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MACHAN'S MEXICAN FESTIVAL

Machan’s Mexican food festival celebrates both ingredients and gourmet fare. The focus on the cuisine comes from the state of Nayarit on the Pacific coast

MACHANS MEXICAN FESTIVAL

Think Mexican, think Frida Kahlo and Diego Garcia. Think Mexican and a bowl of thick crema de elote and hunks of goat stewed with guajillo chillies. The Machan at 'Taj Mansingh' has over nearly four decades boasted of some of the finest food festivals in town. It was the impeccable F&B guru Ronnie Lobo who introduced gourmet food festivals into the Capital city. I recall going with my friend Khushwant Singh in the 90's.

Machan's Mexican food festival celebrates both ingredients and gourmet fare. The focus on the cuisine comes from the state of Nayarit on the Pacific coast. The Mexican culinary delights are a highlight of the lunch buffet and a special dinner menu is curated for patrons to indulge in at the much fabled Machan.

The restaurant reflects elements of Mexican heritage, festooned with flags, zesty tapping Mexican music, paintings and coffee table books.

Chef Alondra Maldonado and Chef Marco Valdivia along with a team of culinary experts led by Executive Chef Arun Sundararaj have curated an array of scrumptious delicacies such as Bean Tarasca Soup, Fried Pork Tacos, Chile Pasilla, Enchiladas and some traditional and indulgent desserts such as Capirotada and Mestizo Timbal. Guests can also savour themed concoctions, frozen margaritas, and scrumptious hors d'oeuvres inspired by the flavours of Mexico at Rick's, our urban bar lounge.

Fresh ingredients are the pride of this small but quaint menu. The names are exotic as well as riveting. The Bean Tarasca Soup, followed by the Fried Pork Tacos were small morsels of flavoursome delight. The ground nuts and dried spices, the garlic and onions all seem to bring out the personalities of the chillies — sometimes fruity, sometimes vegetal as in the Chile Pasilla,— while tamping down their heat. The Chefs balance high and low impact as they keep the bitterness of the chillies in check too.

What emerges, however, is the smoky flavour and the sliced plantains add the gusto.

When a lamb chop is stewed in a black mole (Nuts, chocolate, herbs, and spices all impart color to this mole) it's the charring of the stems and seeds of the chillies that really gives it the dark hue that has just enough chocolate to make you smile; it made me remember New York eateries that serve mole negro, in which marbled short ribs were cooked to extreme tenderness, so balanced that no one ingredient ever seemed to be in the lead.

Of course on the menu, one would have liked to savour the famous Chichilo, not one of your everyday moles, and an exciting chile relleno filled with shredded, spiced duck.

To sip along the Horchata or the frozen cucumber Margharita can be easy on the palate as well as soothing.

Dessert lovers can partake of the Pumpkin laced Mestizo Timbal or Capirotada.

This festival is as much a delight for die-hard vegetarians who can savour the sumptuous combinations of fresh produce and ingenious recipes that are as old as history. The festival runs till September 22 for lunch and dinner.

Uma Nair

Uma Nair

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