Eighty Eight, Hyatt, Pune
Hyatt is known for hosting different types of food festivals. This time it was South Indian Food Festival and I got a chance to be a part of Blogger’s table.
The entrance of the place is grand and even more grand is the welcome. The place was decorated with lighting lamp, Rangoli and idol to give a South Indian feel.
Ambience of the place gives a cosy feel to have a calm and peaceful dining experience. They have both indoor and outdoor seating options. Warm lightings with small trees and cute little fountains on side makes the place so romantic. Inside seating is more of a family casual dining or a business/corporate dining.
While visiting any Five Star Restaurant we have in mind to be a kind of formal visit/dinner, but this was more of personalized experience to me.
They do have buffet for breakfast and dinner as a part of South Indian festival which will last till 27th January 2018.
The bloggers table was set up with welcome drinks, banana chips served in coned shaped banana leaf and small lit lamps in between.
People dressed up in traditional South Indian dress. Coconuts, bananas, whole spices, curry leaves and filter coffee set up gave the place an authentic vibe of that of a South Indian place.
We were informed that the chef took a personal training from Chennai for 15 days specially for this South Indian Food Festival to give us that authentic South Indian taste in Pune itself. Even the spices like curry leaves, whole red chili, cinnamon, cloves and few others are procured from Chennai and Coimbatore. The adil rice used in Payasam in also being procured from Chennai.
Mr. Sethuraman Sundaram (Food & Beverage Manager), Mr. Kamal Deep Sharma (Director of Sales & Marketing), Miss. Shruti Sengupta, Mr. Suvendu Roy (Head Chef) were generous enough to take time and have word with us. Mr. Suvendu Roy (Head Chef) explained each dish in detail.
Welcome Drink –
It was a soft drink which was a mix of pineapple juice with a mint of orange and mint. It was so refreshing. Loved it.
In South India, bhajjis are traditionally served with drinks before they start off their meal. Also, bhajji is a street food in South India served in a banana leaf. With that importance of bhajjis in South Indian food we started our dining experience with different bhajjis served in a cone of banana leaf.
Potato Bhaji – Slices of potatoes dipped in gram flour batter and deep fried. Hot, crisp and perfectly made.
Spinach Bhajji – Leaves of spinach dipped in batter and deep fried till crisp. Perfect, crunchy and tasteful.
Mirchi Bhajji – Whole mirch (chilli) stuffed, coated with batter and deep fried. They use banana pepper to make this bhajjis. Served alongside with salad.
Platter – Platter of mini uttapam and Sabudana vada. Perfectly made uttapam topped with vegetables, made till crisp. Loved it. Sabudana vada was crisp and soft at the same time.
Beetroot – Oats Dosa – Perfectly made beetroot-oats dosa shaped in cone. Beetroot along with taste added health factor as well. Unique and interesting twist to my favorite dosa.
Regular Dosa – Regular dosa shaped in cone was done perfectly.
Both the dosas served along with potato masala and three chutneys –
Tomato Chutney – Made with tomato, onion, ginger and garlic. Tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Tomato gave nice sour taste which made it tangy and a kick of ginger gave a perfect taste. My personal favorite among three.
Coriander Chutney – Coriander leaves, curry leaves, tamarind, mint, jaggery soaked for 6-7 hours and then grinded with spices. Tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds. A very unique mix of flavors. Perfect to go along with starters.
Coconut Chutney – Coconut, cashew nut, garlic are grinded and tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds. Cashews gave a creamy texture and sweet taste to chutney. Different than regular coconut chutney.
Salads – There was a huge range in salads. The one I tried –
Stir Fry Mushrooms – Mushrooms are my favorite, but it tastes only good when done to perfection. Exactly was this salad I had was done perfectly. Mildly spiced with salt and black pepper.
Zucchini Stir Fried – Perfect crunch with peel on, mildly spiced with salt and pepper.
Aloo Chana Chat – Chunks of boiled potato cubes with boiled black gram mixed with fresh vegetables liked onion and tomato. Spices like red chili powder, salt, black salt, lemon or tamarind juice gave it a perfect tangy taste.
Cucumber Salad – Crisp chunks of cucumber mixed with spices gave a spicy and tangy pickle like taste. This is tasted super yum.
Watermelon and Mascarpone Salad – A dalop of mascarpone sitting on a cute watermelon round chunk was equally good for both taste buds and eyes.
Tomato Rice – Tomato rice are my favorite in South Indian cuisine. When it comes to tomatoes red color comes in mind first and so did I expected tomato rice to me red. But NO, they were yellow in color with tomatoes in it. The peanuts in it gave a nice crunch. Curry leaves helped in giving a nice aroma to the dish.
Bangaladumpa Pulusu – ‘Bangaladumpa’ means potato. Pulusu is a specialty of Andhra cuisine, which essentially is a tamarind based sauce. Potatoes made in authentic pulusu was a burst of flavours. Tangy and spicy taste of this curry was hit for me. Goes well along with rice or parotta.
Bendakaya Pulusu – ‘Bendakaya’ meaning bhindi/okra/ladyfinger, made in pulusu. Nice thick consistency with good flavours.
Kothmiri Vankaya – ‘Vankaya’ means brinjal, ‘Kothmir’ means coriander. Brinjal made in coriander masala. Stuffed brinjals are made in every cuisine. This Andhra style preparation was different and good too.
Tomato Pappu – An integral part of daily Andhra food. Tuar dal made with tomatoes and few other spices. Thick consistency to well along with parotta or rice. Nice and earthy flavors. Loved it.
Parotta – A traditional Kerala parotta with which we all very much familiar. Perfectly layered, hot paratha is just best to go along with any side dish or vegetable. Crisp yet soft perfectly cooked.
After having such delicious meal when we set our eyes on Desserts table, it was no less than a wonder land. So many colorful and tempting desserts were lined up making it difficult to chose which one to plate in.
I tried –
Mud Cake – I can hog on to this dessert all my life for breakfast, lunch and dinner if only calories didn’t exist. Finger licking delicious. Chocolaty, sinful dessert.
Payassam – South Indian meal is incomplete without Payasam. Creamy, thick rice pudding with perfect sweetness is good to end a traditional meal. Payasam in prepared with Adil rice. This rice specially imported from Chennai to get that authentic taste.
Mint Chocolate Gateaux – Gateaux is rich cake made with layers of cream. This cake had a chocolaty creamy layer covered with chocolate glaze and topped with chocolate. What an eye pleasing dessert. Combination of mint and chocolate having creamy texture was melt in mouth.
Brownie – This dessert was a letdown as it was too hard.
Kiwi Mousse – Perfect blend of sweet, bitter and sour taste of kiwi in creamy mousse. Topped with fresh kiwi. A unique and different dessert.
An amazing experience and a wonderful time. Thanks Shruti and Hyatt team for the opportunity.
You can enjoy this South Indian delicacies at Eighty Eight, Hyatt till 27th January 2018. Don’t miss the chance.