Last week Rhea and I were invited to eat and consult at a newly opened restaurant in the eastern suburbs ... but a sudden tragedy struck and their A/C unit conked out shutting down the entire restaurant, we were disappointed and decided to make our weary way home when I remembered seeing a a new restaurant claiming to serve Lucknowi delicacies on the Kurla-Ghatkopar Rd ... we did an immediate rethink and decided to redraw the days plan of action and turn towards this new eatery.
To add to our desires was the fact that a common friend, foodie and food writer Kalyan (The Knife) Karmakar had been giving our taste-buds sleepless nights with his posts from his ongoing Food Safari in Lucknow :)
Naushijaan (Lazzat-e-Lucknow) - is situated just off the Kurla-Ghatkopar LBS Marg, It is a low roofed eatery with wall to wall pictures of Lucknow's Architectural Heritage, the Nawabs of Lucknow and the various dishes made and served at the restaurant. The outside of the restaurant has a Ulta-tava parantha maker cum BBQ on one side and a tava for Galauti Kebabas and Tava Chicken on the other. It is mainly a no frills, non-luxury, A/c restaurant with its entire staff imported from Lucknow.
(Naushijaan is a chain of Lucknowi restaurants originating in Lucknow with franchisees/branches in Chandigarh, Kolkata, Coimbatore and now in Mumbai.)
They seated us at a table and immediately brought a small basin with warm water and an ewer for us to wash our hands with. This struck a perfect note with me.
We ordered (on recommendation) - The Galouti Kebabs, The Tava Chicken, The Mutton Parda Kebab Pasanda with Ulte Tave ke Paranthe. The chicken was really nice but not spectacular. The mutton was really rich, spicy, silken in texture and extremely flavourful. The Galouti kebabs on the other hand were really spectacular, they were redolent of pure ghee and the smell of fried meat, they had a nice crisp outside with a soft melt in the mouth inside. Galoutis I have eaten in 5 Star hotels have always tasted pasty and flat on the inside, these on the other hand had definite texture, extremely soft but not a complete paste, they were beautifully well seasoned and cardamom was the single strong note amongst many subdued ones. The Parantha was the perfect accompaniment.
By the time we finished with the kebabs and chicken we realised all we had place for was the Biryani ... the saalans would have to wait for another time.
Our friendly waiter Radhe Singh recommended both the Pullao-style in Mutton as well as the Degh-style ... we cast caution to the winds and decided to call for one of each. The both arrived looking very similar with a beautifully shiny silver varakh on top, but they both tasted completely exquisite and different. The pullao was moist (a tad cold) and had a robust taste of onions and spices. The degh-style was drier and redolent with the aroma of the spices which had permeated not just the soft juicy shank of mutton but each and every grain of rice. The degh-style was the clear winner. The word for all Awadhi rice dishes is Pullao, Biryani is a word used outside the Awadhi/Lucknowi heartland. We barely ate a third of each and parcelled the rest.
Sadly there was no Shahi Tukda as they weren't satisfied with the bread available locally and no Shirmaal as they couldn't get the correct food colour in Mumbai!
Radhe Singh washing Rhea's hands post meal.
We were so happy with the food and the parcels we took home that were back the next week with our friend Jubal - who had heard so much from us about the amazing food that he drove down from Nahur when he heard we were on our way there.
We tried the Chicken Tangdi (drumstick) Kebabs, which were really lovely; the Kakori Kebabs, which were dry, gamey, pasty, over-spiced and a bit weird with the Afghani Naan or Afghani Parantha. The Afghani which was an absolute delight was a kind of bread that I have never seen or eaten in Mumbai to date. The Afghani Parantha was sublime to say the least, sweet, slightly stretchy, crisp on the outside and spongy and soft on the inside with a divine taste. I would come back just to eat this!
With the Afghani we had the saalans we had missed out the last time - Jehangiri Chicken and Mutton Majlisi.
The combination was perhaps not the best idea as the Jehangiri was a subtle flavour with hints of kewra (screw pine essence) and mace whilst the Majlisi was a robust preparation cooked in mince and charged with pepper, black elaichi, cloves and cardamom ... cardamom appears to be the favourite spice at Naushijaan and is present in all its preparations.
All in all Naushijaan is an experience I recommend to all lovers of good food, meat and Awadhi/Lucknowi food in Mumbai ... its a great place for great food.
9th March 2013 ... 'tis with great sadness that I have to announce here that Naushijaan shut shop late last year ... I was told they felt they were very badly located and therefore wenren't doing as well as they needed to. :-(