You don’t have to be Muslim to love it!

Iftar at the Park

by Shubham Gupta

Haleem

You don’t have to be Muslim to love it!

Bismillah-er-Rehman-er-Rahim. This is a sacred phrase in Islam, used before starting anything good or divine. And Iftar – the feast at the end of the Ramadan fasting day – is both good and divine, and an apt setting for saying, “God the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”

As wonderful as the phrase, and the feast, is, one might wonder why it’s being said – and eaten – at the Park Calangute. Isn’t this the place for bikini brunches, pool parties and beach revelry? Well, turns out it’s also very much the place for Iftar.

At The Park Calungute, the good old Rozas (Ramadan fasting) come to an end with something so tantalizing that fasting for a month to seek Allah’s blessings seems totally worth it. During the weeks preceding Eid-ul-Fitr, the kitchen at the Park Calangute has arranged for the fasters an indulgence like no other. The authentic Hyderabadi Iftar feast is not to be missed this Ramadan season. And guess what? You don’t have to be Muslim to love it.

Here you will find the delightful aroma of ‘Kewda’, the subtle flavor of saffron, the entrancing taste of clove & cardamom, and perfectly tender and juicy meat followed by the richest desserts reflecting the best of the Mughal influence in India. It’s all happening this Ramadan month at Love, the Park’s fabulous multi-cuisine restaurant.

Iftar is derived from the Arabic word “Fatar” which in the literal sense, means to tear or to break. It’s quite apt, as you’ll not only be breaking the fast on these sumptuous offerings but you’ll also be tearing apart your assumptions of Mughlai food being too sweet or heavy. The Iftar meal usually consists of a high protein diet full of fat and rich creams to rejuvenate the body after a long day of fasting. Here at the Park, you get the proteins but somehow it doesn’t weigh you down.

Here’s a little secret about Ramadan. Lots of people use it as a chance to shed some extra kilos. After all, you don’t eat at all during the day! However, if you gorge yourself at the end of the day on fatty proteins, weight is not likely something you’ll be losing much of. But guess what? At the Park, this is all beside the point. Because what you’ll be thinking about is not the weighing scale, but what this food does to the tiny little spores on our tongue called taste buds. Simply put, it’s to die for. I call it ‘Sporegasms’.

food 2

Sheermal and Mutton Paya

 

Taking in the Iftar feast at this seaside restaurant, you will savour a traditional Mughlai culinary experience with servings like Hyderabadi Haleem, Nalli Biryani, and Mutton Paya, with a sweet yet savory bread known as Sheermal. What ignited my ‘sporegasms’ the most was the Chicken Korma and Chicken ‘Kachchi’ Biryani, which I scoffed with ‘Khamiri roti’ and ‘Raita’. Not to forget the ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ desserts, including the Sheer Khurma, a vermicelli preparation, and Khubani (aka Khwani) ka meetha, prepared from dried almonds and apricots roasted in ghee.

If at this point your mouth is still not watering, fast for a day and read this again at the peak of your hunger. This Ramadan is indeed going to be full of flavours. Rejoice in each one of them. Eid Mubarak in advance!

Photographs by Shubham Gupta

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