The Bengali Cuisines - Bangal and Ghoti

With their elaborate preparations of fish, vegetables and lentils served with rice as a staple diet, the Bengali cuisine has evolved for years, passing through the Nawab Rule and undergoing a major change with European influence when the East India Company decided to make Calcutta as the nation's capital. After the partition of the huge state that Bengal was, there were distinctly two different styles of cooking based on the ancestral origin of the family -  the fiery curries of the Bangal style made popular in India by the immigrants from East Bengal (Bangladesh) and the sweet loving natives of West Bengal who developed the Ghoti style.

Bhapa Ilish
Bhapa Ilish

Though both styles of cooking originate from almost the same geographical location, they differ entirely in the spices and marinades used. With a lavish use of oil and chillies, the trump card of Bangal cooking is probably the use of morich bata and phoron, a combination of whole spices, fried and added at the start or finish of cooking as a flavouring special to each dish. Bhapa Ilish is one such preparation in which the Hilsa fish is steamed in oil and spices, giving it a musky and smoky flavour.

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Haleem Trail: Shah Ghouse

Shah Ghouse is the favorite haleem destination of many Hyderabadis. In the last few years this place has carved out a name for itself  for both biryani and haleem, and to cater to the ever increasing demand, the restaurant has branched out from their original outlet at Shalibanda to Toli Chowki and now at Raidurgam. Their haleem has been winning awards at the popular contests in the city.

Haleem at Telangana Festival

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New Monsoon menu at Olive Bistro, Hyderabad

Olive Bistro in Jubilee Hills has made quite a name for itself in a short span of one year. Around their first anniversary, the restaurant has introduced its new Monsoon menu. The menu, designed by Chef de Cuisine Sujan Sarkar and implemented in Hyderabad by their Executive Sous Chef Vikram Chanana, has the best of Italian and Mediterranean delicacies.   As part of the menu launch, a group of food enthusiasts were invited to sample a few select dishes from the new offerings.

Foodaholix Olive Bistro Hyderabad monsoon menu egg mushroom puff
Scrambled Egg and Mushroom Puff

We started with a Scrambled Egg and Mushroom Puff.  A soft and delicious puff topped with ragout mushrooms, scrambled egg and select greens.

Foodaholix Olive Bistro Hyderabad monsoon menu soup sampler
The soup sampler

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Haleem Trail: Pista House

The name Pista House is almost synonymous to Hyderabadi haleem. In fact no food lover will go through the Ramzan season without tasting their haleem once. Pista House has their own outlets in different areas of the city during this period and a huge franchisee network selling their haleem all over town. They also have a tie-up with Gati Couriers to deliver haleem to major cities in India.

Pista House haleem
Pista House haleem at the Secunderabad outlet

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Le Bistro Du Parc : Bistronomie at its Best

A small, french restaurant serving moderately priced meals set in the middle of a park; it doesn't require a linguist to gauge that the name is bang on. A venture by Naina de Bois-Juzan with the Olive group, Le Bistro du Parc looks to introduce the concept of Bistronomie in Delhi while treating food lovers with delightful dishes from the Parisian cuisine.

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Haleem Trail: Paradise, Secunderabad

Paradise is a name synonymous with Hyderabadi biryani. Known to one and all, it is the first thing which pops up in one's mind whenever someone mentions Hyderabadi Biryani. Curiously, the popularity of the restaurant seems to be on a down curve as more and more people curse the dish, especially the ones served in the Masab Tank and Hitec City outlets. It has almost become a fad as it is taken as a measure of showing how much a person is well versed in local tastes. However, a few like me are still loyal to one of the oldest biryani joints in Hyderabad. And whenever people visit from outside Hyderabad, they all insist on Paradise biryani.

Foodaholix haleem Paradise counter
Paradise haleem counter
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Outback Bar and Grill

Outback Bar and Grill is an open air restaurant inside Leisure Inn, a luxury boutique hotel, located quite close to the famous Sector 14 market in Gurgaon. Invited to sample their new menu offerings, we reached the place at around 8pm to find the large courtyard wonderfully decorated with artistic lanterns on each table and large cushioned sofas. The big old Maragosa tree which forms an integral part of the setting was decked with at least a thousand tiny lights like it was Diwali. As it was summer, the staff had also placed fans which sprayed water all over the place, limiting the temperature to a certain extent. However, we still felt that the place was extremely hot and was not suited to the summer conditions of Delhi.

Photo Courtesy - Outback Bar and Grill

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