A quint little gingerbread house has come up in the city. Made of over 300 slabs of bread, it is decorated with lights and bells, among other Christmassy paraphernalia. It stands at the lobby of Courtyard by Marriott, the new entrant in Madurai’s hospitality scene. Hotels here have gone to town with festive decorations. For ‘tis the season to indulge in some elaborate feasts and usher in the spirit of celebration.
Christmas is a lot of about food and city chefs are vying with each other to present exciting X’mas feasts. “I have planned to make the longest multi-cuisine menu in the city with carving stations, live counters and over 15 varieties of exotic desserts,” says Somasundaram Gopalakrishnan, Executive Chef, Courtyard by Marriott. So if you are walking into the hotel on Christmas eve, expect Chermoula spiced fish with bell pepper olive salsa, charred lemon Bourbon chicken, Rosemary beef, Asparagus and ricotta stuffed chicken breast, apart from walnut mascarpone and parsley ravioli at the pasta station, Pommery fish fingers with garlic aioli in the main course and green tea cake and Austrian apple cake for dessert.
Head to Phil’s Bistro if you are looking for an Italian indulgence. Chef Philip Abraham has put together a menu of dishes such as chicken scarpariello, pan seared fish with tomato olive sauce, grilled vegetable bruschetta, broccoli and babycorn au gratin and mushroom bolognese. “Every Christmas, I change the menu and there are at least a couple of dishes that are new to the people of the city. And this time, I have introduced mocha mascarpone torte, a sophisticated Italian dessert,” says Phillip.
“A Christmas feast is heavy on two things — meat and sweets,” says Chef Saravana Manikandan of Poppys Hotel. “And that’s why our buffet is loaded with mutton, chicken, fish and duck.” He boasts of snowman cupcakes. Regency Madurai by GRT also promises a happy sojourn for meat lovers. Duck roast, quail biryani, braised lamb, naatu kozhi, saffron malai murgh kebabs and Thai prawn curry are some of the dishes to look for. “Our idea is to offer a mix of Indian and continental dishes for Christmas,” Chef K Andavan. “We also have equally interesting dishes for vegetarians. Some of which are nellikai paruppu mandi, badam paneer pasandh (cottage cheese stuffed with almonds) and lotus stem fritters with ginger sauce,” he adds.
Watch a turkey carving session at Hotel Fortune Pandiyan and dig into roast potatoes scented with garlic and rosemary, sautéed brussels sprouts with nutty almond flakes and a wide variety of starters and desserts. “Apart from the traditional roast turkey with cranberry sauce, we also serve honey-glazed turkey with celery, raisins and walnut stuffing,” says Khannan, Food and Beverages Manager.
The Gateway Hotel atop Pasumalai is all decked up in Christmas colours and Chef Sanjay Singh is upbeat about the new menu he’s introducing. “There’s going to be a bit of everything from local to global cuisines,” he promises. “And other than standards like turkey or plum cakes, the feast with also feature some of my experimental dishes.” Arul Murugan of Heritage Madurai claims to present one of the most experimental buffets in town for Christmas.
With so much to binge on, this Christmas is surely going to be a foodie’s festival. So, where are you heading to?