Friday, September 26, 2014

Review: Bangali Bhuribhoj at Paprika, Courtyard Marriott, Chennai

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After a really, really long time, I'm putting up a review post. These days we're eating out less, and when we do, we rarely have the time to take pictures.

This week I spent a pleasant evening with a group of food bloggers from Chennai Food Guide at a preview dinner at the Paprika restaurant, at the Courtyard Marriott in Chennai. We were there to get an advance taste of their Bangali Bhuribhoj Food Festival - The Divine Taste of Bengal. I was quite excited because while I am quite familiar with many of the Indian cuisines, I am not very familiar with the cuisine of Bengal - except for the sweets, course! Bengali sweets are among my favorites when it comes to Indian sweets.

I sampled almost everything they had in offer that evening and I was told they had more dishes planned for when the food festival started. The buffet spread features not just Bengali cuisine but the usual continental and European cuisines as well to make sure every palate is catered to.

I skipped the soup like I usually do. They had a Chicken shorba on offer and the other reviewers said it was fine, but not fabulous. Among the Bengali starters, the thing that struck me as odd was that many of the starters were the same preparation - there was a eggplant variant, an egg and potato variant and a mutton mince variant of the famous bengali 'chop' or what we here in Chennai call a Bajji. It was kind of an overload. I enjoyed the flavor or all three though - especially the egg and potato version, which is something I am not used to. We do the egg but rarely with seasoned mashed potato thrown it. It was really nice!

The other stand out dishes for me were the mutton gravy (I forgot the name!) and the chicken gravy called Murghi Jhol. The mutton was tender, albeit a little too bony, and the gravy was tasty. The chicken was cooked to perfection and well seasoned. The fish gravy was the one that at first appealed to me the most, considering I love seafood, but personally it wasn't a favorite for me. You see, traditionally the fishes most commonly used are river fish which tend to be a little too bony. It isn't really possible to de-bone these fish, and it doesn't make eating it an easy task. If you don't mind ditching your fork and knife and getting your fingers dirty, the curry is tasty enough to make an effort! There were some regular rotis, naans, steamed rice and a pulao to go with the curries.

The fish biriyani was quite an interesting part of the menu for me. The fish in the biriyani was nicely cooked and flaky and tender unlike the fish in the curry. I enjoyed the fish. The biriyani was tasty too but slightly underseasoned. A little salt and a little more spice would have made the biriyani just perfect!

Among the vegetarian dishes, the stand out for me was the Aloo Poshto. I really enjoyed the flavor of that dish and it made me go back for seconds.

I also sampled some non-Bengali fare out of curiosity and I just loved the grilled tenderloin with peppers. It was really tender and perfectly cooked!
As I said earlier, Bengali sweets are my favorite kind of Indian sweets and I love love love the roshgulla! The roshgulla was nice here and so was the khoa filled cham-chams. The jalebis were very good and had that tangy finish that I love so much. I loved watching the jalebis and mapua being made fresh at the live dessert counter. The malpua which I was really anticipating was good in flavor but a little too rubbery for me to able to finish it. I wish it had been a little more tender and I would have polished it off.

This food festival was a taste of good Bengali home food, and I think I just might go back to sample the mishti doi and sandesh that I heard might be served in the coming days. You know me - desserts all the way! Chef even mentioned that there will be variations in the menu from day to day, and I think that would be awesome.

Bangali Bhuribhoj at the Courtyard Marriott is on from September 25th - October 3rd for dinner only, and is priced at Rs. 1250 per head plus taxes. Check it out! 
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