It is all about delicious and surprisingly light home-style food with rich Malvani flavours. Home chefs Pratishtha Armarkar and Praja Patil have cooked up a storm of Malvani delicacies for a sumptuous buffet: the Malvani Food Festival at Pondicherry Café in Sofitel Mumbai BKC offers a great spread of no-frills Malvani goodness in a luxurious ambience. The entrance of Pondicherry Café is well-decorated with details of Malvani culture. Pondicherry Café dresses up in a coastal look with a cute boat with oars, select spices of Malvan, traditional art and serving staff in colourful Malvani attire. The whole ambience gains momentum with aroma of vegetables, seafood, meat and coconut. It is such a pleasurable sight to see hot Ghavane (Amboli) cooking up on a Tawa and waiting to be picked up with some Kombdicha Rassa, while chilled earthen glasses of light Solkadi land on your table. The Malvani Food Festival at Pondicherry Café, Sofitel Mumbai BKC will be there till November 24, 2019.
Great Malvani Dishes to Try Out
The vegetarian starter called Hirvya Vatanyachi Cutlet celebrates winter produce in the true sense. Fresh green peas cooked and flavoured with red chilli powder and Indian spices are shaped into cutlets and deep-fried. We enjoy it with the Mirchi Kobryachi Chutney: a spicy, coconut-based condiment that just goes well with any Malvani savoury starter, I guess!
The piquant Bombil Fry is superb. After all, one can never say “no” to succulent pieces of marinated Bombay Duck deep-fried with a coating of poppy seeds, especially with the Sukya Bomblachi Chutney as an accompaniment. What say?
Malvani cuisine boasts of various seafood preparations: one of them being the Kolambicha Rassa. Prawns cooked with red chilli powder, onion and Indian spices acquire a good dose of flavour from coconut, which is a quintessential ingredient in Malvani cuisine. However, the flavour of the Kolambicha Rassa served at this festival could have been better.
Same goes with the Mutton Masala. The mutton curry is a bit bland and doesn’t have enough kick of Malvani flavours. The meat is, however, well-cooked. With steamed rice, it is a simple home-style mutton curry.
Compared to the non-vegetarian dishes, the vegetarian delicacies are outstanding. I love the wonderful flavours of the lentil preparation called Tikhat Varan. The Fansachi Bhaji, on the other hand, has raw jackfruit cooked with coconut and spices: it is a wonderful dish that has the right blend of spices and texture.
The soft Ghavane (Amboli) is a superhit combo with the steaming Kombdicha Rassa (chicken curry). The Ghavan is almost like a Neer Dosa, but the Ghavan that is served at the Malvani Food Festival is little thicker than the Neer Dosa. The Kombdicha Rasa is well-made!
Some great flavours follow with every bite of Bharli Vangi (stuffed brinjals) and Batatyachi Bhaji. In the latter, potato cubes are cooked with turmeric, onion, coriander, cumin seeds and Indian spices. Next comes the Birdya chi Usal: an absolutely divine preparation of Lima beans cooked with red chilli powder, tomato and Indian spices.
I have never enjoyed such clean flavours of the Shepuchi Bhaji, where dill leaves are cooked with garlic, mustard, onion and Indian spices. It is one of the best dishes in the spread, in fact!
We are happy with both the Chicken Pulav and the Masala Bhat. Both these rice-based dishes are subtle, but very flavourful. We have a sip of the light and non-spicy Malvani Solkadi: a lip-smacking Malvani drink that is redolent of Kokum and coconut milk.
Both the desserts are amazing. Among the desserts, we enjoy the Kheer and the Coconut Burfi. These are the must-try Malvani desserts for sure! The Malvani Food Festival has alluring dishes and especially the vegetarian dishes are worth trying. Do visit Pondicherry Café in Sofitel Mumbai BKC to relish these homely flavours of Malvani cuisine.
The Malvani Food Festival culminates on November 24, 2019.
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