The very fine folk who run ITC Grand Maratha & Dakshin Coastal have rightly guessed that i have a bit of a South Indian fixation and i was very happy to be invited to partake in the Onam Dinner. Traffic enroute was terrific and i tried to turn back once but it was physically not possible (fortunately)
Dakshin of course is one of the only five star restaurants serving cuisine from across South India. So its appropriate that they celebrate an important festival like Onam.
Took all my self control not to gorge on the poppadums.
the chutneys were great, however the red chutney continues to be terrific
The rasam was their standard Rasam, terrific as usual.
The sheer number of dishes was immense, besides the accompaniments. They served red rice, which is traditional, a little odd for Northerners but actually goes well with a lot of the curries, sambhars and rasam. Speaking of sambhar, the traditional Keralite Sambar was possibly the best i have ever had anywhere. Chef Padamja said it was fairly basic home style which she has regularly. Totally stunning, and a sheer pity that its not on the menu and served regularly.
The pineapple pacchadi stood out, simple, uncomplicated, but just awesome, especially considering how hot the other dishes can be it was one of the cooling elements. Another stand out was the Thayir which was spiced curd, again brilliant. I am a sucker for curd.
The Olam was a very flavourful dish as well, it would have gone so well with an Appam, which i could have asked for but that would have been cheating and i resisted the urge.
The chaas was amazing, slightly fermented just as i like it.
Didn't enjoy either dessert.
Overall, the meal was great, it was worth the drive and very glad that i made it. Also of special note is the Onam Sadhya which is more expansive than their regular thali's is actually priced at around 2000 which is almost half the price of their regular thali's.
While i enjoyed the food, i do hope they can change to the banana leaf for plating or atleast offer it as an option. Eating a Sadhya meal on a thali seems somehow incomplete. It certainly is a little challenging but i am sure they can find a solution, especially as they have been able to communicate joy of dining at Peshwari & even captured the opulence required at Dum Pukth.
They would also do well to get rid of the entire course system, Rasam coming up in a glass is a tad too western in profile. I think diners are mature enough to handle the traditional way of being served a meal like this.
And they totally need to have fermented curd and chaas with their regular thalis, not having both the things is a cardinal sin and i have been saying that for years. go for a mallu meal an andhra meal or a tam-bram meal you will find curd and buttermilk as an integral part of the experience.
I know i am being picky but the food was awesome as was the service so not to gush too much but with just a philosophical tweak the experience would be elevated significantly. Certainly wouldn't hurt to try, atleast for thalis.