Considering the maddening traffic situation in Bangalore and the fact that we live at quite the opposite end of town, we didn’t think that we’d be heading back to Movenpick so soon. It had just been a week since we were bowled over by the authentic thin-crust pizzas at their Amiamo La Pizza! Festival. This time though the scheme of things was completely different – a gargantuan buffet with the promise of taking us on a food trip down the GT Road. GT Road, as in the Grand Trunk Road? We asked skeptically. The very same, we were told – the road that easily covers 2500 kms and passes through three countries and seven diverse states in the Indian sub-continent.
Well, there’s no doubt about it, the Grand Trunk Road Culinary Trail packs quite a palatable punch. It is long, varied and winding, like the road itself, with pit-stops at a fair number of prominent food hubs along the way. The sheer number of hand-picked dishes is amazing and includes well-known and celebrated favourites, popular crowd-pleasers as well as a few homespun gems to round it all off. There are little touches all around that work as great dinner conversation starters and attest to the restaurant team’s efforts to lift this feast out of the ordinary – the spiffed-up bullock cart parked at the hotel entrance, the old-fashioned lamps, the clay angeethis or stoves topped with rotund earthen serving pots and lids. Executive Chef Thomas Joseph has even commissioned some expert home chefs to don the chef’s uniform and bring their specialty regional dishes to the tables.
So..we sat down to dinner at the Chef’s table with the clatter and aromas of finishing touches being added to the buffet all around us. To start with, the cocktail menu had been transformed to fit into the theme and there was a choice of an Imli Mojito, Sharabi Nariyal, Kala Khatta Daiquiri and Piru Piyala, a guava-based drink. The desi twist on the cocktails was much appreciated and a thumbs up given to all except the Sharabi Nariyal.
At this point hunger pangs had us heading to the colourful chaat counter manned by two friendly ladies who were dishing out Delhi-style Gol-Gappas and Bhalla-Papdi Chaat with great aplomb. The salad menu too had a few themed dishes added to it – a sev-lavished Aloo chaat, Roast beef slices with kasundi or Bengali mustard, and a Chicken tikka with green chutney.
We had been looking forward to the kababs and they did not disappoint. The Pakistani Ghuta kebab – deep-fried pasty ground meat patties were bite-sized with well-rounded flavours and the Macchi ka kebab were succulent and well-spiced. For the vegetarians the Anjeer-mawe ke kebab was quite rich and on the sweeter side and there was a corn-shaped bhutte ke kebab that had nice flavours but had turned a little soft.
We’re always crazy about chutneys and found that many of our fellow diners were too. The tangy Tomato chutney and the spicy Lal mirch-adrak chutney were both interesting and went well with the khasta keema samosas. We also tried a Lucknowi version of Haleem, which was deliciously porridge-y and not greasy at all. Baigun bhajas from Bengal, thick slices of eggplant dipped in batter were being freshly fried-up. With so many delicious options around we found ourselves sampling a little of everything and were quite full even before we hit the main course line-up.
From the vegetarian main dishes that we tasted the highlight was the fabulous paneer which was mild and creamy and just melted in the mouth. The Orai ki torai and the karela subzi were typical dry veggies that would be at home in tons of lunch dabbas across Northern India. Neither the Nafasat ke kofte nor the gravy that are in the picture above were particularly impressive. We did like the earthy Litti-chokha dish that was cooked specially for us by the chef from Bihar.
The non-vegetarian curries had us reaching into each pot for just a little taste. Each was unique and we liked the Chooza Khaas Makhani, an interpretation of the ubiquitous Butter chicken, that nevertheless had a nice blend of spices that had everyone trying to guess the right ones. We also enjoyed the Mutton do pyaza and Pakistani murgh kari with some of the Gosht dum biriyani. Tandoori rotis, naans, romali rotis and others of their ilk were served hot and fresh at the table, just the way they should be.
The dessert counter was a fair riot of colours. Fruit skewered on bamboo sticks, a pot of sticky-sweet Khubani ka Meetha, single-servings of Phirni, plump Gulab Jamuns and more. The small, square pieces of the Bengali Sondesh were the perfect lightly sweet ending but we could not resist a bite of the other desserts too. The carrot halwa disappointed with its consistency and the gulab jamuns were a mite doughy at the centre, but the Phirni and rossogullas ensured a really sweet finish.
Overall it was a fantastic meal. Apart from the tasty food we enjoyed the way the buffet had been put together. We spent nearly three and a half hours savouring this massive spread and we suggest that you take your time too and pace yourself so that you can enjoy this culinary journey through Grand Trunk road, beautifully and conveniently packaged at Movenpick.Address: MyPlace, Movenpick Hotel and & Spa, 115 Pipeline Road, Near BEL Circle , Bangalore Availability: Only for dinner until 21st July and culminates with Sunday brunch on 21st July. Cost: Rs. 1200 per head, not including taxes and drinks Phone: 4300 1000
Accepts Cards: Yes