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HHI BUFFET: CHEF PINAKI SURGICAL HAND MAKES THE BEST CULINARY STRIKE

HHI Bhubaneswar is one the prominent boutique hotel in Bhubaneswar. The hotel has all touch of luxury and comfort. Hotel Hindustan International has it’s name build up around a marvellous banquet service in the city. HHI’s lounge restaurant hosts a well-balanced buffet. It is quite close to continental cuisine. HHI is known for its amazing Indian dishes. And these dishes definitely made into the buffet.

While looking at the buffet menu, we encountered a variety of quirky dishes as well. For starters, they had cheese chilli poppers, malai broccoli, chicken spring roll, and an Indian tandoor favorite- Mutton Seekh kebab. What caught our eyes were the chili cheese poppers. These poppers have a generous filling of mozzarella cheese, potato, and spices. As opposed to the traditional jalapeno, the chef uses hot green chilis to provide the heat into the poppers. Now that’s a quirky starter. And we got a cheese-pull too!

Coming to another starter- Malai broccoli. Broccoli isn’t particularly indigenous to India. But lately, you can easily find these at the markets of Bhubaneswar. Giving this healthy and not so loved vegetable a mouth-watering malai tandoori coating and grilling it was a definite stand out. Chef has actually thought of things that you wished you tried in a buffet, but wouldn’t look around for it!

What will catch your eye at HHI is the paani puri & chaat counter. I have to add it was a healthy rendition of the much-loved street pani puri. Made from whole-wheat flour, the puri definitely had a crunch and a different texture as well. Pani was made basically a pudina, lemon juice & zest masala pani pairing perfectly with the potato stuffing. For all the people with a sweet tooth, you get a sweet sauce to pair with your paani puri & chaat.

One of the standout dishes in the buffet was the Sambal roasted whole chicken. Generally, sambal is served as a hot and spicy condiment to a variety of dishes. But at HHI, Chef Pinaki served a gorgeous Sambal masala coated grilled chicken. This chicken was cleaned and marinated overnight in the spicy and fiery sambal masala along with salt and other spices. Now coming to the sambal masala, it was completely made in-house. It was made using shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, and lime juice along with a variety of chili peppers available locally. The cooking was done in the oven at 180-degree Celsius for the first 15 minutes and then for the next 30 mins at 150- Degree Celsius. With a hot and sweeter undertone, this Indonesian spice crisped up the skin added more flavour and texture to it.

Now coming to the main course, they had steamed rice, Mughlai chicken biryani, Rara gosht, mustard grilled chicken with a lemon butter sauce, rajma daal, egg curry, Kadhi pakoda, Bhuna palak, Hong Kong Noodles, Exotic Asian vegetables in a white sauce, assorted bhaja and shahi paneer were dishes served for the main course at the Buffet.

With an obvious balance Indian, more correctly- North Indian, and Asian flavors, the mustard grilled fish made it’s made into the buffet. Marinated in Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and some other spices, this fish will redefine perfection for you. Surmai fish has a very tender, white flesh. And the mustard with a tang of lemon elevated the sweetness and flavor of the fish. Served with a lemon butter sauce, this match was perfect with some Hong Kong noodles.

No buffet is complete without some desserts. The chef has tiny gulab jamun, atte ka laddu, Sandesh, dark chocolate shells with whipped cream & jam and a very soft lemon jelly cake.

When we asked about the Chef’s favourite, he mentioned his specialization and love for Asian cuisine. Chef Pinaki hails from Kolkata and you can taste the joy and hints of Sonar Bangla in his food.

For picking an absolute favourite in the buffet, it has to be cheese chili poppers and the mustard grilled fish with lemon butter sauce.

Inputs by Apurba, photographs – Tveshaj & Neel

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