Monday, 9 October 2017

Magic of Morocco Food Festival | Pondicherry Cafe Sofitel BKC Mumbai | Sublime Wholesome Flavors | Food Review

My third visit to Pondicherry Cafe within 3 months and these guys are still fantastic. This time, it is to review their Magic of Moroccan Food Festival. A special kudos to these folks for coming up with such exotic food festivals helping us acquaint with all the classical cuisines around the world. I have tried some Moroccan dishes earlier but my sister hadn't and generally she does not like bland-ish food (which I expected this to be), but she really liked it here too,so a complete win-win situation for everyone :)

Walk in on the ground floor of the luxurious Sofitel at BKC, enter the plush Pondicherry Cafe and take a moment to soak in the ambiance. Bright rich colors, beautiful view from the french windows, an array of food counters, and for the special occasion of Moroccan Food Festival, classic Shamiana like set-up and staff donning Moroccan libaas too, oh and not to forget Chefs Monabbih Mohamed Amine and Bouhmad Mohamed who have specially flown in from Morocco with authentic spices to bring a taste of their culture to us :)

And the fare is good indeed. One would expect that the food would be mostly non-vegetarian but they actually had many great vegetarian options. Moroccan food is reflective of amalgamation of various cultures, with Arabic, French, African Berber influences and food here definitely had a hint of all that. Most important dish would be Tagine, the famous slow-cooked Moroccan stew in clay pots with spices such as ginger, cumin, pepper, cinnamon etc. Many people consider these to be bland because they do not use many hot spices like traditional Indian food, so flavors are subtle, juicy from the slow-cooked process (they literally cook it for hours on end) and for those who like wholesome,clean flavors, I very much recommend coming here :)

Cauliflower Tagine was my personal favorite-extremely smokey, felt creamy, delicious, totally changed the way I look at cauliflower :D

Potato Tagine was my sister's favorite with sweetness of potatoes contrasting with tanginess of olives in the juiciest way possible,

Makfoul Tagine would be an acquired taste with overload of onions & tomatoes in sweet-ish + tangy spicy mix, I liked the punch it had,

Chermoula Tagine is what I already had sometime ago and liked,this was the BETTER version with brilliant explosion of flavors-basically Chermoula mix is potent mix of many spices such as cumin, parsley, pepper etc. and this stew with mix vegetables had all the kick you want from a truly explosive dish, took us to the heart of Moroccan feast,

Chorba Fassia is a beautiful clear soup with veggies such as potatoes,tomatoes, carrots, celery , coriander blended with spices such as saffron, turmeric -so both the aroma as well as the texture was very tempting, very smooth and soothed my throat (it was fighting a losing battle with terrible cold last week!)

Pumpkin Salad was good, I liked the Carrot salad even more with delicious shredded carrots topped with almonds & raisins, a bit tangy, a bit sweet, really healthy, down-to-earth, simple yet lovely dish,

There was an Eggplant salad that they included in the 'Vegetarian' section but it has EGG on top! I know, in a lot of places outside India, egg is actually considered vegetarian, but without getting into whole cultural /sociological debate of veg vs non-veg, I think it is safe to say that in India most of the vegetarians do not consider egg as 'vegetarian'. It should have a red dot in the name, not green. This is the only peeve I had here this time. 

Anyway,moving on, the buffet includes many other dishes too for those who want to stick to tried & tested/conventional fare, in Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai sections, these are the ones my sister and I really liked-

Lipsmacking Paneer Bhurji and Subz Handi,
Creamy Veg Thai Green Curry,
Nutty Crunchy Stir Fried Vegetables,
Soft, Sweet-Sour-Spicy Tofu in Soya Ginger Sauce,
Assorted Veg Sushi (Coming back for these!)
Delicious Veg Dimsum platter,especially Water Chestnut,
Citrusy Beetroot & Orange Salad,
Tangy Wholesome Tomato Rice,

AND the whole dessert section deserves repeat visits, hands down one of the best dessert spreads in the city, alone making the price of buffet totally worth it - especially recommended are Moong Dal Halwa, Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse, White Chocolate Pastry, Chena Chop and Basundi :)

We tried and liked the special Moroccan dessert (I think it is called Ktefa) made with layers of fried pastry with cream and almonds plus nuts, really good and light dessert. For ice cream lovers, there is London Dairy too, with my sister recommending their Mango variety (in her own words,pure heaven) 

Very value for money looking at the quality of the buffet, the excellent service from beginning to end, very polite and helpful staff and our delicious experience here. Will surely be back.

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