As one entered the hotel, the sight of a person bobbing around the place dressed in sneakers was hard to miss. It was none other than Delhi-based chef Sweety Singh, who conducted his 10-day Punjabi food festival at Hotel Novotel, Madhapur.
“People come to a food fest for the chef and what’s the point if I am in the kitchen all day?” he justifies. Once you’ve met him, it’s easy not to forget his enthusiasm and the passion with which he talks about his vocation. The chef’s intention is to promote authentic Punjabi food that is unadulterated by unnecessary elements. “Punjabi food is ghar ka khana, with the generous usage of butter. But what you get nowadays is the modernised version, with cashews in rice and kebabs as bright as paint,” he rues.
The festival had a cyclic menu with a change after every three days. The place was done subtly to create a Punjabi ambience and aimed not to take the focus away from the food. Welcome drinks included Amritsari jeera and meetha lassi, served in mud glasses.
Starters included Lahori paneer tikka, aloo potri, tandoori kukkad and macchi de tikke. The surprise element was the paneer, as soft as butter. In the main course, sarson da saag, kadi pakoda, and aloo vadiyaan were worth trying. Desserts included kesari kheer and gajar da halwa. The food overall was a little spicy. The highlight can be attributed to the hospitable chef who made it a point to stop at each and every table.