Rampur, a small district in Uttar Pradesh, has mostly been famous for ‘rampuri knives’ and few odd bollywood movies like ‘Rampur ka Laxman’. But all of these are more 80’s generation. Nobody talks about Rampur anymore; leave alone its quaint little cuisine that’s primarily a small tangent of main stream mughlai fare.

Restaurant Jyran at Sofitel hotel in Mumbai’s business hub of BKC recently hosted Rampuri Festival. At first I was a bit bewildered on the choice of heroing this small region. But when I met the chef entrusted with designing and execution of this festival, it all fell into place. Master chef Shaukat Ali Qureshi, originally from Lucknow and is the fame name behind authentic mughlai gastronomy for several decades.
The entire menu has been redesigned to incorporate elements of this nawabi cuisine. The diners are presented with a refreshing Rose Shikanjvi delicately balanced with mint and rose flavours. It sets the mood right for starters that range from mahi fish kebabs cooked in olive oil to melt-in-your-mouth rampuri seekh kebab. For vegetarians there is a fair bit of kebabs  like kamal kakdi and subz seekh. The slight disappointment came from the tinka jhinga that was slightly overcooked leaving them very dry. All of these served with special chutney reproduced by Chef Ali.

For mains we were served nihari that was beautifully cooked in spices and had the complex flavour delivered simply. Rest of the fare was quite predictable as normal mughlai dishes soaked in cream and butter. Dal Jyran reminded me of another famous dal makhni 😉 A special mention goes for mutton biryani that was cooked to perfection.

Most often the food festival is only about highlighting the cuisine. Jyran – literally translating to Lost Love – takes it a notch up. Executive chef Inderjeet explained each food festival intertwines a story-telling of the region by celebrating its culture-cuisine-music and people. 
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