My decision to visit Momo Cafe, Courtyard by Marriott Pune Hinjewadi, for their food festival — Patiala House 2.0, busted a popular myth. I had always believed that people from Bengal are the only ones to use mustard oil in their cooking. I was mistaken. Some of the North Indian states, including Punjab, too use mustard oil in their dishes.
Pannalal Kumhar, junior sous chef, Courtyard by Marriott Pune Hinjewadi, informed us that every dish on the menu has been cooked in mustard oil and desi ghee.
At the food festival, which is open for dinner at the hotel till January 19, guests can savour some popular dishes from North India. The festival, said Kumhar, has been designed around the cuisines available in Patiala, Lahore, essentially Punjabi cuisine. “So, we have Butter Chicken, Hoshiarpur Ka Rajma, Batti Ka Murg, Ajwani Fish, Pindi Laddoo on the menu. We have picked up items from different areas,” he added.
When asked about the use of mustard oil in cooking he said, “Unless you cook it in mustard oil, you won’t get the taste and feeling. Mustard oil not only enhances the taste but is healthy too.”
The menu changes every day. “Every day, we serve around 5 to 6 non-vegetarian items including starters and main course, 12 types of vegetarian dishes along with Lassi and Falooda,” he said, adding that expatriates are in awe with their food because they get a lot of variety. “They get the taste of India and greatly appreciate it,” he added.
We started our evening meal with Mango Lassi, which was cold and refreshing. Not too sweet, we loved the authentic taste of the Lassi. The chaat counter offers different varieties of Delhi and Punjabi style chaat but we opted for Samosa Chaat, which was lip smacking. It was the right mix of sweet and tangy.
We took a little portion of every starter on the menu. So we tried Murg Tikka Old Monk Kebab, Tawa Fish, Bhatti Ka Murg, Silbatta Ki Tikki, Bhatti Ki Murg. The Murg Tikka Old Monk was unique. The chef told us that in Punjab, kebabs are marinated in Old Monk, especially during winter so that it has a completely different flavour.
The Tawa Fish was marinated in yellow mustard seeds paste, chillies, oil and yoghurt. It was delectable. Cooked on charcoal, Bhatti Ka Murg had a burnt flavour, which enhanced its taste. We loved the green chutney served with it.
The highlight was definitely Silbatta Ki Tikki. Prepared with beetroot, peanuts and herbs, it had a smoky flavour, but wasn’t sweet.
For the main course, the chef recommended Sarson Ka Saag and Makki Ki Roti. It lived up to our expectations. The Sarson Ka Saag was yummy and we loved the taste of garlic mixed with the saag. Makki Ki Roti was soft. We relished every bite.
Prepared in red tomato gravy, Chicken Martaban was delicious. The Harimirch Wala Kacha Gosht had soft mutton pieces. The gravy wasn’t too rich.
Maa Chole Wali Dal is a must try and so is Amritsari Chicken Pulao. The pulao was bursting with flavours.
By the time, we finished our meal, we were too full to try desserts. But the dessert menu looked too tempting, so gave in to our temptation.
Gajar Ka Halwa, Badam Ka Halwa, Atta Ka Halwa and Rabdi were simply delicious. One bite of each dish was an ambrosial experience.
After finishing our dinner, we realised that every dish had a homemade taste and wasn’t too spicy. Kumhar tell us that their intention was to give their clients a taste of homemade North Indian cuisine. All, we can say is that they have accomplished their mission.
Head to Momo Cafe, Courtyard by Marriott Pune Hinjewadi, for Patiala House 2.0 Food Festival, which continues till January 19, from 7-11 pm.