A lingering experience.
By Suman Bajpai
Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon, the magical and mystical live entertainment destination houses the iconic Culture Gully an exciting entertainment boulevard of culture, arts, crafts and cuisine under India’s first ever skydome. It is here that Indian art, culture, heritage, cuisine and performing arts are brought to life with technological wizardry. The huge, blue artificial skyroof and the spotlights were particularly attention-catching. The culture gully lounge showcasing, the mystic centre, the handicrafts, the arts and craft bazaar and the massage centre all sounded and looked appealing.
Spectacular! Probably the closest word that can truly describe the grandeur and detailing that has gone into bringing out this beautiful kingdom which so far could only be dreamt of. Culture Gully is not a restaurant but a union of wholesome family entertainment including shopping and cuisines from all over India. Since its launch in 2010, Culture Gully has become synonymous with delightful dishes and mouthwatering cuisines.
Here the food extravaganza begins with ‘Delhi Live Kitchen’, a street food corner which serves Delhi’s assortment of snacks and chaats. Right on the top of their menu is semolina or flour puffs (gol gappa) with the stuffing of boiled potato, chopped coriander and boiled horse gram with different types of chutneys, served with the choices of spiced water, hing, sonth or teekha khatta paani. It is marvellous. The Delhi counter uses semolina for the fried food items as it soaks very less oil and ghee. A few of the famous Delhi street food items are Chaat Papri, Dahi Bhalla, Khatti Mithi Tikki, Ram Ladoo, Jalebi with Rabri and Matka Kulfi.
Every state pavilion has a distinct style and character which are delightful to observe. The different folk performances were far better orchestrated than what we have so far experienced on Doordarshan. The grandeur of Culture Gully is enhanced by over 20 amazing food and beverage destinations where you can savour authentic cuisine from various regions and states of India. Six restaurants and six show kitchens serve over 250 regional dishes cooked by 140 chefs brought in from various culinary destinations across India. To ensure this memorable culinary experience Culture Gully follows a scientific discipline in handling, preparation and storage of food to prevent food-borne illness.
Food samples are checked on a daily basis. All chefs involved in the preparation of food follow the process of washing hands with soap and sanitising to avoid microbial growth. They wear gloves, masks and headgear to restrict transfer of microbes as well as cross- contamination of the food. The gloves worn by the chefs are changed after every 30 minutes. In-house RO plant supplies clean water for the preparation of food and for use in the bar.
In the kitchens hygiene standards are stringent. An internal and external hygiene audit is undertaken every month to check the compliance with international standards. Standard auditing formats followed by all outlets ensure food is kept safe through measures like temperature regulation, cleanliness, hand swab, equipment swab, water testing and linen swab. Day-tagging system is used to check the freshness of food. The required storage condition and temperature of food undergoes constant check.
Unlike other modern eateries and restaurants which use Dalda as a cooking medium, food at Kingdom of Dreams is cooked in the healthier option of pure ‘Desi Ghee’ sourced from local villages. Free of essence, preservative, stabiliser and emulsifier, the purity of this cooking medium helps rustle up delicious, mouthwatering, crisp and tempting snacks and dishes.
High-quality raw material is procured for preparation of food. Vegetables and eggs used are organic. There is no use of any kind of stabilising agent, food colours and preservatives in any of the food preparations. Curd used is pure and measures are undertaken to ensure a thick consistency which makes the dish more palatable and preserves the taste.
Food served in the Rajasthan pavilion is made in pure ghee with ingredients like Ker, Sangri, Tithe, Gwarfalli, Rajasthani Papad, Jow Atta, Jodhpuri Mirch, Rajasthani Hing, etc. procured from the local markets of Jaipur. Indeed a heaven for the vegetarians, all the food is prepared without onion and garlic. A few of the famous dishes served are Jodhpuri Gatta Curry, Aloo Methi Lipatma, Bedmi, Bikaneri Paratha, Khichadi, Chhene Ka Malpua.
The Mumbai pavilion uses authentic homemade Maharashtrian spices for Vada Pao, Pao Bhaji and Kachi Dhabeli which retains the authentic taste. Fresh Pao is made in the in-house bakery at duration of every 4 hours. The Pav Bhaiji is great and comes with butter soaked breads roasted perfectly. The taste of the Pav Bhaji is not too spicy but just right. The taste just come alive with the lemons and butter on top. The Vada Pav comes with roasted chillies, they are just awesome.
The delicious Dosa and Idli made with self-fermented batter and the heady aroma of homemade spices in Sambhar tempt the visitor at the ever popular Karnataka and Chennai pavilions. Different and interesting varieties of Dosa suited to the taste of local palate are served. Gun powder Idli, Avial, Coconut Payasam, Rasam, handmade coconut chutney, Dosa House special chutney, Khorma with Dosa are a few special choices in the menu. The mouthwatering dessert section has a healthy choice of a honey-flavoured dessert Dosa, for the health conscious. All the South Indian ingredients are specially procured from its own region to give authentic flavour to the dish.
The goa pavilion
The Goa pavilion dishes out the local coastal flavour cuisine. A few of the famous dishes are Rawa Fired Prawns, Komdi Masala, Goan Prawn Curry, Gawti Komdi Curry with Steamed Rice or Goan paratha. The Hyderabad kitchen uses authentic ingredients procured from the local market of the erstwhile region in all the dishes, which gives a unique flavour to the delicacies. A few popular dishes of Hyderabad section are Haleem and Kache Gosht Ki Biryani. For the dessert, a must-must is Khubani ka Meetha and Double ka Meetha.
The authentic and unique flavour of Awadh is presented in the Lucknow pavilion. Ingredients are procured from the local villages of Lucknow. A few popular dishes from Lucknow are Galouti Kebab, Rajma ki Shammi, Nihari, Daal Sultani with Ulte Tawe ka Paratha and not to be missed Khamiri Roti, finished by mouthwatering Phirni. Luscious Bengali cuisine is served cooked in mustard oil. A few of the popular Bengali dishes are Laal Murgi, Machar Jhol and the not to miss, Luchhi.
Assam tea lounge
The Assam Tea Lounge is manna from heaven for tea lovers. Flavours and aroma of different varieties of tea from Assam tempt the visitor who can choose from 11 flavours on offer in the tea selection. Not to forget the famous Filter Coffee at the Madras Cafe. The authentic flavour of Filter Coffee can be enjoyed with local munchies of South India. An alluring and complete Bollywood experience the IIFA Buzz Café adds to the excitement of this distinctive destination. Interesting props, music, special effects and decor add to the Bollywood experience. An extensive bar menu with a choice of continental starters is served to the dining guests.
The Maikhana bar and lounge with its stunning ambience offset by soft lilting Indian Ghazals complete the Indian experience at Kingdom of Dreams. Maikhana has an extensive bar menu with a wide variety of choice in alchoholic beverages and Indian starters.
In Hyderabadi Outlet try their Biryani. The Nawabi Tarkari Biryani is a fusion of food between Bengal and Hyderabad. The Biryani comes with raw onions, lemons, Raita and Salan. The other items to try are the Double ka Meetha, a unique way to taste Hyderabadi sweets. Karnataka in Cultural Gully serves delicious south Indian food. The dosas are incredible and the sambar is not very spicy. The filling of mashed potatoes is tasty. Other items on the menu are equally good, especially the Uttapam.