This is a review of Syrian Christian Food festival at Amarantha – 19th Jan to 8th Feb 2014. To read a review of Amarantha in general, pls click here: Amaranta
In a nutshell:
A very good (but short of being outstanding) food festival that captures the authenticity & YUMMness of Syrian Christian food quite well, at a price that is high by even 5 star standards but much cheaper than the airfare to fly to & fro Cochin to have the same food.
Address & other details: Amaranta
To take a virtual walk into the restaurant pls see below:
Meal for 2: Rs. 4000 onwards
Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:
For the short description of the restaurant in general, pls click here – Short Description
While I cribbed (did I? No, actually I was in the mood to crack a silly joke) about the price above , I did that by mentally comparing it to an Indian meal for 2 at say Dum Pukht / Bukhara etc. Must admit that seafood costs more than say lamb / fish / chicken served in those North Indian restaurants & hence the comparison is not so fair to Amaranta.
Came to know about the festival thru a tweet by Amaranta that said ‘Amaranta docks at Kerala this month with a Syrian Christian Cuisine promotion starting on 19th January.it’s a must try.’ Honestly, got swayed by the word ‘docks at’ & also the recent Syrian Christian festival at Zambar.
To read an interesting story about Syrian Christian food, pls read the first few paragraphs of this review – Zambar.
What was good about the menu was a choice in seafood – crabs, mussels, king fish, cochin red snapper, prawns etc. The seafood was very good in terms of freshness inspite of the restauranrt being situated in land locked Gurgaon.
Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:
As we waited for the food to arrive, we were served a tuna achaar & carrot pickle. The tuna was cut in cube shape, it was quite hard but enjoyable as we wud bite into it. The juices of the fish wud start flowing out along with the masalas.
We started our lunch with Chemmen Coconut roast – Indian Ocean prawns tossed with shallots, coconut & curry leaves. The prawns were real good. Medium to large sized prawns that were super soft, non rubbery, flavorful & very good to taste. Shallots gave a mild sweetness to the dish. Spices made their presence felt & at the same time let the prawn display its prowess as well. Liked the dish very much & rate it 4/5.
We moved on to Kallumakaya roast – Mussels tossed with ginger & curry leaves. The mussels were de-shelled & cooked. The distinct taste & texture of mussels was recognizable & at the sam etime the spices made their presence felt. There was a difference between this & the previous dish in terms of taste direction but not too distinct. We like it very much & rate it 4/5.
For main course we had Meen vatichathu with kappa – Cochin red snapper simmered in chilly& kokum curry sered with tapioca. The gravy was dark orange in color & had a srong red chilly flavor to it. Kokum did not make its presence felt separately. Gravy tasted very good overall. Rate the gravy 4/5.
The fish was not marinated but steamed & then put into the gravy & cooked together. Result was two fold. First – The fish was very juicy inspite of being inside the gravy. It was layery, flaky, soft & YUMM. Second – Salt did not enter the fish. As it is it was suboptimally salted but with the gravy it was perfect. Rate the fish 4.5/5.
Overall rating for the dish averages out to 4.25/5.
We NJOYed this fish with some outstanding appam – super soft mid, crispy outer layer & an enjoyable fermented feel to it. Rate it 4.5/5.
The next dish we had was Njandu Curry – Fresh live crab cooked in roasted coconut & peppercorn curry. Liked it but it was not as good as t cud have been. The crab was undoubtedly fresh & good but somewhere the sweetness of taste & the flavor of crabmeat got overpowered by the masalas. It was good but way short of being great. I wud rate it 3/5.
We NJOYed Njandu Curry with excellent, straight from the tawa, piping hot, super crisp mini dosas.
The showstopper was Nasrani Biryani – Kerala style syrain rice with prawns. This was served in a small porcelain handi. As soon as the handi was opened, the aroma burst out. It was mesmerizing. The top layer was just one of dessicated coconuts. As we dug into the handi slowly the chunks of rice & jumbo prawns showed up.
The rice was thankfully not ‘long & slim’ basmati but the original Kerala ‘small & fat’ rice. The morsels of rice stuck to one another unlike the ones in Lucknowi biryani. Aroma was excellent. Flavors of prawn, rice & spices mingled well. The rice & prawns both were super soft & non chewy. Excellent & YUMM. Rate it 4.75/5
For dessert we had Elliappam with jackfruit ice cream. We assumed we wud b given ripe jackfruit ice cream but wahat came was raw jackfruit based ice cream that had no relation to jackfruit either thru taste / flavor.
Elliappam was outstanding – Two layers of steamed rice powder based cover & coconut & jaggery in the middle. This was served hot. Jaggery had excellent flavor & taste. Super loved this dessert & rate it 4.5/5
Overall rating of food at Syrian Christian festival averages out to 4.1/5.
Rush here if u want to spend a great time with a foodie friend in an opulent setting, to eat an almost authentic & very good Syrian Christian meal with loads of seafood options – something that is almost impossible to find in land locked Delhi NCR. Be ready for a fat cheque though…….