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Ohris Tansen - Bihari Food Festival

     Ohris is a brand that synonymous with great food and brining in difference experiences along with customer loyal base in their various outlets most of which are still intact and consistent in high praise and reviews. Ohris Tansen is among those restaurants from Ohris which oozes royal dining experience of whoever has been there. A fine dining setup to reflect being in a palace in midst of small water pond like structures that makes it serene. This one has been in my ever-pending visit list for various reasons but distance being the most troubling factor. Finally when Ohris Tansen along with Chef Amey & his team decided to host the Hyderabad's first ever Bihari Food Festival I couldn't find any other better opportunity to visit them.

   Bihari Cuisine is something that's very new and I have no even a tint of awareness but on reading fellow bloggers Pallab De (Hyd Food Guy) & Sabyasachi (Foodaholix) , I could only start getting more interested to know about the completely unique cuisine way different from Nizami and Mughal cuisine that you try mostly in Hyderabad. Bihari Cuisine, eaten mainly in Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, South Africa, is predominantly vegetarian because of traditional Bihar society, influenced by Hindu and Buddhist values of non-violence. However, there is also a tradition of meat-eating, and fish dishes are especially common in the Mithila region due to the number of rivers. Reading that Chef Amey is himself has more than a decade association with the region and its cuisine and has hand crafted this unique ala carte menu ranging from simple welcome drink to classic desserts. The festival hosts 13 dishes in a clear and simple ala carte menu where most of dishes are around 250 - 300 and very few on 400+ range which could be perceived as pricy but for the authenticity and unique flavor profiles, I recommend foodies to try such regional cuisine attempts once in a while and to me personally, it was more of a learning experience that took over my palate. The cuisine and its preparations are nothing like what you are used to get in Hyderabad and I must say even before the review that Ohris & Chef Amey have done a commendable job to bring such rare cuisines into Hyderabad which only depicts that Hyderabad food scene is hot and happening and I wish more such unfamiliar cuisines are brought for people to be more appreciative of them and be more aware of richness and heritage coming from food landscapes across India.

Note: This review is based on Food Tasting Invite but review and opinion stands unbiased in interest of readers.

         The ala carte menu had many options so we planned our orders to ensure to get a complete dining experience. We started off with Sattu Ki Thandai which already caught our eye as its not you're regular sweet variant. Sattu is powdered baked Bengal gram  which gives high energy levels and is said to be nutritious. This drink was made with powdered Bengal gram/Channa Dal, chopped onions , salt and spices. This drink is definitely THE MOST UNIQUE DRINK you would have tasted or at least in my case, it was. Its savory and might not please you in the first sip and if you a Mocktails lover, you might as well hate it. I started a liking towards it but couldn't savor it fully , as its heavy with after taste from the dry flour as it hits you and kind of makes it chocky feel in your palate. But on enquiry, Chef Pratap,  who was courteous to host us on the day, explained that its very famous regional drink which helps in digestion no matter when you have it across the day and is completely tummy-friendly. Please try it at your own risk. I kind of liked but not loved it :)


         Since, there were only 3 starters, we tried all and then realized we did under-estimate the heaviness in the dishes. We started off with the quintessential street food of Bihar and its surrounding areas, Litti Chokha which defines the cuisine. Its made of powdered baked gram , mixed with chopped onions, green chillies, lemon juice, coriander leaves. This mixture is filled inside atta and either barbecued over coal or deep fried with oil. Best accompanied with Ghee, curd and Chokha and baigan bharta. It seems tedious to make and also need perfection to get the right charcoal coating of the cook on the atta. The visually not so pleasing dish makes you want to savor it and on first bite, you feel the heaviness definitely. These might look small but I bet you cannot eat more than 1 or maximum 2 no matter how big your appetite is. this was served with Chokha was nice side made of potato and green chilli but I personally loved it with the mint chutney they served for the papad. It's not the authentic partner but I liked it to be a tad more spicier or else the littis were too dry for my palate.

       Without able to complete even 3 littis across both of us , we moved to next dish Dal Pittha which was (for a twist on the regular dish) served like momos . This was stuff with Channa daal lentil paste and steamed like momos and it was served made of rice flour instead of wheat flour in the authentic way. The dish normally made with sweet stuffing, was a savory momo and was a nice balanced dish even to someone who is not aware of this dish.

      The last of the starts was my pick of the day. Nimki which was a savory crispy cracker of a dish more like our puff pastry or Hyderabadi Lukhmi (sans the filling), it was fried with spice oil and served with sweet and mint chutneys. This one was flaky enough to crumble on our hands. The flavor was nice and light on palate and with the sweet chutney, it was a superb combination and won my heart.

    Completely stuffed with starters, we understood the heaviness of the  cuisine and cautiously  reduced our main course to just two curries and the rotis.

     We chose only the meat variants as all our starters were vegetarian and we both are hardcore meat lovers. Bhunja Mutton which had a visual appeal that any mutton lover can get . The glaze coming from the oiliness of the dish along with the rich caramelization aroma coming from the sautéed onions, only alerted us that this dish will be THE START of the night and on tasting it, it was home run from the word GO. The richness coming only from onions and shredded mutton sautéed slowly and cooking over hours to make them gel well and only with basic spices and no other cream or ingredients, the dish is a clear WINNER in my dictionary. The cook on the mutton and the richness coming in each bite makes you go WOW. A must try dish and kudos for this hands down. Try it with the Ajwani Meththi Paratta which was made again with as much as authentic way and the twist is that the meththi was grinded and drizzled all across the paratta in making and you can get the aroma and flavor in each bite of the roti. The paratta was itself super flaky and the richness coming from the rich mutton chunks, made this combo a WIN-WIN.

      Not sure if the chicken curry can out do our mutton curry experience, we tasted Chicken Haldighati which looked like a typical rich creamy chicken curry. Made with whole coriander seeds and peppercorns, the curry boosted haldi (turmeric powder) in each sip. The turmeric flavor was not over done but almost at perfect balance which made the chicken still the hero of the dish. The soft flaky cook on the chicken with the rich and simple curry made this also another close contender for the curries. This went well for me with Dal Poori. This poori already oozing with oil cautioned me in first look that this is no ordinary light poori. On first bite, it was evident it was indeed a heavy one. It was your typical poori but stuffed with minced moong dal and definitely was rich and heavy. This combination with chicken curry was another WOW for me. Overall all 4 of our choices in main course were superb and brilliant.

         Dessert always excites us, be who you are and where you are. We were excited to try both their offerings which are classic desserts , but after tasting felt, we felt it was more of a safe bet and could have experimented more off-beat desserts like Khaja , Thekua or Churma. They served us,  Malpua with rabdi Balusahi. Both the desserts were served in a simple and aesthetic way and the cuteness of the serving impressed us. Malpua with rabdi was too sweet for me and this is coming from a desserts lover and sweet tooth myself. The over-sweetness of malpua may have been too much for me considering the heavy dishes we tasted before but the rabdi was nice and the richness was evident. Balusahi looked like min badusas and were cute in size. On tasting, felt no difference from it being considered as mini badushas and nothing impressive about it. Both are offered at same pricing and this is where I felt they could have stretched a bit more and tried some not so familiar regional desserts for local Hyderabadi palate. Overall it was a meal that was not only feast for my palate but for my foodie knowledge more than anything else.

Service & Hospitality:

      I don't think any of Ohri's brand restaurant in Hyderabad on my experiences, have let me down or provided lackluster service and customer engagement and Tansen was no exception. Their Ops Manager Mr. Hara Prasad Das and their staff team ensured not only us but the full house at Tansen were diligently served and that too with pleasant smiles all across. They were quick, attentive and gives you that extra royal feel of being taken care as royals. No complaints on that and definitely it has impressed me big time.


           Ohris Tansen - Finally my long pending #1 in my bucket list has been ticked off and the additional WOW Factor was opening my foodie knowledge to learn and explore to understand such a regional cuisine which otherwise I would have been ignorant. I deeply thank Chef Amey & His team from Ohris who has put forward such a unique regional cuisine festival and more impressively stuck to the authentic making styles and not customize it to local palates even though we are a bit adamant on making it spicier. The interaction with Chef Pratap enriched our experience to know more about the cuisine and why the dishes are heavy and even amazed to realize the costing of these dishes out in Bihar and other regions. I would say, that clarified most of our recipe queries and finished it off on a high note. Thank you Ohris Management & Chef Amey for bringing such new flavors of dining experiences and wish more to come.


Note: This review is based on Food Tasting Invite but review and opinion stands unbiased in interest of readers.

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