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Yule love these feasts
Soul Fry Casa and Tavira
Only Soul Fry would celebrate Christmas with ten days of karaoke. The Goan joint has one of Mumbai's most popular karaoke nights. And if you visit the mothership in Bandra, then it's best not to sing if your vocal skills don't exceed those of a bathroom crooner. This is where Bandra's choir boys and girls musically duel with each other. The Fort outlet is however friendlier towards poor singers. When you're not bellowing Summer of '69, you can tuck into one - or all - of the five festive roasts on the menu: roast butterball turkey, roast beef, roast chicken, roast fillet of fish and roast duck moille (Rs 250-450 ). All options come with a glass of wine. Soul Fry has also cleverly introduced two bar packages: unlimited beer for Rs 750 and unlimited house alcohol for Rs 1, 000. The special menu begins on December 24 and continues till January 2. Ten months ago, Soul Fry owner Meldan D'Cunha opened Tavira, a modest restaurant that serves Goan and other coastal food, at Lower Parel. From December 22 to 26, Tavira will serve a Christmas thali of pork vindaloo, roast chicken, roast potatoes, crumb-fried lamb chops, vegetable pulao and peanut toffee. All this for Rs 240.
Rahul Akerkar's fine dining restaurant has a decadent Sunday brunch at which it's not uncommon for diners to feast from noon till early evening and then lurch home to sleep off a food coma for the next 12 hours. For Christmas, the brunch has a selection of antipasti such as leek and porcini panna cotta with candied celery, mushrooms stewed in red wine with arugula and gorgonzola, and cherry mozzarella with corn bread croutons. There's also a grill menu that features king prawns with cumin and peppercorns, barbecued chicken with pineapple, and rawas with dill and green lime. The treat will cost you Rs 2, 500 plus taxes.
Given that it is the last major festival of the year, Christmas lunches are where restaurants go the whole hog. Bangalore's iconic institution, Koshy's, will, as is has since 1952, have the indispensable roast turkey on the menu. "Except on the 25th, we serve our X'mas specials from the 22nd to the 27th. This year, we are also introducing duck roast, done the Kerala way, " says proprietor Prem Koshy. This is apart from the special blackened steak - a spicy Cajun steak served with mushroom, bacon, fries, and veggies and the barbecued pork spare ribs marinated in wine and honey. Another specialty is Koshy's traditional plum pudding made from a six-decade-old original family recipe. The pudding consists of rich plum, raisins, and cashews, served hot with brandy butter sauce.
For those looking for something unique, head to Sue's Kitchen, a Jamaican restaurant where an elaborate Caribbean spread is being cooked up for Christmas. "There's traditional roast turkey - West Indian style - and corn pie, its accompaniment, " says Sue R John who hails from Trinidad & Tobago. She reels off the rest of the menu, "there's Tabaquite curry duck, geera pork in which a special black masala brought in from Trinidad is used, and red X'mas ham. " As for dessert, Sue makes Trinidad X'mas pudding apart from traditional ginger beer, eggnog, coco rico, peanut butter soufflê, and Maria Mole, which Sue explains is "a sweet that's traditional to Brazil. Coming from its neighbouring country, I find myself making some dishes from Brazil too, including Brazilian roast beef. " She also has enough to cater to vegetarians in the form of Calypso rice, baked potatoes, broccoli, and mousakka.
Steeped in tradition, housed in heritage, and set around a glorious Yule tree, when it comes to the best Christmas lunch in Chennai, the Madras Club sure knows how to wing it. Sage and onion stuffed turkey with black currant sauce, roast leg of ham with mint sauce, cottage cheese stuffed crepes, golden scalloped potatoes - the 178-year-old and very exclusive club takes its Christmas lunch seriously. Prepping for it begins at least two months before the event with the 'mixing of the Christmas pudding', an event at which members of the club gather and combine the dried fruit and alcohol that goes into the pudding. "After that, the mixture is tasted and tweaked every week, so it's ready in time for the Christmas lunch, " says Rajendran Sabanayagam, the club's committee member in charge of food and beverage. "It's a classic Madras Club recipe, probably as old as the club itself, " he adds. Most of the club's Christmas lunch recipes are at least a century old, and you'll hear the club's longer-serving cooks talking of how they were handed the recipes from their predecessors and how they follow it to the T. In fact, the only two changes this year are that the club has decided to go organic with its ingredients and the ham recipe will see a slightly yummier deviation - the pork will be roasted on a charcoal rotisserie for eight hours. This is arguably not just the best, but the warmest Christmas lunch in the city.
In Kolkata, Park Street is the place foodies march to during Christmas. The restaurants serve their best during the period. Food festivals and special dinners are organised by most restaurants. Oasis, for instance, has already started a sizzler festival. Initially, it was meant to end on December 20, but the response of the customers has encouraged the joint to prolong it till the New Year. You have mixed grill, chicken roast, chicken steak, and sea food among continental sizzlers to choose from. "Indian sizzlers are going to be served on a bed of jeera rice and French fries, " says Pratap Daryanani, the owner. "That apart, we have cello kebab sizzlers, tandoori sizzlers, and Chinese sizzlers as well. "
Club members have a wider choice, of course. Calcutta Club, Bengal Club, and Tolly Club will serve special Christmas lunches and dinners. At Bengal Club it will be a traditional Christmas lunch, complete with turkey and wine. Tolly has a special Christmas spread as well. The menu has remained unchanged for 120 years, since the club was born. Roast turkey and Christmas pudding figure prominently, while Indian or Mughlai dishes are a strict no-no. Even the assortment of breads served on the occasion is of the European variety.
San Gimignano, The Imperial
This swish restaurant aims to replicate authentic Tuscan fare through its hand-picked five-course menu. From consomme of chicken with homemade tortellinito and pan-seared scallops on parsley tortelli to grilled Scottish salmon fillet on malloreddus (tiny Sardinian dumplings) tossed in tomato rucola ragu, this is a luxe Italian smorgasbord you wouldn't want to miss. Damages are Rs 4, 500 per person.
Whenever Chef Manish Mehrotra designs a new menu, one can expect mix-n-match gastronomy - a foreign feast with a definitive Bharatiya accent. These culinary confluences include bharwan stilton mushroom, cranberry with goji berry relish, poached Scottish salmon, ghee-roast potato and masala hollandaise, tawa brussels sprouts and snow peas, chaat masala nimboo butter accompanied by Somerset cheddar kulcha, and desserts like baked ginger cheese cake and elaichi banana caramel. Go on, get the best of all worlds here this Christmas.
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