Chef Arun Sundararaj
When and Where 
Machan | June, 2015|Saturday Brunch | INR 2500 plus taxes per person

Whenever I get an invite to be part of chef’s special table or any food tasting, I prefer doing my homework around cuisines as this helps me in my experience. If you love good food especially non-vegetarian, Awadhi cuisine (Lucknow) ) and Hyderabadi ( both hydrabadi and nizam’s cuisine ) can’t be missed. This was the reason, this event was special.

I was invited for the preview of hyderabadi feast, specially curated by the new executive chef of Taj Mahal Chef Arun Sundararaj – Executive Chef at The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. It was time for me to dig into history and get more insights on the food and Chef. Special thanks to my friend Chef Umesh Kapoor who had worked under Chef Arun Sundararaj  and shared his experience working and was in all praises for him.

A Great Day – A Great Conversation:

Apart from excellent food I enjoyed heartily, my conversation with Chef Arun on hyderabadi cuisine, as well as the menu which was specially prepared for us. Though a short and a quick chat, yet the experience was amazing!  
The Changes, the Essence, the Future:
Hyderabadi cuisine can be divided in two parts  – Nizam’s royal kitchen and Decani cuisine. This cuisine has its major influence from Mughals, Turkish and Arab along with strong blend of local cuisines from Telegu and Marathwara. This generates purely a deadly combination of rich and lot of meaty dishes. Kebabs and curries too have a mix flavour of local and other cuisines. Hyderabadi biryani is famous around the world and in Hyderabad one comes across two types of biryani – Kacchi biryani, pretty famous, is believed to be the original form of biryani where rice and raw meat are cooked together. The other is called pakki biryani where rice and meat is cooked separately and then layered together and garnished with sautéed vegetables and kewara or rose water added, to give it distinct flavour.

The Gusto food and My Take:

The menu was conceived, designed and curated by Chef Arun Sundararaj  to showcase what hyderabadi cuisine is all about. I will share my experience; however I highly recommend visiting Machan on Saturdays to experience this true delight. This was definitely one of my best experience on Hyderabadi cuisine and best ever food/dishes that I thoroughly enjoyed
Mezban – Pather ke gosht and shikampuri kebab churned from secret recipe of Nizam’s secret repertoire. Boneless lamb marinated for 48 hours and then cooked over granite stone. Shikampauri kebab was filled with yoghurt and pan fried. You will find thin strands/fibre/slender thread (resha) that is a simple proof of the perfection and the heated stone had released the smoky flavour that blended well with the meat and spices,  giving it a unique taste – succulent

Then came the dish of the day Haleem, traditional “Ramzan “cooked with mutton, wheat and whole spices. Haleem is my favourite and this was the best that I ever had!

I also had biryani that tasted divine. Dum ki nalli gosht and pista murg ka salan were equally delicious. Meat falling off from bone and cooked in Dum style – It was succulent and had great flavour. 

We finished our meal with assortment of hyderabadi desert double ka meetha that was simply the best and I enjoyed khubani ka meetha too! Gil e firdaus( kaddu ke kheer) was truly an extravaganza and a treat in itself!.

We enjoyed soulful sufi songs, sung by sufi singers who had come from Nizamuddin Dargah. It was an evening of delectable food, soulful music and great company.
I am looking forward to Saturday brunch at Machan – This is when hyderabadi cuisine will be introduced starting June!  

Disclaimer – This review was done on an invitation from the establishment. Views expressed in the review is entirely ours and without any bias. Pictures of the dishes are not the standard portions, they are sample portions.
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