Review: Dakshin at ITC Windsor




Indulge in the finest of Southern India cuisine at ITC Windsor’s ‘Dakshin’

ITC Hotels under the aegis of ‘The Kitchens of India’ has been showcasing
unique & undiscovered cuisines and cooking styles from across India. This time, ITC Windsor’s ‘DAKSHIN’ presents ‘The Spice Island Flavours’, showcasing how traditional recipes of southern Tamil Nadu is melded with the spices of the emerald isle of Sri Lanka to produce a fragrant, flavourful and fabulous cuisine.



This was my first visit at ITC Windsor and I must say what a beautiful property it is, absolutely mesmerising. It gives you an instant vibe of ancient, regal and luxury.

Coming back to Dakshin, everything is royal about it, right from dining tables & chairs, attendants & staffs to plates & glasses and music & ambience; it gives an absolute peace of mind setting the mood upright. The only thing that struck my mind was why I haven’t to this beautiful place earlier.



We started the evening with ‘Muneer’, a refreshing drink of jaggery, tender coconut water, khus syrup and honey. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the evening, I always look for a drink that refreshes every bit of that tiring body after a hectic day at work and this does exactly that. Every element used in this drink, be it jiggery, coconut water, khus or honey, plays such an important role.



Next up was series of appetizers to indulge in, starting with crisp samosas filled with seasoned minced lamb served with tomato chutney called Khaima Somasi. With every bite, your tongue will remind you of the goodness of lamb.



Next up was the traditional ‘Fish Cutlets’ in a small ‘round ball’ shape. Sometimes, the first look tells a lot about the food, just look at the deep fried brown colour, it looks absolute divine and it is not deceiving, it tastes equally good. Certainly, one of the best fish cutlets I have had in a long time.






Next up was ‘Vendakka Sambal’, crisp fried okra slivers tossed with tomatoes and onions. I have always enjoyed eating this particular dish with different names around Bangalore and this really lived up to the expectation, nice crisp and spicy.



The good food wasn’t enough, so the next entrant was ‘Devilled Chicken’ and ‘Devilled Prawns’. When I first heard the name I was really excited to try it, ‘devil’ in food signifies spicy, dark, strong flavors and that’s how I like my chicken to be. But it doesn’t live up to the expectation; yes it is more like ‘chilli chicken’ that I have enjoyed end number of times. It wasn’t bad; it wasn’t ‘wow’ either. The latter had something better to offer in the form of prawns, taste wise it was same as the former.






Next up was ‘Annasi Perattal’, pineapple curry scented with cinnamon and fennel. This is the surprise I was waiting for, this is the kind of food I like to say wow, the chef has nailed it and interestingly it’s one of the simplest of the dish you can prepare in the kitchen. The slices of pineapple were cooked in mustard with pepper to spice up and give the taste buds the needed oomph.



Another good item on the menu I would like to mention is the ever humble ‘Parippu’, yellow lentils tempered with onions and scented with pandan leaves. It is so humble, people tends to ignore in the presence of so many rich food. But I believe great things come out of simplicity and I always make a point to tatse such items on the menu. This dal reminds me of my home with goodness of pure ghee hitting right to your nose.



The next entrant on the table was ‘Erachi Curry’, tender lamb stew, mildly spiced. This really holds the essence of a lamb dish. I like my lamb well cooked, tender for teeth and a punch of spice and this ticks all the boxes.



Next up was ‘Kaju Curry’, a melange of tender cashewnut and green peas in coconut gravy. Again, I am very familiar with this dish and I felt that punch was missing. As the name suggests, the hero of the dish should be Kaju and not the other elements. Here, the supporting elements dominated the dish taking away the goodness of cashewnuts, could have been much better.



Next up was ‘Lamprais’, baked banana leaf parcels of rice, curried chicken cutlet, fish cutlet, onions and vegetables. This was another surprise dish for me, which I would rate very high in terms of flavour, technique and taste. It ticks all the boxes of an amazing food. The moment you open the banana leaf lock, you get burst of aroma of so many different flavors. Very rich in taste, definitely a must try.



As we always do, end the proceedings with some lovely desserts. Dakshin had four desserts to offer for the evening and all were equally good. The first was – Kiri Pani, thick homemade yoghurt served with palm jaggery treacle. This was followed by Banana fritters, with vanilla bean ice-cream and palm jaggery dip. Next up was, Love Cake – cashew meal cake, scented with rosewater and spices. The last on the list was, Watalappam, coconut milk and jiggery custard with tender coconut ice-cream and coconut chips.









Overall, it was a very pleasing experience and would definitely recommend my readers to indulge in the finest Southern India cuisine at ITC Windsor’s Dakshin before 31st August 2015.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, ITC Hotels under the aegis of ‘The Kitchens of India’ has been showcasing unique & undiscovered cuisines and cooking styles from across India. The objective of the initiative is maintaining the Indian culinary supremacy of ITC’s hotels group. These festivals would focus on bringing to the forefront and promoting unique & undiscovered cuisines and cooking
styles from across India and would be follow a focused & streamlined
approach.

Verdict: 4/5

Must Try:  Fish Cutlets, Annasi Perattal, Parippu, Erachi Curry and Lamparis

Where: Dakshin, ITC Windsor, Golf Course Road.

When: Till 31st August 2015








Suman

Dreamer, Blogger, Writer, Foodie, Movie buff, Public Relations. Contributor for The New Indian Express and recently started a news publishing website 'Unkrate'.

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