‘Lucknow Nawazi’ is an age old term indicating the remarkable hospitality of Lucknow. We recently experienced this when we were on a food trail in Lucknow this month. Lucknow, previously known as Awadh, the land of the Nawabs, is renowned for their ‘zyka’, meaning ‘a sense of flavour and deliciousness’. Here’s my story of the recent gastronomic adventures and explorations at the city of Nawabs. Note, we were a team of hard-core non-vegetarians and we stayed in Lucknow for 2 nights and 3 days.
Breakfast on the First Day of Food Trail in Lucknow
Let’s begin with breakfast on the first day of our food trail in Lucknow. ‘Sharma Ji Ki Chai’ at Lalbagh, is an extremely popular place to stand and have breakfast. Chai is amazing and should be complemented with bun muska (bun with light butter).The bun is not extra ordinary but the quality is extremely good and is light on the tummy. Gol samosa (rounded samosa) is another attraction, the stuffing is spiced bhuna aloo (smashed up potatoes, well cooked with spices). The place is generally crowded but the service is fast and good and is pocket friendly too.
Lunch on the First Day of Food Trail in Lucknow
‘Reheem’s Kulcha-Nahari’ at Akbarigate was our destination for lunch. As the name suggests, Kulcha and Mutton Nahari, are on top priority list here. We had the softest Kulchas ever at Raheem’s and also tried Sheermal and Lachha Paranthas. Kulcha was the best of course. We also ordered Chicken Roast and Afghani Chicken which were amazing. How can you be in the city of Nawabs and not have Biriyani? We ordered Mutton Biriyani and had an amazingly tasty yet non greasy biriyani with very soft mutton. The ambiance of the restaurant is most ordinary yet it gives an extraordinary experience when it comes to food. Make sure you add ‘Reheem’s Kulcha-Nahari’ to your food trail in Lucknow.
Dinner on the First Day of Food Trail in Lucknow
Being at Lucknow and not visiting ‘Tunday Kababi’ is a sin. So it is a marked place when you are on a food trail in Lucknow. A kabab maker in the times of the Nawabs attracted attention when the erstwhile aging Nawab wanted extremely soft mutton Galouti kebas so that they don’t hurt his teeth. Tunday Kababi made just the Galaotis that the Nawab was looking for. Galouti kebab at ‘Tunday Kababi’ is the softest and the best Galaoti kebab I ever had. We had the kebabs with Rumali Roti. Mutton Biriyani was ordered too. The Galaotis are to die for. We visited ‘Tunday Kababi’ at Aminabad. There are other branches too.
Food Trail on the Second Day in Lucknow
We began the day with a wonderful breakfast buffet at the hotel where we stayed, ‘La Place Sarovar Portico’ at Hazratganj. After sightseeing (coming up in next blog) we decided to have a change of taste on our food trail in Lucknow and headed to Hazratganj. It is a good place for some vegetarian options. We wanted Kachoris and Khastas from ‘Bajpayee Kachori Bhandar’ but the items were more of a breakfast options. So we moved to ‘Royal Café’. ‘Basket Chat’ is famous here. It is a huge plate, good enough to serve as a full meal. ‘Kuch mitha ho jaye’, someone from our group called out and we moved to a sweet shop in Hazratganj called ‘Ram Aashray’. Jalebis with Rabri, Kulfi, Gulab Jamun, Gujjias, Makhan Malai and Malai Gilori were ordered. Makhan Malai is seasonal, mostly available from October to March-April. Malai Gilori was special; dry fruits wrapped in malai (hard cream from milk). We ended the lunch with a delicious Nawabi Pan.
Dinner on the Second Day of Food Trail in Lucknow
After exploring the change of tastes and experiences, we decided to get back to Lakhnawi style of eating again. So for dinner we went to ‘Dastarkhwan’. Biriyani, Kebas, Roti-Paranthas and Mutton Roganjosh were ordered. All the above mentioned restaurants provided us with better taste experiences and Dastarkhwan was not pocket friendly as compared to the rest. I really feel it is not a compulsory visit when you are on a food trail in Lucknow. However, the desserts were gorgeous- we had Shahi Tukda and Kheer.
Eating Like Nawabs on the Last Day at Lucknow
When in the city of Nawabs, experiencing a little opulence is necessary. We headed to the luxurious Taj Mahal at Gomti Nagar for Lunch at one of its restaurants, ‘Oudhyana’. Our Lakhnawi experience was elevated and this Lakhnawi Nazakat (Delicacy) will be etched in our minds forever. The ambiance, the hospitality and the food are all past compare. We had Kakori Kebabs, Mutton Raan Mussalum, Jhinga (prawn) Lehsuni, Mutton Dum Biriyani, Laccha Paranthas and Mutton Nahari. Every item was awesome but I found Jhinga Lehsuni and Mutton Raan Mussalum out of the world. We started with a few mocktails and ended with Kulfis and Shahi Tukdas.
Over All Gastronomic Experience
A Biriyani story, close to my heart, connects Lucknow and Kolkata. The last Nawab, Wajid Ali Shah, is the man behind our Kolkata Biriyani. Refer to the link shared above to know the historical story in details. Lucknow is a den for food lovers like us and I am sure there are much more than my list and experiences. We couldn’t cover some ourselves. Do try Idrees Biriyani at Chowk near Akbarigate, we missed it. Over all gastronomic experience all along our food trail in Lucknow has been outstanding. Food of the Nawabs at the city of Nawabs was ambrosial.