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Where When How May/June 2017 : Page 125

OF ALL THe wORLd’S exOTIC ANd FARAwAy CuISINeS, few can transcend the unforgettable flavours and the intoxicating aromas of the cuisine of India. Take your palate 9000 miles away to Garam Masala and experience your ‘ aromatic affaire with Indian cuisine. ’ dine in an ambiance that is exotic yet contempo-rary, surrounded by the warmth of spice-inspired hues and stylish-ly elegant décor and lighting. Indoors, dining is luxuriously ‘cool’ with A/C, or enjoy dining outdoors on the terrace, cooled by the gentle island breezes and surrounded by tiki torches. Authenticity is fundamental as two chefs from Northern India, Laxmi and Keshav, prepare the same classic dishes that have been enjoyed for generations. Their education of Indian cuisine goes back generation after generation, to their parents and their par-ents’ parents. They never measure anything – they just know. using ‘whole’ spices and age-old preparation methods, many of the dishes are cooked in a traditional clay tandoor with a charcoal bed. Reaching temperatures of 600ºF, the tandoor essentially grills and sears by the radiant heat generated from the hot coals. The hot air inside the belly of the tandoor facilitates roasting via convection and the natural meat juices that drip onto the hot coals ‘smoke’ the food to create that distinctive char-grilled flavour and aroma. This evening would be a Royal Feast, hosted by General Manager Ajay Vyas, and Restaurant Manager Vibhuti. Ajay explained that in ancient times, the royal kitchens would prepare a feast and chefs from the regions of North India would showcase their best dishes. He thought this would be an apropos way for us to sample many tastes and flavours. Garam Masala covers dishes from the Central and Northwest frontier, with a few southern-style dishes mainly from four states, yet there are 22 more! Throughout the evening, Ajay would again share his passion, knowledge and expertise of India’s cuisine, history and culture. It was fascinating to learn and discover so much about the food you are enjoying, it engenders a real connection to the food. Soft and mellow Indian music plays, frequently interrupted by the sound of the snapping, cracking and popping of poppadums. Complements of the chef, diners enjoy roasted poppadums with two sauces, mint and yogurt, and tamarind. This was a feast after all, so we also indulged in the fried version, generally made for fes-tive and special occasions with two additional sauces. The mixed chilli pickle had quite a kick and an acidic bite, plus a lovely sweet mango chutney with cloves, cardamom and saffron. Our Royal Feast commenced with a Tandoori Platter of four dishes paired with a Tamarind Martini. A spicy, sweet and savoury cocktail that really complemented the great char flavours from the tandoor. This concoction of vodka, strained tamarind pulp and lime juice was served in a glass rimmed with smoked paprika and sugar. Lamb Seekh Kebabs are a perennial favourite and an undisput-ed hit on our list. Served on an Onion Paratha (a flatbread), the minced meat is superbly spiced, rolled like a sausage and cooked in a tandoor. I could eat an entire platter of those. Paneer Tikka is actually cottage cheese. Sandwiched between STORY BY MANDY ROSTANCE-WOLF ~ PHOTOS BY LISA ADARA PHOTOGRAPHY Visit the Turks & Caicos Islands at MAY/JUNE 2017 • • • • • 125

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