With the kicking off of so many stand alone restaurants, many of them being fine dine, quite a number of restaurants situated inside 5 star hotels remain hidden or unexplored. It’s either due to ignorance on the part of the people or rather a general perception that 5 star restaurants serve similar food as standalones at exorbitant prices. This is not always the case esp. with so many resources at their disposal. It’s always good to see these 5 star restaurants experimenting with their food and giving opportunity to the guests to try different cuisines. Kama, situated at Radisson Blu, Kaushambi, is one such place. The Master Chef Vishal Nigam and the Executive Chef Roshan Mendonsa are quite dynamic and Kama has been host to many food festivals since the last few months.
This time I was all set to visit the place for their Kashmiri Wazwan festival. ‘Kashmiri Wazwan’ is one of the most thrown around terms in the food industry these days. I was really keen on knowing what the chefs have created. But I was pleasantly surprised to see a 76 year old Kashmiri lady Ms. Mohani Mattoo, a home maker who had never cooked commercially before, instructing the chefs. That was the secret behind the great food I had at the festival. All the kitchen staff was paying great attention to all her tips and techniques. I immediately learnt the value of traditional cooking and personal talent, and why the commercial training that the cooking schools provide these days is not enough to create magic.
The various dishes I tried in the festival are:
Kahwa – They preferred to serve this spicy Kashmiri tea luke warm, which I think is a great Idea as I could feel all the flavours and the aromas of the spices. It had a perfect balance of everything and just the right amount of sweetness.
Tabak Maaz – This is one dry Kashmiri dish I did not want to miss. This was also the softest mutton I have ever had in any eatery at Delhi. They had arranged to get the mutton pieces cut to perfection by a Kashmiri butcher itself. Unless there’s a perfect cut, real Tabak maaz cannot be made.
Seekh Kebab – These were quite homely and though not the juicy variety they had a distinct flavor. I think best Kashmiri Seekh Kebabs are available only at Chor Bizarre, but these were equally good. The secret behind the great taste is home made Vari Masala.
Phari – The fish ‘Phari’ is a river fish found near Jammu. This version was prepared using fresh water Trout and coated with a gram flour batter using mint, garlic and ginger. I loved the fact that it was fried in mustard oil as it really enhances the flavor of the fish.
Ghushtaba – These exotic lamb dumplings are one of the most popular Kashmiri dish along with Rista. Only difference between the two is that these are cooked in creamy youghurt gravy with red chilli and fennel while Rista is cooked in tomato and onion gravy. These were unusually soft which differentiated them from the usual rock solid version and I loved it.
Rogan Josh- Kashmiri Rogan Josh served at restaurants is not very different from the Punjabi version, but this had a homely touch with milder tones.
Nadru Yakhani- This is a dish made of Lotus stem which I am not very fond of. I tried the gravy, which had flavours of mace and cardamom and found it to be good.
Dum Aloo Kashmiri- This had a rich red gravy and found it to be quite different from the description in the menu. Instead of the baby potatoes, the ones used in the dish were quite huge and therefore devoid of the flavor inside. Also I found the gravy omato based rather than yoghurt based.
Gosht Kich Mawas- The fact that this dish is not Biryani but a Moong Dal Khichdi really overwhelmed me. Though the taste of dal in the dish dominated the taste of the mutton, but I liked the overall taste.
Sheermal & Khamiri- The breads were the only thing I found disappointing as they were too hard, and we had to struggle to chew them. But the good thing is that regular breads can be ordered from the main menu and they too go well with these authentic Kashmiri preparations.
Shufta- Small pieces of paneer tossed in sugar syrup along dry fruits, cardamom and pepper. What you get is a Shufta. I liked it though it was a bit dry due to its unique concept.
Rawa Phirni—This version of Phirni was done to perfection. I’m used to eating rice phirni but this one blew my mind. It had perfect flavours and was a fabulous dessert.
This festival is a must visit and I highly recommend it as the food served here is really authentic and traditional.
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.