Vanille Salée at Mövenpick Hotel

What do you do when a promotion you run is a hit on one continent? You recreate it at your hotels on the other continents you have a presence in, of course! This is exactly what Mövenpick Hotel & Spa is doing, and since Bangalore is the sole property in India, that we get to experience their Vanille Salée festival is all the more special! The concept is simple – take vanilla, which is usually used to sweeten dishes and in desserts, and create half a dozen savory dishes. The festival, a month long, has an exclusive a la carte menu that is available at the Italian restaurant, Mezzaluna, until the 21st of March.

A soup, salad, appetizer (in the surprising form of sushi!) and three mains are on offer, and they are predominantly non-vegetarian fare, with only the soup and salad staying vegetarian. The idea of course, is to infuse vanilla into each dish without making them in the least bit sweet. Of the six dishes, I really liked five, and that’s the same number I felt had managed to capture the taste of vanilla in them as well. They tried to stick to using local produce and meats as much as possible, and to this end, certain variations from the original menu created by the Chef in Europe were necessary – the substitution of turkey for guinea fowl, for example.

And now, here’s a look at what we ate and what you can expect if you visit – and I do recommend you do, for this is a rather unique festival and not something one comes across all the time. The mains each run at INR 999, and the salad and sushi are INR 649, with the soup at INR 449 – and definitely a must-order. So a meal for two will be around INR 3200 plus taxes and alcohol. My thoughts on each of the dishes are in the captions, and as you can tell, each item was beautifully plated and presented.

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White Onions Veloute Soup – the vanilla bite was tangible and came across beautifully, with the onion jam and micro herbs adding taste and texture

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Goat cheese and fig salad – now if only every salad I ate looked so pretty! Edible flowers, whole hazelnuts, and vanilla in the dressing – very nice!

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Sushi?! Well, one could taste the vanilla in this sashimi of tuna and salmon – with the added bonus of a couple seared scallops.

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Pike fish fillet and endives – vanilla flavor on point, perfectly cooked fish – everything went well together.

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Turkey Breast Melba – this was the only dish that didn’t work for me – apart from not being able to discern the vanilla in this, it was rather dry and chewy and needed a good amount of sauce.

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Veal Tenderloin Jardiniere – definitely my dish of the night. Just look at that meat! It was perfection, juices flowing, and pink in the center. The vanilla was just a hint, but that didn’t matter, really!

Sunday Brunching in Style: Movenpick Hotel & Spa

Sunday brunch brings back memories of awakening late, fighting the pater for the Sunday newspaper and drinking tea out on the balcony at home. Sitting in my PJs until way past decent, and finally only being goaded into showering and dressing with the promise of mum’s brunch. Some weeks it would be Indian – parathas and egg bhurji or the Hyderabadi egg dish Khageena, while other times it would be sausages, eggs, bacon, baked beans and toast. Whatever the main course, a fab dessert was always there to end on. Oh man, those were the days! The grown up me has to either prepare the brunch herself, or else head out to one of the many restaurants in town that offer a special brunch on the day of rest. When an invite to such an afternoon comes along, gathering with the fellow food writer pals and our other halves makes it all the sweeter. Such was the occasion a couple weeks ago, when four couples and two munchkins arrived at The Movenpick Hotel & Spa for their 250 dish and cocktails/beer/wine/champagne Sunday brunch.

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Sushi to start us off

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Mezzaluna’s new Italian flavors

Mezzaluna, the Italian fine dine restaurant at the Mövenpick Hotel & Spa is definitely one of my favorite Italian eateries in town. However, the fact that the hotel is far, far from home, means my visits are few and far between. In fact, when I was there a few weeks ago, some quick calculations and thinking back made me realize it had been, horror, a year and a half since my last visit! Under the genial and capable hands of Chef Armando di Filipppo, who has been with the establishment for about three years now, and has relocated to India en famille, Mezzaluna is always  a delight. I prefer afternoon dining over dinner here, for the simple reason that the sunlight from the windows and the charm of the life size prints of Italy (almost floor to ceiling in height) comes through better in the day, and also because there’s somewhat less traffic at 1pm than at 6pm!

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I liked the interiors of checkered floor and life size Italian ‘scapes so much, I even posed for a pic!

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