Jo de Vivre: A poetry of Indian flavors

THOSE who regularly dine at Café Marco at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu have come to anticipate what the hotel’s chefs will cook up next for its Culinary Journeys series. Earlier this month, the hotel’s signature restaurant celebrated Indian cuisine with Khana.

The guest of honor for the evening of the launch was the Embassy of India’s First Secretary of commercial and education, Narayanan Ramakrishnan. Together with hotel general manager Julie Najar and culinary consultant for Indian cuisine Judeline Murjani, Ramakrishnan opened Khana with a ceremonial lighting of the large brass lamp in the middle of the hotel lobby.

The launch included a colorful and energetic performance of Indian dances by the San Diego Dance Group before friends from the Indian community and media partners were treated to a spread of Indian dishes served alongside Café Marco’s other international offerings.

Murjani has been cooking Indian food and delivering it to the homes of vegetarians and those in the Indian community in Cebu since 1993. Her decades of experience made her an ideal choice as the hotel’s culinary consultant for Indian cuisine. To add, her husband, Devidas Murjani, is the son of an Indian chef. If their last name sounds familiar, that’s because they are the proud parents of Miss Cebu 2013, Neesha Murjani.

After doing a little research, I found that Khana is a legendary female Indian poet from the ninth century. The selection of dishes this year was poetry for the palate, with a selection of cold salads with more subtle flavors, and curries as hot in temperature as they were in spiciness. As if we hadn’t been treated to enough, guests were sent home with a gift box of Indian desserts based on recipes by Murjani.

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