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Brimming Malenaadu @ The Cubbon Pavilion, ITC Gardenia

Cubbon Pavilion @ The ITC Gardenia plays host to yet another themed Dinner Buffet special –Brimming Maalenadu featuring the cuisines from the bygone era of the Maalenadu Region in Karnataka. This is part of their quarterly effort to pay homage to the forgotten cuisines under the aegis of Kitchens of India, Undiscovered Legacies.

Maalenadu Cuisines form the perfect amalgamation of Mangalorean and Coorgi style of cooking with abundant usage of a myriad variety of fruits and vegetables including Bamboo Shoots, Cashew, Colocasia, Mushrooms and Raw Jackfruit. Embraced by the Western Ghats and the Evergreen Rain forests, this region experiences rainfall almost for two-thirds of the year. Chef Mohan has curated this one of a kind menu influenced by his own family recipes.

I started with the Apetisers-Kalma Unde which is a Lamb Meatball preparation and a generous serving of the Bangda Rawa Fry-Deep Fried Bangda Fish crusted in Sesame. The Karibevina Kali Sukka is a dry Chicken dish cooked with Black Pepper and grated Coconut to render the traditional Sukka prevalent in Mangalorean Cuisines. On the Vegetarian front, the BaaleKayi Vaade and the Chikkamangaur Mallige formed the perfect combination to a traditional coastal dish. I paired my meal with some Cabernet Shiraz from Fratelli and the earthiness of the coastal flavours went well with this semi-bodied indulgence.

The Mains comprised of a delectable selection for the Non Vegetarians as well as the Vegetarians. I paired the Thalai Mamsam with the ever popular Ragi Mudde, Finger Millet dumplings which are a much healthier substitute to Idli. I also tasted the Ona Meenu Aloo Gadde Saaru (Dry Pomfret Fillets & Potato) and some Nati Kodi Roast, Chicken Leg Roast in a traditional spice. Among the Vegetarian dishes, the Sabbakki Averekalu- Lab Lab Beans & Dill Leaves tossed with Chilies, Mustard seeds and Curry leaves and the Bane Dindina Palya, a delicacy cooked with Banana Stem were exotic. However it was the Peanut Stuffed Capsicum-Hotte Menaisinkai that stole the show with its pungent and unique flavors that appealed to the spice-lover in me. I had a couple of servings of the same and enjoyed it with some dry Malake Hurali Kaalu Saru, Horse gram Sprouts which are quite a meal by themselves.

The Desserts were ornamental and delicately flavored. I cherished the Arasina Yele Kadabu which are steamed Rice cakes served in Banana leaves. The use of jaggery was predominant in both the Ragi Kilsa and the Kar Kadabu and it was tough for me to decide which tasted better. I relished them equally and was quite a happy man. This festival is open for Dinner till 25th September and is priced at Rs.1850++.

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