We're gung-ho over gumbo with Hilton Chennai's Creole offerings!
The Bingeful Sunday brunch at Vasco’s is always a leisurely affair. The 110-seater diner at Hilton Chennai offers one of the most generous spreads in the city, demanding time and appetite, to do justice. With counters like the carving station resting a pork belly sometimes and a grill station by the cabanas at another, every brunch sees unique elements woven into the standard cuisines that include Pan Asian, Pan Indian, Italian and Continental among an exhaustive range of others. However, last Sunday, we sauntered into the bright and roomy restaurant to try their Soul of Creole Cuisine — the all-new addition to the buffet, available on all Sundays, this month.
A brainchild of Executive Chef Surya Narayana, he explains how a chance encounter with a fellow chef spurred his fascination for the cuisine. “During my culinary journey through all these years, I have worked with people from different cultures in cruise ships, hotels and in countries like UK and Cambodia and India, of course. I have always been curious to know about people’s eating habits when I interact with them, I usually want to know, what do they cook at home? Then I found from one of the French chefs I worked with who had spent 12 years in Creole region about this interesting and undiscovered cuisine, which is traditional in character with modern cooking techniques.”
Though the name conjures up a hotchpotch of influences and flavours, the offering of about a dozen Creole dishes here turns out to be flavoursome, familiar and delectable. Giving an interesting twist to the traditional ‘gumbo’ that Creole cuisine (from the US state of Louisiana) is known for — we start off with a Chicken Gumbo soup that is soulful with the warmth of thyme, assorted diced veggies in a tangy base. The Cajun Spiced Fish is perfectly crunchy and the mahi-mahi fish used for this tempura is mild and delicious.
Joy for Jambalaya
Though the freshly pressed sugarcane juice from the counter near the cabanas at the al fresco area is far from Creole influences — it works well as a palate cleanser for the next dish. The Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is a signature offering that sees the meats sitting on a bed of a variant of risotto that has indigenous veggies like okra. The Seychellois Chicken is a delightfully creamy curry and reminds one of Asian notes, especially the coconutty flavours of Malay dishes. However, the Seafood Gumbo is the flag-bearer dish for this menu — it is the quintessential meal of the Creole region.
A taste of the delicious prawn bisque brings you the French influence along with the sweetness of the soft-shelled crab meat. Even as the heavily laden dessert counter beckons us — we linger over this strong and robust bisque. This one needs to be savoured, we promise you — with juicy prawns and herbed rice, it is a must try.
Soul of Creole Cuisine is available till February 24, it is part of the Hilton Bingeful Sunday Brunch
at Rs 2,195 plus taxes.