I came back from my trip to Amritsar and Mcleodganj with the promise that I will not even touch rich and spicy food for atleast a month. My diet plan succumbed in front of the aloo kulchas, parathas, kaali daals and creamy lassis and I was determined to put it back on track. Then I received an invite from The Park Plaza Kolkata for their Awadhi Food Festival. My brain told me to say No. My stomach said “It is only one meal and you won’t get Izzat Hussain to cook for you every day so just go”. As usual, I listened to my stomach and surrendered. And I’m so glad I did because the meal was not only delicious but surprisingly light and easy to digest!
With an enviable lineage tracing back to Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the last nawab of Oudh, Dr. Izzat Hussain, chef by passion and Unani practitioner by training is known the world over for his Awadhi cuisine. Culinary historian, gourmet author and television host, Dr. Ashish Chopra first met Dr.Hussain on one of his trips to Lucknow. He was told of a chef who cooked healthy Awadhi food as per Unani principles and without water or yoghurt and Mr Chopra was intrigued. Who can imagine healthy biryani right? But Izzat Hussain cooks exactly that. The biryani is light and fragrant, the nahari does not swim in oil and there is no overdose of spices in the gravies. In Dr Hussain’s words “We no longer live in the days when people would go hunting or wrestling and spend a lot of energy outdoors. They needed richer food, we don’t”
Amidst a lively conversation about food with fellow bloggers, food enthusiasts, Dr Hussain and Dr. Ashish, I enjoyed a delicious meal of veg and non-veg shorbas, kababs, biryanis, rotis, dals, curries and sweets. I loved the Chicken Tikka, Izzati Kabab and Paneer Talatili. For the main course, I had Gosht Zaffrani Biryani, Fish Stew, Murgh Changesi and the star of the meal, the Awadhi Gosht Nahari. In vegetarian food, I liked the Cashew Biryani, Dum Gobi and Aloo Hara Dhaniya. Dr. Hussain’s signature multi-grain flatbread, Izzat Ki Roti is not to be missed.
Dr Hussain’s parting words to me were “Don’t control what you eat. Eat what your heart desires. Burn the calories through exercise”. I smiled and got up to get another helping of the tangy and sweet Orange Halwa and the delicately flavored Pakeeza Phirnee. Dear diet, you can wait another day.
The Awadhi Food Festival is on at K-19, the all-day dining restaurant of Park Plaza Kolkata till 6th December. This food festival should not be missed!
- Lunch – 12 noon to 3 pm
- Dinner – 7pm to 11.45 pm
Menu & Price
- Lunch – A La Carte
- Dinner Buffet – Rs 1299 + Taxes, Rs 799 + Taxes for kids
P.S – I was invited by The Park Plaza to dine at the restaurant.