Organised twice a year in March and September by Desi Restaurant Week Events Pvt. Ltd., Restaurant Week India or RWI is a niche culinary event held in 5 major cities of India, Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. I got introduced to the concept in 2013 while visiting Delhi with two of my closest friends. The concept was new to me then as the top hotels and restaurants were offering their best recipes at the fraction of a la carta prices. That was done by hotels of course as part of their brand building, but it suited to my palate and purse quite well. When else one can imagine to have a three course dinner at a top five star restaurants for 1000 bucks!. The dinner we had at Varq, Taj Palace in Delhi in 2013 was really memorable and we enjoyed the ambience and the dishes both while being pampered by the staff of the restaurant.
After a gap of two years, I joined the event once again this year on a social visit to Delhi. I booked a table for my brother and sister’s family at ITC Sheraton’s restaurant Dakshin, known for its authentic south Indian recipes. It was my first time there and the occasion was special for my younger brother. RWI offers you fixed price menu. We had to choose from an elaborate menu which had all possible options. We were helped by Avinash, the affable restaurant manager. Since we were a large group and all were vegetarian on the day(Ganesh Chaturthi), we had the opportunity to taste almost everything on the RWI menu of Dakshin.
The appetizers were served first. It included Cauliflower Melagu Peratti, Kuzhipaniyaram and Vadai of the day, washed down with ever dependable butter milk. The freshness and taste of them, sat the right tone for a great evening. There were lots of spice condiments to tingle the tongue including the curd marinated and fried red chilies, a southern delicacy. I placed most of them in a neat order on my banana leaf lined thali and kept on using them to spice up the food. The main course consisted of Ennai Kathrikai (eggplant), Tomato Pappu (Lentils), Ambat(Lentils with Spinach) and Urlai Varuval(Potato). These were relished with appams, parrotas and neru dosas. While Appams were crisp, Neeru Dosas were soft and delicate. Although I had been avoiding rich diets recently, I threw all cautions to the wind and immersed myself literally in the food paradise that was laid out for us at Dakshin. Everybody ate to his or her heart contentment. The company of brothers and sisters and a pretty to-be-new member of my family was no less the reason for enjoying these gastronomical delights in a great spirit.
The main course was followed by some mind blowing sweet dishes pronounced as Basundi(Rice), Elaneer Payasam(Coconut Milk) and Adai Pradhaman(Rice and Jaggery). We tasted all of them in smaller quantities as our stomachs were rounded well by then. The helpful staff including the chief chef and waiter Babu were taking a good care of us. The beetle leaves were last to come and I did not miss them either. Just as we were about to leave, my brother in law smelled the aroma of fresh filter coffee being prepared for some other guests. The aroma was amazing and enticing and though we had paid the bills, we sat back to enjoy the final delicacy of the day, the filter coffee served in South Indian style in small steel glass and a steel saucer. It was one of the finest coffee I ever had in my life. What a great evening it turned out to be! I thanked God and my sister and brothers for a memorable evening. I think, I had the best of Restaurant Week India!