Celebrating 35 years: The Royal Afghan, ITC Windsor

Before it was ITC Windsor, it was Windsor Manor, a hotel my parents and I visited for special occasions when I was a child. I remember at least one meal at The Royal Afghan. So, when this restaurant, which has never changed its menu, dishes, or recipes, turned 35, and decided to celebrate with a month long special, I had to join in!
The special signature chef’s choice menu, crafted by Chef Riyaz Ahmed and team gives diners a chance to try almost all the restaurant’s North West Frontier offerings – so be prepared to eat a lot, and really well! The menu at Royal Afghan isn’t vast, but curated, presenting the best dishes, with special spices and techniques handed down and honed over the last three and half decades and with the aim of maintaining the exacting standards and flavors. Now, here’s a pictorial journey of our beautiful lunch, for day or night, the poolside setting affords a lovely ambience.

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Tandoori Jhinga – Tiger Prawns farmed by ITC Foods itself, this was heavenly!

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Kadak Seekh Kebab – you won’t be able to stop eating this!

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The delectable Tandoori Chicken (made with yellow chilli powder)

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The rich and smoky Barrah Kebab

 

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A medley of the vegetarian starters: Subz Seekh Kebab, Tandoori Aloo, Tandoori Phool, Paneer Tikka, Tandoori Simla Mirch

 

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Indian Breads, including a Khasta Roti, a family favorite

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Dal Bukhara and Butter Chicken – traditional dishes that complete the meal

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The Sikandari Raan – the restaurant’s specialty and a favorite with diners

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Kulfi – oh so good! Light in flavor and consistency, this was

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Gulab Jamun – need I say more?

Details: The Royal Afghan, ITC Windsor; Anniversary signature menu INR 3300 plus taxes (non veg) & Rs. 2800 plus taxes (veg) per person; Available through Sunday, 30th November, 2017.

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Onam Sadya at ITC Gardenia

Onam, Kerala’s harvest festival is a ten day long celebration and also marks the start of the new year for Hindu Malayalis, and is usually celebrated by all the people from the state. The grand feast, that is prepared on the final day of Onam, called Thiruonam, is Onasadya. The Onasadya is an integral part of the celebrations, an elaborate meal served on a banana leaf, with certain specific dishes and sides, from salt to sweet, and numbering at least nine to even fifteen or more dishes. From banana chips and a banana (pazham), to puli inji (sweet and sour pickle side), pacchadi (a version of raita) and paripu (dal), with a host of delicious vegetarian dishes, some gravy, some dry, an Onam Sadya meal is a real treat.

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Over the last couple years I have been lucky enough to be part of a close friend’s annual Onam potluck celebrations. This year, I was also invited to an exclusive preview of ITC Hotel’s Onasadya, which is being served in Bangalore at ITC Gardenia’s Cubbon Pavilion restaurant. This special #GrandOnamCelebrations Onasadya will be available across India, at ITC properties, for lunch, on Monday September 4th, which is the day Onam falls on this year. The feast will be served as a Thali, priced at INR 1550 plus taxes. On Sunday the 3rd, some of these Sadya dishes will be a part of the ITC Pavilion restaurants’ daytime Sunday buffet spread.

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Expect the decorations and festivities to be on from Sunday, providing diners with a chance to try some traditional Kerala vegetarian fare, including Olan (ash gourd and red beans in coconut milk); Thoran (a dry prep with coconut, this version is with beetroot); Avial (thick gravy of Kerala veggies); and my personal favorite, Erissery (pumpkin and red beans in a coconut gravy). Kerala red rice, Kerala Sambar, and Moru curry, (a tempered yogurt based thin gravy that has mustard and curry leaf and is quite tangy), are other dishes you’ll be served as part of the feast. The meal will end with traditional desserts that are part of a Sadya – a variety of payasams. In this case, enjoy Elaneer Payasam (tender coconut dessert that is light and delicious), and Adai Pradaman (a thick prep of rice, jaggery and coconut milk.

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