Baisakhi Festival at Kangan, Westin Pune

11 Apr

Its been a year since I attended any tasting event at a major hotel but when westin emailed with the invitation for their baisakhi festival at Kangan restaurant, I had to go. I had heard about the food this restaurant offers and was quite intrigued. Before I go into the details of the food, I almost never go to eat out Punjabi food as when I eat out, I prefer eating food which I don’t cook back at home too often. Punjabi style (although not very authentic) food gets cooked at least once a week, so going out for that is an almost never kind of a scenario. Despite this, some of the dishes at Kangan were so good that I know that I will go back to have them and tag family along too.

I reached the tasting a little later after the others, so I missed out on the lassi which the others tried. I began with the starters – Amritsari fish, paneer tikka, murgh tikka and a spinach stuffed paneer tikka. Of the lot the fish and the paneer tikka I liked the best. Both were perfectly marinated and cooked keeping the dish simple. The spinach stuffed paneer potato tikka was interesting too. The chicken tikka was standard fare.

Next came the main course – chhole masala, egg curry, chicken curry, sarson da saag, dal kangan (dal makhani) and puransingh da mutton curry. This was accompanied by Jeera rice, lachcha paratha and makke di roti. The sarson da saag was very home style and delicious. The chhole were tasty too without being too spicy while the chicken curry also had a distinct flavour of its own. The egg curry despite being a mundane dish was way more delicious than the chicken curry, one could make out that the masalas had been sautéed (bhuna masala) for a really long time, it was a dish made with care.

The sublime dal makhani

The sublime dal makhani

Puransingh's Mutton Curry

Puransingh’s Mutton Curry

The most stellar dishes of the day were the puransingh mutton curry and the dal kangan. That mutton curry I could
have had by the bowlfuls, its a very good thing it was not served earlier or it would have outshone every other good dish. In fact, had it not been for the mutton curry, I might have like the chicken curry more than I did. The mutton was perfectly cooked, soft and the flavours steeped well into each piece. The curry despite having a tomato base was not too acidic and I was imagining how wonderful it would taste as a sauce for spaghetti and meatballs. Delightful!

And then we had the kangan signature dish, dal kangan – a slow cooked creamy dal made from whole urad – one word, sublime. I ended the meal having spoonfuls of the mutton curry and the dal makhani. I was very happy to not see paneer or potato in any of the vegetarian main courses and it was a happy fact that all the curries were mains by themselves and the parathas and rice were just that – sides.

Coming to the sides – the Jeera rice was very good, fluffy, not oily with just the right amount of cumin. The makke di roti and the lachcha paratha could have done with some makhkhan (white butter) as a garnish at least but the health conscious versions served made them a bit dry.

Desserts were – gulabpatti ki kheer and jalebi with rabdi. I didn’t try any of it as I did not want to have anything after the mutton curry divinity. But the others at the tasting table had it and loved it too.

The service was impeccable and the chefs themselves came out to ask about the dishes and explained how all of it was made.

Overall, a very good experience. Next time someone says to you that five star hotels can’t cook good Indian food, take them to kangan restaurant at westin pune. And head over there to enjoy the baisakhi special food, now!

Note: I was invited and hosted by the Westin Pune for the tasting and did not pay for the meal.

Thank you Husein Upletawala for urging me to come, it was a memorable food experience indeed.

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