Dining Out Magazine

Special Cuisine | British Curry at the ITC Maurya

By Shibanibawa

"Curry is not just a dish but represents a cuisine in the UK," says Syed Belal Ahmed,editor of Curry Life Magazine. What of course originated in the Indian subcontinent took on a unique identity in the UK when local ingredients and herbs were added to curries. Ahmed adds that curry has come to be the UK's most loved food. There are around 12,000 Indian restaurants in Britain; and in fact, there are more Indian restaurants in Greater London than in Mumbai and New Delhi combined. In an endeavour to promote British curries around the world, the 'Taste of Britain Curry Festival' is organised by the magazine to promote, presentational, artistic and culinary skills of British curry chefs. It is a globetrotting event, which has over a decade promoted the best of British curry in various countries in Europe, Middle East and South East Asia.

Currently in New Delhi, what better venue could they ask for than the ITC Hotels' flagship property in India - the ITC Maurya that boasts the finest Indian restaurants in the country. "This is an interesting culinary exchange as we will get to see a different take on curries," says Manisha Bhasin, Sr Executive Chef of the ITC Maurya. But she adds that during this dual promotion, while The Pavilion will feature British Curries as part of the dinner buffet, Chef Dominic Chapman will showcase traditional English cuisine at the rooftop restaurant, West View.

Traditional British Food at West View

Head of the Taste of Britain team to Delhi is the highly acclaimed Michelin-starred Chef Dominic Chapman. Chef Dominic is head chef and owner of the multi-award winning gastro-pub, The Beehive, Berkshire. He has worked at some of the UK's top culinary institutions including Fat Duck and The Royal Oak. He believes in using fresh seasonal produce to create beautiful comforting dishes. "His philosophy is very much in sync with West View where the emphasis on using the freshest, finest ingredients means that there's no set menu. Dishes for the day are decided according to the produce that's available," explains Chef Manisha. While Chef Dominic wants to showcase classic British dishes, he too will decide the menu on a day-to-day basis.
When I get to taste his creations during a media preview, there is the ubiquitous Fish n Chips and a flavourful Pot Roasted Chicken with Mushroom and Bacon. For desserts one tucks in a comforting Bread & Butter Pudding and a delicious Apple Cinnamon Crumble Pie. I must mention that I loved this version of the apple pie that had warm, sweet, cinnamon laden apples under a crunchy crumble crust.

The Taste of Britain Curry at The Pavilion

Everyone knows the story about the Chicken Tikka Masala. Although it is not traditionally Indian, it is perceived as the most popular Indian dish outside of India. And this dish originated in the UK. But over the decades, the number of British curries has increased as chefs continued to experiment with locally available ingredients. For instance, the use of herbs such rosemary and thyme that are not traditionally used in Indian curries lend a unique flavour to Indian dishes, hence leading to the creation of a new cuisine. Some of these will be available at the dinner buffet at The Pavilion along with an extensive choice of continental, chinese and Indian dishes. While the Chicken Tikka Masala will be available every day, Chef Azadur Rahman and team endeavor to showcase as many different British Curries as they can during the course of the festival.

We start our meal with Sole Ajwaini and Oregano Chicken Tikka. Both are succulent, but what truly blows me away is the Chicken Tikka Masala. Despite my apprehension against a sweetish tomato curry, I love it. In fact, it is finger licking good and pairs beautifully with a crisp lachcha parantha. There are other curries on offer too, such as Lamb Shatkora and Naga Chicken Balti, both of which are delicious, but I do keep dipping back into the chicken tikka masala! Amongst the vegetarian options are Vegetable Madras; Methi Paneer and Dal Spinach. Familiar looking dishes, but with hints of surprises that make them different from what we're used to.

This festival is certainly worth a visit, take your pick from the British Curries or traditional British fare served in classic dishes. Or why pick one, try and go for both!

British Curry Festivalat The Pavilion

British Food Festival at West View

, Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi.

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