When speaking about Awadhi cuisine, the only thing that pops into mind are their lip smacking, melt in the mouth kebabs. Awadhi cuisine is basically the cuisine of Lucknow, that is famous because of the Lucknowi Nawabs, who were known to have a voracious appetite for delectable kebabs; and their brilliant cooks, who came up with various innovative and delicate flavored kebabs to appease their Nawab’s rich tastes. These recipes have come down from generation to generation, and for those cooks, these recipes are their most closely guarded secrets.
So I consider myself lucky that the Sheraton Hotel here in Hyderabad, decides to have a Awadhi food festival, at Feast, with a vast menu that has been specially created by their Chef, who is a native of Lucknow, and who has brought with him his immense knowledge and a bag full of secret spices and ingredients to tickle our taste buds. The best of Kebabs of Lucknow, here in Hyderabad itself! What more could I ask for.
You might think that a Awadhi food festival would be a meat lover’s paradise, what with the number of non vegetarian kebabs on display; but the Chef has made sure to satisfy all the vegetarians out there with equally delectable vegetarian kebabs too. For those wanting to try out the famous kebabs of Lucknow, they even have the vegetarian versions of the famous Galawati Kebab and Seekh Kebab.
The welcome drink, a Thandai which is a Badam flavoured milk, filled with assorted nuts was absolutely refreshing!
Me being an Awadhi cuisine fanatic, I was in kebab heaven, with the number of varieties of kebabs to choose from. I am not one to discriminate…so what do I do? I eat a little of all that they had to offer. 😉 Below are a few that I tasted from the exhaustive spread that they had, with my comments on those that I loved!
- Makhmali seekh kebab – very well made
- Tangdi kebab – mild flavours
- Dhunger ki kalmi – which is made with a special herb ‘Dhunger’ that is sourced from Lucknow as told by the chef
- tandoori batair ki kebab – which is quail that’s slow roasted in a tandoor
- Galawati kebab – the ever amazing melt in mouth kebab
- Murgh kareli kheema – which is chicken kheema cooked with lots of slit green chillies…and when I say lots it is lots and I absolutely loved it…spicy bring it on!!!
- Raan-e-feast – a whole leg of lamb cooked to perfection and coated with minced meat and spices. This was relished by most!
- Kalimirch veg seekh kebab – Veg version of the Seekh Kebab, which was good, but come on… I am any day partial to the non-veg version.
All the kebabs had the signature charcoal smoked spice aroma, which is unique to the Awadhi kebabs. The flavors of Saffron, cream and the intricate blend of different spices was evident in each and every dish.
Also, the murabbas are something you gotta try. I loved the pineapple murabba , as it was more like a Relish that went really well with the spicier kebabs.
Amongst soups, I loved their Ghosht aur Adrak ka shorba which was so light and flavorful, it helped sooth the palate.
The main course was again a feat in itself with every dish outdoing itself. My favorites were the Fish cooked in Mango gravy, which was tangy perfect! Also the Ghosht and Aloo ki korma was really good; Mutton and potatoes are a match made in heaven. And to go with all the different gravies and curries, you have a wide assortment of Indian breads/parathas.
They also have a Chaat station, where you are treated to the famous Lucknowi Chaats, and I absolutely loved their Raj Kachori chaat.
After having all these if you think I am gonna skip the desserts…think again. There is always place for dessert! They had again a wide range of desserts, which were made keeping the Awadhi food festival in mind, among which I loved the Jalebi with Rabdi; also their Honey dew sweet, which was like a fusion of Rasgulla and Gulab Jamun.
Among the regular desserts, I loved their plain baked yogurt, blueberry cheesecake and coffee mousse, which is a true coffee lover’s dessert!
On the whole, a splendid buffet for the Awadhi Cuisine lovers, if interested to know more about the dishes, do talk to the chef, who is kind enough to share his knowledge on the dishes.
The service was top notch as always, with the waiters also dressed the part for the Awadhi food festival with their Lucknowi caps.