Indulge in the lip-smacking street-side flavours of India with hotel Mercure Hyderabad KCP's newly launched food festival
Guests can relish specialities like Telangana’s biryani, Andhra’s dosa, Delhi’s chaat and much more.
Indian street food is diverse and colourful with each state having a slew of specialities varying in taste, texture, shade and mixture. We were happy to be invited to Mercure Hyderabad KCP for their newly opened weekly street food festival. The ongoing festival being held at the 40-seater Cayenne regularly hosts food festivals under the aegis of city-based Chef Ganesh Gongoni. As we entered, the right side of the Cayenne was decked like a street style souk— the only difference being the marketplace replaced by food stalls and kiosks. We met Chef Ganesh to know more, “The weekly festival is organised to bring a medley of flavours from different parts of India. Guests can relish specialities like Telangana’s biryani, Andhra’s dosa, Delhi’s chaat and as well as a slew of kebabs from royal cities. This is to give something new to the visitors. We change the menu every week, and use high-quality local ingredients, fresh water and no preservatives.”
As we talk, the first plate of Golgappas arrive at our table. Undeniably the king of street-food, these crunchy and perfectly round amuse-bouche items made of whole wheat flour came filled with tangy mint leaf water, finely chopped onions and green chillies along with a gentle sprinkle of sev (spicy crunchy noodles) and coriander. It introduced a burst of flavours in our mouth. Hot on the heels came the Tikki Chaat. Common in North India, this is another dish that needs a strong palate to appreciate its hot and spicy mixture. The chickpea tikki mixed with mashed potatoes was shallow fried and topped with finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, curd, mint chutney and sweet-sour tamarind chutney. Surprisingly, it was not too spicy, making us take a mouthful with every spoon until we finished.
Next up, we tried the South Indian special Upma Karam Dosa and Tawa Podi Idli. The scrumptious dosa and idli were loaded with ghee — the ounces of which can make any dish more delicious. The dosa was overlaid with upma mixed podi. It made it more savoury than the shallow fried idli topped with chopped onions and tomatoes. The podi was the highlight in both items for adding authenticity and colour to the otherwise plain dishes.
The Indian street food platter is incomplete without the skewered marinated meats aka kebabs. Popular in cities like Delhi, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Kolkata, they are loved for their rich texture and lusciously juicy taste. We rolled our sleeves up to have a taste of Fish Kebabs. The tender soft and rich flavoured fish was first marinated with yoghurt, spices and mint herbs before getting roasted in tandoor. Served with mint yoghurt chutney and coiled fresh onions, this was a royal treat from the streets. On cue, came the Chicken Kebabs but they were nothing to write home about compared to its counterpart. We also tried Chinese street food which is becoming a rage with its Indianised version that is filled with hot sauces. We went for the Dry Veg Manchurian and Thin Noodles. The combo was relished for its subtle savoury taste and a hint of ginger garlic.
The festival also had street-side sweets. We tried our personal favourite — Rasmalai. The pillow soft Bengali sweet made with Indian cottage cheese and soaked in saffron-infused aromatic syrup got us into a sugar rush.
The high was further amped with the traditional Indian sweet— Boondi. The Boondi was moist due to the glazing blend of ghee and sugar syrup used in its making. The sticky concoction played down its otherwise crispiness but elevated its taste as a gourmet dessert garnished with cashews. We wished to try more sweets like Milk Cake and Gulab Jamun but couldn’t make space for that after such saccharine delights.
Rs.1,599 + taxes for two. Every Friday at Mercure Hyderabad KCP, Irram Manzil.
Mail: priyamvada@newindianexpress. com