I revised a bit of school Geography before attempting this post. I learnt that India has one of the largest coastlines, spanning across nine different states and measuring 7,517 kilometers in length. Along with this vaste expanse of land comes diverse people, languages, and of course food! This is why we are able to enjoy a variety of fish, seafood, spices, coconut and lots more, that are typical of coastal cooking. Paying respect to our coastal heritage, The Trident at Bandra Kurla Complex is holding a #CoastToCoast food festival, highlighting coastal cuisine from the nine different states – spanning from Gujarat in the west, to Kerala in the south, to West Bengal in the east.
022,The Trident, BKC is their all day restaurant which serves up a pretty elaborate buffet counter. Named after Mumbai’s telephone code, 022 is a large space done up in neutrals, but it transformed the night we visited. From garlands adorning the door at the entrance, to diya stands, to flower decorations, the coastal feel was very evident. The food counters also had traditional influences incorporated – from coconuts to a sail boat. My table also had coastal elements as a centerpiece – some spices, coconut, and banana chips! I love when restaurants take the special effort to match the decor with the food. It converts a meal into an overall ‘dining experience’.
I surveyed the food counters with Executive Chef Ashish Bhasin of Trident, BKC before I began the serious business of eating. A decent variety of starters, mains and desserts focusing on coastal cusine and new options everyday. I was pleasantly surprised to see a large variety of vegetarian options too, in addition to the meat and fish. Of course, seafood was the focus, and the emphasis on some states more than the others. Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala were the winners here!
Indian food is not too focused on salads. Here they tried to come up with certain salads with Indian flavours such as Bhunne Butte Ka Kachumbar (Roast corn salad) and Kori Roast and Anar Salad (Roast Chicken and Pomegranate Salad with South Indian flavours). What I really enjoyed was the Malabar Fish Curry Salad – Chunks of fish cooked in curry masala and tossed with greens. Rounding up my first course were the lip smacking, chicken, prawn and lime pickles, all made in-house.
Being cooked on a live counter in front of me were Prawns Koliwada from Maharashtra. Our first round of prawns were spot on, but we received an undercooked prawn in the second helping. The stunner of the night was the fish cooked in a banana leaf, traditional Kerala Style. (The Malayalam name of which I found too tough to remember.) The fish was cooked to perfection, and coated in this masala that was tangy, spicy and had the lovely aroma of curry leaves. From Gujarat for the vegetarians there was farsan – dhokla, handvo – which I obviously skipped and opted for a repeat order of the fish.
The spread across the main course was pretty extensive, so I’m only talking about the significant dishes I tried. First up, an Ambur Chicken Biryani, which comes from the town of Ambur in Tamil Nadu, and is supposed to be a traditional South Indian type biryani. This tasted good, but like any other biryani I’ve eaten before. Moong Khichadi was comforting, and came with oodles of ghee. I’m a huge Undhiyu fan, but this one was lacking the river of oil and sweetish tinge that comes in a good undhiyu. I’ve eaten tons of undhiyu in my life, so I’m picky and choosy about what I call a good undhiyu. I enjoyed the Athu Curry Dalcha which is a South Indian speciality that combines curry, dals and mutton. It reminded me slightly of a khichada that Muslims eat.
The Thoran is a mixed vegetable stew containing carrot, beans and tons of coconut that comes from Kerala. The other significant vegetarian dish was this thinly sliced and simply cooked potato sabzi, with tons of flavour called the Kachri Batata which was my favourite vegetarian dish of the night. The Maharashtrian Chicken Kolhapuri was a spicy chicken gravy but came with tons of oil. I realized one thing, that the fish dishes were the stars throughout the meal, and understandably so for a coastal food festival. I enjoyed the Narkul Chingri which even though lacked the empowering mustard flavour of Bengali food, was absolutely delicious. The green coloured Nilgiri Fish Korma, even though was a bit too strong on the colour but tasted everything like a good fish curry should.
The Indian desserts were restricted to the safe bets – Modak, Roshogulla, Cham Cham, and Dudhi Ka Halwa which all tasted decent. I would’ve loved to see certain unusual desserts that we don’t come across that often, on the menu. I could eat the above desserts at any place, anytime I want.
The buffet is priced at Rs. 1975/- plus taxes, and fares decently well in the Value For Money department among five star establishments. The variety of food is immense. Along with the #CoastToCoast festival dishes, there were an equal number of dishes of International cuisine, which may appeal to the foreign palate. The buffet is not something I’d splurge on an everyday basis, but is worth a visit for celebrations and occasions. The festival attempts to highlight food of the coastal states of India, and I feel they have succeeded to a great extent.
022, Trident Hotel,
C 56, G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai.
The #CoastToCoast festival is on till the 22nd of November.
(The author was invited to sample and review the #CoastToCoast festival.)
P.S.: Completely off topic but if you ever eat at the 022 buffet pray to God they have a dessert called ‘Textures of Chocolate’ on their menu. I sampled some that night, and it was absolute heaven. Dark chocolate ganache, mousse, brownie crumble, cake, biscuit and more all created a wonderful contrast of texture in each bite. Simply divine!