Awadh in Bengal !! Yes, its there, very much.
A couple of days ago, when I posted a picture of mine on my timeline in Facebook, enjoying a dish out of an earthen bowl, my friends asked with curiosity what was it. That was a teaser. So, here is my food story this week.
You know it very well that I am always interested to enjoy the local delicacies while visiting any city. Last week, while in Kolkata, with a very strong recommendation of my friends in the city, I went to Oudh 1590, a restaurant serving authentic Awadhi Cuisine. And I am glad I did, for the food was beyond explanation. It was an evening of flavours, textures and temperatures.As soon as you descend from your car, a huge exterior of carved wooden wall greets you. This certainly extends an assurance to you that you have landed at the right place and some good food awaits you. While you wait, a click or two in the back drop that wall is actually a good idea.
Once seated inside, you would realise that even the interiors are an extension of the fascade outside. The staff is courteous (true to Luckhnavi culture) and the service is super fast. The place was having their annual feature; Great Awadhi Biryani Festival. That gave us, me and my local colleague Sandeep Mehrotra, a wider choice, besides the regular menu offerings. So, we had a mix & match order.
Galawati Kebab & Ulta Tawa Parantha
Four reddish-brown Galawati Kebabs sitting comfortably in a plate arrived along with quarter slices of Parantha hidden under a red veil. Kebabs gave out an aroma of mughlai flavoured meat and its simmering fat. A first bite told you it had a crispy thin layer casing with a mildly spiced meat-mince inside. The kebabs, true to their name, were like melt-in-mouth. It was more of meat and less of the binding flour. The Parantha was thin, crispy and aptly moist, and not oily. Went very well with the Galawati and made a perfect picture too.
Zafrani Murg Kebab
A reasonably big sized Chicken Tikkas engulfed in saffron colour were presented to us. Again the dish gave out a rich aroma of meat, fat and the saffron. The looks were good enough for an invitation to pick-me-up. A slight exertion of fork sliced a morsel for you which revealed a pinkish meat inside. On the palate it ticked your taste buds subtly like the nazaqat of Lucknow. The marination was delicate, the taste of saffron lingered on and the meat was juicy, succulent and super soft. The slightly charred corners of the Kebabs added that rustic touch to the flavour and the texture. An amazing piece of art.
The starters were good enough to tell you that you are at the right place and the items from the festival menu would also be a delight for sure. So, we picked up the Festival Menu and ordered.
Murg Yakhni Pulao
This piping hot Pulao came in an Earthen Pot. Long grained Basmati Rice were heaped over the brim as if eager to hop on to your plate. Had to request the server to allow me to click a picture before it could be served for it gave a beautiful sight. The blended aroma of rice, fat and meat was quite enticing to not to wait further. Two-three serving spoons on your plate gave you an aroma of Basmati engulfed in ghee. Each grain was separate yet intact with each other. Pulao was aptly moist and glazed with the right amount of ghee. The first spoonful in the mouth told you it was delicately flavoured with very mild spices and cooked in meat broth. The flavour of Ghee provided that overall sheen to the dish. The intermittent appearance of fried onions and nuts not only added to the texture but also provided a subtle sweet flavour. The meat piece had a coating of mild marination which didn’t interfere with the flavour of Chicken meat. Rather it was enhancing it. The Chicken was soft, juicy inside and very succulent. Definitely, this Pulao was the star of the evening.
Bhuna Gosht Khichri
This dark coloured Soul Food arrived in a metal dish which gave a feeling of a royal presentation. It had a glaze of ghee over it with a sprinkling of fried onions. One spoonful in the mouth told you it was a burst of flavours. The concoction of rice and lentils was peppery, had a hint of ghee and had a robust flavour of meat. Yes, it had meat morsels and the entire Khichri had an underlying flavour of meat broth. I personally love Khichri. So, this meaty, spicy version was quite delightful for me.
The starters and the main course (in our own way) had already made us quite full. However, there cannto be a wrap up without the desserts. So, we ordered two.
This was perhaps the best Phirni I ever had in the city, so far. Set in an earthen bowl this had a colour of saffron all over with nuts peeping out. This cool preparation had a texture of a paste yet with intermittent appearances of crusty khoya and rice granuals. Was rightly sweetened and had an aftertaste of saffron and perhaps the kewara. I polished off the entire thing scrapping out of the corners of the bowl. Was enjoying this so much that I was clicked in that mood by my friend.
Again, one of the best I would have ever had anywhere. Firstly, it came sitting in a plate the way a slab of ice cream is served. Didn’t resemble like a Shahi Tukra. A slab coated with a fine crust of safronised Khoya which had a glaze over it. An effortless slicing with a fork told you it was soft yet firm. A spoonful in the mouth unleashed a stream of myriad textures and flavours. The crust was a firm layer of Safron flavoured Khoya, followed by the sweetened bread which had a flavoureed sugary syrup, crusty lining on the corners and had a soft body. It was not overtly sweet and had a hint of safron and dry fruits.
This was a perfect end to a great Awadhi dinner. Once again, the city of Kolkata and its food offerings delighted me, as always. The place had a nice ambience. The service was good, the food was great. The portions were good enough (two of us couldnt finish what we ordered) and the prices too were quite pocket friendly. A must visit place, when in the city. Till then…
My other Mughlai Food Experiences in Kolkata could be read here :
Then there are more on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow me for more of such stories.