Delhi’s iconic five-star hotel, The Ashok, is taking its patrons to a nostalgic journey for its 61st Foundation Day celebrations. Here the chefs have brought back six dishes which were popular in the hotel across a period of time since the hotel’s inception in October 1956. Titled “Down the Memory Lane”, the festival features the vintage dishes which can be savoured at the restaurant till about 25 October at “The Oudh” restaurant located at The Ashok.
The Oudh is known for its the quintessential Awadhi cuisine prepared in exotic spices and aromas.
In this unique festival due recognition is also given to the chefs who created the dish for the first time. Jalpari Kebab, made with saffron in tandoori fish and prawn rolls, was introduced by Chef Kharak Singh in the ’90s, whereas the Bombe Ashok, which is vanilla ice-cream topped with chocolate flakes and rum-soaked raisins, was first created by Chef Roger Moncourt in the ’70s. “One of the dishes we have picked here is Jalpari Kabab. It is still well in demand in the state banquets and dinners we prepare for Hyderabad House,” said Chef Rajan Loomba, Chief Executive Chef at The Ashok, who is also the Head Chef at The Hyerabad House. “I have been associated with the hotel for about 30 years now, so I have seen about 50% of the hotel’s journey. I have had the pleasure of being trained under the legendary Chef Roger Moncourt. The chefs at Ashok decided to bring the classic and exemplary dishes which are still quite in demand among the hotel’s regular patrons.”
The hotel is one of the key India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) properties, and this year, the ITDC has also completed its 51 years. “Down the Memory Lane” is part of the “Paryatan Parv” run by the ITDC. Rajiv Anand, General Manager, Corporate Marketing and Sales/Public Relations, ITDC, said, “It’s a proud moment for all of us at ITDC as we complete 51 years of a successful journey in hospitality, tourism and travel industry. It’s also double celebration for us as our flagship property, The Ashok, is also celebrating 61 years of its completion. We have just not outperformed but have created benchmarks in the industry.”
Vijay Dutt, General Manager, The Ashok, talks about the various offers the hotel is presenting to its customers. “We are glad to roll out special offers and campaigns on the occasion of our 61st Foundation Day. From offers on rooms, F&B services and food festivals, there is a lot on the plate for one and all. The offers would include 20% add-on discounts on billing or complimentary mocktails and soft drinks, choice of kebabs, wines or pints of beer, desserts, luscious cakes, shorbas and irresistible biryanis,” says Dutt.
During the celebrations the restaurant would offer signature dishes from the classic kitchen of The Ashok to the guests. In this festival there is a treasure trove of non-vegetarian delicacies like the aforementioned Jalpari Kebab; Murgh Todarmal, which is stuffed chicken breast served with rich makhani cashew gravy; and Baoli Handi, which is a delectable lamb curry cooked with Indian spices, mushrooms and vegetables.
But to satisfy the palate of vegetarian cravers, “Down the Memory Lane” has delectable black mushrooms stuffed with cottage cheese and cooked in flavourful herbs, called Lazeez Gucchi Paneer, along with Badin-E-Jaan, grilled brinjal slices topped with tomato paste and garlic flavoured hung curd, a recipe introduced into The Ashok by Senior Executive Chef Jaganmoy Chaudhuri.
The dishes in the festival range from starters to desserts and aims to provide a Nawabi experience to its patrons.
Chef Sanjay Dasari, Head Chef, The Oudh & Frontier, The Ashok, has been associated with the ITDC since last two decades; he has worked with legandary Chef Jaganmoy Chaudhary. Speaking to Guardian 20 he says that the tastes of patrons have changed drastically. “Quite a lot of people nowdays ask for a certain fusion in the dishes. They don’t go for traditional marinating in any dish. They look for something foreign. But at The Oudh we have always maintained the authenticity of dishes. We have made a database of all our dishes and religiously follow the recipes as penned down by veteran chefs.”
Down the Memory Lane is on at The Oudh till 25 October