Namma Saapadu Food Fest at Courtyard Marriott - Review
Aug. 16, 2014, 10:03 a.m.

No doubt! I was excited since it was my first food fest review, I was invited to review the ongoing food festival Namma Saapadu, Aug 8th - 17th at the Courtyard Marriott. Few hours for Independence Day, my heart was already bubbling with worship of this wonderful land of infinite spices, flavors, colors and celebrations and the  invite told me that it is going to be a Thalai Vazhai Ilai Virunthu which was spicing up my worship! "IS THERE a new dish to fall in love with? Or ARE THERE passionate chefs to get inspired at ? Or IS THERE a new authentic recipe to learn ? Okay, hold your patience." Finally the evening came answering a  'yes :)' to all my questions.

The review starts here..

Dried palm leaf hangings, Colourful Earthern Pots, Man aduppu, a pot of rice on a beautiful hand-woven basket, Guys in angavastram and Ladies in Colourful Pattu sarees with sandal and kumkum kits, honouring the guests with Cheerful smiles and of course our traditional rose water sprinkling.  I was taken back to my village and no doubt the expectations about the Ilai Virunthu spiced up even more!! Soon after an introduction with the Manager Deepa, Executive Chef Sridhar and Sous Chef Satish Reddy, I quickly collected information on the food fest. It was very evident that every little thing was given enough attention to make the guests feel at home. However, no ilai/banana leaf on my table was disappointing at first sight! Anyways it wont be feasible to have Buffet in a banana leaf, so I told myself "forget it" and started concentrating on the food.




Welcome drink

Paanakam :) :) :) :) :)

Paanakam was served which was a perfect match for the occasion. Not so chill, sukku or ginger flavor on a higher side than jaggery, it was soothing & refreshing. I did not click a good picture of it :/

Vegetarian Starters

veg starters

Millagai Bajji :) :) :)

There was a live counter for Millagai Bajji, and we were served hot bajjis with coconut chutney on the table. The chutney was light coarsely ground and had a tinge of mild garlic flavor bringing out the authentic taste. The Milagais or chilli's had too much of seeds which I personally din't like.

Vazhaipoo Vadai :) :) :) :)

Vazhaipoo vadai or banana flower patties with coconut chutney, again was a perfect match for the celebration. Crunchy on  outside with Perfectly fried onions adding brown color to it  and soft inside – they were perfect.

Margerita Pizza :o

Pizza in Namma Saapadu? Just then I realized that the Chef and team had included western food as part of the food fest having the guests in stay on their mind. We were served one such western starters – margarita pizza. I cannot comment on it since I did not taste it.

 Non-Vegetarian Starters

Non Veg starters

Thalicha kozhi :) :) :) :) :)

Thalicha Kozhi on top left corner in the picture. Man, that was awesome and my most favorite. Soft Juicy chicken perfectly cooked with right blend of spices and masala. Neither too spicy, nor dry. It was just perfect as it has to be. I am definitely gonna try making it and share with you guys.

Uppu Kari piratel :) :) :) :)

Uppu Kari Piratel on top right corner in the picture. A dry starter with fiery flavors and very less oily. Pepper and cardamom flavor were evident at the first munch. The tadka it had, added to the taste.

Kaadai Roast :) :) :) :) :)

Kaadai Roast on bottom left corner in the picture. Nicely roasted, soft meat inside, spicy hot delicious. You can hear the sound of crunching her skin under your teeth each time you take a bite.

Fish Rawa Fry :) :) :) :) :)

Fish rawa fry on bottom right corner in the picture.  A delicious snack from the Kongu region( western part of Tamil Nadu) and seems to be the chef's favorite. Fish dipped in masala from native parts of TN, with a nice semolina coating and shallow fried in oil.It was just awesome. I am giving it 5 out of 5. Soon, the recipe shall be featured on the blog.


Kari Sukka :) :) :) :) :)

Fibrous and moist goat meat cooked with masala, was perfect go-to with parotas.

 Main Course




Biriyani with Kathirikai Chops


Chicken Kothu Parota

meen kulambu

Kizhangu Meen Kuzhambu

veg plate

Authentic Namma Saapadu

Authentic Kozhi Biriyani :) :) :) :) :)

It was kozhi/chicken biriyani for us and it varies everyday. Tamil nadu style biriyani topped with fried onions and cilantro was so welcoming. The rice grains were just perfect and the meat was juicy.

Kathirikai Chops :) :) :) :)

I loveeeee Kathirikai chops or brinjal chops so itz like I will eat it however it is :D ! But this one on the spread was rich in taste and Sous chef Satish was kind enough to teach the trick of doing it perfect. Kathirika chops coming soon on the blog! I am giving it 4 out of 5, since I wanted the brinjals to be little more soft and tender.

Karaikudi Mutton Kuruma :) :) :) :)

Not in the pictures. Soft, juicy meat in a spicy coconut based gravy was perfect with the chicken kothu parota  :)

Chicken Kothu Parota :) :) :) :) :)

Best Kothu Parota I ever had. It was just awesome.

Kizhangu Meen Kuzhambu :) :) :) :)

If you are a fan of traditional authentic Tamilnadu meen curry, you will surely love it.

Paruppu poondu puli kulambu :) :) :) :) :)

It was just perfect with hot rice and a dash of ghee. A rich flavorful gongura pickle accompanied well. The garlic and tamarind were well blend with the dal lentils and the dish itself proved that the chefs have brought the best out of their native parts of Tamil Nadu as Deepa, the Manager told me earlier. It was perfect with the veggie side dish Urulai venkaya podimas.

Urulai venkaya podimas :) :) :) :) :)

A simple dish, that tasted out of the world. Loaded with an equal amount of small onions and potato chunks, the dish was perfectly made. Absolutely less oil dish , unlike any other potato fries. I have never had a potato fry leaving the plate clean without the oil oozing out.

Curd rice topped with no-soggy bhoondi raita was so soothing for me and apart from these, the team had chatphat paneer, vegetable stew, mutton paya, live malabar paratha counter.

 Dessert Counter


Motichoor Ladoos on top & Makkan Pedas on bottom

desserrt                                                      Brownies & Pannacotta

Makkan peda :) :) :) :) :)

A famous Arcot dish Makan Peda made with Khoya. It was a rich delicious dessert loaded with nuts. I could not stop myself with just one.

Brownies :) :) :) :)

Fudgy Chewy brownies were perfect. However I am giving it 4 out of 5 since I love the perfect brownie crust which was missing.

Parupu Payasam :) :)

Parupu payasam was on a little sweeter side and I am rating it 2 out of 5 as it did not give me a pleasing aroma and the munchy dal.

Elaneer Payasam :(

Elaneer payasam was just okay. The coconut pieces were not tender at all. The taste could have been made much better.


The team had also showcased classic podis from various parts of TamilNadu. The spread had Thengai podi,  Karuvepillai podi, Paruppu podi, Ellu podi, prawn or shrimp podi which was totally new to me. No wonder, the curious me tried prawn podi with rice and ghee. To me, it was less spicy and not so great. It was just like any other podi rather than the mild shrimp flavour.



Here is the pickle spread - Drumstick pickle, Mix vegetable pickle, Nellikai oorugai, Manga thokku, Era oorugai.

Quite interesting ? Era oorugai was closer to our Era thokku  on the blog except for a little load of whole garlic.




My favorite was the lotus stem vathal which is on the left :)

Salad Counter


The Namma Saapadu buffet is priced at Rs. 1250, which is as same as their regular buffet price. Ambience and theme set up is real good and I am sure the fest would give you the most authentic tastes of Tamil Nadu and take you to the grammathu samayal and remind you of your grandma recipes for few dishes.

Jofy Abraham
Food Stylist, Food Photographer, Food Enthusiast
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