Mumbai, Jan 27 (IANS) Bollywood star Suneil Shetty is not only a successful restaurateur and a health freak, he is also a gourmand who can gobble up any amount of his favourite dishes without a care in the world.
'I am not particularly calorie-conscious. I don't distinguish between food because I have taste buds for all varieties of dishes. But after having had my fill, I make it a point to burn the fat with rigorous exercises,' the star told an amused gathering while inaugurating a food festival at the forecourt of the World Trade Centre in South Mumbai Saturday.
The food festival, Mumbai Festival Eatopia, organised as part of the ongoing Times of India-sponsored Mumbai Festival, is marked by the fact that the stalls offered an assortment of food, not particularly from any place or region - but the kind Mumbai is known for.
Though the popular palate available at Mumbai's Udupi restaurants dominates the foodstuff on display, including the mouth-watering 'pau-bhaji' (Mumbai's famous bread and curry), one enterprising young entrepreneur rustled up a special white briyani with a side dish called 'Chicken Sanju Baba' named after the Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt.
Celebrated adman Prahlad Kakkar also put up his food cart, appropriately christened 'Sadak Chaap' (Road Stamp), at the fest. His innovatively designed compact cart offers a range of indigenous fast food, a specialty of Mumbai and a favourite of the always-in-a-hurry Mumbaikars (people living in Mumbai).
Also on display are eatables to be found only on Mumbai's Mohammed Ali Road, a predominantly Muslim locality, where a plethora of across-the-counter dishes Is available throughout the night.
The platter includes fluffy 'parathas' (Indian fried bread) and chicken kebabs (chicken cubes cooked in dry spices.)
There are, of course, Mangalorean delights like fish curries and fish fries, 'Dilli Ki Chaat' (a mixed vegetable, munchies and curd platter) and 'Tillwywali kulfi from Nukkad' (a sweet dish of Islamic origin), nachos and 'channa bhatura' (cooked grams and fried bread) from Cream Centre, an multi-cuisine eatery at Chowpatty Seaface, coffee and deserts from Mocha, Lebanese 'shawarma' (meat rolled in white flour bread) from Flamboyante, a restaurant at the World Trade Centre arcade, and many other gourmet foods.
Suneil Shetty, however, opted for the innocuous plain masala dosa (a kind of salted pancakes from south India), not as a perfunctory gesture being a guest at the event, but he actually enjoyed munching them. He even tried his hand at preparing one on a hotplate and did a quite a professional job of it.
The star also felicitated a few proprietors of Mumbai's famous Udupi restaurants, such as the Kamats, Trishna, Vishwa Shanti, Mahesh and Harish. These restaurants are known for their South Indian specialities.
The festival also organises a free cooking classes by renowned chefs Hao Quan and Amit Gugnani from the Oberoi Hotel and Amrish Arora from the Flamboyante.
The inaugural function ended with the staging of the play 'When God Said Cheers' starring Tom Alter and Cyrus Dastur. Dastur's Oscar-nominated short film 'Birju' was also premiered at the venue.
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