Iftar at Anise, Taj Coromandel
Innovations! Aren't they simply wonderful? Especially when it comes to food! Now, we've spoken at length about haleem and its impact on the Chennai Food scene and all that, but when it is innovated without losing its brilliance, I guess it is simply too good to miss.
How much more can you innovate with haleem? It is after all a goo of minced meat and grains. Can you add more flavour? Yes. But it already rich in flavour. Add more spices? Add more fried onions on top? These are deviations rather than innovation.
How about serving it with a beautifully scented saffron bread?
I've never heard of this and I am not sure if it is ever served anywhere else like that! Yes, I've had some fabulous haleem, but never one served with some fantastic flat bread (ok, roti). Now it is like eating a wonderful galouti but in a haleem form. Add one egg and serve it in a thali and this is simply yummy for the taste buds and the eyes!
So, Taj has this offer. 850 plus tax, ends up around Rs. 1000 per person for dates, fruits, sherbet, starter of choice and haleem. Or if you are the more hungry kind, you can take their buffet for Rs. 1985 all inclusive early and they will add haleem and mezze platter at no extra cost to you! So two options.
Clearly, I wasn't interested in the options. I was more interested in the this haleem. Where is this haleem from? It is certainly not Hyderabadi! Flavours were more South Indian (I know Hyderabad is part of South India.....), but in which South Indian cuisine do you find Saffron Roti?
I guess somethings are best left not-understood, but I am going to keep trying to find out if this exists elsewhere. Else, this might be the time to introduce Chennai haleem to the world! Maybe if there was idly instead of saffron roti, it maybe truly Chennai Haleem, but for the lack of anything else, this is a true innovation.
OK, not innovation, but a wonderful fusion!!!! Oh, yes, the starters, especially the mezze platter and the grilled chicken were yum, by the way!