Rajoupacharam – ITC Dakshin

Chef Shri Bala is back in the city, a Charted Accountant by profession but her interests in food and its culture have taken her a level ahead as you’ve experienced a similar concept at another property recently. An interest to explore food from the ancient times, knowing about the ingredients, the methods of cooking and their flavour profiles have resulted in yet another food festival.

This time it is at Dakshin , ITC Kakatiya. Rajoupacharam, a glorious feast of royal cuisine from Chola, Kakatiya , Vijayanagara and Sethupathi dynasties. This definitely wasn’t an easy task. A lot of digging , history books and understanding went in to curate a set menu.

Rajoupacharam is a part of the “Kitchens of India” initiative across all the Dakshin’s in the country. They just completed the festival in Delhi, currently Hyderabad and next is Mumbai on the list.

Lets check them out. #hyderabadfoodexplorer #Dakshin #ITC #hyderabadfoodblogger

Ambience:

The restaurant has a stunning ambience. Extremely well lit and walls filled with art work. The covers are beautifully set with silverware. Every table has brass bowl with flowers in it.

The place is well lit, the service staff in the traditional attire adding to the overall experience of South Indian cuisine.

Food and Beverage:

The food patterns are dated to the ruling of different dynasties and change accordingly. With newer imports, invasions and influences in a particular time paved way to work with newer ingredients. It was all black pepper until the last dynasty to spice up the dishes according to the research of Chef Bala.

Chicken , as meat was consumed only after the Britishers came to India. It wasn’t widely consumed earlier.

There are 3 sets of menus to choose from. Saivam (vegetarian), Asaivam (non vegetarian) and Matsyam (seafood). We had a mix of these, just to taste a little of everything.

To start the meal you are offered warm water and nannari (sarsaparilla root extract). You first drink the warm water and then followed by nannari.

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For the appetizers we had mini version on the sarva pindi , banana dosa, meenu suska  and kaadai milagu piratal.

Sarva pindi is still a household preparation , these were served along with four types of chutneys. The concept of banana dosa is to start on a sweet note and also acts as amuse bouche to increase your appetite. Meenu suska is a sea fish, if you aren’t used to eat fresh fish , this could slightly be a problem. They use a fresh salt water fish, its crusted with poppy seeds and coconut. A very unsual preparation.

The kaadai milagu piratal is a quail preparation. It is spiced with black pepper, tempered with curry leaves and extensive use of shallots.

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For the main course you get a pre portioned thali. The first to eat from the thali is te millets with herbs. then you move on. We tried almost everything on offer. The best one for me was the Perunsoru, a one pot meal with rice and mutton encased in lotus leaf. This had a base with peanut , batter fried and mixed in a masala, then topped with a flavourful pulao with mutton and onions in it. Another first time dish.

Along with this we had pacchi pulusu, a thin rasam kind of dish made with tamarind pulp and raw onions, finished with a tempering. Sennai Seppn varuval, a dry dish made of colocacia and yam which are  deep fried and tossed in a coconut based tempering. Ezhu kari koortu is a special dish where 7 types of country vegetables are used to make the curry.

Iddalige is another interesting form , similar to a puri but has buttermilk cured urad with tamarind in it. This gives it a slight sourness to it. Mossuru Bhutti was someting different again. A curd rice dumpling with a spicy green chutney.

For the non vegetarian kootu Kozhi kalari was a preparation made with country chicken slow cooked with Pandan and raw banana. Vanjaram Meen Kozhambhu was a surprise. A very unique preparation in which the sear fish is cooked in a base, then smoked for quite some time. The smokeyness is very unique, had it earlier but a north Indian chicken curry. Nandu Ulli theeyal is a crab curry cooked with shallots, coconut and tamarind.

Then we moved to the desserts. My picks were Paruthipal Pongal, a preparation with rice and cotton seed milk sweetened with jaggery. Pathir peni was another favourite, the pheni what we get for sankranti here is topped with mildly flavoured milk. The third dessert was Akki Hesarubele payasam, a preparation made of rice, roasted moong dal, jaggery and coconut milk.

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No meal is complete without a paan. You may pick up some on your way back.

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Pricing , Service and Location:

The Saivam is priced at 1700++, Asaivam at 1950++ and Matsyam at 2150++. The fest is on for both lunch and dinner till 1st September.

The service was extremely smooth, luxury dining with a equally good service.

Address: ITC Kakatiya, 6-3-1187, Begumpet, Hyderabad

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