Tag Archives: nawabs

Nawaabon Ke Kebab

Mostly Grills, the rooftop barbecue restaurant at The Orchid, Mumbai, has always been one of my fav dining places in the city, thanks to the great food and spectacular view.

I was delighted to go there yet again, albeit after a long gap. And there was ample reason too, as they were hosting the biggest kebab trail.

Chef Shadaab from Lucknow, has curated an interesting menu, to tantalize the taste buds of diners with an array of eclectic kebabs,from the lands of erstwhile nawabs – Awadh (Lucknow), Nizams and other kingdoms, that are famous for their kebabs.

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The place had been transformed completely into a haven for diners, complete with ghazals, artifacts and decor representative of the Nawabi lifestyle. The era had been beautifully recreated.

The melt in the mouth galouti kebab, arrived first. My all time favorite kebab. It did not disappoint me. The texture was perfect and the flavours, authentic. The Kakori kebab, I thought, might pale in comparison, but Chef Shadaab, did not let me down here too. The mince boasted of  great textures and robust flavours, replete with spices, so characteristic of this kebab.

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The accompanying chutneys were unique too. I particularly found the banana and tamarind one to be palate-tickling.

I was blown away with the shinghara atta and corn tikki. Yes, water chestnut flour had been dexterously paired with corn to make a delectable tikki.

The highlight of the dinner was the live trolley where chef  was making kebabs and other barbecue items live in front of  us. Oh! What a spectacle that was. I could not help, but admire the manner in which the kebabs were being adroitly flambeed by chef.

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The Mawa and dry fruit sheekh was a delight for the palate, where the sweetness of dry fruits was cleverly balanced with the meat. Chef Shadaab is truly a master of his craft.

The piece de resistance was the Tatari champ. Kid lamb chops marinated overnight with Andhra chili, cumin, cloves and pure ghee cooked in tandoor. An absolute treat for carnivores. Gourmets can also feast on Maheen Samak tikka (Bekti fish marinated with ginger garlic and aromatic herbs slow cooked live)

Chef Shadaab who hails from Alamganj, Lucknow  had a plethora of vegetarian offerings too, which according to him, the Royals feasted upon.

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In the vegetarian section, my vote went to the Meve mave ki khaas sheekh (Cottage cheese treated with condensed milk , saffron and nuts and char grilled live. Being a lover of potatoes, I relished the Tandoor Bharwan Lahori Aloo  too, where the potatoes were scooped and stuffed with spices, raisins and almonds.

The chef has procured the spices and other condiments from various places to ensure the authentic taste.

The food struck me as unique, with authenticity being  showcased in each dish. The ingredients used, were of good quality and completely fresh.

What do I say about the biryanis, niharis, salans and special Indian breads, which were on offer. Sheermal, Baqarkhani, Khamiri roti , laccha paratha, lasooni naan were delightfully paired with lip-smacking gravies and salans.

Each dish was authentic and well-prepared, using the slow cooking methods of that region and as per the demands of that cuisine. Some of the non vegetarian main course dishes are Shahi Nihari (Lamb shanks simmered on low heat cooked overnight served with Khamera naan), Degi Gosht (Baby lamb cooked with coconut, cumin and tamarind flavour gravy), Achari jhinga (Tiger prawns stir fried in Hyderabadi pickled spice, finished with tamarind pulp), Pudina machli ka salan (Pomfret cooked with onion, tomato, and mint gravy).

The food was flavourful, but yes, rich and heavy. But I guess once in a while, with spread like this, one can do with a bit of indulgence.

As in a royal repast, I finished my meal with Sewiyan ka Muzaffar (Vermicelli cooked win condensed milk topped with nuts).

There were other options too, but of course I skipped those. Sheer kurma, Khubani ka meetha, Shahi Tukda, Shahi Falooda. A paan counter too is part of the festival, for those who want to digest their food.

With Ghulam Ali and Jagjit Singh’s ghazals fading away in the background, I made my way out of Mostly Grills, after a memorable Kebab Trail and hospitality, fit for the nawabs.

On till April 17, 2016 only for dinner, don’t miss this if Kebabs are what appeases your taste buds.

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A Lucknawi Daawat At Maya

There is nothing like upholding traditions or parampara. And even more so in food, especially with regard to our very own Indian cuisine. The Rivaayat concept which Oberoi Hotels have started at Oberoi Gurgaon and now at Trident BKC Mumbai, are thus close to my heart.

Having experienced Punjabi Rivaayat at Maya, Trident Bandra Kurla Mumbai last month, I was very curious about the Lucknawi Rivaayat by Dr. Izzat Hussain. Being from the Royal family of Lucknow and a Unani practitioner who loves to cook, this one was bound to be interesting.

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Particular about the spices he uses, Dr, Hussain does not believe in adding spices to his food without relevance or justification. No yogurt for marination for him, as he does not want to destroy the good bacteria it offers by cooking curd. Cooking for him is an amalgamation of science and art.

Our Raj pakoris arrive. A bite into the crisply fried pakoris and soft cheese fills my mouth. The kali miri or black pepper is predominant and lends these a unique flavour. The Neza kebabs, are well presented on tiny sword-like skewers and Rasika serving us explains that Neza means sword. These are supposed to caravan food according to Dr. Hussain.

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Succulent pieces of chicken, well-spiced, but not overpowered by spices, these Neza kebabs are a delight for the palate.

The Izzat Fried chicken too gets my vote instantly. Fried to perfection, there is no trace of the chicken getting chewy. Just the way I like mine. Nothing in today’s lunch is fiery thankfully.

The Patta kebabs or minced lamb kebabs, wrapped in cabbage leaves are a version of the famous Gelouti kebabs of Lucknow. Pure, soft meat, envelopes my taste buds. The texture is unique as are the flavours.

Amidst interesting food related anecdotes we bite into the Zarakhush paneer kebabs. Flavoursome, but not extraordinary.

The much awaited thali arrives, it is indeed a treat for the eyes and makes me want to tuck into it immediately. A myriad options. And there is a new combination daily for lunch as Dr. Hussain has curated a menu with over 50 dishes to choose from.

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The thali is on offer for lunch daily at Maya and dinner is a la carte for the entire duration of the festival till February 26.

The mutton chukander or beetroot mutton catches my fancy. Soft well-done pieces of mutton in a thick reddish coloured gravy. No artificial colours or preservatives in his food. The colour comes naturally from the beetroot.

The nariyal arbi too is a treat for the taste buds, soft and well-cooked. Arbi or colocasia has never tasted so good. The shahi cholas did not impress me as much.

But the highlight of my meal was the chicken with garlic or the Murg thoumb. Subtle flavours, but well meshed with the chicken and paired exceedingly well with Izzat ki roti, a signature Indian multigrain bread created by Dr. Hussain.

What struck me as extraordinary was the fact that although we were eating non-vegetarian fare, the food was not a wee bit heavy or rich. Even by the end of the meal, there was no discomfort.

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What can I say about the biryanis- both zaffrani and tursh? The aromas wafted into the air as the lid of the serving dish was lifted. Well-marinated pieces of mutton and the rice grains, separate, yet, homogeneously blended in the ghee and masalas. The chicken one was also delightful, although biryani lovers normally prefer gosht only. The light yellow hues came from the saffron only as opposed to the yellow colour we are used to in Mumbai.

Phirni, was what we rounded off our meal with. The consistency was a tad diluted as compared to the ones I have had in Punjab and Bengal, but Dr. Hussain insisted that’s how it is meant to be in Lucknow.

Flavourful and surprisingly light food which delighted all the senses, excellent company of Executive Chef Bhasin, Dr. Hussain, Shimareet, Kalyan and exemplary service by Rasika, made it an afternoon well spent.

Rating : 4/5