European Quartet Festival at Blooms, Eros Hotel managed by Hilton, Nehru Place, New Delhi

We were all to be found buzzing in unison on the lush lawns of the Eros Hotel managed by Hilton, this past Wednesday. Rituparna, Charis, Himanshu and I, along with friends watching as a lovely evening unfolded it’s wings and stretched lazily into the night.

The powers that be at the Eros Hotel managed by Hilton came up with the fine idea of bringing together four lesser-known European cuisines onto one common platform in the form of their European Quartet Festival that kicked off last Wednesday and is on till this Friday. A night to remember, Blooms saw the Ambassadors of Poland, Czech, Hungary and Slovakia sample it’s wares amidst folk dances and loads of food that Delhi probably has had few prior opportunities to experience… even more so when they’re all on the same table!

The buffet was a delight, but difficult to reach. A combination of factors ensured the event was packed with twice the number of people expected… which meant, the kitchens were working double-time to ensure a constant stream of food to the buffet tables. Even so, having identified some charitable folks, on and off my table, I managed to taste quite a few dishes before heading to the buffet and piling my plate with pork chops with onions and fillets of beef in a cream sauce. Somehow, cream sauce always reminds me of ‘Asterix and the Normans’; the Normans in that comic-book appeared to dunk everything in cream sauce.

Pork knuckle terrine, caramelized salsify, beef cheek and chicken liver with onions were just some of the dishes one doesn’t get to eat very often and so representative of a cuisine that doesn’t use many spices and draws on the natural resplendence of flavors in different types of vegetables and meats, combining them in delightful ways to come up with an unforgettable spread. Most of us Indians at the buffet did miss a little heat, which not unexpectedly, was missing in the buffet; but hey, who’s complaining?

The evening was a superb opportunity to not only the food-obsessed to expand their culinary horizons and add a little width to their palates, but to others too, in the form of a peek at the culture and traditions of four European countries on one common platform. Awesome! I hope folks used the opportunity completely and didn’t immerse themselves into the wide variety of ethnic beers and alcohol available at the bar.

Chefs Marek Brezina (Slovakia), Csaba Horváth (Hungary), Michal Jerabek (Czech Republic) and Robert Trzópek (Poland) outdid themselves in designing an evening that exposed so many facets of their country’s food and in creating different menus for every day the festival is on. I hope you’re going to check out this festival and apart from eating a range of delicious food, learn a thing or two about these countries and their culture.

Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is the founder of Chef at Large, a blog that began in 2007. He enjoys cooking, writing, travelling and technology in addition to being a practising Freemason. Health and wellness is a particularly passionate focus. Sid prefers the company of food and animals to most humans, and can be reached at sid.khullar@chefatlarge.in.