Smart Eating, Smart Living
The F&B industry worldwide has been attempting to reduce carbon foot prints in its own ways, for instance, by promoting the use of organic and local\seasonal produce on its menus. Our own home-grown brand ITC Hotels has also been striking green since a couple of years, (in fact, the first Indian company to do so) in their collaboration with WWF India on “Choose Wisely”, tagging seafood menu choices as Over Fished (think again, so red light) , Under Threat (but there’s better, so orange) and Choose Wise (Go for it! or green signal).
A new menu for the coffee shops or all-day dining, was curated recently across ITC hotels in India, including at Deccan Pavilion of ITC Kakatiya, Hyderabad. I was part of a preview table for the new menu, which now has three main pillars: Sattva (purity in Sanskrit), Swasthya (centred on well-being) and Choose Wisely. Besides these ‘wise’ choices, there are the BOP (Best of Pavilion) and LS (locally sourced) tags.
We “set off to a fresh start” with Burrata with Anise Poached Pears (garnished with currant celery pistou and ricola) and the fresh, creamy and drop-dead delish burrata cheese (sourced from a vendor in Benagluru) was to live for! This was followed by buttermilk chicken crisps, accompanied with lemon parmesan aioli and honey lime drizzle. Any guesses on how that would have tasted like?
Next up was a Singaporean Laksa (BOP) and I thought this could do with some more tweaking. Of course, soups like laksa and khow suey lend themselves to customisation, so there can be no perfect version, but this one needed a squeeze of lemon and was a little lacking in the aroma of herbs too. There was no scrimping on the shrimp, fish and chicken tenders though the soup stock was a bit wanting.
While we skipped the Local Love bit of the menu as it had the heavy-duty Kacche Gosht ki Biryani and Kaddu ka Dalcha with Baghara Khana, soul food was what we delved into next. There was first Grilled Haloumi, roast vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers) with curried tomato chutney, representing the ‘Sattva’ series of the new menu. In Vedic philosophy, sattva is the Sanskrit word for purity and the green leaf on the Deccan Pavilion menu will stand for holistic well being and freshness, in short just what the doc ordered for good health!
True to its philosophy, the haloumi made you appreciate the wholesomeness of vegetables and left you with that feel-good factor. Soul food also had Lamb Rib and Broad Bean Tagine, a BOP dish, served with stewed apricots and mint couscous. The lamb shanks were perfectly cooked and the stew was savoury enough to want seconds.
A temporary (and delicious!) break from all things healthy was provided by Chicken Katsu, (Japanese breaded and deep-fried chicken cutlet) burger, served with horseradish and grain mustard relish.
Last, but not the least was the Pavilion Chocolate Fudge, with jaggery caramel sauce. The fudge was fresh, soft and moist and loaded with nuts. There was also Creme Brulee with Apricot Fig Biscotti (BOP) but truth be told, I loved the fudge better.