread could be too long to cover in one menu. Hence, ITC has taken a 2-3 of the prime areas- Haridwar, Kanpur and Benaras to create this gastronomy affair.
Yes, gastronomy is least travelled through alphabets but highly devoured through imagery. I totally accord the fact and so overwhelmed by your response and queries originating from the few pictures that I shared via my Snapchat and Instagram stories during the testing and one to one interactive session with Chef Sumit and Ms Goyla, the food magician behind this trail.
What: Celebrating Riverside Glory
Where: Hornby Pavilion, ITC Grand Central
So, let me take you on a picture journey of the said cuisine much to your salivating palates. Here we go.
Let's begin with Starters
When you talk about Kanpur or Benaras, the memories of scrumptious chat and savouries fills your taste buds with food that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Everything from the potatoes to the chillies to the chutneys has their own unique flavour.
Must try the small cocktail samosas filled with aloo [potatoes stuffing] with the saunth [a spicy, mildly flavoured tangy chutney made with dried mango powder, jaggery]. The potato chat which is nothing but deep fried small potato cubes are a piece de resistance and will delight you with their indefatigable taste, bite after bite. You simply cannot stop and ache for the recipe.
The third in the trio was a sheer brilliance. It is the brinjal fritter laden with, hold your hearts- wheat flour, spices and cooked in the bhaja style. If you like brinjal, you will love it to moon. Even if you do not like brinjal, this dish will make its place in your palate.
You need to resist your temptation off the starters to save it for the main course. The main course menu may look like a day to day food but it is the taste that sets it apart.
Do not mistake the Aloo Kachri from Haridwar for your regular yoghurt potato dish. They are one of the best potato stew that I have eaten and absolutely loved the tangy rich flavour. Pair it with Methi Poori or eat them alone, they will be yum in every bite.
The crisp [khasta] methi [fenugreek] pooris that will go with aplomb with Aloo Kachri or Kachori Gali ke Chole from Kanpur [below].
For those who want to eat lite and less spicy, the Hara Moong for Benaras is an excellent choice. You can pair it with plain rice and salad.
If you have a sweet tooth, you must try this- Shakarkand Chaat [sweet potatoes] from Kanpur. It is mildly sweet, partially tangy and even a non sweet potato person like me could not resist trying a spoonful. Oh yes, it did entice me for another spoon but I needed to save space in my tummy for that gorgeous looking khichdi.
You cannot finish your meal without trying this simple, filling yet well-cooked Bajra Khichdi that I guess was slow cooked with a melange of vegetables. It is simple, soothing and very healthy dish curated with cues from Kanpur Kitchen.
You can pair it with the Aloo Kachri or this amazing Boondi Kadhi from Haridwar, like I did. Oh the buffet has papad [not from this cuisine but the usual buffet fare] that you can combine with some fried green chillies or pickle to savor your Kichdi [dish made of broken grain]
What is the Sweet Deal?
If you think you are done with the main course, you are not being fair to the two outstanding desserts from this menu.
Meet "Radhe ki thandi fruit cream" an assortment of fresh fruits like melon, papaya, plum etc in freshly churned cream. It was not strong but quite soothing. Another slurrp worthy dessert is the carrots cooked in milk, a la kheer style. It is not the quintessential gazar ka halwa [carrot pudding] but is liquid in form and very palatable.
The dessert may look simple but will sweep you off your feet with their immense charm.
Like they say, the proof of the pudding is in trying. So, what are you waiting for? Book yourself/friends/family a table today and step on this gastronomy fare that is specially curated from the land of Ganga, keeping the flavours intact, to straight in your plate and palate.