Aadab, Lucknow!

Published: February 2, 2014

The restaurant is a visual treat and gives one a taste of the Nawabi lifestyle, literally. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

From the long dastarkhawan (spread of food) to the rich meals of the Nawabs, Lucknow is known for its hospitality and food. And Avari Hotel is all set to provide the luxury and delight of Lakhnavi fine dining in Pakistan.

Being the latest addition to the hotel, the Lakhnavi is a one-of-a-kind restaurant — it is the only place in the country serving authentic Lakhnavi cuisine.

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PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

Avari Hotel has flown notable chefs from Lucknow to Pakistan, so that they can train the chefs in Lahore. With nearly 20-minute intervals between each course, an average meal can take two hours to finish.

“We had Ashfaque Qureshi and Irfan Qureshi, sons of one of the best chefs in Lucknow, fly in to train our chefs here,” says Gauhar Bano Qureshi, Public Relations Manager at Avari Hotel.

“We have ensured that the flavour is absolutely authentic, hence we are importing spices and ingredients directly from Lucknow.”

First, you indulge in Missi Roti and an assortment of chutneys. The tandoori crispy bread is made from the flour of chickpeas and is laced with onion, coriander and green chillies. Glazed with desi ghee and served with papaya, mint and coriander, and tamarind chutneys, the bread is a great precursor to the meals ahead.

Try the Jaam-e-Awadh — an aromatic blend of cold milk with rose petal extract, saffron and cardamom. This delicious drink serves as a palate cleanser and is definitely a must try even if one does not like milk.

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PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

Out of the three soups on the menu, Shorba Timatar is the best; it is a light tomato soup infused with cumin, kaala zeera and cream, garnished with crispy namak paras.

Shorba Yakhni is more of an acquired taste, suited for lamb lovers and might not be enjoyed by the average foodie.

Nazr-e-Samandar, a spicy char-grilled lobster tail, marinated in lemon juice and Lakhnavi spices, is absolutely worth trying. Succulent lobster still attached to the shell adds to the fun of eating the appetiser.

Kaakori Kabab is one of the restaurant specialities. These smoked-infused beef kababs melt in your mouth. The dry rose petal, cardamom and clove marinade with a dash of saffron is just the icing on the cake.

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PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

The Galoti Kabab dish has an interesting history behind it. It is called the Nawabs’ special kabab, as it is said that the Nawab of the time had no teeth and requested his chef to create a Kabab that did not require teeth to eat.

Following his orders, the chef created the super soft Galoti Kababs that have now become a Lakhnavi speciality. Cooked on a griddle and flavoured with clove, cardamom and dry rose petal, the texture of the kabab is unusual.

Murgh Mehtabi is a char grilled chicken tikka marinated in fresh cream and black cumin, served with a fine layer of chandi (silver) over it. The harmony of spices is simply delightful.

Doodhiya Kabab is a rare combination of slices of cottage cheese sandwiching spicy mashed potatoes, lightly fried and then finished on dum (steam). This item is a total knockout.

Murgh Purdah Nashin is a mix of diced vegetables and tandoori grilled chicken marinated in malt vinegar over a layer of crispy crust or purdah and finished on dum.

The beauty of Lakhnavi food is that everything on the menu tastes unique. With a wide array of ingredients and methods used to cook, the food of the Nawabs is rich in pure ingredients and requires ample cooking time.

The key to eating this cuisine is to space it out as it is extremely rich and can become tiresome, if eaten quickly. Mirch Baingan Ka Salan is also a tantalising entree of baby brinjals prepared on dum in yoghurt curry, laced with coconut, sesame and long green chillies. This harmony of spices will keep you asking for more.

The Lakhnavi is the newest sensation on the block with its unique flavours and absolutely delicious bread from the Warqi Parath Shah-e-Awadh to Naan-e-Bah Khumash. One should just sit back and relax as The Lakhnavi takes you back to the time of nazakat, nafaasat and tehzeeb.

Average per head between Rs2,500 to Rs3,000.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2014.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Careful Reader
    Feb 3, 2014 - 6:06AM

    i dont think lobster is halal is it? it is like an ocean cockroach not a fish.

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  • LuvPak!
    Feb 3, 2014 - 12:50PM

    @Careful Reader: What do think of shrimp? That’s just a bug, no? All sea food is halaal except that you never ate before or are from areas far away from oceans catch. Muslims around the world who live near sea are told that by their mufti because thats only what they have for food. Anyway, I wish my father was still here who never stopped mentioning Luckhnavi foods and their heavenly tastes. He died few years ago. I never tasted the foods he mentioned but now it will be obligatory on me to taste all those on my next visit to Pakistan.

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  • Feb 3, 2014 - 12:50PM

    Would love to visit it, looks so royal

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  • Truther
    Feb 3, 2014 - 1:12PM

    While as much as I would love to go for Lakhnavi I am scared by the lopsided difference between the servings and the bills. Another restaurant on Zamzama with the name of “Nawab” presented the supposed Mughlai cuisine with servings negligible and prices condemnable

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  • Fakir Fukra Baboo
    Feb 3, 2014 - 1:23PM

    Mouth watering :(

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  • Stranger
    Feb 3, 2014 - 2:54PM

    Wish I could visit one day… Some day.

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