Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Food Inspired from the Fujian & Hunan Region @ Eest, Westin Gurgaon

You know you enjoyed the food at a restaurant when even a few years after your visit, you can close your eyes and almost revisit the experience. Sometime back, I visited Eest with some friends. Two of us were die hard meat lovers and we ordered some lamb, and we still talk about how good that lamb was, even today!

So last week, when I was invited to Eest to review the Fujian & Hunan inspired food festival that is currently on (till 30th May), I was quite excited. Eest offers the experience of modern asian flavours such as Thai, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. China, like India, covers a huge geographical area, and its cuisines vary from region to region. Hunan cuisine is known for its hot, spicy and robust flavours and fresh ingredients. In comparison the cuisine of the Fujian province, while flavourful, is much lighter and with an emphasis on umami. 

Chef Sam Wong has crafted a delightful menu of food inspired by the cuisine of the Fujian and Hunan regions of China. The food was delicious and full of bright, spicy flavours. The highlights for me were the Golden fried prawns, Shredded lamb with spinach, homemade style egg bean curd and the Fujian style steamed fish. One of my favourite discoveries was the use of pickled red chillies in the food. Chef Sam Wong explained that this is a hallmark of the cuisine of this province and that the pickled chilli add a more mellow spice to the flavour profile. 

Do visit Eest if you are a fan of Chinese cuisine and want to discover the flavours of these provinces. This menu is available till 30th April so head there soon! 

Golden fried 'tempura like prawns where wheat starch is used instead 
of batter to give an incredibly crisp envelope to the prawns

My favorite by far, the lamb was so soft and juicy. Nobody does lamb 
like it's done here and I kept on stuffing my face with it right up until 
dessert was served.

Cabbage rolls for the vegetarians

Delicious spicy shredded chicken with pickled chilli. Really good!

Steamed fish tempered with pickled chilli. Really loved this fresh 
and bold dish that was one of my favourites

Ok, so I am not a fan of tofou, but this homemade tofou was the most 
delicious tofou I have ever had! It is an absolute must try and something 
I will be thinking about for a long time!

p.s There are a few desserts on the menu. I wasn't a fan, especially of the grean bean vanilla pudding, but that's just me. If you like traditional desserts, then I'd give the dessert a miss, but if you like to experiment, go for it!

p.p.s Thanks Sukhdeep Bahra & Gunjan Kar for the awesome company!

[All images by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use without prior written permission]

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

When the Menons Got #Grubbed!

This post is long over due... A lot of things have happened since my last post, and life is working on a whole different schedule, one where sitting down and composing ones thought's are a luxury! So what's got me so busy that I don't have time to check in with you guys? Well... we have a new addition to the family! Last month the hubs and I welcomed our little princess Adhira into our family and ever since then, life has never been the same... and in the most amazing way too!

Anyway getting back to the point, between 3rd and 5th April, a few weeks after we brought our princess home, The Grub Fest came up , and we felt that Adhira was settled enough to go on a family outing. So off we went, looking forward to some good food and some nice memories to be found on the sprawling lawns of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Sadly, having an infant means you run according to their schedules, so we ended up reaching the grounds at around 2pm, probably the hottest part of the day. Finding a parking was a breeze since there were ample parking facilities and this was a real plus when compared to The Palete Food Festival held at Nehru Park last year. The one disappointment was the rude staff at the security (the lady doing the checking was a real piece of work). And I'm not sure why bags need to be manually checked if they have already been through a scanning machine!

That being said, once we arrived on the scene, we were all pretty impressed with the carnival-like atmosphere, the sheer number of stand alone restaurants represented, and the well organised and systematic manner in which all the exhibiting restaurant's stalls had been laid out. There were all kinds of foods on offer and it was great to see big names and newcomers alike, all in one location. It truly was a carnival of food! Kudos to Aman Kumar, Arjun Jain, Chaitanya mathur and Mani Singh Cheema, whose idea this festival was. 

Aside from the restaurant stalls, there were food trucks and a Grub Market where organic and fresh produce was available as well as baked goods, condiments and other goodies too! 

Here are a few images of our time at The Grub Fest... 

Some of the installations at the venue

Thought these bell peppers were cute and kinda freaky too :)

Getting to the Food

What The Truck!

Finally got a taste of the keema pao served by What The Truck... 
one word... AWESOME! Not such a big fan of their 
chips 'n' cheese though :(

We enjoyed some cool Buds and some great dim sum at Dao. 
This is the crab and prawn roll and it was delish!

When things got a little too hot we cooled off with some Old fashioneds 
and an Elderflower Spritzer at the ATM & PCO area. I know... 
Whisky in the afternoon! Try not to judge :)

The Elderflower Spritzer

The Old Fashioned

The Eton Mess... served at ATM PCO was a little disappointing...

And that's us! Our princess was getting a little cranky by this point!

Overall our visit to The Grub Fest was a great family outing. Well organised and an awesome group of restaurants represented. That being said, toilets were an issue, as always... and thankfully I didn't have to change any diapers... but I did pity the moms who did! 

Timing was also an issue. I think food festivals like these need to be held when it's cooler, so walking around is fun, even in the afternoon. In terms of location, if you were to honestly ask me, I'd say Nehru Park trumps JN stadium. For me, it is such a beautiful park, with tall trees that offer shade and large lawn areas where you can sit and have a picnic of sorts- a far prettier place for a food festival. I look forward to next year, I'm sure it will be bigger, bolder and much improved! 

[All images by Shalini Pereira. Please do not use without prior written permission]

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