ASTRO-DINING : If someone tells you they’re going to pick a perfect dish for you using the stars, you might roll your eyes, or ridicule the person profusely. Well, believe it or not your Zodiac Sign has much to say about your Gastronomical Desires. Remember those odd, unexplained food cravings – Well, see your horoscope.
Ancient wisdom has always known that our sun sign can suggest foods that are best suited to us and that can keep us feeling vital and healthy all day. XII ZODIAC used this very concept of Zodiac Signs to curate a diverse, exciting and delectable menu from around the world catering to your ASTROLOGICAL & GASTRONOMICAL needs. Reading how all twelve signs correspond with different soul food dishes, you will develop a greater appreciation for the raw diversity of taste and the ancient wisdom of the zodiac.
At XII Zodiac, your-specific menu by no means is binding. They encourage you to flirt with
menus compatible to your sign, and for that matter try anything from any menu to spice
things up further.
The zodiac identifies four basic constitutional types: FIRE,EARTH,AIR & WATER. The fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, and are considered to possess the most energy and vitality of all the signs. The air signs, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, are considered the second most vital, though more reactive to external stimuli. The water signs, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, are more changeable and emotionally reactive. The earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, and possess great steadiness and endurance, though not the vital spark of fire or air.
I was invited to XII Zodiac by Arindam Bahel, General Manager Food and Beverage, The Fern Hotels and Resorts. He is also a Mater Chef and his knowledge in ‘Astronomy meets Gastronomy’ is phenomenal. I had an amazing time chatting with him about food, recipes and his arduous journey into the world of Zodiac. Special mention of Mridul Das, Manager and Rinktu & Sanjiy, Servers at XII Zodiac; they were delightfully charming and diligent all evening.
XII Zodiac is of part of The Fern Residency Hotel. It is strategically located on Main Arterial Road, right beside Pipal Tree hotel, near Chinar Park. As you step into Fern Residency Hotel your are welcomed into sheer ‘GRANDEUR’. The restaurant is located on the second floor of Fern Residency Hotel. Predominantly in blue and white the restaurant exuberates sophistication. Here classy meets quirky. Walls adorned with Sun Signs – displaying the kind of food a sun sign should indulge in. So if you are a LEO – your tasting style is opulent and you like Champagne. If you are SCPRPIO, you are intense, like routines and probably indulge in southindian food. Or if your a GEMINI – you are dynamic and love pomegranates. Well I’m a gemini, and it was a perfect fit. I was intrigued by the interiors. But among all this quirky-ness there was an element of gracefulness, class and panache.
Lets begin our Astro-Gastro Foodathon!!
We were welcomed with complimentary ‘Amuse Mousse’ . It consisted of four different kinds of food catering to the four constitutional elements of Zodiac – Air, Water, Earth, Fire.Fresh Fruits – Air. Fried Idly in Sweet & Sour Sauce – Earth. Strawberry Milk Shake – Water. Peanut Masala Papad – Fire. All the items were thoroughly thought out and their combination was delicious. WHAT A WAY TO BEGIN !!
#Death by Chocolate : It arrived in a small margarita glass. This conventional combination of chocolate ice cream and milk was delectable in taste with a hint of chocolate sauce. The chocolate flakes & choco-stick as garnish just added on to its richness.
#Earthen Apple : This concoction of freshly made pure carrot and apple juice was delightfully healthy. It was not too sweet, delectable and rich in nutrients.
#Fresh Fruit Mojito (nonalcoholic) : Good old mojito with the extra freshness of watermelon and orange. Another classic fruit drink with a hint of mint leaves and soda. Perfect for a summery day.
#Shake Me Up : Another drink for all you health freaks out there. This low sugar drink made with banana, milk and chocolate sauce is rich in potassium and calcium.
#Strawberry Margarita (nonalcoholic) : With a bright magenta color this drink looked vibrant and alluring. A sweet and tangy blend of strawberries and crush ice, served in a lemon rimmed glass.
#Kiwi Iced Tea : The flavors of kiwi and tea were both prominent and they blended to create an intoxicating combination.
#Red Lounge : A fruity drink with lots of fresh pineapple, apple and melon juice. This vitamin C rich drink will take away all your tiredness and rejuvenate you to well, eat some food. 😛
#Stay Cool : Made primarily from lemonade, lemon juice and blue curacao this was deliciously summery.
Leo (July 23- Aug 22) : You love luxury. Your host for dinner should be ready to pay up for the dainties and complete the feast with classical music and extend a hearty welcome. Eating well is part of enjoying a good life for Leos and you love great meals and fine wine. You are most comfortable in the fanciest restaurants in town. Being generous, you have a good appetite and also share good food with loved ones. You should go for:Meat: Poultry, game; Fruits and nuts: Lemons, oranges, pineapples; Vegetables: Olives, squashes; Spices: Tarragon, anise, cloves, chicory, basil, coriander, ginger
Aries (March 21-April 19) : You tend to like hearty fare with a zip to it. Aries brings the heat, and in soul food, heat makes your tongue tingle and your toes curl. Of course, the downside to all of this heat is the high blood pressure, but in moderation your energy in soul food definitely keeps things warm between folks.You should go for: Meat: Mutton, lamb, goat’s flesh; Fruits and nuts: Water-melon, dates, Vegetables: carrot, onion, shallot, radish, pepper,cucumber, peas, spinach, cauliflower; Spices: pepper, garlic, thyme, saffron, mint, rosemary, coriander, lime leaves
Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21) : You’re a seasoned explorer, Sagittarius. You have adventurous taste buds. Chicken, this roaming and friendly bird is a perfect match for the free spirit of Sagittarius. Of course, the ways to cook this bird are legion, and bears witness to your impulse to find bigger and better ways to cook anything. You should go for: Meat: Any Meat, Pork ; Fruits and nuts: Dates, figs, mango, cashewnut ; Vegetables: Artichokes, cabbage, endives, brussels sprouts, banana, ginger, tomato ; Spices: Thyme, mint, parsley, basil, citrus fruit, ginseng, garlic
THESE ARE THE FIRE SIGN DELICACIES THAT I TRIED:
#SHEEKH KABAB : Minced mutton, ginger, chilli, spices – tandoor roasted. A conventional dish that looked alluring with a reddish tinge.
#KARARI KAJU KI TIKKI (V) : Green peas, potato & spices made into a tikka , coated with cashew crumb & deep fried into a palatable dish. Definitely one of the most recommended dishes of the evening. Very innovative, very fire-y.
#THAI GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD : A delicate cold salad with grilled chicken breast tossed in lemon chili dressing. A perfect blend of tasty and healthy.
#MURGH TIKKA MIRZA HASNU (N/V) : Boneless chicken thigh roasted in a tandoor with yellow chilli powder. So well marinated, so juicy, such big pieces – Oh!! So delectable. This dish stood out like an incandescent candle in a dark room.
#AWADHI MURGH KORMA (N/V) : yogurt & chicken delicately cooked in cashew, saffron & caramelised onion; creating a thick concoction. Frankly with its rich creamy taste and perfectly succulent chicken pieces the dish was on ‘FIRE’.
#LASUNI PALAK KOFTA : Slow cooked kofta in tempered spinach, cottage cheese & fried garlic. The koftas were very delectable, soft and infused well with the gravy. The tick green gravy with fresh spinach and cottage cheese was mind-blowing. I was just left licking my fingers.
Gemini (May 22-June 20) : You get bored easily with the same old food, and are always on the lookout for something fun and different. You love keeping it fresh, and challenging. Most vegetable salads would also come under your watch, as you love the miscellany of foods. You should go for: Meat: Poultry; Fruits and nuts: Apricots, pomegranates, pistachio, waterchestnut; Vegetables: Beans, cauliflower, celery, mushroom; Spices: Cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, mint, sesame, sage.
Libra (Sept 23-Oct 22) : Your harmony-seeking nature would appreciate Chinese and Thai food. It shares a balance of sweet, salty, bitter, hot and sour flavors. As a child of the planet Venus, Libra — like Taurus, her sister sign — likes it sweet. You are also into the challenge of finding techniques and methods to make the most beautiful or exquisite food. Likewise, what better way to stay popular and appreciated, as you desire, than to make something that always makes someone smile?You should go for: Meat: Lean Meat, Fish;Fruits and nuts: Apple, avocado, cherry, pear, strawberry, raspberry,figs; Vegetables: Peas, spinach, tomatoes, corn;Spices: Tarragon, thyme, anise, dill, sage, cloves.
Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18) : A convivial atmosphere is more important to you than what’s on the menu. You are experimental. Aquarius is all about keeping it real and whole grains do just that. You should go for: Meat: Seafood, Fruits and nuts: Cantaloupes, melons, berries, apple, peanuts, Vegetables: Beet, eggplants, sprouts, Spices: Cardamom, liquorice, thyme, mint, sage, vanilla, parsley.
THESE ARE THE AIR SIGN DELICACIES THAT I TRIED:
#KUKKAD DE PAKODE ( (N/V) : Batter fried Chicken bitoks with hand pounded spices. This dish could have improved in terms of flavor.
#SOYABEAN KA SAMMI (V) : I never knew vegetarian shami kabab could be this great. Soy protein gallets & chickpea – maced to perfection. This dish exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds.
#FIREY BABYCORN : Long & thick babycorn dipped in beer batter and deep fried to create a flawless dish. The quality of baby corn is worth mentioning.
#SEB KA MURGH (N/V) : Boneless Chicken cooked in apple puree, with a hint of cinnamon and royal cumin. I sweetish tangy and hot dish with lots of aromatic flavors ; perfect for the fickle minded Air Sign.
#HARTIN CHOY (V) : Spinach, mushroom, waterchestnut cooked in a subtle garlic soy sauce. Its mild taste and the raw flavors of mushroom, spinach was refreshing and captivating.
#POACHED PEARS WITH DOLCE DE LECCHE : Peached Pear in caramelized milkmaid. A perfect dessert for the innovative, non-conformist Gemini in me. This was my favorite dessert not only because it tasted excellent but its surprise milkmaid element intrigued me. From presentation to taste this was one top-notch dish.
#FRUIT SALADS WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM : A traditional dessert that has always been fond of. The fruits were freshly cut and was a healthy mixture of sweet and tangy.
Taurus (April 20-May 21) : You’ll eat just about anything, as long as it’s fresh and well prepared. And, many of you are excellent cooks. You like it meaty, filling, earthy, hearty and rich. The essence of this sign draws energy from food to keep full and grounded. Although you also like sweets and you benefit better from food that keeps you strong as a … bull! You should go for:Meat: Meat;Fruits and nuts: Avocados, persimmon, bananas, cherries, pears, strawberries,raspberries, peanuts ; Vegetables: Peas, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce ; Spices: Dill, parsley, fennel, mint.
Virgo (Aug 23-Sept 22): You’re a purist, Virgo. Many of you are vegetarians or at least prefer your food fresh and light. Virgos testify to the amazing ability to make food from anything.You should go for:
Meat: Poultry ; Fruits and nuts: Apricots, pomegranates, chocolate ; Vegetables: Beans, cauliflower, celery, peas ; Spices: Bay leaf, chicory, cardamom, vanilla, liquorices, seseme seeds, black pepper.
Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19): You like hearty, old-fashioned fare. You like what your mother cooks for you. The calcium in leafy vegetables– appeals to Capricorn. It is the greater balance of greens in the diets that allows you to work as long and as hard as they can.you should go for: Meat: Lamb; Fruits and nuts: quinces, Vegetables: Beet, eggplants, chickpeas; Spices: Anise,carom seeds, cloves, sage, nutmeg, parsley,soy, green onions.
THESE ARE THE EARTH SIGN DELICACIES THAT I TRIED:
MURGH DILNASHI KABAB (N/V) : This maybe a earth sign starter but the dish was plain heavenly! Cheddar cheese & minced chicken, pan grilled to sheer perfection.
CORN BHEL (V) : With bright colors, lots of crispy papad and tangy bhel this was a nice addition to the meal.
MURGH SHEEKH MASALA (N/V) : The sheekhs were beautifully done, not at all dry; just right. Mugh Sheekh in cashew, onion & royal cumin gravy. It was a food-gasmic experience.
Top L – Murgh Sheekh Masala, TOP R – Seb ka Murgh, Bottom R – Awadhi Murgh Korma
Cancer (June 21-July 22) : You appreciate the fresh flavors of the sea. You are also into broths, soups and gumbos. In fact, any food that retains a good amount of water — like melon and squash — comes under the ruler ship of Cancer. You love to show how you care through food,so good luck on getting up from the dining table.You should go for: Meat: Crabs, Fruits and nuts: Coconuts, grapes, lemon, water-melon, papaya, Vegetables: Cabbage, cucumbers, pumpkin, potato, lettuce, turnip, lemongrass; Spices: Citron, sage, cinnamon, horseradish, mustard, thyme, vanilla, fennel .
Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21) : You normally go for strong spices and dark, exotic flavors. One of the key signatures of
Scorpios is their resourcefulness. Like the virgos you have the ability to make food from anything.
You should go for: Meat: Shellfish, poultry; Fruits and nuts: Grapefruit, water-melon; Vegetables: Carrot, onion, , squash, zucchini, radish, pepper, shallot, garlic ; Spices: Cardamom, basil, coriander, pepper, star anise, cinnamon .
Pisces (Feb 19-March 20): Fish. Fishing has been one of the few chores that allows you to experience freedom, relaxation and solitude — all the things that Pisceans usually enjoy. You desire for change and variety. You should go for : Meat: Fish; Fruits and nuts: Dates, figs, lychee; Vegetables: Artichokes, cabbage, endives, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, okra; Spices: Tarragon, thyme, karri, ginger, garlic, pepper, lemon peel .
THESE ARE THE WATER SIGN DELICACIES THAT I TRIED:
PUFFY MUSTARD CHICKEN (N/V) :Boneless chicken strips soaked in mustard; coated with rice crispies and deep fried to create an innovative, crispy starter.
GRILLED PANZANELLA (V) :Panzanella is a popular Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes with balsamic drizzle, lemon zest & vinaigrete. I perfect summer salad.
MURGH TULSI TIKKA(N/V) : This greenish looking chicken tikka is perfect for any foreigners who wouldn’t prefer extremes of flavors.
FIVE SPICE FISH (N/V) : With an alluring dark red color this dish was a divine concoction of well marinated bassa fillet cooked in rice wine & cinnamon.
PANEER MATAR KI BHURJI (V) : Another purely delectable dish was paneer matar ki bhurji. A simple yet elegant and yummilious dish – Paneer cooked in tempered cumin, chilli, turmeric, peas and blissful pure ghee.
# LYCHHEE CHILI MOUSSE : You start with the most delicious mousse with the right consistency and its sweet at first and then ‘surpriseeee’ it’s a subtle chili flavor on your throat. A very unexpected dessert, loved it.
#HOT GULAB JAMMUN : Mid-sized hot gulab jamun, a change after the unconventional Lychhee Chili Mousse. This dish was nice.
My Foodathon ended with a delicious Pan-Shot. My experience at XII Zodiac was fantastic, I wish the team all the very best for the future. I also extend my hearty thanks to Arindam for the invitation.