Being a marathi mulgi and having stayed away from home for 4 years, jumping to any opportunity offering maharashtrian food is now a thing ! When, Neha from Shout it Out invited us for the Maharashtrian food festival preview on 27th April, we could not deny, even though it meant travelling to another part of town for this tasting.
Our first impression on entering The orchid about the efforts that were taken to make this festival an extravagant one with a maharashtrian entrance with a sanai vadan. From the entire staff dressed up beautifully in maharashtrian attires to the decor being setup into a pangat seating, The Orchid has put in a lot of efforts in making this festival a true experience of maharashtrian festivities for their guests.
Pune has had a mixed western food culture since a while and a Maharashtrian food festival at the time of Akshaya Tritiya and the Maharashtra day from 28th April to 7th May is the perfect way of celebrating our traditional culture and our food.
Maharashtrian food has influences from various regions desh, khandesh, vidharba and marathwada. Right from the Urban vada pav to the rural staple food of bhakri with rassa, the festival has managed to include a spread doing justice to all.
STARTERS AND SOUP :
The Chicken Koliwada and the Prawns koliwada were the highlight from the starters. The koliwada is a mumbai street stall preparation done by deep frying and is regular used to serve starters in a maharashtrian thali. The koshimbir vadi was delicious but felt dry due to the lack of the typical maharashtrian “kadi” pairing with it. The Patwadi and the Mutton Kheema unde are generally gravy based dishes and the starter version of the same failed to please us and could be given a miss.
Salads and Soups :
Kakadi Koshimbir and the Gajjara koshimbir paired with the various kurdai papads, add the basic crunch to a typical maharashtrian thali. The starter was served to us way too in the beginning. The right way to do a maharashtrian thali is a pangat with various courses served to you at the same time so that the various pairings lift up the flavours that the dishes have to offer. The salads were fresh and had a huge variety that included Modachi Mataki , Kamang Kakadi , Pachadi , Panchamrut kayras. The Tomato sour soup and the Paaya soup dont really make for a maharashtrian soup but the flavours were on point and did not disappoint.
MAIN COURSE :
Maharashtrian main course has always been about the various gravies! The spectacular variety in the gravies that the buffet had to offer, made us really happy. Not only did the chef manage to pull so many dishes together but has also managed to get the flavors of the gravies spot on! Having grown up with the flavors from Vidharba, Nagpur mutton masala is something that can never be wrong and the chef managed to do justice to this dish and qualify for the highlight dish of the day ! Other than the various dishes mentioned above, Birdyachi usal, a malvani dish had its tanginess and spiciness right and was a delightful dish for the vegetarians.
The dessert counter looked really pleasing and had our eye on it right from the beginning. The selection included a few options from the maharashtrian sweets along with a few from the various other indian sweets. The start of ” Akshaya Tritiya ” is marked with Aamras and the Puran Poli . Puran poli is the first dish that comes to any non maharashtrians head when it comes to maharashtrian food. But both these failed to deliver and lacked the essence of the flavors that uplift these dishes.
On the contrary, the Rasmalai mousse and the Kalakand Cheese cake were an instant hit with rasmalai making a beautiful combination with the mousse and the kalakand cheesecake being a refreshing affair amongst all the desserts.
LIVE COUNTER :
There is a live counter for vada pav, but we gave it a miss ! The presentation seemed far away from the concept of street food that excites us and could be highlighted with a few more dishes from the the various stall food from Maharashtra.
The buffet is priced at ₹999/- (without taxes) and is on from the 28th April to the 7th May to mark Maharashtra diwas and Akshaya Tritiya. The spread is huge and adequately chosen and The Orchid has definitely given a lot of efforts to make this a pleasant affair. I would like to thank Neha Joshi for inviting us to experience it.