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Indulgently Indian

Thalis in Indian cuisine, are my weakness. The sheer variety and sight of small vatis or katoris with different dishes in a glistening thali attract me. The Grand Thali Feast at Soma, Grand Hyatt Mumbai which begins today and goes on until July 23, daily for dinner, naturally was something which beckoned me. I was fortunate to get a preview last night.

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Curated by Chef Vinod Singh Rana of Soma and his team, the thali looked delightful and appetizing as expected. In fact I even witnessed the thalis being set in the spotlessly clean and well-planned kitchen.

I opted for the Non-vegetarian option with laal maas, a typical Rajasthani preparation of mutton which is lip-smacking. Naturally, that was the first dish I tried and it turned out to be one of the best lal-maas preparations I have ever had. Often hyped, it disappoints owing to too much spice and a rich and heavy gravy. But this one was a palate-pleaser. The yogurt was just right, as were the other spices and the texture of the succulent mutton pieces, slow-cooked, were just the way I enjoy mine.

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The other dishes on my thali included Rajasthani bhindi, sev tamatar, batata-nu-shaak, kadhi, dal, khichdi, thepla, rotla, puri, rice and of course lot of farsan in the form of khandvi, dhokla, samosa, patra made of arbi leaves, et al. Each dish was distinct in its flavours and textures and obviously painstakingly prepared. The taste of each Rajasthani and Gujarati dish was authentic with no room for compromise.

Desserts were the highlight of my meal with malpua and rabdi and of course the quintessential, moong dal halwa, as I have an incurable sweet-tooth.

The quality of ingredients was expectedly the best and the flavours shone through with ease. A sumptuous meal, perhaps difficult to finish, but enjoyable nevertheless. I was satiated. The meetha paan served in a traditional manner was the perfect finale to this grand thali meal.

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One can also enjoy an array of delightful cocktails and mocktails themed to compliment the menu from their a la carte beverage menu.

Given the variety and the fact that it is unlimited, as well as being priced at an all inclusive price, at Rs 999 for veg and Rs 1111 for Non-veg, this thali is a steal and every gourmand fond of the diverse flavours of Rajasthan and Gujarat must head to Soma soon. Furthermore, the thali has 4 rotational menus, so even if you land up more than once in the ten days, you are likely to experience a new set of dishes.

Rating: 4/5

 

The Cocoa-Tease

Somethings don’t change and that includes my sweet tooth!

I’ve been a cocoa addict, ever since I can remember. Yes, I have been hooked to this, “Food of the Gods,” for various reasons, but most of all for its elixir like qualities.

Loaded with medicinal properties, Cocoa reduces levels of stress hormones in the body and is used to treat ailments and maladies.

With anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant qualities, the health benefits include relief from high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, constipation, diabetes, bronchial asthma, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome and various neuro- degenerative diseases. It is also beneficial for quick wound healing, skin care, and it helps to improve cardiovascular as well as brain health. Whew! some benefits those!

With so many benefits, who would not indulge in the goodness of Cocoa? And with Cocoatease just a hop away from my place, I was delighted to gorge on some goodies.

Their range is simply marvellous. Their English Toffees with Almond, Hazelnut and Pistachio variants are crisp caramels wrapped in silky smooth chocolate and nuts. The Date Truffles are deliciously treated Turkish date morsels coated with chocolate and nuts, they too, are available in Almond and Pistachio variants.

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Then there is the classic Almond Rocks and Rochers which are basically morsels of goodness, packed with either nuts or dry fruits like figs and coated with pure chocolate.

Apart from this the place has a range of cakes and brownies. The cocoa used in these Cocoatease products are of premium quality and they taste luxuriously splendid.

So enjoy some cocoa. And with the festive season round the corner, a guilt-free, heavenly, flavourful and beneficial bite of cocoa is good for everyone. Be generous and share some of the gift packs they have and trust me there is an array to choose from.