Sunday 10 November 2019

Karwari Food Festival | Solitaire Restaurant Hotel Kohinoor Continental | Best Food Festival Destination | Food Review

Anybody making a list of best buffet dining destinations or food festival destinations in Mumbai, make Solitaire Restaurant at Kohinoor Continental your top pick right away. Delicious food, very value for money price point, elegant calm ambiance, excellent staff and superb service-pick your reason to visit Solitaire and just do it :)

I have been here for multiple food festivals over the years and not once have they disappointed me or my family. Have loved the Thai Food Festival, the Maharashtrian Food Festival, and now the Karwari Food Festival that is going on right now till 17th of November 2019. There aren't 500 items in the buffet, but more than enough for anybody to feast like royalty.

They have brought the perfect home-cooked feel, everything tastes like prepared by a loving grandma, so this is the right place to say goodbye to oil-laden food that is the usual trademark of typical 'restaurant food'. And the walk till Solitaire is also adorned with ambiance-enhancing decorations, nice touch :) For me, the main draw was that Karwari food, from the coastal Karnataka region, that is mainly seafood based, also had many options for a hardcore vegetarian like me. Ingredients like coconut, hand-pounded spices, tamarind, potatoes have been used generously and I cannot emphasize this enough-nothing has been doused in ghee or oil to make it tasty, rather the real taste of real ingredients shines through in every preparation. This is the best differentiating factor here that even my mother loved a lot.

Started off with PANAK, the most refreshing drink hands down, with Jaggery, Lemon, Ginger, Black Pepper together, how can this not be magical :) Alongside there was also SOL KADI and BUTTERMILK but I ended up having 3 rounds of Panak and would have had more if a delicious spread of food did not beckon me :D

The starters and salads section was hands down my favorite with plethora of bites in crunchy and healthy avatars, including-

BEETROOT KISMOR- Tangy-Spicy medley of Beetroots, Peanuts, Onions and just a dash of homemade masala,
TOUSHE MULYAR- Cooling preparation with Cucumber, Dahi, Coconut,
ASSORTED PAPAD- Do not miss the Shankh shaped papads!
ASSORTED KAAP- Basically fritters but baked, not fried, thin slices of Potatoes, Bananas, Brinjals and Yams. Sound humble but wait till you taste them, the delicious crumby coating will force you to go back for seconds.
DAL VADE- THE BOMB! I lost count of how many of these I had. Looked like the simple tikki we have but I haven't had a more balanced mix of spices, onions, daal in a tikki version EVER. I kid you not, I am salivating just thinking about it even now.
KHOTTE- Idli steamed in Jackfruit leaves, try it for the earthy other-worldly flavor not found in any food nowadays :)

For main course, we noshed on another set of down-to-earth dishes found in Karwari households. Think veggies with coconut, curries with mix of tamarind and chillies with capsicum and raw mangoes, bhakris made of healthy ingredients such as jowar way before quinoa and kale became fashionable! We had and loved-

KAIRI UDIT METHI- Raw Mango + Karela in red curry, a bite of bitter with a lot of tanginess,
BATATA TALASINI- Simple Potato Bhaaji with Mustard, 
CHANA SURANA GASSI- Bengal Gram and Yam in a hearty thick curry with coconut and hint of tamarind,
PUGHE MIRSANG ROSE- Capsicum and Potatoes in wholesome coconut curry,
BHINDI SUKKE- Ladies fingers frolicking in a paste of coconut with loving masalas,
DAL made just like mom makes at home, no butter, no ghee, no flashy tadka, just plain happiness,
JOWAR and RICE BHAKRI, AMBE-MOHAR RICE that went as well with all the curries as the jodi of Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet,

The Home-made pickles were a great hit with mom in this section too.

And then we had to save some space for dessert too, a limited but nonetheless delicious selection of authentic Karwari delicacies enticed us. We had-

FRUITS such as pineapple, kiwi, watermelons, papaya,
MOONG DAAL PAYAS,a lightly-sweetened moong daal porridge, can be had even by those who do not like sugar,
SUKRUNDE, looks like pakode but tastes like Puran Poli, with the same stuffing inside the outer gram flour covering, a dollop of ghee will make it even better,
PATOLI, my mom is from Orissa and she tells me there they call this Pittha, rice batter stuffed with coconut and jaggery and then steamed in turmeric leaves, MUST-HAVE, simple but heavenly,

And the most delicious dessert ever-GADBAD ICE CREAM, a rage in Karnataka, mix of Vanilla, Strawberry, Mango ice creams with wafer chips, chocolate straws, chocolate chips, tutti-frutti nuggets, jellies, sprinkles..basically just let yourself be a 5 year old kid again and enjoy a trillion calories in a glass :D

Seriously, what else is the definition of good life? :) 

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