I can’t believe that it has been 15 years already! I remember when the ITC Sonar building was under construction, there was so much curiosity amongst the general public. That time, Kolkata did not have too many luxury hotels so we were all very excited. My first visit to ITC Sonar took place soon after they launched and it was a visit to Peshawri. For the last 15 years, it has been one of my favorite hotels so I felt really special when the management invited me to be part of their Crystal Anniversary celebration. On this special occasion, ITC Sonar has come up with a range of offers for their patrons. One of them is called 15 Hours Nostalgia where you basically spend 15 hours in the hotel experiencing luxury at its best.
I must admit that when it comes to food from the north east, my knowledge is not that great. Assam is the only state where I’ve been to but I was a toddler then and I hardly remember anything. What I did know about north east cuisine before going to ITC Sonar last Friday was that the people make amazing pork dishes and I was really looking forward to trying some. And also, to know more about north east cuisine in general.
ITC has taken up an initiative to showcase India’s wealth of unique, undiscovered, royal and forgotten cuisines. Last month, ITC Sonar had organised the Sheherwali food festival which brought the royal cuisine of Murshidabad to Kolkata. This month, is the turn of the Jewels of the North East, a week long festival to showcase food from Arunachal, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and some from Sikkim as well. The festival started on the 18th and they plan to highlight dishes from one particular state every day. It is part of the Eden Pavilion dinner buffet and last Friday, I tasted some amazing vegetarian and non-vegetarian food from Nagaland and Assam.
You know the famous quote “Eat Breakfast Like a King, Lunch Like a Prince, and Dinner Like a Pauper”? For me, it is the opposite since I started working night shifts six years back. My breakfast is usually at noon and comprises of a piece of toast and an egg and I can’t remember when I last broke my fast at a normal time. Thanks to ITC Sonar’s invitation last Saturday to sample their “Signature Mornings” at Eden Pavilion , I not only had my breakfast at 9 a.m, it was also a very healthy, tasty and wholesome one.
Signature Mornings includes local flavours, comfort foods, and forgotten foods with an emphasis on fresh and seasonal produce. Each dish has been guided by a ‘caringly sourced; mindfully prepared’ approach to showcase – locally sourced, free range, Indian Super foods, forgotten ancient grains, ‘good for you’ breads with increased focus on gluten free and lactose free breakfast options.
Vegetarian food and I, lets just say, we are not the best of friends. I recognize its value and worth but I find it extremely tough to have an entire meal that is purely vegetarian and enjoy it. But wonder of wonders, I savored an Uttam Bhoj at ITC Sonar early this week and I loved it! The Bhoj was courtesy Chef Gunjan Goela, a consultant with the ITC Hotels for Indian vegetarian specialty cuisine. Her forte is vegetarian cuisine of Old Delhi, developed after thorough research into the capital’s culinary history.
Till 7th June, ITC Sonar brings you Chef Gunjan Goela with her rendition of Uttam Bhoj, offering a wide range of vegetarian delicacies with a different flavour. It is an excellent combination of Rajasic food (that which excites the senses) and Sattvic food (which heals the senses), which after a meal gives one a complete feeling of satisfaction and gratification.