The curious case of Lebanese cuisine – Okra , Marriott

Marriott , Hyderabad is known for their food festivals. I personally love each and every food festival they come up with because its just not there but they put in a lot of effort to make it as authentic as possible. The have the ambiance set up for bigger fests, chefs from different regions to curate a specific menu and a lot more.

It has been almost close to an year now, they’ve got a complete new team , they have just settled in and its all coming together in a nice way. They have a lot of things planned, a few kept secret.  To begin the streak they have come up with a addition to their regular dinner buffet , adding a lebanese feast curated by Chef Jameela and Chef Hystam.

This will feature a lot of lebanese dishes on a rotational menu and is available only for dinners. Its a brilliant one not because of the number of dishes and price but also the authenticity and their aim to not change dishes according to the local palate.

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Skipping the ambience part here as its a add on to the regular buffet. So lets get staight to the food.

We were served a welcome drink, it was a very refreshing one. It was a mango and mint one.

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We started with an assortment of dips and pita. There would be hardly anyone who wouldn’t like their dips. We had about 6 dips on offer. The hummus ma fle fle was a little spicy version of the regular hummus, it has orangish tinge because of the spice they put in. Baba ganoush had a nice smoky charred flavour to it. Most of them don’t have the charred after taste , but this was a bit different. Kusa ma Tahime was a grated zuccini dip  tasted brilliant, it had a slight crunch and was extremely good. Labneh is a simple dip made of yogurt, it had s thick consistency and goes well with some bread. Salathath fawaki was something new, it had a dip with olive oil topped with fruits.

We had falafel and sheesh tauq as appetizers. The falafel was pretty good, a coarse ground chickpea, herbs and spice mix which were shaped and deep fried. The garlic sauce on the side was a perfect match with hints of tahini.

Sheesh tauq was another amazing dish. I loved the size of the kebab. They were bite sized , also helped in getting the flavors from the marinade all across which would have been bland if the cut was bigger. The marination was a simple tomato base with a touch of sweetness cutting through the tangy tomatoes.

Apart from these we had the shawarma. We had two of them, the first one was much better. The first one was just pita and chicken. The spice was very mild and the chicken was juicy and flavorful. The next one had some sauce and onions as well, I’d still prefer just the chicken.

Moving to the main course they have chaffing dishes. Its a buffet , you can pick up anything you like. I picked up Salona Zehra , Nazale baithijan , salona dijaj and some flat bread. Salona zehra was a vegetarian main course, it was a curry made with deep fried cauliflower and a lot of tomatoes. nazale baithijan had sliced aubergine, deep fried and had a tang from yogurt. Salona dijaj is a chicken version. Missed out on trying Samak kebsa.

For the desserts we had almond and walnut Baklava, date pudding, umali and fruit trifle.  All the desserts were really good. the baklava has a good amount of nuts, apt sugar syrup and the flaky layers. The date pudding isn’t the fluffy over sweet dessert. Its more like a dense cake with a good flavor to it. Umali is something i would prefer to be made to orders but this being a buffet it wasn’t possible. However I really liked the taste of it so no complaints.

To end it up they have a live counter for some Turkish coffee. Not the ideal one but its a good one. They have a few restrictions as its inside the dining area.

Overall it was an extremely satisfying meal. The fest is on till 13th February and is only for dinners. The buffet is priced at 1700 ++ and includes the regular buffet offerings as well along with the festive menu.

Chefs behind the dishes. Meet them if you be there, they’d love to host you. 🙂

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