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A slice of the Awadh exotica

Kababs, Shirmal and Muzzafar complete the experience of authentic Lucknowi cuisine

Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

Fit for royalty A chef presents delectables from Awadhi cuisine

A chef’s task is to ensure that nobody feels left out. The mere mention of kababs, in most cases, would put vegetarians on guard as they pour over the menu and the descriptions trying to pick a couple of vegetarian kababs.

But here’s a food festival where both vegetarians and non-vegetarians will be spoilt for choices.

Grill Room, which is celebrating its first anniversary, has put together what it calls a jugalbandi through its food festival Kababs and Kurries.

Chef Quereshi from Lucknow takes you on a journey to the times of the Nawabs of Lucknow and Oudh and lets you sample authentic Awadhi cuisine fit for the kings.

A reticent chef Quereshi says, “It’s rare to find authentic Lucknowi cuisine nowadays. Since our family of chefs have been training in this for the last few generations, we are among the few who’ve kept this culinary art alive.”

The food festival, which will be on till July 31 for dinner, will see a buffet spread with a change of menu on a daily basis.

Tuck in to six varieties of starters and five chutneys, and indulge in the main course choosing from three kinds of meat, five vegetable dishes, dals, breads and desserts for a finishing touch.

The pick of the kabab include Kandahari Veg Kabab, Naduru Shammi Kabab, Pudina Kabab, Khumb ki Shammi and Tandoori Aloo Palak. For the entrées, choose from Makhai Palak, Aloo Bhukara Kofta, Lauk i Dahinwala, Channa Peshawari and Panchmahal Dal. Savour the Indian breads that are prepared the way Lucknowis do it. Varki Paratha and Shirmal are popular choices. Save the best for the last.

Desserts like Muzzafar (made from thin strands of vermicelli) and Sheera melt in your mouth.

Bona fide Awadhi dishes of the Nawabs, as chef and owner of Grill Room Shankar Krishnamurthy says, are not for the calorie conscious. “The original dishes are rich but that’s the way it is. Chef Quereshi is a stickler for maintaining the original flavour of the cuisine and doesn’t believe in adapting it to suit different palates. A number of restaurants here spice up international and other regional cuisines to suit the local palate, but we’ve avoided doing that to maintain the genuineness,” adds Shankar.

The dinner buffet is priced at Rs. 459 plus taxes.

SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO

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