The Silk Road might have facilitated trade among many regions but what it also did, was to bring into focus the diverse range of cuisines on the way. The historic trade route that dated from the second century B.C. until the 14th century A.D, stretched right from Asia to the Mediterranean, traversing China, India, Persia, Arabia, Greece and ended in Italy.
So, when we received an invite from JW Marriott Sahar to sample their ode to the Silk Road, it was an offer too good to pass on. With four culinary maestros coming together to create ancient and contemporary delicacies from Guangzhou, Sichuan, Samarkand, Bukhara, Istanbul and Venice, there was much to look forward to.
The buffet spread at the JW Café in the hotel seems to be a beautiful fusion, bringing together the past and the present. We took a table in the centre of the café to take in the view of the delectable spread around us. A few leisurely sips of the Turkish Coffee later, we were ready to gorge on the food.
For the Turkish dishes on the menu, we were told that Chef Cagatay Bahadur from JW Marriott Ankara carried spices from Ankara, Turkey to showcase the classic Turkish spread. We tried the Borek, a puff pastry made with Baklava dough, but it’s the Turkish sweets we couldn’t seemed to get enough of.
Whether it was the Kadaif Nut or the syrupy Lokma or the classic Baklava, the desserts were certainly the highlight of the Turkish spread for us. Do try the Turkish ice cream at the stall. Available in four flavours, just to get the ice cream in your hand is a fun task as the man behind the stall performed all kinds of tricks with it!
The Bukhara cuisine is a treat for those looking to get their fill of meats. Chef Abdul Quddus introduced his guests to the Bukharian flat bread, which comes with meat or vegetarian filling and was delicious on its own. The Palov (plov or pilaf) is a fragrant rice made with meat, grated carrots and onions and is usually cooked in a kazan (or deghi) over an open fire. There were a variety of kebabs as well, with our pick of the lot being the soft and creamy Chicken Kofta Kebabs.
Ancient Roman cuisine and home-style cooking techniques found a way in as Chef Roberto Zorzoli, Head Chef Romanos gave us a glimpse with some vintage family recipes. Look out for Seabass ‘Acqua Pazza’ and the Chicken Scaloppine with Scallop and Mascarpone. Buran, lamb meatballs that come with a yoghurt and eggplant dip, is a dish that’s worth a second helping.
The dishes from the Guangzhou and Sichuan regions have been prepared by Chef Xian Bin Li of The St. Regis Mumbai. The chef has used age-old recipes and fresh ingredients, to create dishes with diverse tastes and textures. There is the Egg Foo Yung, a Seafood Omelette and a flavoursome Guangzhou Fish Ball Soup to try. The Duck Pancakes are a must-have from the Chinese cuisine.
Where: JW Café, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar
IA Project Road
Dinner buffet: INR 2750
On till: March 14