Awadhi cuisine, prepared with exotic spices, herbs and dry fruits is an integral part of Lucknow – the city of Nawabs. With cooking styles inspired by the Mughal era, this cuisine is bursting with flavors and aromas making it completely hard to resist. The chefs and cooks of the region invented the dum style of cooking which means cooking over low heat, which has gained popularity all over today. The cooking patterns are similar to Central Asia, Middle East and Northern Awadh region whereas the cuisine bears similarities to Kashmir, Punjab and Hyderbad. Popularly known as Nawabi cuisine, one can expect a variety of tempting kebabs, kormas, shorbas, zardi, biryanis and many more items.
The Juhu property has been a favorite for quite some time now. Be it a chilled out Sunday afternoon at Gadda Da Vida, a celebratory dinner at Sam Pan or some late night chit chat and coffee at Square, Novotel has always been special to me in some way or the other. Their 24-hour diner offers a delightful buffet spread with lip-smacking dishes and desserts. Now, for the next one week, the chefs have prepared a special Awadhi menu and are all set to give patrons a true taste of Nawaabi food.
What I tried & liked:
– My experience began with a chilled glass of perfectly sweet and refreshing Gulab ka Sarbat and some crunchy, spicy and masaledar chaat.
– Soon after, came the shorbas. Since I am a non-vegetarian, I opted for the Paya ka shorba. The vegetarians were served a bowl of Gucchi dal ka shorba. My soup was flavorful and aromatic with succulent pieces of lamb that literally melted in the mouth in one shot. On asking the chef, he said the lamb had been slow cooked for 12 hours with delicious aromatics in order to ensure that all the flavors get infused in the broth.
– Next came the starters. First one was the dish I had been waiting for – the Galawati Kebabs. The word ‘Galawati’ means ‘melt in the mouth’ and that’s exactly how the kebabs were. History has it, that this kebab was specially created for the aging Asaf-ud-daulah, who had weak teeth but was a meat lover. The traditional recipe is made up of minced mutton meat and hence does not require chewing.
The Murgh Hasuni Tikka served on a steaming hot griddle had been marinated for several hours before being served but was just like any other murgh tikka.
Mahi Taj – cheese infused delicious fish cutlets were packed with aromatic Indian spices and herbs.
Aloo gul gulstan – dum cooked aloo with poppy seeds and almond flakes was intriguing at first but was a real treat.
– After so many starters, I was unfortunately quite stuffed already. But from whatever I tried in the mains, I loved the Sikandari Raan and the Murgh Awadhi Korma the most. The former was so visually appealing that I couldn’t resist trying it and trust me, I’m so glad I did. Also the korma, packed with tantalizing flavors and spices along with the Bakerkhani Shermal – something I have been wanting to try for a really long time was just perfect. Bakerkhani is a luxuriously rich 14-layered bread garnished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. In olden days, it was a star attraction at Hyderabadi feasts and was served during every celebratory occasion. It was rich, sinful but so delicious. Totally worth the calories! Apart from these dishes, I was also really excited to see my own personal pot of dum biryani. If you’re at an Awadhi food festival, you know the biryani will almost always be pleasing.
– We literally had no space left for dessert but no meal is complete without some sweet right? Each person was served an individual dessert tray that consisted of Shahi Tukda, Khumani ka methi, Zarda and Jalebi with hot milk. The Shahi Tukda i.e. saffron infused fried bread served with rabdi was absolutely divine. I also thoroughly relished the saffron flavored hot milk with dry fruits.
All in all, it was a wonderful meal. I would sincerely urge you to not miss out on the opportunity of savoring this scrumptious cuisine made using age-old traditional recipes.
Where: Square, Novotel Juhu
When: On till 23rd July
Time: 7pm to 11pm (Dinner buffet only)