Disclaimer: If you want to eat the ubiquitous Idli, Dosa & Sambhar then this festival is not for you.
Delhi NCR is host to a lot of food festivals and more often than not the Chefs try to indulge in creating something different, something which the guests will get to experience for the first time. At the DravidYatra food Festival you can expect many out of the box South Indian dishes which though traditional to the core, are something which the North Indians would not have probably tried before.
Most unique attribute of this festival is the Non Vegetarian spread, something that’s really hard to find in South Indian restaurants. The various delicacies on display were picked up from the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Masterchef Alankar, the man behind the entire show, has been cooking in various properties of Carlson Group including Park Plaza and Radisson, and is always enthusiastic to showcase his skills. I am not very happy with the fact that he is carrying the entire weight of this festival on his shoulders alone, and that is why the quality has suffered as the kitchen staff, if seemed, was finding it hard to keep up.
Not every item on the menu appealed to my palette. I feel if they wanted to showcase some creativity they could have experimented with dosas or other popular delicacies instead of completely lifting them off the menu. Keeping a completely different menu is a good thing but only if it is in addition to the popular favourites. Anyways I am only looking at the business angle and personally I am always open to experimentation.
Coming to the dishes I tried, I was completely blown away by the Appam and Veg Stew. I am truly madly a hardcore non vegetarian but I found veg stew much better that the non veg one. Its mild flavours combined with the perfect softness of the Appam were really good. Two salads (Moong Dal and Kala Channa) had a great flavor as they were tossed in mustard seeds and curry leaves though I found the legumes to be undercooked.
I also liked Urulai Roast (Kerala style baby potato), Malabari Koli Curry (South Indian Style Chicken curry) and Ulli Theeyal (Kerala style curry made of small onions) and Paddu (Dumpling made using lentils and rice). In the dessert section Apple Halwa was remarkable.
The buffet is well laid out and every day the menu is slightly different. There are lot of continental items too on offer at the salad bar, main course display and the dessert section apart from the South Indian fare. The festival is on till next week and I suggest you must visit once as some of the dishes may surely strike a chord with your tastebuds.
DravidYatra Food Festival at Park Plaza, Noida is on till 14th of March.