Hearty and healthy Onam spread at Four Points by Sheraton: food review

In the kaleidoscopic tapestry of Indian festivals, few celebrations are as enchanting and appetizing as Onam. It is an annual festival celebrated to mark the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali and the beginning of the Malayalam year Kollavarsham. This vibrant harvest festival, deeply rooted in Kerala’s culture, brings forth a feast that is nothing short of a culinary masterpiece. Recently, I attended an Onam lunch at the Four Points by Sheraton New Delhi, in collaboration with guest Chef Rekha Raghavan, and the entire experience can only be described as a symphony of flavors and traditions interwoven into a single unforgettable meal.

Ambiance: The banquette seating at the lush green hotel exuded the warmth and charm of a traditional Kerala home, adorned with intricate floral rangolis and fragrant marigold garlands. Our hosts at the hotel welcomed us with open arms and ushered us to the photo booth that was one of the most popular spots with the guests.  The tantalizing aroma of spices and fresh morga flowers wafted through the air, embracing everyone in an embrace that instantly transported us to the heart of Kerala’s culinary legacy.

Sadya Spread: As we all sat to eat the Sadya – a grand banquet served on a banana leaf – Chef Rekha explained the significance of the traditions around it and told us the meal has all flavours like salt, sweet, tangy, bitter and pungent that are combined together and relished for a complete gastronomic adventure. Oh, and the best way to enjoy the Sadya is with hand to understand the finger-licking good experience, so we decided to go for it. The sheer variety of dishes laid out was awe-inspiring, each a testament to the rich culinary heritage of the region. The banana leaf, a natural and eco-friendly plate, served as a canvas for the vibrant medley of colors and textures.

We started the meal with traditional Kerala red rice and a generous serving of melted ghee – the earthy flavor was the perfect foundation for the riot of tastes that followed. Parippu (dal) lent a creamy touch, while the tangy and spicy flavors of sambar tantalized the taste buds.The accompaniments were a delightful assembly of chutneys, pickles, and pappadam, each playing its unique part in enhancing the overall dining experience. The tangy mango pickle danced harmoniously with the coconut chutney, adding layers of taste that elevated the meal to a new level.

Curry Symphony: The array of curries showcased the masterful use of spices and ingredients in Kerala cuisine. Avial, a melange of vegetables in luscious coconut gravy, was a standout. The creamy coconut offset the slight tanginess of the vegetables, creating a balance that was truly remarkable.

Unmissable Delicacies: No Onam feast is complete without the traditional Payasam – a sweet, indulgent dessert that marks the finale of the meal. The Ada Pradhaman, a rice and jaggery pudding with cashews and coconut milk, was a soul-satisfying conclusion. Its velvety texture and nuanced sweetness lingered on the palate, leaving a memory that would endure far beyond the meal itself.

Aromatic Infusion: The meal was thoughtfully accompanied by a refreshing glass of Sambharam, a cooling buttermilk drink infused with curry leaves and green chilies. Its invigorating blend of flavors provided a respite from the rich indulgence of the feast.

(Top) Chef Rekha Raghavan with the writer, (Below) the beautiful set up for Onam food festival

Msjunebug recommends:

The Onam lunch experience was a sublime exploration of Kerala’s culinary heritage, a journey that blended tradition and taste to create a feast for the senses. From the intricacies of the spices to the artful presentation on the banana leaf, every detail was a celebration of flavor and culture. To enjoy the most prolific and hearty Southern meal in the most affectionate company with your family and friends, and make sure you make a reservation beforehand.

At the Onam lunch and dinner at Four Points by Sheraton New Delhi from August 26-29, you can explore the traditional 26 festive dishes like Upperi, Sharkara Varati, Inji Curry, Manga Curry, Naranga Curry, Pachadi, Mezhkkupuratti, Kaalan, Olan, Erissery, Avial, Kutttu Curry, Inji Thayir, Thoran, Sambhar, Pullishery, Rasam, Chor, Parripu, Neyy, Pappadam, Morru, Palada Pradhaman, Dal Payasam and Poovan Pazham.

Address: Four Points by Sheraton New Delhi, Airport Highway, Plot No 9, National Highway – 8, Samalka, New Delhi, Tel: +91 11-45740000

Bon Appetite!