No matter how much I love Mediterranean food, but the food that touches my soul has always been ‘Indian cuisine’ and that too if it has originated from Lucknow or neighbouring areas. The cuisine is largely Awadhi or nawabi or largely inspired from cuisines that became a part of our life when various Muslim invaders came to India from far Middle Eastern countries.
Awadhi or Oudh cuisine has a very rich and traditional history. They are the ones who introduced slow cooking or dum cooking as we call it now. Lucknow not only has rich history, the food too has a great impact from the culture that it has seen. Nawabs of Awadh were known for their cuisine and their love for meat. The famous biryani which travelled all the way from Persia where it was known as pilaf, went through several customization before it became the famous biryani of lucknow. Lucknow is not only known for biryani, it’s a city which has given us kormas, currys, galautis and best part is eating together on dastarkhan. So for someone like me who has spent half of his life in Allahaad, Lucknow and Varanasi you can understand my love for Awadhi food J
I will not get into the enigma of biryani and kebabs, else it will continue to be more on the cuisine than on the great food that I had at Dill 32 at Kempinski Ambience.
I have been to Dilli 32 before and simply loved the food. Perhaps this is the only place where you will get the Awadhi food in Delhi. Executive Chef Rohit Tokhi is from Lucknow and hence knowledge on the cuisine added more authenticity and Chef Ashwani Kumar Singh is one the most passionate chef I have met in Delhi. His mirchi ka halwa was simply outstanding and one shouldn’t miss it.
It was preview of the Awadhi Food festival which that starts from today – 21st August and will be on for next 10 days. Elaborate menu (almost 25 dishes including veg and non veg) that I couldn’t have afforded to skip a good portion of each and hence by the time I reached, dessert section, I was already overloaded. Each dish was outstanding, had distinct flavour and texture. Let me share seven of my favourites that pushed me for larger servings and one shouldn’t miss these, while the festival is on.
1. Chaat Tokri – This is speciality of Lucknow and beyond – chaat served in potato basket that is very popular snack and good way to start your meal.
2. Jhinga Sufia – a very different preparation of prawns. Poached and then shallow fried in saunf( fennel) and other spices.
3. Tawa champ – Typical Awadhi dish marinated with Bengal gram flour and cooked with yogurt, tomato and onions on Tawa. You will fall in love with this dish.
1. Murg Musallam –You have to taste it, to understand the finesse and finish of this dish. The last good murg musallam that I ate was about 20 years back and this tasted exactly the same. A must have dish.
2. Dum ki raan – we also called it dhaunk ki raan (smoked raan). Perfectly cooked and perfecty smoked. This was the star dish of the day.
3. Band Gosht – Truly a delight for mutton lovers. Simple yet flavourful mutton curry, straight from the by lanes of Aminabad. If you have been to lucknow, you will surely be able to relate to it and this is another star dish for me.
And then comes the dish that I had been waiting for – Chilman Biryani – a perfect blend of spices, well cooked and spiced mutton that was perfectly blended with rice over dum..
Rattan manjusha – a unique preparation of spinach dumpling cooked in onion and nuts gravy. Even a hard core non-vegetarian would enjoy this vegetarian delicacy.
Murg Nihari didn’t work for me. It lacked the viscosity of the typical nihari gravy.
All the breads – Warqi parantha, Sheermal , Khameeri naan ,Ulta tawa parantha were outstanding and takes you straight to the lanes of old Lucknow.
We finished our meal with Kacche aam ki kheer , Kismis aur gond ke ladoo, Jauzi halwa and mirchi ka halwa. Every single desert was outstanding and mirchi ka halwa was unique
I strongly recommend visiting and tasting the food of Awadh. You will fall in love and can thank me later J.
The special menu will be available at Dilli 32 at INR 1732 plus taxes per person (1900 hrs – 2345 hrs) from 21st August – 30th August, 2015. *A la Carte also available.
Disclaimer – This review was done on an invitation from the establishment. Views expressed in the review is entirely ours and without any bias. Pictures of the dishes are not the standard portions, they are sample portions.