A thriving household depends on the use of seasonal produce and the application of common sense.”   
Ancient Quote 

Luxury comes in many forms and a luxurious dining experience is perhaps the most satiating. The Royal Vega restaurant at ITC Chola, Chennai successfully merges royal tradition, vegetarianism and the ancient tenets of Ayurveda to translate into an exclusive dining experience. 

This summer, Royal Vega brings you the Grishma Ritu menu which combines elaborate preparations of time-tested seasonal recipes, exquisite ingredients and ancient traditions. But, more about this later! 

First a bit about ITC Hotels' newest culinary offering -- Royal Vega. Conceived to revive the ancient traditions of fine-dining in India, it serves vegetarian delicacies associated with royal kitchens, presented stylishly in an opulent ambience. Its cuisine draws inspiration from India’s rich and colourful repast and forgotten recipes garnered from ancient manuscripts, while its carefully prepared menus are based on the Vedic understanding of the medicinal properties of plants, herbs, fruits, vegetables and grains as well as the enduring vitality and taste or rassa of traditional dishes. 

The restaurant offers a splendid array of exciting options to choose from – Aarzoo jo Mehman the a la carte menu, the Ritu Khasa that incorporates the ancient principles of Ayurveda and changes in tune with the Indian seasons and its offerings.  And of course, there’s the regal Ranjit Khasa, which is the recreation of Maharaja Ranjit Khasa’s ancient annual feast at the Lahore Fort. A sense of beauty envelops every description in the traditionally named food sections where cottage cheese is amiksha, fresh potato preparations feature in alukam, dalika boasts elaborate Indian lentil preparations, ratna garbha includes some of the finest kofteh with exotic fillings, karhi and dadhivarga introduce some of the finest curds and curd gravies, ardra is a collection of Indian patties, shalivarga and rotika feature rice and bread cooked for royalty. The dessert or misthanam incidentally, features emperor Chandragupta’s favourite malpua – an exquisite soft-centred folded barley pancake, sweetened with jaggery, smeared with honey and garnished with crushed whole wheat. 

All these dishes are based on the Ayurvedic principles of striking a balance between taste and health. Traditionally, Indian cuisine has always been governed by its six seasons – Shishir Ritu (cold and dewy season between winter and spring), Vasant Ritu (spring), Grishma Ritu (summer),Varsha Ritu (monsoon), Sharat Ritu (autumn) and Hemant Ritu (winter). According to Ayurveda, the constitution or dosha of the body and the seasons are intimately related. This means that the environment that we live in affects the functioning of our bodies significantly. To maintain the balance within one’s body, the appropriate food needs to be consumed for every season. The Ritu Khasa menus – each prepared to coincide with the ongoing season – at Royal Vega adhere to these ancient Ayurvedic principles and offers exquisite delicacies best suited to the season. 

By May, the Indian summer or Grishma Ritu turns its intense heat upon one and all. Rivers dry up, the earth parches, trees begin to wither and we begin to seek means of cooling ourselves. Ayurvedic teachings stress upon eating only those foods which have a cooling effect on the body. As a result, during this season only sweet, light and liquid food is consumed. Summer vegetables like snake gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin and cucumber as well as fresh juices and juicy fruits, salads and buttermilk, are also included in one’s diet. 

If you’re in a mood to feast on an elaborate array of signature summer dishes, you should head to Royal Vega at ITC Chola. May 15th marks the beginning of the Grishma ritu and a new seasonal menu at Royal Vega. Sample seasonal delicacies like channa dal khumra, taar mewa malai and more until the end of the season which will be July 15th. 

It’s certainly a ‘cool’ way to usher in Grishma Ritu!