Caribbean Sagas at Novotel, Hyderabad Airport

The islands from the Caribbean region are known for their stews, grilled meats, coconut based dishes and jerk spices. Their food habits are a confluence of British, Dutch, Creole and African tastes with the South American palate, and as a result, we really have an exciting range of cuisines which differ within the region from country to country and even island to island. Perhaps for the first time, The Novotel Hyderabad Airport brings Caribbean Sagas, a festival showcasing Caribbean cuisine in Hyderabad.

Lamb Shanks

In recent times, there is a trend of a restaurant hosting a promotion of a particular cuisine on a fixed day of the week for an extended period. Vivanta by Taj and Mercure had been doing this in Hyderabad for some time now. It gives the food lovers chance to enjoy a promotion for a significant time, as opposed to often learning to their dismay that a promotion is almost over by the time word-of-mouth reaches them.  Of course, this format needs the in-house expertise of the cuisine, which Executive Chef Ramesh and his team and his team at Novotel possess. Caribbean Ragas will be hosted every Friday evenings, at The Square, the all-day dining restaurant of the hotel.


Invited to a preview to showcase the festival, I was happy to see the huge spread welcoming me. As usual, the live counter was outside the hall overlooking the pool with a choice of select meats and sauces. A list of dips and sauces had interesting names like Banana Sambol, Lemon and Green Herb Salsa and Coconut Chilli sauce. About half a dozen of seafood and meat dishes in different Caribbean sauces were listed and I could not wait to lay my hands on them.

Octopus
Assorted Seafood
We were first served a platter of assorted seafood. It had squids, anchovies and baby octopuses in a variety of sauces. The anchovies were the pick of the three, though the squids in a dark Caribbean sauce tasted nice too.

Cilantro Lime Kingfish
Cilantro Lime Kingfish
The starters kept on coming. Next in line was soft Cilantro Lime King Fish slightly tangy and flavoured by herbs. King Fish is a favourite for me, and the quality of the fish was as good as you can get in Goa. Another dish tasting very different was the Orange Pepper Scented Grilled Prawns. Truly the varied marinades and sauces of the Caribbean region have been really showcased well in this promotion.

More Seafood
More Seafood
For chicken lovers, there was the Caribbean Jerk Spice Grilled Chicken, which was decent.

Vegetarian Starters
Vegetarian Starters
For vegetarians, there was also a good choice of starters. Fried Polenta Cheese Sticks were liked by many. Then there was Vegetarian Skewers in Puerto Rican sauce as well as Sweet Potato Cutlets in coconut chilli sauce. A unique dish was a Baked Stuffed Plantains with some tangy filling. I had never tried anything like this last dish which combines a contrasting sauce with the mildly sweet banana. Some experimentation is now planned with the banana at home.

Baked Stuffed Plantains
Baked Stuffed Plantains

The salad counter looked pretty interesting dishes. The shredded beef dish Caribbean Chimichurri Salad was a clear winner, so was the Shrimp Salad with fruits and Balsamic Dressings. However, for me, the pick was an awesome Curried Pineapple Salad with Coconut Dressing, the combo working really well together.

Curried Pineapple Salad with Coconut Dressing
Curried Pineapple Salad with Coconut Dressing

As is usual, I was overstuffed by now and had to cut down on the main courses. I was looking forward to the Jamaican Roasted Duck with Orange Salsa. The dish was served with flavoured rice. Though the sauce tasted good, the duck was unfortunately too chewy. Much more impressive was the All Spiced Lamb Shanks, with the meat cooked to perfection.

 Jamaican Roasted Duck with Orange Salsa
 Jamaican Roasted Duck with Orange Salsa

The dessert collection was huge though all were not from the Caribbean. A few notable ones were Rum Raisin Cake and Coconut Trio Cake with Cuban Syrup. I noticed quite a few varieties of tarts as well as coconut-based desserts.

Rum Raisin Cake
Rum Raisin Cake

The Buffet at The Square has quite a spread, and apart from the items of the promotion also includes a set of Indian and Asian dishes mainly for the in-house guests. The promotion is on every Friday until further notice. A must visit for meat and seafood lovers, especially those who like western cuisines.



Location:

The Square
Novotel, at Hyderabad Airport
Shamshabad
Hyderabad
Telephone: 66250000

Timings: Friday evenings, 19:00 to 23:00 pm

Disclaimer: The review is based on an invite from the restaurant.



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