According to you, what’s the perfect food festival?
For me it’s a widespread of cuisines from different flavours of a particular country, state, region. It’s for one, it’s for all!
The Maharashtrian Food Festival hosted by Boulevard- Orchid Pune, was a testimony to the above description.
The food festival or feast (more appropriate) started on the auspicious occasion of Akhshaya Trithiya, April 27 and is open till May 7 for all Punekars.
I was happy to binge on different flavours of Maharashtra with my Maharashtrian foodie partner who swears by his kala mutton and brings rich experience of travelling extensively in different states of Maharashtra. A foodie bong was happy to try out kairichi panhe, Kandya chi kombdi, kolambi satti, basundi and much more…
And what’s that more?
Well, the decor and ambience is impressive and you’ re intrigued to know more about the fest, lovely village setup where a kind gesture of tilak and tutari at the entrance feels warm and special.
The staff is dressed up in traditional attire and the atmosphere is perfect!
They have a pangat style seating and normal outdoor table-chair setup. We opted for the former where we were guided and informed about different options by Jayesh and ever- smiling Dhananjay.
The meal started with kairchi panhe, solkadhi and kokam sherbet. Raw mango with jaggery and solkadhi with spices and coconut milk was refreshing.
Paya shorba not being a traditional maharashtrian dish was nice, thick and full of flavours.
For starters we were served with:
Bombli fry- amazing! loved it with mint chutney.
Sukkad Mutton– I was waiting for this one, and it was not too spicy, yet delicious.
Kombdi chi mutka– The ideal version was replaced in a tikki form which was ordinary.
Aloo Bhajji– In Bengalis, we have this with our fav moong dal khichidi and this felt the same- homely feels!
There were some interesting salad options like talalya kelya che salad, this is fried banana salad- never had this combination before, and quite liked it.
Maka chaat was chatapata with tomatoes, onions, garnished with coriander and chaat masala.
Chicken salad and anda ani tomato salad ( egg and tomato) had the most healthy quotient.
So, now I was kinda drooling over the unique dessert options and my friend was craving for some fishy-food!
Let’s go to Mains first, again the red meat lover started the meal with mutton khada masala, this is jeera, shah jeera, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, green and black cardamom, nutmeg roasted first and then finely mixed. The khandeshi preparation included coconut which went well with bhakaris and chapatis. The chapatis or polis (indian bread) should have been more softer, jwarchi bhakari (jowar) was good. I prefer mutton minus the coconut indulgence -so, this wasn’t tingling my taste buds.
One more new thing tried was khari wangi which has more salt proportion than usual; I found it similar to bharleli vangi (brinjal) the shendanyache kuth (groundnut mixture) was good.
Dhananjay, our host and dost for the evening insisted we try the street food thela and we settled with sabka fav- wada pav and kachori chaat– the wada pav with green chilly and chatapata chaat were delicious!
Next was, puran poli minus the tup (ghee) I missed that! and aamras which was the pulp form with no sugar, I would have preferred some sugar added to it.
We were then served with pandhara bhaat( plain rice) and varan– I missed the tup again in this, but the simple dal preparation with thecha and shendancyhe chutney reminded me of my neighbor who would ensure I had it when I wanted to have a light meal.
Matki usal tarri was the next serving which went well with chana pulao.
In between of this gastronomic foodie night,dessert craving was at the peak for me.
Dhananjay- Mam, tumhi dessert madhe kay ghenar?
(What would you like to try for desserts?)
Me- sagle kahi aana
(Get me everything)
Though tummy was full, but dil ab tak bhara nai tha!
And within no time, we were served with loads of dessert, recap to my Kolkata trip where breakfast was a plate full of desserts!
Kolktata memories-Bong-Rajbhog are synonyms.
Started with rajbhog– one word HEAVENLY!
Happy me, next attacked mawa modak, fresh and tasty.
Expectations were high so tried mango kheer– way too sweet for my liking, moved on to basundi which had the right balance.
Innovative red velvet milli filli with gulab jamun was a big miss- the red velvet cake was slightly hard.
Some fresh fruits in between were good refreshments!
Dhananjay saw my expressions and asked me to try dudhi halwa ( bottle gourd) – I DO NOT like it, but he said its good, you must- I am glad I tried it, the condensed milk, ghee, cashews and other dry-fruits were EPIC!
Richy rich option of bikaneri burfi which was small in size, but high on calories, after hogging so much- Calories seemed alien.
Rasgulla gateux – le gateux etait ordinare ( the idea of gateux which means cake in French with a sacred dessert like rasgulla was ordinary).
Last two items were jalebi pudding and god dahi. Jalebi pudding topped with pudina and cashews, almonds tasted like kharvas with no essence of jalebi, god dahi (sweet curd) served in kulhad was the right way to conclude this scrumptious meal.
Overall, the festival was a mix of hits and miss, but truly appreciate the attempt of bringing so many dishes under one roof. It had few expected, some more unique variety- and I am happy to be a part of this event.
What could have been better?
- Though Dhananjay knew a lot about the menu, some of the other staff members were clueless, this should be worked on.
- I would have loved to see the following items in the menu, I am not sure if they were a part of this fest:
Chana daal che dherde
Gul poli/ Aamba poli
This was a food tasting event, and the review is completely based on my experience.
Contributing Writer: Anu Banerjii
Anu is a Bong by genes,Punekar by birth, Media professional by choice and Foodie by heart. Food Blogging for her is not being a critic, but it’s all about relishing the flavours to the fullest, thereby share experience.
Apart from work, Anu is an ardent King Khan Fan who spends her productive time by doing warli painting, practicing tarot and the food exploration continues.
Follow Anu’s food journey here- www.anubanerjii.com
Drooling photographs on Instagram handle anu_ka_adda