Review: Onam Sadhya Lunch at "The Orchid", Mumbai

My taste buds tingled as I made my way to The Orchid, at Vile Parle, Mumbai to feast on the Onam Sadhya special lunch at their restaurant “South of Vindhyas”. Traditional decorations like rangoli and “Samay”, a lamp common during auspicious ceremonies in Kerela, adorned the entrance. A boat decorated with spices stood proud and so did the traditionally dresses host and hostesses. I also noticed an arrangement laid out for Indian music to be played. Walking towards my table, I noticed a good turnout of people happily chatting as they pored over the elaborate buffet.

Traditional Rangoli at the Entrance
Traditional Rangoli at the Entrance

Samay- a traditional Lamp
Samay- a traditional Lamp

I started with Rasam, a soup made from Tamarind pulp, tomato and various spices. It was hot and tasty, setting the right mood for the culinary journey ahead.

Banana Leaf Laced Plates  laid out for the Sadhya
Banana Leaf Laced Plates laid out for the Sadhya

Banana & jackfruit chips and Unniyappam- a popular snack in Kerala made using rice flour, jaggery and banana provided me solace from the spicy Rasam.

The main course options were amazing with couple of chefs smilingly encouraging the guests to try more. Guests had a choice of different type of breads like Malabar Paratha and Appams, rice, curry, stews and sambhar. I tried hot Appams- pancakes made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk with delectable Aviyal- without which any Sadhya will be incomplete. Made with a mixture of vegetables, coconut, souring agents such as mangoes, tamarind extract or curd and seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves, its healthy and delicious. Other dishes like Erissery, Sambhar, Parippu, Kalaan were equally tasty.

The Onam Lunch spread
The Onam Lunch spread

Toran, made with beans and the delicious Olan- made with sliced cucumber and brinjal were crying out for my attention and I obliged! Various pickles like and chutneys – Manga Chamandi, Thakalli Chamandi and Pulinji (made with tamarind pulp and ginger) provided the perfect balance to my strictly vegetarian meal.
I washed down this delicious meal with refills of fresh buttermilk served from the kitchen and diverted my attention to the dessert counter.

I tried the Pal Payasam, Parippu Payasam and rice halwa and sat back to savor the taste which will last till the next Onam!

Verdict- The grand feast laboriously prepared by Chef Bala and his team, held its promise of a journey to rediscover the rich culinary heritage of Kerala with an appetizing choice of delicacies. Having eaten Onam Sadhya at my friend’s Kerela household, the feast reminded me of my childhood days. The guests were seen enjoying the traditional feast with their loved ones.

The Lunch and Dinner buffet priced at Rs.1400 per person plus taxes

The Orchid Hotel, Lobby Level, Plot No. 70/C, Nehru Road, Vile Parle East, Mumbai, 400099Taste's About Simply Trying Everything