Pondicherry cafe (Sofitel, BKCmumbai)

This review is about Turkish food festival ending 26 th march 2017
In a nutshell:

The worst food festival we have attended in a decade – starting from lack of seriousness in thinking thru the concept to poor food on the plate. Criminal waste of money by us.

Address & other details: Pondicherry cafe

Meal for 2: 6500 for 2 (buffet)

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:

We read about this food festival in a Facebook foodie group. Later we also noticed a good amount of blog posts on this. The description of the chefs in the ads looked interesting and their food sounded exotic.

We went there with huge expectations, and were badly hit by reality. It seemed to be a marketing person’s idea with the chef not taking it seriously. Else who would offer a subtle, flavour dependent cuisine on a buffet …. including kebabs !!!! R u serious? Pre cooked kababs on the menu

While there were boards of the festival near the entrance, the food in the buffet was spread out across the hall. A special festival food tag differentiated this food from the mutton roganjoshes and Oriental chickens of the restaurant

We were told ‘ the tables with hanging white onions are the ones with the festival menu’. We were not informed of two items in the salad section which actually turned out to be excellent – we saw them accidentally.

There r so many simple cuisines and dishes that have subtle flavours and taste and people love them. However those are the ones difficult to cook and manage. While a Mughlai mutton curry tastes great after 2 days of it being made, the same does not hold good for a Bengali maacher Jhol.
Service was good.
Food was highly disappointing- seldom did we find an experience so bad consistently

Detailed description- in case u hv the time to njoy reading:

Tavuk sote- sautéed chicken. I discarded the helping on my plate after eating a bite. The sautéed chicken had stiffened over time. It was fibrous, hard and just non impressive. Rate it 2/5

Mousakka – lamb and eggplant cooked with tomato purée was average. The aubergines were poor tasting and some were even bitter. The meat mince had no character and was as bland as paneer. Neither did the dish overall make sense nor did its individual ingredients. Rate it 2.5/5

Tavuk corbasi chicken soup was like home made – very good. Simple, refreshing and good. Chicken pieces were ‘besides the point’. Rate it 3.5/5

Domatesli balik bubulama – fish simmered in tomato purée was again average as it had dried off. We cud just Taste the fish and nothing else. The fish was not juicy and not soft. It was hard and chewy. Rate it 2.5/5

Ispanakli mantar- spinach and mushroom tossed in onion garlic was beyond good. Garlic and spinach chemistry worked very well. Rate it 3.5/5

Zeytinyagli pirasa- leek carrot onion and olive oil ended up becoming mushy as it was kept in heat over a long period. So texture was bad. Taste was ok. Rate it 2.5/5

Yayla corbasi- yoghurt soup was the show stopper. It was like a jaguar Land Rover among Tata indicas. The warm yoghurt soup had the sourness from curd, a mild fermented flavour and just brilliant taste and texture. We were bowled over with this dish. Rate it 4.95/5

Bulgur pilavi- pilaf made from bulgur was nice. Loved the subtle flavours of herbs and spices. Rate it 3.5/5

Patates puresi- mashed potato was one of the worst mashed potatoes we hv had in months. It was made with ordinary low grade potatoes – could have been magical with a good choice of potato. Rate it 1/5

Abak sote – sautéed zucchini was good to taste but the veggies had lost their crunch due to being placed in heat for long. Rate it 3/5

Izmir kofte- lamb meat balls had no signs of lamb (either in terms of taste or flavour) except in our imagination- it had a very good spice flavour though. Some were like polo (hole in the center), others were not!!!! Rate it 2/5

Mucver- similar to pancake, made from zucchini, potato, onion etc was good to taste. It had a crispy outer layer and soft inside. Rate it 3/5

Chicken shawarma was a disaster. The guy making it had no idea how to toss it. The chicken pieces were hard and not good. On top the guy added mayonnaise to it!!!!! The pita bread was a sad thick lump of maida that was not toasted well. Most roadside shawarmas taste better than this. Ala Turka serves way better shawarmas in delhi. Rate the shawarma 2/5

Baklava was interesting. It was baked together and not individually. That led to a very different outer layer. Instead of being super flaky and crispy, it was super soft and layery. The top and bottom layers looked burnt but they tasted wow. Unlike bad baklavas, these were not over sweet. Loved the charred feel on top. Rate it 4.5/5

Havuc tarator yoghurt carrot and garlic was outstanding- sour , super smooth, intense, creamy and just too good. Rate it 4.75/5

Overall rating of food at this restaurant averages out to 2.98/5

I have spent 3 times the amount spent here and walked out smiling. This was an irritating culinary evening that we will remember. Will b scared to come to more food festivals here in future

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