Relish the flavours of Ganesh Chaturthi at Hyderabad’s Gaurang’s Kitchen with a 22-item wholesome meal!
The thali serves vegetarian dishes from the South, the Deccan and Western India that are specially made for this festival
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great fervour in Hyderabad. While idol immersion processions, community pujas and temple visits take centre stage, the culinary sphere is often contained to just modaks, basundis and pooran polis. However, this time, we explore an array of authentic flavours of Ganesh Chaturthi at our stopover at Gaurang’s Kitchen. The 300-seater ethnic restaurant, a brainchild of esteemed Hyderabadi designer Gaurang Shah, treated us with vegetarian dishes from South, Deccan and Western India served on specially curated 22-item thali.
We entered the restaurant for lunch, walking past the expansive baithak space adorned with Indigo looms swaying in the breeze. We were seated in the in-house bungalow space which had beautiful ethnic decor inspired by the weaves of Gaurang’s atelier. From lustrous paithani, kanjeevaram and benarasi weaves adorning the walls in vintage glass panels to translucent white curtains and checkered tablecloths, we were told that all the upholstery was created from the looms that the designer works at large.
Before we ordered the Ganesha festival thali we were served detox water made of soaked cucumber, mint leaves and lemon that rejuvenated us on a summer afternoon.
We ordered but before the meals arrived, we were joined by Gaurang himself at the table. We asked why he thought of venturing into food after fashion and he replied, “Like fashion, the food I’m exploring at Gaurang’s Kitchen is also designed. Each day we have a new menu that brings a version of mini India on a plate. The delicacies are served to pay homage to the place of their origination, the authenticity of flavours, local ingredients and more. Much like the loom, I aim to revive forgotten recipes that our ancestors used to make.”
As he tells it, the festival starters are served. It had mysore bonda, usal pav, patra and sabudana vada served on a wooden plate. We relished the fried sabudana vada dipped in creamy curd that made for a scrumptious snack. The mysore bonda and usal pav tasted delectable with a gravy that was subtle in taste. The patra was a unique snack we tasted. Made with rolled colocasia leaves in gram flour, it had a sweet and tangy flavour that perfectly charged our taste buds and made them ready for the main course!
As we finished starters, the eclectic main cause arrived. It had an assortment of items presented with grandeur in a Kansa thali. The breads like puri, chapati, puran poli, thalipeeth and tandlachi bhakri were in the centre while the salads, gravies, vegetables, curd and sweet dishes were rounded up in small kansa bowls. The thali looked luxurious and tasted promisingly authentic.
It had a melange of colours- rich yellow of katachi amti dal, dark orange gravy of kolhapuri paneer, deep maroon of beetroot poriyal, white of the shrikhand, green of the hirvi bhaji and more.
We started with the predictable kolhapuri paneer which surprised us for its lesser spicy flavour that made it more delicious. We loved the sukki batata bhaji which had fried chips of potato garnished with coriander leaves. It stood out for its flavourful blast of spices like cumin and mustard seeds. The beetroot poriyal was more like a salad that added a crunchiness to the gravy dishes. After a gravies and fried veggies, we slurrped the the katachi amti dal and moongdal khichadi. They balanced the more saucy and savoury dishes with their plain taste reminding us of the essence of homemade dishes.
Satiating our sweet tooth, we went on for the puran poli. The semi-fried flatbread was stuffed with a mixture of grinded pulses, sugar and dough. It was topped with ghee and melted in the mouth in a jiffy making us feel lighter even after the thick stuffings. The payasam and ukadiche modak were equally delectable. The payasam’s sweetness was on a higher note but it was balanced well with the creamy yogurt sweet dish of srikhand garnished with crushed pistachios.
With a thali this wholesome and rich in texture and variety, we were truly reminded of the flavors of Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat and more served with love for the festivities
The Ganesh Chaturthi Thali is being served on August 27 and 28.
Rs. 2700 for two. At Jubilee Hills