Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Review : Savour the fusion of historical elegance and exquisite flavours

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The labyrinthine lanes and centuries-old charm, is a tapestry woven with the threads of history and flavours. The ancient heart is a treasure trove of culinary delights that have withstood the test of time! Even the streets of some places echo with tales of Mughal grandeur, while the fragrant air is infused with the essence of street foods like kulhe ki chaat, daulat ki chaat, chhole bhature, jaleba, kebabs, and the sizzling allure of tandoori chicken. It’s a place where every bite carries the legacy of generations, making it a haven for food enthusiasts seeking the authentic taste of the rich past.
Now, imagine this vibrant tapestry transported to the luxurious confines of Zaiqa-E-Dilli at Crowne Plaza. The festival took on the role of a culinary time machine, seamlessly blending the historical allure with the modern comforts of a world-class hotel.
It’s a rendezvous with the past brought to life under the roof of luxury and hospitality. Somali Bajpai, the creative mind behind the festival’s design, concept, and decor, elucidates, “The decision to curate this festival is influenced by various factors. Concerns about cleanliness have affected the enthusiasm of people including foreigners who once enjoyed exploring. Therefore, our festival was a deliberate effort to assuage such concerns and offer a delightful experience.”
The festival’s theme, ‘Dil Degh Dastarkhwan,’ beautifully evokes the warmth and generosity that define the walled city. As you stroll through the festival space, even without the red stone beneath your feet, you’ll encounter charming details reminiscent, celebrating the rich tapestry of culinary traditions converging in the vibrant setting.
Upon entering, your gaze will be drawn to a meticulously crafted cutout, showcasing the distinctive doors, ingeniously fashioned from scrap materials. Adjacent to this, an astrologer and a paan seller created an ambiance reminiscent of the vibrant pavements of Naya Bans Mandi. Further along, a vintage STD telephone booth beckons, not just a throwback but an Instagram-worthy moment, reminiscent of the iconic booth near Gurudwara Sheeshganj!
As you meander through the festival space, immerse yourself in the rich details. Adornments like nostalgic advertisements transport you to an era where every sign and symbol tells a story, adding an extra layer of fascination to this nostalgic journey.
Coming to the food, ine can explore a variety of flavours crafted by ‘Khansamas’, featuring over 100 culinary masterpieces presented on a rotating menu. From traditional welcome beverages like Mohabbat Ka Sherbat and Bunta to iconic street delicacies including Aloo Tikki, Golguppa, Chole Bhature, and Fruit Kulle, each dish promises to transport you to the bustling lanes. The fiery kebab station boasts succulent delights such as Seekh kebabs, Reshmi Kebabs, Chikan Malai Kebabs, Dastan E Kumbh, Pudina Naz Kebabs, and more.
Not to miss out they have ‘Paranthe Wali Gali’ with its quintessential offerings, and Mughlai delicacies such as Mutton Nalli Nihari, Chicken Changezi, Jahangiri Quorma, Akbari Fish, Dal Qureshi, Machli Begum Bahar, Dhingri Shabnam paired with artisanal breads such as Khameeri Roti, Baqarkhani, Sheermal, Roomali Roti, and Halwa Parantha. And, to conclude this epicurean journey on a sweet note they have desserts like Daulat Ki Chaat, Zaffrani Rasmalai, Shahi Tukda, and more.
Chef Roushan finds inspiration in the rich food history, where different dynasties, communities, and generations have contributed to a diverse culinary legacy. He says, “From the grand kitchens of Mughal rulers to the humble stalls of Punjabi migrants, each dish reflects the resilience, adaptability, and innovation of the people who have influenced this lively area. Known for its culinary richness, offers meticulously prepared signature dishes like kebabs, biryanis, and chaats. The festival aims to capture the essence of this vibrant district, where the fragrant smells of spices and the lively sounds of street vendors enhance the culinary experience. Despite the luxurious ambience, the festival strives to bring the authentic taste and stories of heritage and cultural fusion.”
The festival collaborated with the culinary experts, known as khansamas. Indulging in this event offered a genuine taste of the khansamas’ artistry in crafting meethi roti. These skilled chefs blended flour, ghee, sugar, and occasionally infused saffron or cardamom for a delightful flavor. The dough is skillfully rolled, cooked on a griddle, and delicately adorned with ghee and sugar for a truly immersive experience!
Meethi roti reflected the blend of Mughlai and indigenous flavors, symbolizing the historical influences. It also showcases the importance of sweets in Indian culture, often consumed during celebrations and special occasions. The preparation and consumption of meethi roti contribute to the cultural identity and gastronomic heritage.
“The festival warmly embraces diversity by including halal options, inviting everyone to savor a rich and inclusive culinary experience that caters to various preferences and dietary choices,” says executive chef Roushan.
In addition, attendees immersed themselves in the captivating melodies of Qawalli singers, who skillfully revived the cultural essence of the walled city with their timeless performances at the festival.

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