Want a taste of the ‘dum’ style of cooking that is synonymous with Lucknow in our city? Head over to the Square at Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residences, dig into delicious kebabs and delectable biryanis while mesmerizing Ghazals and enchanting Shayaris play sweet notes for your ears and soul!
I was invited by Novotel for an interaction with chef Abid Qureshi who has flown down from Lucknow specially for the festival and to enjoy his food. In the chef’s words “My menu is rooted in rich royal heritage of India and is a combination of subtle taste where flavors are as varied as India’s climate and as exotic as India’s royal culinary heritage“. Recreating the magic of the spices, Abid Qureshi has carefully handpicked spices and flavors often used in the kitchen of royal families.
The festival is part of the dinner buffet at the Square and the menu will change everyday till the 24th. We started off our meal with a delightfully creamy Sultani Shorba, a perfect broth for a winter afternoon. For starters, we had Sarson Macchi Tikka and Lal Mirch Ka Paneer Tikka. The paneer I was not a fan of since I found it quite bland but the fish tikka was wonderful. It was soft and the flavor of mustard was coming out really well. Last but not the least came the Chicken Galawat Kabab. Initially, I was a bit surprised because the original Lucknawi Galawat Kabab is either mutton or beef and chicken seemed like a poor cousin but it was so good! Definitely the star of the meal for me. The plate came to our table and the kebabs disappeared within minutes. If I had more space in my stomach, I would have probably finished off atleast 6-7 of these melt-in-your mouth kebabs!
In the mains, we had Tigra Dal which is prepared in a clay pot to get that earthy flavor and I quite liked it. There was the Aloo Chutney Pulao , Mutton Dum Biryani, Ulta Tawa Paratha, Warki Paratha along with Mutton Korma, Murgh Sham-e-Awadh and Paneer-Qasar-e-Pukhtan. I was not too fond of the chicken and the paneer but the Dum Biryani and Mutton Korma were excellent. The mutton was soft and not too spicy and the Biryani was just perfect – light, non-greasy and very tasty. For dessert we had Lauki ka Halwa. If I did not know it was the humble Bottle Gourd, I would have thought I was having kheer!
The Lucknawi Food Festival is on only till the 24th so do pay a visit soon. The dinner buffet is priced at Rs 2150 per person plus taxes.