If there is one thing that is constant in the food world, it is change and innovation. Well, change and innovation is the foreground of any industry, not just the food business. Every now and then, we get to hear some new culinary term, some new technique, some new innovation or some new trend. First there was speed cooking, and then came slow cooking, and then there was molecular cooking. The food world has seen a lot and never ceases to amaze.
Recently there was a trend all across the Pavilions of ITC hotels. They made it a big event by inviting bloggers over lunch and engaging them in various twitter contests with a hash tag of #TrendingatPavilion. Pavilion across the country went through a major transformation in their effort to bring about carefully selected and mindfully prepared dishes into a brand new menu. Eden Pavilion did the same too and like everywhere, the difference was in the local touch which varied from city to city. It was a responsible luxury culinary initiative brought about by Eden Pavilion at ITC Sonar and I was happy to be part of this initiative.
The Executive Chef himself, along with his team of chefs was present while explaining the process of the menu creation, the thought that went behind and the final execution. The menu was carefully curated with handpicked ingredients, some from their own backyard kitchen garden and all locally produced, making it all about reducing carbon footprints. Even the bottled water, SunyaAqua is being bottled in-house in their brand new plant and it comes in two different flavours other than regular water. The cold pressed juices from Pavilion Pure are a sensation. They are a combination of various fruits and vegetables along with super foods like pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, fenugreek etc to form 120 ml of pure and organic elixir. Forgotten grains and pulses like ragi, amaranth etc, antioxidant rich Indian super foods, vegetarian cuisine in the form of Sattva, a special section for local love with regional specialities and so on form the backbone of the new menu.
There are a whole lot of dishes from each section of the menu and a few of them stood out without a doubt. I would highly recommend the molten brie with a pretzel crust that came with a jar of a very interesting apple chutney spiced with panchphoran – quintessentially Bong. The chicken ton katsu burger and the pizza with lamb bresaola, poached pears and gorgonzola from the world kitchen were just not a treat for the eyes but were made with painstakingly selected ingredients each contributing to the greatness of the dishes. We were all a bit let down by the kosha mangsho, which was not really ‘kosha’ or slow cooked, however the slow braised panch phoran pork from the local love section was the winner of the day. Every bite of the deep caramelised pork was packed with flavour and left me craving for more.
Many more dishes came to the table, including interesting breads made with forgotten grains, some artisanal pasta with pulled lamb ragout (another clear winner), bean mushroom fricassee and lamb tagine from soul food. Both the desserts were confectionary masterpieces. While one was rich and indulgent chocolate fudge with a generous drizzle of the exotic nolen gur caramel sauce, the other was quite calming in the form of a milk chocolate parfait with a Darjeeling tea nameleka.
The aim of ITC Hotels has always been towards social responsibility and this initiative brings it closer to home ground of putting nature above all, even while creating a culinary adventure.
For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.