"So, I soon switched to another sweet dish - frozen melon and mint sorbet. It was colder and sweeter than the previous dessert and the best way to shield from the sun's heat, which I had to face ultimately."
By Natalia Ningthoujam

New Delhi, May 9 - As it gets more and more difficult to bear the heat, take some time off and head to Lodi - The Garden Restaurant here. Enjoy their Melon Magic festival this month and wink back at the sun.

One of the best ways to beat the heat is by indulging in seasonal fruits and the current month is all about melons. Biting into the fruit is easy and healthy, but what if you get a three course meal with different types of melons as the core ingredient?

Surrounded by lush greenery, the restaurant has a cooling effect - on the eyes too. So, when they told me about the food festival, I was excited.

It is the season of melons and we wanted to offer fresh and healthy cuisine to our customers. It is important to makes changes in the menu, so we thought of using melons this time, Elam Singh Rana, executive chef, Lodi - The Garden Restaurant, told IANS.

On till May 31, the festival this time has gone through a few changes on the basis of demand.

Last year when we hosted the melon festival, we had more number of main course dishes. There were chicken and fish items along with two to three vegetarian options. This time, it's more about soup, salad and dessert and less about main course, said the chef, who has impressive experience in European and Spanish cuisines.

Overpowered by curiosity, I gave a quick look at the special menu. Rana also boasted of the restaurant's farm produce used in their dishes. And it couldn't get healthier than that.

I started lunch with a cold soup. Mostly made of musk melon and yoghurt, the soup was a combination of sweet and sour. Perfect for a hot and sunny day, it didn't take me long to finish it. The staff soon replaced it with a glass of watermelon mojito. With chunks of lemon and watermelon and ice cubes, the mocktail was a delightful way to feel refreshed. It almost transported me to one of the beaches.

I accompanied it with a healthy and appealing salad. I was bowled over by its presentation. The red fruit, cut in a circular manner, had a white feta cheese topping with a mint leaf sitting on top of it. The green sprouts on the side and dark brown sweet balsamic made it more visually beautiful. And it scored high on flavour too. The melon's sweetness met the cheese's sourness.

Next up was the main course. It was a stuffed boneless chicken neatly cut into pieces. The wild rice inside the soft chicken gelled with melon and lime chutney and greens like cucumber, lettuce and cherry tomato.

I ended my meal on a sweet and chilled note. After battling it out for a while, I failed to pick one and decided to give a sweet treat to my taste buds. First up was spirit melon mousse. With a few pieces of the fruit and the creamy texture of the dessert, I tried to convince myself that it's a health food after all.

So, I soon switched to another sweet dish - frozen melon and mint sorbet. It was colder and sweeter than the previous dessert and the best way to shield from the sun's heat, which I had to face ultimately.

Priced at Rs.2200 - for a meal for two, the fruit's high water content, less use of olive oil and no use of hot spices makes it the ideal cuisine for summer.


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