Every once in a while good things do happen to me, a few weeks ago my friend & fellow gastronome Nikhil Merchant (@nikhilmerchant) invited me to the Franco-Pondi food festival at Dakshin Coastal the ITC Grand Maratha. Dakshin is a bit of a drive from where i am but the Franco Pondi thing sounded fairly intriguing.
While pondicherry was a French colony and the influences persist, little is known about how the two cuisines came together. I was curious to see how they would bring the two together.
Dakshin is of course known for being a melting pot of South India cuisine, a one stop shop to get all your Southern rocks off.
The chutneys were pretty insane, you could make a meal of these and i usually do.
its difficult not to eat the poppadums with these seasonal creations. the red tomato and the tamarind were just out of this world.
you also get your selection of molga pudi, gun powder and other spices to which you add ghee
the rasam was brilliant, a little spicy and flavoured with coconut milk and tamarind extract which is apparently a pondi speciality (and we welcome it to Bombay)
corn nibblets, these were pretty good and went well with the chutneys, weirdly one can find something similar in Bengali cuisine. I was also told that there is an old French colony in West Bengal and i wonder if that is the reason.
fried potato, again an interesting choice, didn't expect this at Dakshin, everyday you learn something new.
turnips cooked in red chilli went well with the appams.
the appams were near perfect, soft, thin, could eat a dozen and not miss a beat.
i am not a fan of okra but this too went well with the appams.
topped off with spot on filter coffee !
it certainly is interesting that Dakshin is adding a new cuisine, there certainly is a lot of interest in the Franco-Pondi space, the non-veg items were quite a hit and the veggie too is interesting. I am not a fan of things like okra and aubergine but the curries themselves work pretty well.
Some rice preparations would be interesting to see as well as curries. Expect lots of coconut in the food.
All in all, an evening well spent, with good food and a motley crue of people.